We need 32 homeowners represented to have our annual meeting and I'm happy to report that we had 35 either in person or via proxy. Thanks very much to everyone who sent in their proxy or attended.
The meeting began with a recap from our acting-president Morgan Witthoft. It was a brief recap of the projects such as resurfacing the parking lot, xeriscaping the median section on Keepsake, trail maintenance, and replacing the grills at the pavilion. The treasurer, Bryan Phillips, gave an overview of the 2020 budget highlighting the $9,000 budget line-item to contribute to the reserves, the 10% increase in dues, and the subsequent $11,000 line item for much needed maintenance in the neighborhood.
During committee reports Kevin Lindley spoke on behalf of the three-person architecture committee. During his report there were some great questions and discussion on various topics. It was discussed that a good general guideline on whether you need approval from the architecture committee is to ask if you can see it from the street. If you can, you need approval. This includes things like planting a tree, painting your house, or even your front door. Kevin also reminded us that you need approval before making a change and not after. There have been instances where homeowners have submitted a request after the change and the request was denied. No one is interested in this scenario happening. A written report was submitted by the committee and will be posted soon.
New Board Directors
All board positions are a three year term with the positions staggered. In addition to the two full term positions we had a position open for the remainder of our past president's term. This position will finish out the last year of that term. We had exactly three nominees and all three were unanimously elected. Russell Hackworth will serve another three year term. Ryan Steans joins the board for the first time for the other three year term. Lastly Ellen Ward will join the board for the first time as well and will complete the final year of a term. Congratulations and thank you to all three of them. Likewise, we'd like to thank Brian Everett for accepting the appointment and serving until the election.
We ended the meeting with an open discussion. Some years this can be quite lengthy and others it goes quickly. This year, it was quick. There were no real questions, but a few comments. Notably, one homeowner let us know the city had removed a tree on his property that was close to the road and rotting. It turns out that D.R. Horton had "buried" the trees on his property when they were built. Burying a tree is when you raise the ground level above the flare of a tree. Our own Russell Hackworth has a degree in horticulture and gave us all a quick overview of this. If you think your tree may be in the same situation, I'd encourage you to consult with an arborist.
First, a sincere thank you to all the homeowners who came out to the board meeting. With only a week between this board meeting and our annual membership meeting we were thrilled to see so many in attendance.
Annual Meeting Next Week (Nov 14)
And yes, our annual meeting is next week. If you can't make it please do fill out a proxy and send with someone who is going or email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you're not familiar with how proxies work, it's pretty straight-forward. As a home owner you can grant your vote to anyone you would like. The proxy form has the two board members who are not up for election or a write-in. You do not have to give your proxy to Morgan Witthoft or Bryan Phillips. You can write anyone's name that can attend the meeting. That last part is important. The person you give your proxy to must attend the meeting for it to count. Your attendance (or proxy) is important as we must have at least 10% of the HOA to hold the annual meeting.
We have three positions open on the board; those positions will be elected at the meeting. The first position is to fulfill the remainder of our past president's term. It has one year left on it. The other two are three-year terms. If you're interested in running email email@example.com and they'll put you in touch with Rusty Ulrich who is the chair of our nominations committee.
Budget & Assessments (Dues) Increase
The major topic of conversation tonight was the 2020 budget. Our starting point was a balanced budget that maintained the current assessments rate, roughly the same expenses, and set aside the necessary money for our reserves (known maintenance in the future). There were a few places where expenses went up or down, but there was a net zero affect on the total.
The conversation focused on whether we wanted to continue with the status quo or put more money into the maintenance and upkeep. After a lengthy and fruitful conversation with both the board and the attending members the board approved an increase of $35 per year (or $8.75 per quarter) for the purpose of maintaining the neighborhood. Assuming 100% collection, we'll have an additional $10,500 that is going to be placed in a budget line item for "General Maintenance". That money will go towards much needed upkeep in the neighborhood and be allocated to various projects over the next year. Examples of potential projects include addressing the exposed pipe at the park, additional trail maintenance, and xeriscaping additional common areas.
A full copy of the budget will be available at the annual meeting and mailed out to each homeowner.
Our current landscaping company (Brightview) has 8 more visits left on their contract. We're currently taking proposals on the 2020 contract. Below are the service dates for the remaining contract.
Please accept this as notice that the Grand Oaks Owners Association Board of Directors will meet on Thursday, November 7th, at 7:00 p.m.
Austin Community College – Stassney Campus, Room 1312
1820 W. Stassney Lane, Austin, TX 78745.
Topics may include general association business, including unfinished business and new business, covenant enforcement, budgeting, and assessment collection. Executive session matters may include personnel matters, litigation, contract negotiations, enforcement actions, confidential attorney communications, matters involving the invasion of owners’ privacy, or matters involving parties who have requested confidentiality and the Board has agreed to honor that request.
News updates from the HOA Board.