Before Joining the Board
When I moved into Rio Crossing in late August of 2016, my first exposure to the HOA was the election in September. Since that time, I have attended every Regular Board Meeting and all but one Special Board Meeting — even before joining the board! What I quickly learned was that the board members didn’t know your CC&Rs, your bylaws, or the Arizona state statutes relating to corporations or planned communities (this is the term used in ARS Title 33 relative to our neighborhood; see Chapter 16 of ARS Title 33 for details).
I spent a lot of time reading the CC&Rs, Bylaws, the Architectural Rules, and minutes of Association meetings as far back as I could get (2008). I also read Arizona statutes on Planned Communities (the form of HOA that applies to Rio Crossing) and on Corporations (Rio Crossing Homeowner Association is incorporated as a non-profit, member-based corporation).
I also joined Design Review Committee, and have been assisting with reviewing Architectural Requests submitted by residents.
I started this informational, unofficial web site, because I felt like the Association doesn’t do enough to communicate with the members. I also started my own email list, with only a few members. (Since starting the official Mailing List for Rio Crossing, I’ve abandoned the unofficial Mailing List for this web site.)
After Joining the Board
Shortly after joining the board, I set out to find out what happened to our Association finances during the transition from Trestle to AAM in January 2017. I found the missing $70,000 that was transferred from the Operating Budget into the Reserves, over and above what had previously been deposited.
I drafted the new relaxed Fine & Collections Policies. The new Fine policy injected an additional no-fine letter between the first “Courtesy Letter” and the next letter which levied a $50 fine, and also lowered the amounts of fines rather than escalating to $300 within a month. I also supported authorizing the community manager to approve certain waivers of fines and late fees to streamline and speed up the process of getting some delinquent homeowners current with less paperwork and board involvement.
I wrote the “Communication Resolution” which allowed posting and distribution of meeting agendas in advance and summaries prior to the minutes being approved.
On the advice of a guest irrigation expert to turn off water for winter, I helped the Association save over $8,000 in water costs. There were a large number of suspected irrigation leaks, and our trees and shrubs didn’t need winter water. (There was no rye grass over-seeding, so the green belts and parks were already brown).
I have monitored Association water usage by reading water meters monthly since January in order to track future irrigation watering costs more effectively. I make frequent reports of irrigation issues with details to the landscape vendor and management representative; the landscape vendor has expressed appreciation for the level of detail when I provide this information. (See this online pictorial report after the July 2018 wind storm.)
Having seen the dilapidated state of a number of Association capital items, I initiated painting of the steel rails (around the spill-ways at the drainage end points), repainting of all the Association’s mailbox units, overpainting the graffiti areas that were pink or “see-through pink.” While other on the board argued for months about putting up expensive, fancy signs at the entrances (which were not approved by the City of Avondale), I proceeded to promote the replacement of the message board which fell over in the July windstorm.
I obtained new signs to be used in the entry ways for announcing meetings, garage sales, and other community events. I put these out and take them up regularly, so you can be informed.
I started up the Association’s “MailChimp” Mailing List, sent monthly and weekly, with information about Bulk Pick-Up, Holiday Schedules for Trash and Recycles, Board Meetings, and Social Events. Most of these posts are also cross-posted to the Association’s social media presence on Twitter & Facebook. (See recent Mailing List posts here; includes a link where you can sign up for the list.)
Concerned about the Association’s lack of historical documents from previous management companies (City Property Management Company and Trestle), I worked with AAM to acquire archive documents which they received as part of the Trestle to AAM transition. Nobody knew about the presence or contents of these documents until I pressed for their delivery to me, as Secretary of the Association.
After Matt disrupted the April board meeting, I drafted several resolutions designed to reduce liability to the Association of rogue board member activities, with concurrence of the Association attorney.
Lastly, a simple but important thing: I pushed for changing the look of the envelope that the annual meeting and ballot was mailed in. Last year it was sent in the same plain blue envelope as most other things you get from the management company’s mass mailing service. This one was white with a special “Vote Now” imprint, with the hope of fewer folks tossing it out without looking at it. See, I have my opinion on who you should vote for, but what I want more than anything is for you to vote, be informed and involved in the association!
Me and My Yellow Truck
Another thing I do — as frequently as I can — is travel around the community picking up trash, checking for irrigation leaks, and looking at the condition of common areas that might need repair. You’ll see me and my yellow pickup truck — normally I’m quite visible wherever I go!
Any time you see me out and about (my yellow truck is easy to spot), feel free to stop by and chat. I like to get to know my Rio Crossing neighbors!