Fee Increase as of May 2017

Below are the 2016 fees and the corresponding 2017 fee. The new fees will go into effect as of May 1, 2017. Please find the fee you are currently paying in the 2016 column and begin paying the corresponding 2017 fee in May.

2016            2017
$171.00         $171.50
$176.00         $176.00
$177.50         $183.50
$207.00         $217.50
$208.00         $218.50
$211.50         $223.00
$211.50         $223.00
$222.50         $228.50
$235.50         $237.00

Memo Accompanying Annual Meeting Minutes – April 4, 2017

From Warner Johnson, Property Manager, Duckworth-Morris Realty Co., Inc.

You can see the 2017 annual meeting minutes here

Enclosed along with this memo are the annual meeting minutes, Board of Directors meeting minutes, the corrected budget from the annual meeting and a sheet showing the fee changes for the upcoming year.  Everyone who attended the meeting is aware that there were errors in the budget that was passed out at the meeting.  The budget enclosed along with this memo has been corrected and reviewed by the board.  Please take time to read the enclosed minutes to familiarize yourself with all that is occurring within your homeowners association.  The fee changes will become effective with May’s payment.

The greatest change that is occurring is the addition of an annual $200.00 infrastructure reserve fee in addition the monthly fee. If your current monthly fee is being drafted the new monthly fee will begin being drafted on May 1st but we will not draft the $200.00 fee until you have given us permission to do so. Please read the minutes for a detailed discussion of why the $200.00 fee is necessary.

Please also pay attention to some changes regarding landscaping that are discussed in the board meeting minutes.  The board is working on policies regarding the type and cost of landscaping that the association is replacing. If a tree in your yard dies and you would like it replaced it will be replaced with a tree similar to what was originally provided when the homes were new. If that was originally a Crepe Myrtle and you would like a Japanese Maple, that is acceptable with the Board as long as you pay the difference in the cost.

Finally, the vast majority of Reston Place Homeowners pay their fees in a timely manner.  Unfortunately; some do not. The association documents call for 1.5% interest per month to be charged on the late association fees which the association has been charging. In addition the association has the right to charge late fees.  The Board has approved a late fee of $25.00 per month be charged on fees 30 days past due. If you read the minutes you will see that cash flow is an important issue for the operation of the association.  Homeowner’s running 30 or more days past due on their accounts cause cash flow issues for the association and it is only fair to those who pay on time that there be penalties for those who do not.

Board Meeting Minutes – March 23, 2017

Meeting held Thursday, March 23, 2017.

Call to Order

A meeting of the Board of Directors of the Reston Place Home Owners Association Board was held on Thursday March 23, 2017 at the offices of Duckworth-Morris Real Estate, 1312 Greensboro Avenue, Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35401.  The meeting began at 9:00 AM and was presided over by Mr. Warner Johnson.

Attendees

Voting members in attendance included Mr. Claude Wright, Ms. Caroline Williams, Mr. John Austin, Ms. Charlene Dowling, Ms. Dolly Anders, Ms. Linda Pruett, Ms. Caitlin Tubbs, and Mr. Elliott Jones.  All Board members were present.

Representing Duckworth-Morris Real Estate was Mr. Warner Johnson, Mrs. Sherri Townsend and Mr. Damon Townsend.

Approval of Minutes

Meeting minutes for the last meeting and this meeting will be approved in the April Board meeting.

Officers’ Reports

Mr. Johnson stated that in the first directors meeting after the Association’s Annual Meeting the directors should elect officers.  The following individual(s) were present at this meeting representing a Quorum of the Directors of the Reston Place Home Owners Association: Mr. Claude Wright, Ms. Caroline Williams, Mr. John Austin, Ms. Charlene Dowling, Ms. Dolly Anders, Ms. Linda Pruett, Ms. Caitlin Tubbs, and Mr. Elliott Jones.  The following individuals were duly nominated and unanimously elected to serve as Officers of the Reston Place Home Owners Association as described below:

  • Mr. Claude Wright, President
  • Ms. Charlene Dowling, Vice-President
  • Ms. Caroline Williams, Secretary
  • Mr. John Austin, Treasurer

Other Reports

Mr. Johnson introduced the corrected budget with apologies from Mr. Townsend and Mr. Johnson as to having presented a less than fully vetted, unbalance budget at the Association meeting.  The information,  as printed created the appearance that the requested need for a fee increase was not supported by the prior year costs presented. This caused a great deal of regrettable confusion and discussion.  In reality, 2016 spending was actually budgeted at $640,303.20 while spending was $753,949.75.  This spending is distorted somewhat given the timing of insurance reimbursements received in 2015 and paid out in 2016.  Year over year the insurance claim money nets to a zero impact on spending.  The proper representation, shown today details a net reserves effect where $22,957.60 was drawn from reserves.  The budget before you of $660,563.77 sustains the level of service currently planned and the $54,000 lump sum request provides funding to catch up delayed gutter cleaning and previous landscape repair and replacement commitments. Mr. Johnson elaborated on the fees as stated for each style and size of home within the community.  He explained the allocation method of budgeted cost, excluding insurance, for each style home.  He also explained the insurance allocation method that has been used for years; elaborating on how the allocation was determined by using unit square footages and the insurance statement of structure values.  Again, this allocation has remained the same for the life of Reston Place.  Mr. Johnson explained how that, each year, he works with the original builder of Reston Place to establish what it would take to rebuild all homes in Reston Place to their original form using a price per square foot estimate.  This was used as the baseline again this year to renegotiate the insurance premium for Reston Place in total.  The premiums for 2017 are less than the 2016 premium helping mitigate fee increases for all homes.

