Meeting held March 26, 2015.
The meeting was called to order and Mr. Warner Johnson, Property Manager with Duckworth-Morris Real Estate, introduced himself and stated that Duckworth-Morris Real Estate was hired by the developer to manage the Townes of North River Homeowners Association. He stated that the Association was still currently under developer control and that the Association documents allowed for it to remain under developer control until all but five lots or parcels had been sold by the developer. He reminded everyone that the developer had put Mr. Max Morton, a homeowner, on the Board as well. Mr. Johnson stated that when any decisions regarding the Association needed to be made he contacted both Chris Hayslip and Max Morton. Mr. Johnson said the basic agenda would be to review the budget and discuss issues that had been brought to his attention and then allow homeowners to ask any questions they may have. Mr. Johnson introduced Steve Tsapatoris who he had hired to help him with association management during the previous year.
Mr. Tsapatoris passed out a set of rules and regulations that had been passed by the board as allowed by the homeowner’s association documents. Mr. Johnson stated that these would be mailed to all homeowner’s along with the meeting minutes and that everyone would be expected to abide by the rules. Mr. Johnson said that of particular note was the rule relating to parking. He said that there were more and more complaints about parking being received by management. He explained that the rule was modeled after a similar rule in other local neighborhoods and that the garages were not to be used for storage and two cars must be parked in the garage before any can be parked on the street. He said he understood many homeowner’s households include more than two drivers so the garages must be used for parking and not storage otherwise parking in the neighborhood will continue to become a more and more serious issue.
Mr. Johnson stated that the Association’s budget was split into three separate sections. The first is the cost to upkeep the common areas, the second is the direct cost to the garden homes and the third is the direct cost to the townhomes. Mr. Johnson stated that the Association budgeted $120,670.00 for common area and actually spent $133,605.00. He said that the primary reason for the overage was the capital expenditures primarily for the gazebo in the Yorkshire section of the neighborhood. Mr. Johnson also reported that the Association had put $2,000.00 into a common area reserve and $3,000.00 into a detention pond reserve. He stated that the detention pond at the intersection of Savannah Avenue and Yorkshire Street would need maintenance in the future. The detention ponds have a tendency to silt up and have vegetation growth which needs to be cleaned out periodically. Mr. Johnson said that Duckworth-Morris Real Estate’s management fee was $7.50 per home for the common area upkeep and bookkeeping services provided the Association. The Association budgeted $1,500.00 for legal fees but had actually spent $5,675.00 in legal fees which was primarily due to hiring Bill Poole to represent the association to keep the city from forcing the association’s streets to be connected to the new adjoining development. Mr. Johnson reminded everyone that if the Association fees were not paid when due, they were turned over to an attorney for collection and the attorney’s fees are added to the amounts that are owed by the homeowner and are not an extra cost to the Association. Mr. Johnson said the Association has budgeted $14,000.00 in capital improvements for the year but has actually spent $28,599.00. The final item in the common area budget was entertainment. Mr. Johnson said that the Association had budgeted $2,000.00 but had only spent $200.00. He reported that the Board was planning to try to have more social events in the upcoming year, such as movie night in the Park. Mr. Johnson stated that the Association was budgeting $143,231.00 for the upcoming year. He said even though the neighborhood had grown so had the amount of common area with a large park being added as well as another detention pond along with the lots that were being added in the last phase.
Mr. Johnson stated that the garden homes, in addition to the common area upkeep had lawn care, which costs $67.00 per month and paid an additional management fee of $7.50 per home, for a total monthly fee of $74.50. He said that this fee would remain the same for the upcoming year. He said homeowners in garden homes and townhomes should expect the following services from the Association’s lawn care contractor, McCracken’s Lawn Service. For each visit the grass in the front and side yards should be cut, driveways, sidewalks and curbing should be edged, all hard services should be blown free of grass clippings. In addition, the bedded areas should be kept free of weeds. Mulch is replaced once annually in late December or early January and if homeowners would like for their Crepe Myrtles to be cut back, they should contact Mr. Tsapatoris so he can let the lawn care crew know, otherwise, the crepe myrtles will not be cut back. The contract with McCracken’s Lawn Service calls for one visit in January and February, two visits in March, three visits in April and one visit per week May, June, July, and August, three visits in September, and two visits October, November and December. In addition to McCracken’s Lawn Service the Association’s chemical spray contractor is TLC. TLC provides six visits per year and puts out preemergent in the winter and fertilizer and weed control in the spring and summer months.
