New committee leaders needed

The Almond Glen board of directors would like to invite you to serve as a leader within our community. Interested neighbors are asked to email the board at almondglenhoa@gmail.com.

We are currently seeking individuals who would enjoy serving in the following positions:

Landscaping Committee Chairperson – The landscape committee is responsible for all of the common areas throughout the community to include the landscaping for the townhomes. This committee coordinates with the landscaping company to ensure projects are completed to the satisfaction of the membership. The committee may recommend vendors, create project ideas, pull bids on behalf of the BOD, create budget requests, etc. The yearly budget for landscaping is set by the BOD but the landscaping committee recommends the budget based on their plans for the year. The committee is then asked to manage their budget.

Architectural Committee Chairperson – The role of the “ARC Committee” is to review requests for architectural improvements to homes and monitor for violations. How this will be accomplished in the future is up to the committee. This role calls for someone with solid leadership skills, confidence and the ability to be firm but fair.

Pool Committee Chairperson – The pool is our number one common item in the community. Not only does its operation have a strong impact on our neighbors moods throughout the summer,  it is a large part of the reason many people bought their homes here. This position calls for someone who can interact with the pool management company, suggest projects, coordinate repairs and upgrades, suggest a budget and then operate within that budget, manage resources such as the pool fob system and work with members to develop an operational schedule which is fair to those who want to use the pool and those who live next to the pool.

(NEW) Welcoming Committee Chairperson – The board of directors would like to see the formation of a “welcoming committee” made up of members of the community who would like to help new neighbors learn about their new home. This group would be asked to put together “welcome baskets” with information, coupons, etc. Members of this group would need to spend some time learning about the operational aspects of the HOA so they can explain the bylaws, CC&Rs, rules and regs, website and payment info as well as answer questions new owners might have about the community and the surrounding area. This is a new idea and would require guidance from the committee regarding the creation of a budget for the group.

Unpaid tax notice – UPDATE – Sept 14, 2017 10PM

Today, September 14th, the board was notified signs were posted around the common areas of the neighborhood by Lancaster County. The notices posted by the county advised the HOAs property taxes had not been paid. The board acted on this information immediately after receiving notice from a neighbor who contacted the board directly. (Thank you) The board reached out to Almond Glen’s management company, AMG, to find out why the taxes were not paid. (SEE THE FIRST POST HERE)

The final answers to the boards initial questions are as follows:

  • The boards contact information (listed as the current management company) was not properly changed with the county. The county noticed past payments were coming in last, so they reverted to the original management company on file (Hawthorne was used by the builder and initially by the homeowner board until early 2015). This was corrected today by Dacy at AMG after she was advised of the process by Lancaster County. Hawthorne was probably getting the notices and tossing them in the trash. Since the county didn’t get the notices returned, they didn’t look any further than Hawthorne.
  • AMG is in the process of paying the taxes owed ($797.40). This amount includes a “Penalty” of $93.57. The taxes must be paid by check. This is being handled and the board will follow up with AMG in the next week.
  • The simple plan to correct this in the future is a calendar notice set on AMG’s calendar for January 10th. If a notice has not been sent to AMG on that date, the manager will follow up with the county. A similar notice was added to the board of directors calendar as well.

Some of the questions the board received from the community were:

Q. Why were the property taxes paid late?
A. This was an oversight. The board discussed this oversight with AMG. The penalties/fees assessed to the HOA by Lancaster County are being covered by AMG. This appears to have been a common issue with both Hawthorne and AMG. The tax records available on the county website show the taxes were paid late 5 out of the last 6 years by both management companies. AMG has apologized for their mistakes. The automated alerts from the management company and board calendars will serve to provide reminders in the future for any board that serves this community.