The totaled of annual budgeted cost and the annual insurance premium were used to determine the monthly fee for each property type; thereby providing the financial support to maintain and insure the community as a whole.  In summary Mr. Johnson explained that the fees as calculated are now proper and supported by 2016 spending as summarized along with the change in insurance premium as described.  The reason the garden home fee change is more substantial is that the allocation for lawn maintenance for garden homes is higher given the lawn care support required of garden homes.

The management of the $54,000 being paid over the next two months required further explanation.  This money will be placed into the capital improvement reserve and this will be used first to fund repair of gutter drainage systems and sprinkler systems with the balance being reserved for capital repairs determined by the Board.

The new monthly fee schedule change will take effect May 1, 2017.  The monthly fee structure for 2017 is as follows:

  • $171 (2016) to $171.50 (2017)
  • $176 to $176
  • $177.50 to $183.50
  • $207 to $217.50
  • $208 to $218.50
  • $211.50 to $223
  • $222.50 to $228.50
  • $235.50 to $237

Our goal now is to provide better, more frequent communication in all matters affecting Reston Place Homeowners.  We are going to, at the April 5, 2017 meeting provide, for this Board’s review the minutes of the Association Meeting minutes, the minutes of this meeting and the amended budget.  After the April 5, 2017 meeting a cover letter explaining the cause of confusion at the Annual Association Meeting, the approved minutes of this meeting, the Board meeting minutes from the meeting prior to the Annual meeting and the revised budget along with the fee change memo will be mailed to each homeowner and these document will be posted on our website.  Mr. Johnson, to better communicate in the future, told the Board that he has signs available to post at entrances to notify all residents that new information is available on the Duckworth-Morris website.  Mr. Johnson asked if there was any further business. There was.

Other Business

Gutter cleaning beginning dates were questioned. The beginning date is supposed to be May but if funding allows, we will begin earlier. The method used, timing and a reasonable coordination with homeowners was addressed.  Gutters cleaning will be announced one week before each street/area is cleaned.  Discussion of home repair as defined in association documents turned to gutters again.  Provided this year will be gutter cleaning in May, September, and January. This is not specified in the Association documents but had previously determined by the Board to benefit the Association in that it prevents damage to the exterior of homes and related sub-structure.

To better control spending, Mr. Austin suggested that we begin working with a budget and spending process where in we attempt to project majors spending.  Brought up here was the needs for boundaries as to exactly what the boards obligations are as to landscape maintenance outside each home, what the limits are in so far as owner requested derogations in excess of originally installed landscaping and the related cost the board is willing to assume.  Also in question are the extra-ordinary requests that exceed the agreed to grounds maintenance contract.  It was concluded that further work by the Board will be required to provide acceptable boundaries for managing and communicating the Boards expectations in this area.  Re-evaluating these boundaries versus the current documents is necessary due to the actions that have been taken or the actions that have, over time been allowed leaving a gray area that is confusing and difficult to communicate.  One suggestion for dealing with this situation mirrors the insurance policy approach for original structure replacement.  In cases where, betterments and improvements have been installed by the homeowner, why not limit Association financial responsibility to the replacement cost for original landscape plant or product installed. This will require further study and should be addressed in a future Board Meeting.

The communication protocol was explained.  When a homeowner has a problem, their first call should be to Keith Kukla at 345-5521.  Keith will resolve the matter in some situations or he may determine to involve the Duckworth-Morris management team.  He will immediately report critical issues but, if not an immediate need, he will forward the request to Duckworth-Morris in his weekly report of concerns and issues.  Duckworth-Morris will then contact the homeowner and work to resolve the particular issue in a timely fashion within the bounds stated in Association documents and Board instructions.  Ownership of these projects and proper follow up is being track to ensure a satisfactory result.

Mr. Johnson explained the Architectural Committee’s function.  The Board discussed the Architectural Committee’s roll in ensuring that the expectations set forth in the Association documents are met.  Given that discussion the current vacancy on the Architectural Committee was pointed out and it was suggested that possibly two more members be added.

The EFIS liability that currently exists was questioned.  Mr. Johnson said that only three houses have EFIS exteriors on them today.  The Mallory’s home is one of these home and we are working through resolution of their concerns now.  We are waiting on the inspection report on that particular home.  Mr. Johnson noted that we have a stucco covered home that is in need of repair.  That repair estimate is $6,225.00.  We will be repairing this house within a month.

Main Motions

Motion: Moved by Mr. John Austin and seconded that Ms. Caitlin Tubbs fill the vacant position on the Architectural Committee. The motion was unanimously.

Announcements

Board President, Claude Wright announced that in keeping with the Board’s commitment to having regular meetings he wanted to schedule a meeting in early April.  After discussion it was agreed that the Board will meet again on April 5, at 4:00 P. M. at the offices of Duckworth-Morris.

Adjournment

A motion that the meeting be adjourned was made, and this meeting adjourned at 11:05 A.M.

Signed Caroline Williams, Reston Place Homeowners Association. 

Annual Meeting Minutes

Meeting held Thursday, March 09, 2017.

Call to Order:

The Reston Place Home Owner’s Association annual meeting was held on Thursday, March 09, 2017, at Indian Hills Country Club, 1650, McFarland Boulevard North, Tuscaloosa, AL 35406.  Mr. Warner Johnson presided over this meeting, beginning at 5:30 P.M.

Mr. Johnson stated that with those present along with the proxies returned, 152 homeowners were represented in person or by proxy.  Association documents require that 162 homeowners should be represented for a quorum.  Mr. Johnson reminded everyone that the Association documents did allow the meeting to be adjourned and reconvened with no further notice at which time the quorum requirement would be reduced to 152.  Mr. Johnson asked if there was a motion to adjourn.  A motion was made, seconded and passed unanimously to adjourn the meeting.  Mr. Johnson called the second meeting to order and reported that there was a quorum for the Association to conduct business.

