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Presidents Letter

President's Message February 2014

As we head into February and the holiday cheer begins to fade, I wanted to share a touching letter that was addressed to our community by a CRCA adopt-a-family. I hope everyone who donated gifts this year has a chance to read this and know that you are appreciated!


January 22, 2014

Dear all the Continental Ranch Christmas Angels,

When my kids were little they weren't allowed to enjoy their gifts until the thank you notes had been written and placed in the mail. I'm afraid that this year we've broken that rule.

Please forgive that this note is so late, but the ALS my son is battling has completely changed life for us. It seems that one day melts into another and before we know it, we are days, or weeks ... or months, down the road.

Many, many, MANY! Thanks to you and all the Angels who made our Christmas possible. You truly blessed us with your generosity.

I wish you could have heard our grand-daughter’s excitement as she opened her gifts and shared her smile as she thanked her Daddy for spoiling her. (We told her the gifts were from her Daddy). She has enjoyed the scooter, the Nerf toys, the movies, the clothes, the red dress ... OH MY! She loved it! If she could, she would wear it 24-7. She looked so pretty in it. One day she put it on with some of her jewelry and pretended she was a queen  J . She proudly displays her jewelry box that is overflowing with her nail polishes and jewelry.

Daddy is enjoying the pajama bottoms, socks, movies and wasted no time logging onto iTunes to use the gift cards.

Grandpa’s popcorn is long gone, and he has been enjoying the movie tickets. He wasted no time using his Barnes and Noble gift cards. We will be enjoying the barbecue sauces this weekend.

I am loving my pajamas, slippers and robes. The Walmart gift card has put food on the table since Christmas.

Thank you doesn't seem enough but know that it comes from the bottom of our hearts.

We are grateful. May God richly bless each and every one of you and return your kindness many times over.

-Your adopted family




President's Message January 2014

2013 is now behind us with a new year before all of us. Hopefully everyone had a safe and enjoyable Christmas; and now with the new year comes new challenges and opportunities. I’d like to reflect back on CRCA’s milestones of success for 2013.

The Easter Egg Hunt seems to get better every year and this past year saw its largest crowd of parents and children turning out for this annual event. The Christmas lighting contest was a lot of work and imagination put forth by the entrants and was appreciated by all. The Christmas caroling went well and hopefully will grow into an annual event. Santa was present for pictures with a food donation (and he may have enjoyed it even more than the kids did). The adopt-a-family project generated very caring donations which were surely appreciated by those adopted families who’s Christmas were brightened through the generosity of homeowners here in CRCA. The food drives once again supplied a large donation to the food bank (over 500 pounds) and shows how caring the homeowners here are to those in need.

The Board of Directors and members of our committees have survived another year of challenges and obstacles. I am sure we will face more challenges in the year ahead but I think every member is up to those challenges.  CRCA has been shaped into a beautiful place to live thanks to our committees’ oversight of the pools, parks, common area landscape, and finances; as well as their upholding of covenants and architectural guidelines.  These members of our committees are homeowners here and deserve our thanks for the time and effort they put into serving our community.

I realize that everyone is wrapped up in the busy hustle of their day-to-day lives, but it would be nice if more neighbors here could consider attending a Board or Committee meeting once in a while. This Association is only as good as the people involved in it.



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.