HOA December 2022 Meeting Minutes
Annual Meeting 2022
Welcome everyone. Let me remind you that this is a review of the past year, and presentation of next year’s budget. We’ll entertain questions on the budget, but this is not the meeting for other matters. We meet on the fourth Monday of every month except December. If you have something to talk about, come to the regular meetings or email the board.
First let’s remember why we have an HOA in the first place. The main purpose of the HOA is to maintain property values. We do this by keeping the neighborhood attractive, and making this a pleasant place to live. Keeping attractive means enforcing rules as well as marinating the landscaping. Not everybody likes rules, but they benefit everyone.
So here’s what we’ve done this year to make this a pleasant place to live.
This is a big area, so Landscaping is our major expense. It’s always a balancing act between all we want to do and the budget we have to work with. There’s always irrigation repairs to be done, but aside from that, it was an uneventful year for landscaping. We kept up the pinestraw, kept the flowers fresh, and maintained the green spaces.
Much of the water for irrigation comes from wells, and there’s one pump house that needs significant repair. That’s why we’ve been building reserves in the budget.
The volunteers on the Trails Committee continued their work to maintain the nature trails, and we thank them for that.
The volunteers of the Social Committee sponsored several events this year that brought homeowners together for fun and fellowship. They also helped a few residents who wanted to put on their own additional events.
A chili cook-off and cornhole tournament
An Easter egg hunt by Ashley McKey
A Crappie fishing tournament with prizes from Halcyon Real Estate Management and refreshments by Trina Winde
Summer Splash with pool games, a giant slip-n-slide, and a Bar-B-Q truck
A Pumpkin Patch by Sarah Lewis
The Fall Festival with lots of games, prizes, a pumpkin carving contest, and costume parade.
And the always-popular Holiday Drop-In with food, refreshments, crafts, and our own local Santa Clause.
Also Linda arranged for the Chillin’ Cow and Booze Pops to come through the neighborhood a few times this summer.
Let’s have a hand for Linda Catoe and the entertainment committee!
If you have ideas for next year, please use the link on the web site to communicate with the Board. Remember: all of these events are coordinated by volunteers. The more involvement we can get, the better the events can be for everyone!
The volunteer Pool Committee gave us a great pool season.
While not everyone uses the pool, lots of people what to live in a neighborhood with a nice pool, so that continues to be a priority. The pool committee works with the pool management company to keep the pool clean and safe, keep up with the furniture, and maintain our DEHEC permit.
The septic system at the pool needed major repair this summer.
The bathrooms got repaired and upgraded, with new ventilation so they should stay cleaner and fresher between cleanings.
The pool needs more storage to comply with DHEC requirements. We’ve been working through some permitting issues with the City, and hope to get that done in the coming year.
This year we had difficulty getting reliable, assertive pool monitors. The pool management company has told us they may not even provide monitors next year. We may need to rely on neighbors to regulate each other. Nothing is final yet; we’ll know closer to pool season. We kept the monitors in the budget.
Let’s hear it for John, Karen, and the pool committee for all their hard work!
After saving up for years, we finally managed to get the tennis courts repaired and re-surfaced, and we added a pickleball court. It’s a small set of dedicated people who use the courts, but again, having quality tennis courts is a draw for people deciding where to live, even if they never use them. This is part of making Chestnut Hill a desirable place to live, enhancing property values for everyone.
Many of you will remember the trouble we had getting the new lighting at the clubhouse to work reliably, but that’s finally been resolved. The trouble turned out to be a 20 year old junction underground.
Which brings us to next year. This neighborhood is over 20 years old, and the original facilities are starting to wear down. The older things get, the more maintenance they require.
In the past few years we’ve worked on the pool deck, the pump and filtering medium, the septic system, and the bathrooms. The pool is in pretty good shape for now, but it still needs some minor repairs, and the furniture is wearing out.
The tennis courts are in good shape, but we need to continue to put money aside for the next time they need work.
The clubhouse needs to be cleaned and stained to preserve the wood; that’s a major expense. In the past few years we’ve gotten a new rug and some new tables, but other furniture is wearing out and needs replacement. The kitchen and bathroom fixtures are aging. And everyone noticed the hole in the parking lot on your way in tonight.
I’ve already mentioned the constant repairs required to the irrigation system, and the major work we have to do this year on the pump house.
And of course everything is more expensive. Everyone in this room has been affected by inflation this year, and the HOA is no exception. The retirement of David Peterson and closing of his management company Halcyon has increased the cost of management. But on the bright side, our new company CAMS has more resources, and our new manager Sage has been very helpful in leveraging those resources, so we thing we’re getting what we’re paying for in terms of service.
It’s impossible to know just want things will cost next time around, and difficult to foresee what will break down next, so budgeting is always a bit of a guessing game. But we’re getting better at using the past to predict the future, and we’ve built in some cost increases, so we think we have a pretty good budget. We managed to avoid raising dues this year, but as we’ve warned for the past few years, prices keep going up so eventually dues will have to go up, too.
So let’s look at next year’s budget.
We’ve simplified the budget, combined some line items for easier bookkeeping.
We looked at income and expenses for the past few years, compared to what we’ve done so far this year, and came up with the best projections we could.
You have a stapled packet that shows the changes from 2022 to 2023, and a single sheet that shows the simple 2023 budget. Let’s look at the stapled pages.
Starting with income: remember that a budget is a projection. Last year we were overly optimistic about the income we expected. We’ve made some adjustments based on what’s happened in the past few years. We think the income projections are more realistic.
Under Administrative Expenses, here are some highlights:
Legal: we need to be assertive in collecting overdue assessments. When these are collected, usually the legal fees are recovered as well. That’s why there is in an income line for Collection Fees.
We haven’t been writing off bad debt; it is either collected or remains as receivable, so we eliminated this item.
As I mentioned earlier, management fees have gone up.
We added a line item for billing and receiving, since CAMS handles this differently than Halcyon. This is mailing the semi-annual assessments and collecting the payments. This will also be more than Halcyon charged.
Under Repairs & Maintenance, we expect about the same expenses.
Landscaping remains our largest expense, and everything will be more expensive next year. We’re still paying reasonable prices for what we get.
Under Clubhouse, we’re planning to update the furniture and interior.
Under Pool, the maintenance company has indicated they will increase prices next year. However, this number includes monitors. If we don’t get monitors next year, we’ll spend a lot less on the contract. If that happens, we can move some of this money to other projects.
In Utilities, we spent less this year than expected, but rates may increase next year so we’re budgeting accordingly.
Finally, reserves. We hope to continue to build our emergency fund, but at the same time we may end up using some of them. As mentioned, we need to work on the parking lot and the clubhouse. This money will have to come out of existing reserves, but that’s what we built them for.
Bottom line: we project regular income and expenses to be about balanced for 2023, without raising the annual assessment. There’s a few things we need to do, but we’ve been careful to save money over the past few years, so we can afford it. Hopefully we only have another year or two of big projects, and then we can concentrate on pro-active maintenance rather than expensive repairs.
Before we go, I’d like to invite everyone to become more involved in your community. Meetings are the fourth Monday of each month at 6:30 at the clubhouse. The more we hear from homeowners, the more we can address their needs.
Committees always need help. Almost everything that happens here is done by volunteers. You can help maintain trails, clean up the common areas, and put on special events. You can contribute blogs to the web site, and help coordinate events. While time and effort are most valuable, the Social Committee always needs supplies and sponsorships to make the events as culturally rich as possible.