Mr. Johnson stated that the next item on the agenda was proof of notice of meeting or waiver of notice.  He reminded everyone that a notice for the meeting was sent out within the allotted time allowed in the Homeowners Association documents and everyone had an opportunity to return a proxy.  The next item on the agenda was the reading of Minutes of preceding meeting.  Mr. Johnson stated that everyone was given a copy of last year’s annual meeting Minutes as they entered the meeting.  He asked if there were any changes to the Minutes.  A motion was made, seconded and passed unanimously to accept the meeting Minutes as written

Committee Reports:

Mr. Keith Kukla, Resident Manager, was introduced.  Keith proceeded to list current concerns that he is aware of and his actions to address these matters.   Items addressed were city trash and/or appliance pickup, barking dogs, mosquito abatement over and above the City of Tuscaloosa’s abatement efforts, and contractor trash handling.  Keith also briefly described the communications protocol where he is the initial contact for all residents where Association provided services are involved.  The work approval protocol has been updated to ensure all work paid for follows the Association Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions.  This approval protocol also considers Board approved and documented derogations or constraints evolving over the life of Reston Place.  Homeowners were reminded that they should first contact Keith Kukla at (205)345-2251 with any maintenance concerns.  Keith will communicate issues that he cannot immediately resolve to Duckworth-Morris.

Other Reports:

Mr. Johnson initiated the budget discussion by explaining prior year spending and projected spending. Spending demands over the past three years on replacement of shrubs, sod, drain maintenance, fascia and soffit repair, tree removal, tree trimming and the like created a cash flow crisis demanding that we, in mid-2016 limit spending commitments to operating cost like insurance, utilities, grounds maintenance and on occasion, repairs of drains or sprinklers where the situation demanded repair.  Gutter cleaning was started about three years ago but funds were not available to clean gutters in January 2016 upsetting many people.  Your Board had a decision to make on this budget to either reduce services or find a way to continue past service levels.  Reston service levels are exceptional when compared to other managed communities and your services are a big reason that Reston Place is such a valued community.  Rather than reduce services the Board considered current and future Association service needs and determined that a minimum fee increase and a one time a year payment of $200.00 would allow continued services and support the catch up of lagging services.  Mr. Johnson stated here that we increased the lawn maintenance portion of the budget and that insurance cost had been reduced using the new carrier (Travelers).  This change will be explained later in this meeting.  The Board passed the budget including the $200.00 payment to provide the cash flow to allow catch up of gutter cleaning, to replace drought destroyed shrubs and the like.  Mr. Johnson, in answer to several fees related questions, stated that we do not have a deficit spending option to continue services.  He also stated that increased funding is needed to maintain the expected level of services of replacing shrubs, repairing fences, and similar services. Mr. Johnson emphasized that we spend, each month, $16,000.00 on insurance and $10,000.00 on grounds maintenance before we spend money on fences, shrub replacement and such.   The question of opting out of services was asked from the floor and addressed by Mr. Johnson.  He replied that only intensifies the maintenance issues that diminish the quality of the neighborhood the option to opt out of services will not available.

Landscaping cost was elaborated on at this point. Approximately one third of spending for the last three years has been non-routine landscaping costs. Tree removal requirements and tree trimming when sod has been replaced has persisted over the past three years with 2015 being the highest of these years. The February 2016 curtailment of financial participation of the Association in tree and sod management exists because of landscaping cost over-runs due to the number of requests for landscaping work.  Worth noting here are the elements that make up the majority of the association maintenance cost.  Those elements are trees, shrubs, grass, the walks, and the fences along with paint, repair, replacement, and care of exterior building surfaces.  All of which are defined as being provided for by the Home Owner’s Association in Article Seven.

Gutters, on the other hand, are the homeowner’s responsibility. That responsibility entails the care and replacement of gutters, roofs, and down spouts as defined in Article Seven. Gutter maintenance was assumed by the Association about three years ago but has recently been preempted by the financial demands of paint, repair, replacement, and care for exterior building surfaces and the trees, the shrubs, the grass, the walks, and the fences and other exterior improvements. Exterior building maintenance continues to dominate spending out of necessity.  Excessive moisture on fascia and soffits and water splashing on to building trim and walls is typically the cause of this damage.

Mr. Johnson addressed the annual fees, reading from the documents the verbiage covering annual fees.  Attorney Chris Jones has drafted a document interpreting the language of the Reston documents verifying that the board has specific authority to assess fees in the manner being used in 2017.  This is not a special assessment but a fee assessed once each year in addition to monthly fees.  The purpose of the fee is, exclusively to promote the health, safety, convenience, and welfare of the residents in the properties and for the improvement and maintenance of the common area, the limited common area, and the townhomes and garden homes situated upon the properties (Article 4, Covenant For Maintenance Assessments Section 2.).  Special assessments are for the purpose of defraying the cost of construction, reconstruction, or replacement of a capital improvement upon the common areas or limited common areas and apply specifically to the year in which these costs are planned.

The $200.00 additional fee will help fund initial gutter cleaning where they are causing structural damage and creating added repair costs.  Secondarily, this money will be used to defray exterior maintenance repairs resulting from home damage over the past few years. Thirdly, on an as needed but board agreed to basis, landscaping will be addressed, as will the landscape support systems including drainage and the sprinkler systems.  Should there be any significant accumulation of funds; those monies will be placed in a Capital Reserve Account.

