In Case You’re Wondering
To borrow from the title, in case you’re wondering what this email is about, it’s our way of communicating and engaging the Community around questions presented to the Board. This will not be a forum to open up a debate on topics. Rather, we want to inform residents of Board positions on various matters. We encourage any resident who has a question to submit it the office, preferably by email, at firstname.lastname@example.org. At the start we’ll answer questions once a month, depending on the volume of questions.
The questions and answers presented here come from our latest Community Board meeting that was held by Zoom, on January 19th. There were 8 residents in attendance along with our 5 Board members. Future Community Board meetings will occur on the third Tuesday of odd months and emails will always be sent out announcing the meetings. We invite everyone in the Community to get involved and attend these meetings.
Question #1 – Why is there a blue tent-shaped tarp covering the hot tub with a chicken wire fence around it?
Answer #1 – As an initial matter, because of the COVID Pandemic, all amenities are closed to residents. Secondly, the hot tub is in need of repair. Until such time that the Board decides how to proceed, we had to take certain steps to minimize liability and not create additional problems. The blue tent-shaped tarp is in place to allow for runoff of rain or melting snow that might otherwise fill the hot tub. The fence around it is there to discourage children, primarily, and others from attempting to get into the area of the hot tub. We didn’t want to invest a lot of money into this effort as we realize that it’s temporary.
Question #2 – Why isn’t the HOA office open on Saturday to allow residents who work to have access to the office?
Answer #2 – In past years the office was open on Saturday and there was very limited use. We therefore decided not to incur the cost of having someone sitting in the office being paid without cause. Typically, residents go to the office to retrieve forms or ask questions. Those forms are available through our Community website, and any other information that’s required can be posted there if it’s needed. If resident questions concern their accounts, our Community accounting firm, LCM is closed on Saturday. Also, all of our Board members are on-site, and if something occurs that requires a weekend response, residents can reach out ahead of time and a Board member will arrange to meet them at the office.
Question #3 – If the Board would like someone to serve as head of the Neighborhood Watch committee, why don’t you contact people? Would a search for volunteers be more successful if you posted more reminders or if you sent out an email listing every incident that’s happened in the community?
Answer #3 – Experience has shown that the most effective Committee leaders and members are those who’re not recruited, but who have a desire to serve the Community. We’ll continue to solicit for volunteers through emails and mailroom postings, but if no one is willing to participate the Neighborhood Watch committee will be dissolved.
We utilized a Security update email that highlighted the solutions that the Board undertook to secure the mailroom to also renew our request for a Committee lead. Yet, even in that time of heighted awareness, no one came forward to accept the role. The Board doesn’t believe that it serves the best interest of the Community to attempt to “scare” residents into volunteering. The reality is that crime exists, and more so in the current environment of higher unemployment, food and housing insecurity, all related to the Pandemic. Our community is no less safe than surrounding communities, condo complexes, and public or private parking lots. Having stated that, we continue to look for ways to make the Community safer, such as the addition of the cameras inside and outside of the mail room and various places throughout the complex. We’ve also recently installed new lighting throughout the complex to reduce dark areas and make residents feel more secure as they walk at night.
Question #4 – Why are the amenities unavailable? Will there be a reduction in HOA Assessments based on the unavailability of amenities?
Answer #4 – The Board understands that residents enjoy our community amenities and we make them available when it’s possible. Residents should be aware that amenities are a privilege and subject to rules and restrictions. We continue to follow the guidelines provided by our local officials. Our decision in this matter is based on the safety and welfare of residents.
Unfortunately, we can’t rely on residents to follow any set of procedures. It’d be necessary to police the gym on a full time basis with personnel in the gym to ensure compliance with capacity, proper mask usage to guard against contamination of equipment by respiratory secretions and to clean equipment as well. It’s likely we’d additionally have to purchase special insurance to limit liability.
Our counsel for the Community has advised us that waivers are insufficient to limit liability. The costs to implement these items would also be prohibitive. For all the issues presented, the financial impact and potential legal liability presented, we must continue to keep the gym closed for now.
There will not be a reduction in dues based on amenities not being available. Residents don’t directly pay for amenities. Amenities are perks that we provide, whether use or rental of the clubhouse or the pool/hot tub in season. There are typically no costs to residents for the expenses involved in regular maintenance of the amenities as those costs are a part of our budget. However, extraordinary expenses outside of the budget might result in increased fees.
We hope this email is useful, and if so, drop us a line by email or call the office and let us know. Until then, we’ll be on the lookout for more questions.