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Presidents Letter

President's Message December 2013

I would like to welcome the two new members of your Board of Directors– Bill Dawes and Nick Westphal as well as returning Board members Peggy Bracken and Marilyn Stimpson. The community spoke quite loudly with their votes and your Board of Directors will continue on its path of making CRCA one of the best communities in Arizona in which to live.

Thanksgiving came later than normal this year, and so quickly we will now start preparing for the Christmas holiday season. While the majority of us have a lot to be thankful for some of our neighbors have been less fortunate and could use a helping hand during this holiday season. Santa will be available for free pictures with a canned food donation on December 7th at the Windmill office with the donations going to the food bank- there are also bins at the office to bring donations for the food bank all month. As in years past, there is also a Giving Tree setup at the office for the two families which the association has “adopted” for Christmas. Help make their “wishes” come true by picking up a gift tag from the tree to help fulfill what they are wishing for this Christmas. Once again there will be holiday caroling starting at Windmill Park on December 21st and then carrying on throughout the neighborhoods on horse drawn wagons to help spread some holiday cheer through parts of CRCA.

Our special committee is working on getting bids for replacement of the play structure at Windmill Park as required under the reserve study. They have a lot of options and hope to find something everyone will be able to enjoy as much as they have with old one. I’ve heard they are even trying to incorporate some swings. We wish them luck on this project!

The Board of Directors would like to wish you all a safe and wonderful Christmas wherever you celebrate it and a prosperous New Year.

President's Message October 2013

By now, you should have all received your ballots for the Board of Directors election. If you have not voted please take a few minutes to fill it out and mail it in. How this association interacts and treats homeowners depends on homeowners casting their vote.

Fall is here and the dogs are enjoying the lower temperatures for their walks. Hopefully this will also bring out even more people to the monthly Block Party/Food Truck Roundup at Windmill Park each second Monday of every month. There were over 300 people in attendance at last month’s despite the rain. See you there.

Please consider setting aside some time on Saturday October 5th to volunteer to help us build a brick pathway from the west parking lot at Windmill Park to the field so that some of our residents with mobility challenges can more easily make it from the parking lot to the field and share in the enjoyment of the park. Our community’s landscape contractor, Titan Landscape, has donated the bricks and some labor but we could always use more volunteer help for this community project. Let Jocelyn know in the office if you would like to help.

As always, I look forward to the next several months as we have a number of community and charity opportunities. While it is too late this year to organize a Halloween event, we’re hoping that next year we can have enough volunteers to hold some type of Halloween event like we did in the past; one that a large number of CRCA families can enjoy. 

The annual Thanksgiving food drive to help those facing hard times is still planned for next month, and in December we’ll have the holiday lighting contest and horse-drawn wagon caroling. Once again the ‘Pictures with Santa’ food drive is being organized with free pictures with Santa for a food item donation.  These are all worthy events here in CRCA, and I hope everyone will come together as a community to participate – please help spread the word to your neighbors who might not read this newsletter.

One bright accomplishment that CRCA owners should note, is that after the careful conservative spending by the Board over the past several years, we’re finishing up this fiscal year well under budget and using some of the remaining budget to pay forward the reserve savings contributions so that dues won’t need to be raised.  (Each year the reserve contributes go up to help keep our savings account in check for future repairs.)  In the world of HOAs, associations who have reserve savings accounts which are 70% funded are given a rating of “excellent”.  CRCA is 103% funded, meaning that we are well above an “excellent” rating and are in good shape for our future.

President's Message September 2013

With September here now school is back in session, temperatures should start decreasing and the ballots for the Board of Directors positions will be distributed. I would urge all homeowners to attend the Meet the Candidates night on Thursday September 12th at 7:00PM at the Community Center. There are very diverse opinions from each of the candidates on covenants enforcement and common area landscaping, as well as a number of other issues that will greatly affect how CRCA moves forward in the future. This is a good opportunity to get first hand information before you receive your ballot and cast your vote. The choice is yours as to how the association will progress on issues affecting all of us.

