Dear Gables Resident,
The Board would like to take this opportunity to give you a quick update about your homeowners' association. Please read all of the following as there are important matters for the Board to convey at this time.
Gables Association Update:
* Financial Health: We are pleased to report that our Gables townhome association is in excellent health. Earlier this year, the Board hired an outside audit and review of our financials which confirmed that the association is in solid financial shape.
* Cost Cutting Efforts: While facing uncertain economic times and problems in the housing market, the Board has made extensive efforts to limit and reduce our expenditures as much as possible while keeping the association in good shape. Rising costs and unpaid dues within the association have caused us to adopt a very conservative approach toward our spending.
* New Landscape Company: The Board made extensive efforts this year to find a new firm to serve the association. After a lengthy bidding and review process, a new landscape company was hired recently. The Board is optimistic that the new provider will provide a higher quality service at a more competitive price.
* Landscaping Issues: The Board is aware and concerned about the appearance of the association and will be taking extensive efforts in the coming year with the new landscape provider to make some improvements. For example, the major flowerbeds in the association will be redone next Spring and we are looking forward to these
Master Association Update:
As a Gables resident, part of your monthly dues goes to the Master Association whose primary responsibilities are the upkeep and maintenance of the parks within Victor Gardens as well as the Activities Center and Pool. The Master Association has a separate Board from your Gables’ townhome association. These two associations are entirely separate from each other and have completely separate budgets and responsibilities. In addition, while your Board is comprised entirely of residents and has its own budget, the Master Association's board is comprisedprimarily of members of CPDC or Community Property Development Corporation. As residents we have absolutely no control over what the Master Association does regarding their budget or expenses. As some of you are already aware, CPDC is in financial trouble due to declining housing market. After defaulting on several of their bank loans this year, CPDC is in the process of reorganizing and refinancing their debt. Because of this, CPDC HAS NOT MADE
ANY FINANCIAL CONTRIBUTIONS to the Master Association in 2007. While those developer contributions are not required by law or by contract, developers like CPDC often provide substantial financial support for many years to associations BEFORE full their full buildout or completion. This is done not so much out of benevolence, but so that residents can enjoy the full benefits of the association prior to the full development and so the developer can sell the remaining property at a higher price due to the benefits of the association.
Financial strain at CPDC and very poor housing market conditions have created a problematic situation forresidents at Victor Gardens because the development is far from completion. At last review, the Master Association has accumulated a large amount of debt (approximately $60,000) and has depleted the majority of the financial reserves. Please keep in mind that the decisions to spend money and to go into debt in this manner were entirely CPDC’s decisions, not residents’ or your townhome association's Board. Without a major change in either ownership or control of the remaining property and developer contributions, the Master Association will be unable to function. Fortunately, a group of concerned residents has formed an advisory committee to work with both the CPDC and the City of Hugo & Washington County to find a solution to this problem. Regrettably, as your Board, we must inform you that all residents at Victor Gardens will likely face substantially higher Master association dues and/or special assessments in the coming year. Currently, $20 of your monthly dues goes directly to the Master Association. In addition, services the Master Association has paid for in the past (like holiday lighting, for example) will not be provided because there is no money to pay for those services. Looking ahead, it is also entirely possible that the Master Association may not be able to open the pool next year and/or reduce or eliminate most if not all of their services.
The Gable's Board is aware of the situation and is monitoring it closely. All residents are invited to keep on top of these developments as they occur by visiting the Master Association's website - Victor Gardens News at http://victorgardensnews.org. For those who may be interested, opportunities to participate in advisory committees are available and your input is welcome and highly encouraged. There will be future meetings to discuss these issues more in detail in the future, so please visit that site often to stay on top with the latest developments as they occur.
FUTURE BOARD MEETINGS & IMPORTANT MATTERS:
* Board Meetings: All residents are welcome to attend our Board meetings. They are
held every other month at the Activities Center. Dates for upcoming board meetings this
year are the following - so please mark your calendars!
7PM on Wednesday, December 19, 2007* GABLES ANNUAL MEETING
7PM on Wednesday, February 20, 2008
7PM on Wednesday, April 16, 2008
7PM on Wednesday, June 18, 2008
7PM on Wednesday, August 20, 2008
7PM on Wednesday, October 15, 2008
7PM on Wednesday, December 17, 2008
* Improved Communications: To improve communication throughout the neighborhood, some have suggested email newsletters or more frequent mailed newsletters. Please let us know which you prefer by attending one of our upcoming Board meetings. Your input and opinions matter to us. Remember, also, that the Gable's association has its own website at http://www.victorgardens.org. Information concerning upcoming meetings, special announcements, minutes and financials from our meetings, etc., are put there for your review.
* Garage Doors: Under the current rules & regulations, you are required to keep your garage doors closed. In addition to security concerns, if your garage door is left open in the winter, there is a potential that pipes will freeze. The association is not liable for any damage caused by leaving garage doors open so please keep them closed.
* Renting Your Townhome: Residents who lease their unit must notify our property manager. It is important that we make renters aware of the association's rules & regulations. Please also keep in mind that property owners are 100% responsible for any and all damage renters do to the property. We have experienced problems in the past regarding this and your help is appreciated.
* Resident Participation: Participation at our board meetings is very low. Unfortunately, we need your input and opinions to make sure the association performs up to your expectations. Please take time to attend a future board meeting this year.
All in all, it has been an interesting year. I know from talking to many of you that you love living here as much as we do. While we are greatly concerned about the financial condition of the Master Association, we are heartened by the solid condition of the Gables Association. We believe in due time the concerns with the Master Association will be sorted out and that Victor Gardens will remain a wonderful place to live. As a personal note, due to increased workload and the potential for more travel in 2008, I informed the Board earlier this year that I will no longer be able to serve as the association's President when my term comes up for renewal in December. While I'm happy to serve on the Board in a diminished capacity, I believe it is time for new leadership for the association. Fortunately, your association has many Board members who are capable, dedicated, and determined to continue all of our efforts in making this a truly wonderful place to live.
Charles E. Kirk