ArrowCreek HOA Board Town Hall Meeting
Observation Notes for the Board and Members
by Jim Verhey of Kachina Court
- The Board and its Committees have worked hard and for a long time on clarifying, updating and resolving issues within its Governing Documents to be in compliance with State Law and to reflect on the experience of a maturing community with a number of identified needs. Example: Fees for non residential Golf Course use of HOA security and roads were subject to conflict. The proposed /revised monthly fees are included in the documents and amount to monthly HOA charge for two lots: $436 currently ($218.00 x 2 = &436) based on the number of full golf memberships. Past charges ranged between 4 and 6 lots based on a complicated road use formula.
- The Board has sought to gain an understanding of the desires of the Members through the administration of surveys but due to a lack of metrics has found the surveys to be ineffectual for accomplishing a gainful result of accumulating Member needs. No alternative provisions for enhancing Board understanding of the Member constituency were provided.
- The Board has worked hard to assemble an accurate budget to reflect the recently completed ArrowCreek Strategic Plan as well as the realities of economic change.
- The provision of hors d’ oeuvres was appreciated by many.
- The meeting included informative but lengthy handouts which were not provided in advance of the meeting for review and consideration by the Members. No agenda with topic timing was provided.
- The meeting was set up to be a Presentation rather than a Town Hall. Insufficient time was available for questions about the budget and its Member fee increase.
- The nature of any meeting minutes and committed Board actions were not declared. Followup communications with the Members on actions to be taken relating to the Town Hall session were not declared.
- Following the Board Progress review, the Board and presenters appeared taken aback by the highly inquisitive nature of the Members regarding the rationale of certain proposed changes to the Governing Documents relating to expanded Board authority, as well as to the nature of a budget increase and Member Monthly Assessment increase of approximately (just under) 15%. Note: A 15% increase would need a vote of the community.
- There was concern of the Board as to the lengthiness of member questions and the urgency of need to wrap up the session within the allotted 90 minute meeting time.
- Individual questions/ comments sometimes were regarded by the Board as inconvenient obstructions to meeting progress. Others seemed to be considered to be venting rather than content based.
- The Board appeared to consider the session to be an ordeal due to the need of the Members for specific details to support the proposals for budget/fee increases and expanded Board authorities.
- Questions from the Members were highly detailed and at times indicative of a lack of understanding of previous formal communications and opportunities for Member input to the process of a complicated set of factors confronting the Board.
- The Members need details and implications of the details of the proposed Government Documents change including: why the proposed 10% /10% (or lower) limit on monthly Member fee increases was denied consideration; what the specifics were on potential negotiated agreement offerings that might be under a proposed scope of cooperation with the Non-residential subdivision Golf Club and to what extent.
- The Board was not prepared to provide specific details of all changes to the most current Governing Documents with a redline comparison of old and new Governing Documents but noted that they would seek to arrange one to allow Members an efficient way to know and assess the details of all changes.
- The proposed October 31 vote schedule for the proposed changes was delayed until further comparative review was made of the documents by the Members.
- Detailed budget questions on the proposed Member fee increase along with the details of projected operational costs were generally discussed such as: a line item of $250,000 for planning (not constructing) a remodel/expansion of the Residents Club, increased employee staffing and associated employee salary and benefit cost increases, the use of year on year budget management rather than best practice operating standards and metrics, regional /non Member illicit use of the Residents’ Club and Pool, and the non-residential Golf Club fees for use of HOA security and roads.
- The proposed Governing Documents provide for a stronger Board with negotiating powers for establishing cooperative agreements with the non residential Golf Club.
- On a couple of occasions in the discussions, the role of the Board was referred to as…the Board as being elected to do a job of accomplishing work for the Members which is hard to do because of the apparent diversity of opinions of the individual Members. In order to get things done, the Board must sometimes make decisions which are not favorable to all Members. Progress can be made for the community, it was stated, only if the Board decides to negate some Member perspectives.
- A number of Member attendees considered their role to be investigative questioners of proposed Board actions to broaden the analysis, bring underlying issues to light and to assure sound decision making consistent with Member needs. There were a large number of less verbal but enthusiastic supporters of the questioning process.
- No discussion took place on the role of the Members in establishing a more cohesive and unifying approach to Board and Member relations.
- No discussions took place on how better HOA communications can be arranged for the Members.
Notes from the NoteTaker
There are a number of understandings that may be realized by the Board based on the past few years of Arrow Creek experiences and the 9/26/17 Town Hall Meeting. Here are a few that might be better understood by the Board to establish a better community working relationship between the Board and the Members:
- Members do not want to be treated as Serfs in a Board controlled Serfdom. They are to be considered a constituency as well as a resource rather than an inconvenience that must be tolerated.
- The negative history of previous HOA Boards and Committees behaviors and actions has heightened the angst of the Members and has set a tone of concern for overseeing Board actions to assure their independence from outside influences and the fulfillment of their fiduciary duty to the Members.
- The Members may be quiet when things are going well but they are not disinterested. They look for action on issues where they feel that mismanagement might be present. Members will not be going away anytime soon.
- Members are a Highly interested yet High Maintenance Group with a requirement for both regular communications of information important to their well being along with valid, and conveniently available, detailed information on all aspects of HOA operations.
- The Board needs to provide both Big Picture information and be ready with explanatory Details when called upon. The Board needs to further demonstrate the use of excellent management judgement, regular oversight of operations and the application of sensible but innovative decision making.
- A communications program needs to provide an open/transparent/unregulated two way information structure to allow for regular, accurate and up to date community information to the Members.
- The Members want to be assured of efficient and effective management of the HOA budget and a tight style of management to prevent bloated expenses and increased monthly assessment fees.
- The Members don’t want to worry about the Golf Club being subsidized unfairly by the HOA or run the risk of being involved with acceding to their latent residential development threats.
- Future Town Hall meetings need to be held regularly with an advance topic agenda developed in collaboration between the Board and Members.