Concerns were voiced about a number of issues including neighborhood appearance and potential marketability of the neighborhood, management of visible personal property and trash set out timing.  Discussed here were related Association Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions and future expectations as to the general information notification process.  The gist of that discussion is that Duckworth-Morris and the Board make a concerted effort to better inform the Association as to all matters that impact some or all Reston residents especially when it comes to financial matters. The board will begin meeting at three-month intervals after this annual meeting to address new and ongoing issues; safety concerns due to what appears to be lack of maintenance, and to perform a reserve study to address long term capital needs. At this point, it was pointed out that there was a calculation issue on the handout presented detailing 2016 costs. The impact of the calculation issue would require clarification for the Board before finalizing the fees as currently stated.  Mr. Johnson stated a corrected copy of the budget would be mailed to all homeowners along with the annual meeting minutes.

Mr. Johnson stated the Association’s insurance was put out to bid and the association received an offer from The Cincinnati Insurance Company through USI and from several carriers through The Fitts Agency.  The board met and decided to go with the Travelers Insurance Company through the Fitts Agency with David Fitts remaining the Association’s agent.  The Association saw a reduction in the premium from $187,605.00 to $168,708.00. In addition the deductible on wind and hail claims was reduced from $5,000.00 for each affected home to 1% of the value of each affected home. For claims other than wind and hail it is still $5,000.00 per occurrence but if there is a wind or hail claim the deductible will be 1% of the value of the affected home.  This change in the deductible structure would save Homeowners in the range of $900,000.00 in the event of a catastrophic loss. He stated that due to the better deductible the Board chose to go with the Travelers policy over the others offered. Mr. Johnson said that their personal insurance needed to be written on a HO6 Policy and homeowners should have the Loss Assessment coverage on the policy increased to $5,000.  In addition homeowners should have Betterments and Improvements coverage.  Mr. Johnson explained that since the Association’s insurance covered the structures subject to a $5,000 deductible the HO6 policy was the best match.   The Loss Assessment coverage protects the homeowner against the $5,000 deductible and is extremely cheap to add to HO6 Policy.  Homeowners should make sure they have $5,000.00 in loss assessment coverage.  Mr. Johnson said that some but not all policies allow the less assessment coverage to cover the deductible.  Homeowners should discuss this with their individual insurance agent.   The Betterments and Improvements coverage is for improvements that have been made to the homes over the years.  The Association’s policy only covers the home as they were originally built, so any upgrades, such as replacing carpets with hardwood floors or replacing the counter tops with marble, would not be covered in the event of a claim.  In the event of a claim if you have hardwood floor, but the home was originally built with carpet, the insurance company would only pay to put back the carpet.  Mr. Johnson stated that he would be willing to speak with anyone’s insurance agent who had questions.  He said that it had been his experience that many homeowners’ insurance agents did not fully understand the Reston Place insurance situation since it was a little different and it was important that homeowners were insured properly.

Election of Directors:

Mr. Johnson stated that the next item on the agenda was the election of directors.  He reminded everyone that the association operated with nine board members and each year at the annual meeting three board members were elected to three-year terms.  Mr. Bob Griffin announced that he wishes to relinquish the remaining two years on his term if the membership elected a replacement.  His resignation was accepted and the Association thanked him for his devotion and work over the twenty years he has served on the Board and as Board President. Mr. Johnson reminded everyone that when Mr. Griffin took over as Board President it was a very contentious time for the Association.  He said that Mr. Griffin’ leadership had been a great twenty year time in the Association’s history.  Afterwards, with some discussion, it was agreed that John Austin, who volunteered to fill Bob Griffin’s remaining term, would assume the position vacated by Mr. Griffin. Turning again to election of directors Mr. Johnson said that the terms for Patty Sturgis and Linda Pruett are expiring and Ryan Stallings, due to other obligations is coming off the Board.  Linda Pruett is willing to serve another term.  Charlene Dowling, Dolly Anders, and Rush Crawford have one year remaining on their terms. Claude Wright and Caroline Williams have two years on their terms. Mr. Johnson asked if there were any nominations from the floor.

Main Motion:

With no nominations from the floor, the motion was made, seconded and passed unanimously to close nominations and elect those nominated by proclamation.  The Board members are now Mr. Claude Wright, and Ms. Caroline Williams with two years remaining on their term; Mr. John Austin who is serving the remainder of Mr. Griffin’s term; Ms. Charlene Dowling, Ms. Dolly Anders, and Mr. Rush Crawford who have one year remaining on their term and Ms. Linda Pruett, Ms. Katelyn Tubbs, and Mr. Elliott Jones are beginning new three year terms.

Adjournment:

There being no further business, A motion to adjourn was voiced, seconded and agreed to at 7:43 P. M.

Signed Caroline Williams, Reston Place Owners Association Secretary

View this signed PDF here

Annual Meeting Minutes

Held on February 18, 2016.

Mr. Johnson stated that with those present and the proxies that had been returned, 103 homeowners were represented in person or by proxy and the Association documents required 162 homeowners be represented for a quorum.  Mr. Johnson reminded everyone that the Association documents did allow the meeting to be adjourned and reconvened with no further notice at which time the quorum requirement would be reduced to 89.  Mr. Johnson asked if there was a motion to adjourn.  A motion was made, seconded and passed unanimously to adjourn the meeting.  Mr. Johnson called the second meeting to order and reported that there was a quorum for the Association to conduct business.  The homeowners present introduced themselves to those in attendance at the meeting.

Mr. Johnson stated that the next item on the agenda was proof of notice of meeting or waiver of notice.  He reminded everyone that a notice for the meeting was sent out within the allotted time allowed in the Homeowners Association documents and everyone had an opportunity to return a proxy.  The next item on the agenda was the reading of Minutes of preceding meeting.  Mr. Johnson stated that everyone was given a copy of last year’s annual meeting Minutes as they entered the meeting.  He asked if there were any changes to the Minutes.  A motion was made, seconded and passed unanimously to accept the meeting Minutes as written.