The 2014 balanced budget was approved by Board this month, and I want to say that we are in great shape financially. Kudos to the Finance Committee and all Committees for their hard work on developing their budget recommendations and submitting them on time to the Board.  The current Board has worked very hard over the last several years to clean things up and get them to where they are now.  It’s amazing to see how we’ve improved this Association; comparing past affairs, like when the audit found $210,000 that had to be re-allocated from operating to reserves due to unsatisfactory savings practices in 2004 – to now, when we are making reserve account contributions exactly like they are spelled out in the reserve study.  We are currently 103% funded in our savings accounts, which is better than an A+ report card (70% funded is considered “strong” in most HOAs; and we’re 103%).  By making sure we competitively bid all projects and ensuring our Association funds are spent wisely, we’ve been able to afford maintenance of our facilities to high standards (which is a requirement of the CC&R’s), put money into our Association’s savings account, address unforeseen emergencies when they arise; all this without raising assessment dues. It makes me proud to hear residents say that “for the first time I can see where my assessment money goes”, in response to the well maintained facilities and landscaping throughout our community.

It is really too bad that some people do not have the integrity to stand behind their thoughts and instead choose to mail in “anonymous” letters; typically filled with inaccuracies to which the Board has no way to respond. The latest one is so utterly over the top and absurd I thought I would share portions.

“Far too many plants have been planted far too close together…We don’t live in a custom home development, and we don’t live in a secluded high end development, we LIVE in track homes with many of the homeowners making middle income earnings.”

Is this anonymous resident saying that CRCA’s landscape should not look good because we don’t live in custom homes or a secluded high end development? I do not agree- the CC&R’s require that the BOD maintain the common areas to a high standard. Every homeowner living here deserves to have well maintained and common areas they can be proud of and that enhance property values. Maybe the anonymous resident thinks this Board is “breaking the bank” on landscaping; to the contrary, we’ve actually reduced the annual landscape budget by half since 2007.  Under a previous Board, the 2007 landscape project budget was $130,000.  Our current landscape project budget is only $60,000 and has been such since 2009; meanwhile, look at how much the landscape committee has accomplished over the past few years.  Also disconcerting to me, is how the former president of the seniors group is now insisting that we consider abandoning use of winter rye grass in CRCA, leaving us with dead brown grass half the year and only having lush green grass during the summer months (so much for the Easter Egg Hunt!).  The bottom line is that we are getting more for our money than ever before, and we have done so while maintaining the same budget for 6 years running.

The September of 2009 president’s message included a warning about checking your water line pressure regulation valve that controls the pressure of the water delivered to your home. Paula- the covenants enforcement member of management- mentioned a number of homes have sustained broken pipes within their homes resulting in major water damage so I thought it might be a good idea to mention this again with the number of new homeowners in CRCA. All homes have a valve regulating the pressure of the water delivered to each home by Tucson water. Tucson water delivers the water between 76 and 83 psi from it’s main lines. This pressure is too high for home plumbing (50 to 60 psi is recommended) and is reduced by the pressure regulating valve where the water comes into your home. Two things can happen to the valve- it can fail completely which will result in excessive pressure in the plumbing lines in your home which can cause them to burst. I had noticed my water pressure dropping slowly over the last year I had a plumber check my valve. It was a builders “cheapo” and was not working properly- allowing only 40psi to my home. I had them change the valve and the difference in pressure is astounding. Tucson Water told me that it is a good idea to check those valves as they seem to fail usually after 10 years- sometimes less.

President's Message August 2013

The Finance committee has come up with a balanced budget recommendation for our next year with no dues increase required to fund the same amounts required to meet the needs of CRCA.  The Board will finalize the budget at our next meeting. The pools, landscaping, management fees etc. will receive the same funding as before so you should see no change in the maintenance and care of all the facilities and common areas in CRCA. The reserve study calls for reserve contributions to increase $10,000 - $15,000 each year.  Due to planning by the Board, the monies to cover the Reserve contribution increases were available from careful spending over past few years and will cover those increases for each of the next two years without having to raise dues to meet the added expenditures.