Q. Shouldn’t the board have known about this?
A. Yes and no. A reasonable person should understand the board members are members of this community with diverse backgrounds. Each member brings different skillsets to the table. As board members serve consecutive years on the board, they gain knowledge and experience in various areas of the operation of the neighborhood. However the board members are not professional property managers. One member may have years of experience and know how to prime the pool pumps and where the sprinkler weather station is located while the others may be unable to preform these duties. For that reason, the board employs a professional management company. There are many tasks the board does not understand which are preformed by the management company. It’s also important to understand any management company must constantly navigate multiple Federal, State and local laws and regulations while trying to keep up with all of their clients. To be honest, mistakes on both the part of the board of directors and the management company WILL and DO occur. Anyone who plans to ever serve in any capacity within this neighborhood will at some point be wrong and/or make a mistake. This was a learning experience for the board and this neighborhood.

Q. Should we (the neighborhood) look for a new management company?
A. “Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water” comes to mind. Did AMG make a mistake? Yes. Did they act on the information once the board brought it to them? Within minutes of getting the first email. Did they own their mistake and openly apologize while accepting responsibility? Yes they did. The process of changing from one management company to another is honestly, too easy. The board selects a new vendor, satisfies any contractual obligations (notice of termination of contract, etc), hires a new company and waits for the new company to come in and take over. Most of the process is handled by the management company and because this is a regular thing done by new and inexperienced boards (fire the old and hire the new), the management companies work well together.
The problems start when the board has to pay for things already paid for that budget cycle (notices and office supplies), the members have to go through the process of setting up payments again with a new company and their banks, the board has to start a new relationship with new managers.
AMG and its employees have invested time and money into forming a partnership with this community. The board has invested time and money into the same partnership. That partnership isn’t always perfect and mistakes happen, but it’s better to work on a relationship with problems than it is to dump the relationship and go try to find something new and exciting.

Q. Simple question. Is the board going to fire AMG?
A. Simple answer. No.

Q. Is AMG paying the late fees?
A. Yes.

 

Unpaid Tax Notices in AG

09/14/2017 11:00am

At 9:51am This morning the board of directors were notified the Lancaster County Tax Assessors Office posted signs on the property which advised the Almond Glen HOA had not paid their taxes. I checked the county website and verified the 2016 taxes were not paid (according to their records). The taxes for 2016 are about $650.00. The address posted on the sign refers to the general common area address for the Almond Glen Owners Association.

At 10:11am I sent an email to Dacy CaCavicchia at AMG with a request for the following info:

  • What happened? Why were the taxes not paid?
  • Confirmation once the taxes are paid.
  • Any fees or penalties the HOA would be responsible for due to the late payment.
  • A simple plan to avoid unpaid taxes in the future.

I followed up with a phone call about 30 minutes later. Dacy was already in contact with the county regarding the matter and had the following info.

  • The county changed the address where they mail the tax bill from AMG to our old management company (Hawthorne). We do not currently know why this was done or how it happened. AMG obviously would not want to switch us to another management company and the board made no such requests.
  • AMG is in the process of paying the taxes owed ($797.40). This amount includes a “Penalty” of $93.57. Dacy is checking to see if the penalty is attached to the account due to the late payment. If so, she is requesting the county remove the penalty since the management company info was changed by the county, not the HOA or its management company.
  • The simple plan to correct this in the future is a calendar notice set on AMG’s calendar for January 10th. If a notice has not been sent to AMG on that date, the manager will follow up with the county. A similar notice was added to the board of directors calendar as well.

Whats next?

First things first, the taxes will be paid. The taxes are a part of the yearly budget and the board is prepared to pay them. Several years ago the board discovered the taxes could be lowered from around $8,500 to the current rates once the neighborhood no longer was controlled by the builder. Paperwork was filed with the county and the taxes were reduced to about $600 a year.

The property will NOT be auctioned, sold or otherwise transferred. Once the taxes are paid and this is resolved, the board will post another notice here on the almondglenhoa.com website in the “News” section.

Please direct all questions to almondglenhoa@gmail.com

Thanks,

Rob Smith
President
Almond Glen Owners Association, INC.