Mr. Johnson stated that the next item on the agenda was the reports of Officers.  He asked the officers present if they would like to make a report.  Those present declined.  Mr. Johnson stated that the most important issue in Reston Place was the ongoing roof insurance claim from the March 31st 2015 hail storm.  He reminded everyone that several pieces of correspondence had been shared with the homeowners with reference to the claim.  The association filed a claim with the association’s insurance carrier Philadelphia Insurance Company.  The carrier turned it over to an independent adjuster.  Phil James the adjuster stated that every roof in the neighborhood had been inspected.  A list of approximately 120 roofs was turned over to the association with the understanding that all or part of those roofs would be replaced.  The adjuster and Terry Johnson of J.D. Johnson roofing agreed on a cost and Terry was given a go ahead to replace the roofs on the list.  Mr. Johnson, Mr. Tsapatoris, and Mr. Kukla pointed out to the adjuster that other homeowners were calling because they felt their roofs should have been replaced as well due to the hail damage.  Mr. James the adjuster promised that any homeowner not receiving a new roof would have their roof re-inspected and given the opportunity to meet with an adjuster or roofing engineer to explain why they were or were not getting their roof replaced under the claim.  Newer roofs can repel hail better that older roofs which is the primary reason some roofs are not being replaced.  Anyone that wanted their roof re-inspected was instructed to contact Mr. Tsapatoris at Duckworth-Morris.

Mr. Tsapatoris passed out the prior year’s budget, prior year’s actual expenditures and a proposed budget for the coming year.  Mr. Johnson reported that the Association budgeted $444,348.00 not including the insurance premiums and the actual expenses were $453,255.28 without insurance the insurance premium.  Mr. Johnson proposed that the budget for 2016 be $452,698.20 without the insurance premium.  Everything was within budget with the exception of landscaping, general maintenance, and painting.  Mr. Johnson reported that the paint cost had increased due to increases in the cost of paint.  He stated that several capital improvement projects had been completed that made the general maintenance appear to be over budget.  Those projects included the new fence around the pool, the new fence alongside Snows Mills Ave, and the upgraded pool pump.  Mr. Johnson said that the landscaping was over budget due to homeowners requesting trees to be cut down and yards landscaped.  The board had recently met with an attorney regarding the association’s responsibility with regards to landscaping.  The policy should be in place in the near future.  The initial indication is that the association is not responsible for cutting down a live tree if it is not damaging a house.  Also, the association should not be responsible for sodding a yard if it is shaded by a tree.  The funds for the budget overage were removed from the reserves.   Mr. Johnson further elaborated that every line item would remain the same with the exception of the accounting & taxes, onsite manager, power, and painting due to an increase from last year.    Mr. Johnson stated that there was an insurance premium increase.   The fee increase will be effective April 1st and homeowners will be notified of the fee increase along with the meeting minutes.

Mr. Johnson stated that the board had met with the Association’s agent several times prior to the insurance renewal.  Due to the roofing claim the association’s insurance renewal was postponed for thirty days.  When it was renewed, it was renewed with a change to the deductible.  When the adjuster originally estimated the cost of the claim for the roofing it was estimated to be $1,800,000.00.  This amount was reserved by Philadelphia Insurance Company.  When the association’s independent agent took it to market for a quote the other companies saw the reserve amount and a large open claim.  The association did not receive any reasonable quotes.  Philadelphia Insurance Company renewed it with a 4% rate increase which was not that out of line for a renewal increase in this market.  The major thing they changed was the deductible.  This deductible went from a $5,000.00 per occurrence to a $5,000.00 per building deductible for wind and hail.  For claims other than wind and hail it is still $5,000.00 per occurrence but if there is a wind or hail claim the deductible will be $5,000.00 per home.  Mr. Johnson said that their personal insurance needed to be written on a HO6 Policy and homeowners should have the Loss Assessment coverage on the policy increased to $5,000.  In addition homeowners should have Betterments and Improvements coverage.  Mr. Johnson explained that since the Association’s insurance covered the structures subject to a $5,000 deductible the HO6 policy was the best match.   The Loss Assessment coverage may protect the homeowner against the $5,000 deductible and is extremely cheap to add to HO6 Policy.  Homeowners should make sure they have $5,000.00 in loss assessment coverage.  Mr. Johnson said that some but not all policies allow the less assessment coverage to cover the deductible.  Homeowners should discuss this with their individual insurance agent.   The Betterments and Improvements coverage is for improvements that have been made to the homes over the years.  The Association’s policy only covers the home as they were originally built, so any upgrades, such as replacing carpets with hardwood floors or replacing the counter tops with marble, would not be covered in the event of a claim.  In the event of a claim if you have hardwood floor, but the home was originally built with carpet, the insurance company would only pay to put back the carpet.  Mr. Johnson stated that he would be willing to speak with anyone’s insurance agent who had questions.  He said that it had been his experience that many homeowners’ insurance agents did not fully understand the Reston Place insurance situation since it was a little different and it was important that homeowners were insured properly.

Mr. Johnson stated the next item on the agenda was the election of directors.  He reminded everyone that the association operated with nine board members and each year at the annual meeting three board members were elected to three year terms.  He said that Patty Sturgis, Linda Pruett and Ryan Stallings had one year remaining on their terms.  Charlene Dowling, Dolly Anders and Rush Crawford had two years remaining on their terms.  Bob Griffin and Claude Wright had been nominated to serve new three year terms along with Caroline Williams.  Hal Noble whose term was expiring had sold his home and moved.  Mr. Johnson asked if there were any nominations from the floor.  There were no nominations from the floor.  A motion was made seconded and passed unanimously to close nominations and elect those nominated by proclamation.