Mr. Johnson said that the townhomes in addition to the lawn care that had been discussed and management fee paid for water through the sprinkler system, a paint reserve, roof reserve and the insurance on the structures. There is also some general maintenance money budgeted for items that the Association is responsible for repairing. He said that four townhomes had been added and that the newer ones were slightly smaller which meant the insurance quote was less. There are now two fees for the Townhomes. The older larger units will continue to pay $266.00 per month and the newer smaller Townhomes fees are $225.00 per month.
Mr. Johnson reported that as of today, there were 104 garden homes, 8 townhomes, 207 traditional neighborhood development homes and 42 vacant lots owned by builders and future homeowners. Mr. Johnson also stated that the projected income for 2015 was $263,675.00. Mr. Johnson said that as of the end of February the Association had $137,966.95 in cash in the account and $19,132.00 in the townhomes paint and roof reserves. He also reported that there was $6,500.00 in the detention pond reserve and $4,333.38 in the commons reserve. Mr. Johnson also reported that in other neighborhoods he managed the developer paid the cost of purchasing and installing the light poles and then the Power Company charged a monthly bill to the Association which included the power and upkeep of the poles. He stated that the Power Company had changed their policy and now the cost of the future maintenance of the poles had to be paid for upfront. He reported that the developer had paid for future light pole maintenance and that the Association was paying him back as funds were available. He said the association owes the developer $89,289.41 for the future light pole maintenance.
Mr. Johnson stated that he received many complaints about golf carts and wanted to remind everyone that it is illegal for an unlicensed driver to operate a motorized vehicle in a City street. In addition, it is illegal to operate a golf cart that is not street legal with lights and seat belts in a City street whether you are a licensed driver or not. He said he received repeated complaints from homeowners regarding near misses with children in golf carts in the past. Several homeowners at the meeting agreed that it was a continuing issue. At least one homeowner reported that they felt the situation with golf carts had improved somewhat. Mr. Johnson said he received many calls from homeowners upset because of their neighbors walking their pets and not picking up their pet waste. Another homeowner reported that dogs were also being allowed to run loose through the neighborhood. Mr. Johnson reminded everyone that when your dog is not in your fenced yard it should be on a leash with you and that you should pick up the pet waste. He said that if you see or know of a homeowner not picking up after their pet if you would let Steve Tsapatoris know and he would contact them. A homeowner present asked about the addition of pet waste stations to the common areas. Mr Johnson said that they had been tried on many of the properties he managed and his experience had been that the people currently picking up their pet’s waste would use them and those that were not abiding by the rule would continue to not pick up the waste. The stations did not seem to have an effect and became one added expense to maintain. A homeowner present asked if the Board could issue fines to homeowners for violations. Mr. Johnson stated that the Association could issue fines. A homeowner present stated that he had repeatedly complained about homeowners not returning the garbage carts to their proper location and not storing them out of view. He felt that management had no addressed the issue. Mr. Tsapatoris responded that he had walked the neighborhood and taped memos to garbage carts that were not being stored properly twice. He stated he would do this again as needed. Mr. Johnson reminded everyone present that the association rules call for the garbage carts to be kept out of view from the street. He asked that they be stored behind shrubbery, fencing or in the garage out of view. He also reminded everyone the garage doors should be left down when not in use which is another complaint he had received.
A homeowner present addressed the Facebook page. They felt that homeowners complaining about neighbors and using individuals names in post was not good decorum. In addition some of the items on the Facebook page they felt were damaging to the neighborhood as a whole including individual homeowners and not just the developer. Mr. Johnson said he had spoken to several people who were not associated with The Townes of Northriver in any way who were asking him about information they had seen on the Facebook page. The information that he had been asked about was not positive for the neighborhood. Everyone was asked to think before they make a post and if you have an issue with a neighbor to take it up with them personally and not publicly.
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 Townes 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.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.
Signed Warner Johnson, property manager.