While the housing bubble affected everyone there are some bright spots here in CRCA. According to information from the TARMLS (Tucson Association of Realtors Multiple Listing Service), CRCA has seen home values increase 17% in the last three years. While things still haven’t fully recovered, it is nice to see increases in our values. The most impressive change was the number of days a house is “on the market” which has averaged 38 days this year - the LOWEST since before 2005.   The other interesting fact from TARMLS is that the total number of homes sold in the first half of 2013 is the most we’ve had in 8 years.  It looks like we’re definitely headed in the right direction.

The Reserve study calls for replacing the kiddy play structure at Windmill Park next year. Rather than having a bunch of us “old fuddee duddees” decide what should be in the new structure I am hoping for some parents of the younger children who use the structure to volunteer to investigate and make recommendations as to what should be included. Please contact the office if you would like to be involved in this upcoming project so that we can have a structure that satisfies those who use it. 

It was nice to see that a few younger homeowners have decided to become involved and are running for the BOD this year. They bring new and fresh ideas with a different perspective on things. What is sad to me is that only five homeowners attended the first nominating committee meeting when they interviewed the first half of the candidates and only one homeowner attended the second interview of the remaining candidates. Ultimately, those candidates who get elected will set the tone and way this association operates; it is unsettling to see homeowners take no interest in something that affects this community so greatly and has very definite impacts on each and every resident living in CRCA.

It was brought to our attention by a homeowner that anyone with a wheelchair would have trouble accessing the grass at Windmill Park from the west parking lot because of the loose gravel used in the landscaping which separates the field from the parking lot. Our Association’s landscape company heard about this and has volunteered to supply the bricks and help grade and place them to provide access for those needing help. Any additional volunteers who would like to become involved in this project would be greatly appreciated. Again, contact this office if you would like to help make this happen. We want to make this a community donation that doesn’t cost the Association any funds.

President's Message July 2013

Windmill Park is finally open for everyone. The Reserve Study called for re leveling the field this year and it became a bigger job than anticipated. Titan Landscaping- our landscape maintenance contractor- ran into more thatch build up than could have been expected. This resulted in them having to do a second dethatching on a large portion of the field and baseball outfield. This had to be done to promote a healthier turf in the long run but also required the field being closed longer than we had hoped. A major portion of both the field and outfield had to be reseeded as well and required watering 2 to 3 times what we would normally do to allow the seed to sprout and get established and also meant not allowing anyone on the turf until it became established. CRCA has a large investment in the turf at the park and baseball field and the Reserve Study recognizes this asset and assures we have the funds to maintaining it to the high standards it should be. They are enjoyed by a large number of residents throughout the year for parties, picnics, pickup games, the Annual Easter Egg Hunt, dog walking, and the list goes on. You may notice that there are still some areas that aren’t 100% established, but we went ahead and reopened the park since we sensed the community was getting pretty anxious about the length of time it had been closed.  Nonetheless, please do take the time to walk through this great asset and enjoy the green grass and nice ramadas we all can enjoy. 

I was pleasantly surprised by the turnout at the first monthly Block Party food truck roundup at Windmill Park. It was a hot but enjoyable evening with a large number of people walking as well as driving to take advantage of the numerous vendors. I have to give credit to Jocelyn and Josh – in the office- for coming up with the idea. It was fun for all who attended with great eats available. Please check it out this month. It is the second Monday of every month from 5PM - 8PM. I even heard rumors that a few bands have contacted the office and would like to play at the event, and Karie has been working on finding a classic car club to show off their rides at the event; let’s hope it gets bigger. Remember to say hi to the Pinup Pastries people- they’re CRCA residents.

There are 10 applications for the upcoming BOD elections with some of the same old faces with a few new ones applying. Be sure to attend the Nominating Committee meetings when they interview these candidates so you have a good idea of who is running and their views on how CRCA should be run.  This is your HOA and it is only as good as the efforts you put into it.

Have a great summer and I hope to see you at the next Block Party food truck roundup.