Mr. Johnson asked if there was any other business.  A homeowner inquired about the number of ducks.  Mr. Johnson stated that there were no plans to remove any ducks from the property and that it was a sensitive subject.  Some homeowners think there are too many and others have let management know they will be upset if any of the ducks were removed.  A homeowner inquired about the bridge at the pond.  Mr. Johnson stated that the plan was to repair the bridge.  There had been a discussion about removing the bridge but homeowners had let it be known that they wanted the bridge to remain. There various other maintenance issues reported that Mr. Johnson asked homeowners to report to Keith Kukla or Duckworth-Morris after the meeting.

There being no further business the meeting was adjourned.

Signed Bob Griffin, President.

Signed PDF available here.

2016 Fee Changes

From Steve Tsapatoris, property manager.

The below fee schedule shows what you were paying and what it will be as of April 1st.

2015 2016
$166 $171
$171 $176
$172 $177.50
$201 $207
$202.50 $208
$205.50 $211.50
$216 $222.50
$228 $235.50

You can see the official memo here.

Meeting of the Board

Held on November 12, 2015.

Those present were Patty Sturgis, Charlene Dowling, Ryan Stallings, Claude Wright, Keith Kukla, Bob Griffin, via Conference Call, Warner Johnson, Property Manager with Duckworth-Morris Realty Co., Inc. and David Fitts with The Fitts Insurance Agency.

Mr. Johnson welcomed David Fitts who is the Association’s Insurance Agent. Mr. Fitts reported that the Association had agreed upon a number with the Philadelphia Insurance Company for the March 31, 2015 hail damage claims for roofing. The Association and the insurance company are in agreement that $583,990.77 would take care of all the roofing issues that had been identified at this point. The insurance company and the Association both agree that roofing that has not been identified at this point could be added to the claim. In addition Mr. Fitts also reported that any interior damage to the homes could also be a part of the claim. Mr. Johnson stated that he felt the claim would end up in the range of $650,000 to $700,000 before it was all said and done. Mr. Fitts also reported that upon the initial inspection of the homes in Reston Place, the insurance company had to establish a Reserve for the dollar amount of the claim. The insurance company reserved $1.8 million. The actual claim will obviously be in excess of a million dollars less than the insurance company’s initial reserve for the claim. The issue is that when attempting to receive quotes from other companies on the Association’s insurance, they are seeing a $1.8 million Reserve on this claim. That number will be updated by Philadelphia Insurance Company once the claim is resolved. Until then, the Association only had two options for the renewal and the other company offering a policy was cost prohibitive. Philadelphia Insurance Company extended the policy for 30 days under the expiring term but as of November 8th, the Association began a new policy period under new terms.   There was a 7% increase in the Association’s premiums, which increased from $174,892 to $187,605. The 7% increase is not that terrible considering the increases that are being seen on all insurance renewals even without large claims. The issue with the Philadelphia renewal is that they have changed the deductible structure. The current deductible is $5,000 per occurrence. The new deductible is $5,000 per home for a wind and hail claim and then $5,000 per occurrence for any other claims. Mr. Fitts gave the example that if a row of townhouses were to burn down and 15 townhouses had to be rebuilt, there would be one $5,000 deductible. But if there was roof damage or other damage to the homes caused by wind or hail then the deductible would be $5,000 per home.

The Directors present asked Mr. Fitts what his recommendation was. Mr. Fitts stated that his recommendation was to work with Philadelphia under the current terms of the policy and once the claim was settled in the next several months, take the insurance back to the market and see if the Association could find a better deal with another company. In the meantime he presented the Directors present with a memo explaining the loss assessment coverage and that it was more important than ever for the members of the Association to make sure they had the proper loss assessment coverage in place. Mr. Johnson stated that he would send a memo to all homeowners along with Mr. Fitts’ memo and try to explain the situation even though he knew it would be very confusing to everyone. A motion was made, seconded and passed unanimously to follow Mr. Fitts’ recommendation.

Mr. Johnson stated all homeowners with interior damage to their homes caused by roof leaks would be instructed to document the damage. The damage would be reported to the adjuster to be added to the claim.

Mr. Keith Kukla stated that there was an issue with a barking dog. After a discussion, the Directors gave Mr. Johnson permission to fine the owner of the unit where the barking dog resided and if the situation wasn’t resolved turn the matter over to an attorney.

Mr. Kukla reported that he would like to move the gate on the tennis courts. You currently had to go through the pool area to access the tennis courts and the Association had had issues with children getting into the pool area that were not supposed to have access to the pool and the gate was currently pad-locked. He would like to leave that gate pad-locked and install another gate so that the tennis courts could be accessed without entering the pool area. After a discussion a motion was made, seconded and passed unanimously to relocate the gate to the tennis courts.

Mr. Kukla stated that the Association had received Architectural control requests for changes to some of the garage doors including hardware that appeared to be hinges and handles as well as garage doors that had windows in the top panels. Mr. Johnson showed those present a copy of the pictures that had been sent to him regarding the hardware on the garage door. After discussion, the Directors present agreed with the Architectural Control committee who had denied architectural requests for faux hardware on the door, but they would possibly agree to allow windows in the top row of the garage doors. Mr. Kukla was asked to send Mr. Johnson pictures of the garage door that he was describing. Mr. Kukla said he would and Mr. Johnson said he would forward those pictures to the Board and it would be tabled until the next Board meeting until everyone had seen the pictures.

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.

Signed Warner Johnson, property manager.

View signed PDF here.

This meeting is related to the Roofing Insurance Claim post

Roofing Insurance Claim

From the Reston Place Board of Directors
Dated November 13, 2015

As many of you are aware, the Association is in the middle of resolving a large insurance claim involving hail damage to roofing within Reston Place. The claim and the Association’s insurance renewal have overlapped resulting in other insurance companies not being interested in writing the insurance on Reston Place Homeowners Association until the claim is resolved.

The Association’s current insurance carrier, Philadelphia Insurance Company, has renewed the policy but they have made changes to the deductible structure. The Association’s current deductible is $5,000 per occurrence which makes the current claim in the range of $600,000 to $700,000 with only one $5,000 deductible involved. The renewal term of the policy states the deductible is $5,000 per home for wind and hail. So, if we were to try to resolve the claim under the new deductible structure, each homeowner would be responsible for the first $5,000 of roofing for their home.

This memo from the Association’s insurance agent David Fitts explains how you can protect yourself against this $5,000 per home deductible with loss assessment coverage added to your personal HO6 policy. It is imperative that you review this memo with your personal insurance agent and make sure you have this coverage in place. 

The Board has instructed Mr. Fitts to continue to work on quotes from other companies and if we are able to secure a new policy with a better deductible structure at a reasonable price, we will cancel the current policy and make those changes. Unfortunately, until the claim is resolved and everyone knows the exact amount of the claim, it will be difficult. Other companies are hesitant to write the insurance on Reston Place until this matter is resolved.

Please know that the Board of Directors along with the insurance agent are doing everything to procure the best possible insurance coverage on your home.

If you have any questions, you can call Warner Johnson at Duckworth-Morris or David Fitts at the Fitts Agency. We understand that this is confusing, so please call if you have any questions.

Warner Johnson – (205) 345-1810
David Fitts – (205) 342-3500

View original PDF.

This notice is related to this meeting of the Board

2015 Annual Meeting Minutes

Meeting held March 24, 2015. 

Mr. Johnson stated that with those present and the proxies that had been returned, 111 homeowners were represented in person or by proxy and the Association documents required 162 homeowners be represented for a quorum. Mr. Johnson reminded everyone that the Association documents did allow the meeting to be adjourned and reconvened with no further notice at which time the quorum requirement would be reduced to 81. Mr. Johnson asked if there was a motion to adjourn. A motion was made, seconded and passed unanimously to adjourn the meeting. Mr. Johnson called the second meeting to order and reported that there was a quorum for the Association to conduct business. The homeowners present introduced themselves to those in attendance at the meeting.

Mr. Johnson stated that the next item on the agenda was proof of notice of meeting or waiver of notice. He reminded everyone that a notice for the meeting was sent out within the allotted time allowed in the Homeowners Association documents and everyone had an opportunity to return a proxy. The next item on the agenda was the reading of Minutes of preceding meeting. Mr. Johnson stated that everyone was given a copy of last year’s annual meeting Minutes as they entered the meeting. He asked if there were any changes to the Minutes. A motion was made, seconded and passed unanimously to accept the meeting Minutes as written.

Mr. Johnson stated that the next item on the agenda was the reports of Officers. He reminded everyone that Bob Griffin was the association president but was unable to attend the meeting due to it having to be rescheduled because of the winter weather the night the meeting was originally scheduled. He called on Claude Wright to make some comments on behalf of the board. Mr. Wright said that the Reston board is very active. During the previous year members of the Board bid out the lawn care, worked on the insurance renewal, met with the city regarding lawn debris and worked on many other items with regards to the management of the association. He said that many of these items would be discussed in detail as the meeting progressed. He added that the insurance renewal was probably the most important item the board considered this year and that the board did not make that decision lightly and he felt that the best decision had been made for the homeowners by the board. A homeowner asked if they could be present at the board meetings. Mr. Johnson said that there was nothing secret about the board meetings and as they were scheduled they could be posted on the website that will be discussed later in the meeting.

Mr. Johnson called on Keith Kukla, the onsite manager, to make a report. Keith stated that he had received a lot of phone calls over the previous year and that there is really a lot more going on with the day to day operations of the association than most people realize. He said the most major change from the past was the gutter cleaning this year. He said that the gutters were being cleaned better than they ever had in the past but the schedule needed to be adjusted. He said he would be working with the contractors to figure out the best possible time for the gutter cleanings. He reminded everyone if they had any maintenance concerns he could be reached on at 205-345-2251.

Mr. Tsapatoris passed out the prior year’s budget, prior year’s actual expenditures and a proposed budget for the coming year. Mr. Johnson reported that the Association budgeted $444,043.96 without insurance and the actual expenses were $439,867.96 without insurance. Mr. Johnson proposed that the budget for 2015 be $446,466.20 without insurance. Mr. Johnson further elaborated that every line item would remain the same with the exception of the water bill due to an increase from last year. He attributed that to our lengthy dry spell in the summer months of 2014. Mr. Johnson stated that there was an insurance premium increase. He explained that the two reasons for the increase; one was that the rate was increasing which is what he has been seeing on all renewals this year across the board on all Homeowner Associations. The second reason is that we increased the coverage to get the policy to where if, unfortunately, we had a catastrophic event like April 27, 2011 and the Association had to replace the majority of the homes in Reston Place the Association would be covered. The Insurance Committee based this increase on local contractors input being that it would cost approximately $125.00 per square foot to rebuild the homes in the Association. To get to that number, the Association needed to increase the amount of coverage by $5,000,000, which would increase the annual cost including the rate increase from $154,693.00 to $174,892.00. Roughly, a $20,000 increase from years past. Mr. Johnson said that everyone would be mailed a memo with their new fee along with the annual meeting minutes.

Mr. Johnson stated that the insurance committee had met with the Association’s agent several times prior to the insurance renewal. Mr. Johnson reminded everyone that minutes to the insurance committee meeting were sent to all homeowners. Mr. Johnson said that their personal insurance needed to be written on a HO6 Policy and homeowners should have the Loss Assessment coverage on the policy increased to $5,000. In addition homeowners should have Betterments and Improvements coverage. Mr. Johnson explained that since the Association’s insurance covered the structures subject to a $5,000 deductible the HO6 policy was the best match. Mr. Johnson said that the deductible was a per occurrence deductible, so when many homes were damaged, such as in a wind storm, that deductible is divided amongst all the homeowners involved, but there were situations where a single homeowner has a claim, such as a water damage claim, so that homeowner would be responsible for the full $5,000 deductible. The Loss Assessment coverage protects the homeowner against the $5,000 deductible and is extremely cheap to add to HO6 Policy. Homeowners should make sure they have $5,000.00 in loss assessment coverage. Mr. Johnson said that some but not all policies allow the less assessment coverage to cover the deductible. Homeowners should discuss this with their individual insurance agent.   The Betterments and Improvements coverage is for improvements that have been made to the homes over the years. The Association’s policy only covers the home as they were originally built, so any upgrades, such as replacing carpets with hardwood floors or replacing the counter tops with marble, would not be covered in the event of a claim. In the event of a claim if you have hardwood floor, but the home was originally built with carpet, the insurance company would only pay to put back the carpet. Mr. Johnson stated that he would be willing to speak with anyone’s insurance agent who had questions. He said that it had been his experience that many homeowners’ insurance agents did not fully understand the Reston Place insurance situation since it was a little different and it was important that homeowners were insured properly.

Mr. Johnson stated the next topic of discussion was reference the landscaping contract that was put up for bid late last year. He stated that the association sent out a request for proposal to ten local contractors that were equipped to handle Reston Place. Those contractors were asked to send in a bid plus an equipment inventory for the board to review. However of the ten requests sent out only three contractors returned bids, the current landscaper Turfscape, McCraken’s Lawn Service, and Guthrie Landscape Services. Turfscape and McCraken’s Lawn Service bids came back almost identical, with Guthrie Landscape Services bid coming in at almost twice the amount submitted by Turfscape and McCraken. An interview was set up to meet with Turfscape and McCraken’s Lawn Service. The interview was held at the Duckworth-Morris office by Reston Place board members along with Warner Johnson and Steve Tsapatoris. The decision was made unanimously by the Reston Place Board members to stay with Turfscape.

The next topic of discussion that was discussed was reference the new ornamental fence that was installed around the pool. Mr. Johnson stated the new fence was put in place to limit the possibilities of unauthorized individuals from gaining access to the pool. Along with the new pool fence the decision was made to install wood fencing along Snow Mills Road, which would be added to the existing fence already in place on Rice Mine Road, this also to help prevent unauthorized individuals from entering into Reston Place.   With the new pool fence installed along with the addition of the fence being installed on Snow Mills Road it was encouraged to all homeowners to become vigilant and report to local authorities any suspicious activity in the neighborhood. Mr. Johnson asked Mr. Tsapatoris to elaborate on this topic being a retired Police Officer. Mr. Tsapatoris stated that approaching suspicious individuals was not advised nor what any homeowner in Reston Place needed to do. Both Mr. Johnson and Mr. Tsapatoris advised all homeowners to call 311 or 911 and just be a good witness keeping in mind giving local authorities pertinent information like good description of persons or vehicles, last known direction of travel, and if possible write all information gathered on a piece of paper.

Another topic of discussion was the new website that was up and running. It was encouraged to visit the website Duckworth.com then click on the Association tab on the home page and then the Reston Place tab on the pull down bar. Homeowners can sign to receive notifications via email. The notifications would be communicated by email and would require an email address. The goal behind the website and notifications would be to cut cost corresponding with homeowners by reducing the amount of postage and paper that was required for a traditional mail out.   All homeowners would still have the option to receive correspondence via email or US Mail.

Mr. Johnson stated the next item on the agenda was the election of directors. He reminded everyone that the association operated with nine board members and each year at the annual meeting three board members were elected to three year terms. He said that Bob Griffin, Ryan Stallings, and Claude Wright had one year remaining on their terms and Patty Sturgis, Linda Pruett and Hal Noble had two years remaining on their terms. Tammy Denson, Dolly Anders and Rush Crawford’s terms were expiring and they had been nominated to serve new three year terms. Mr. Johnson asked if there were any nominations from the floor. Charlene Dowling and Cristalle Ford were nominated from the floor. Homeowners were passed out ballots and voted for three individuals to serve on the board. After the votes were tallied Charlene Dowling, Rush Crawford and Dolly Anders were elected to serve on the board for three years. Mr. Johnson thanked Ms. Ford for showing interest in the association matters and being willing to serve on the board. Mr. Johnson also thanked Tammy Denson for her years of service to the Association reminding everyone that she lived next to the pool and had served as the Associations eyes and ears for all things related to the pool and that he hoped she would continue to do so.

Mr. Johnson asked if there was any other business. A homeowner inquired about the establishment of a landscaping reserve stating that much of the landscaping was getting to the age where it needed to be replaced. Mr. Johnson said that there was no landscaping reserve and that it had been discussed in the past but the board did not want to add anything further to the budget this year with the insurance increase. He said that there was a capital improvement reserve and if need be funds from this reserve can be used for a major landscaping project.

There being no further business the meeting was adjourned.

Signed Claude Wright

You can see the signed PDF copy here