A LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT OF THE HOA
My name is Michael Crumrine and I was elected to be the President of the Granada Home Owners Association for the upcoming year. I want to introduce myself to the neighborhood and tell you a little about myself. My family and I have been residents of the neighborhood for the past six years and have lived and worked in the Austin area for more than fifteen years. We are all native Texans who have a long heritage in this great state of ours. I am extremely honored and humbled to be elected as the president of the association. I want to see the neighborhood, thrive, heal, and be an example of how a vibrant neighborhood should be while striving to be progressive and a best practice. I hope to stay true to the history and character that has made Granada Hills a wonderful place to raise a family or spoil your grandchildren.
When the new board took office in late January, there were several obligations the association had to address and I want to discuss some of those issues in this letter. Before I do, I first want to thank and commend the prior board for their service. Being a member of the board is a voluntary position and it often comes with criticism, thankless hours, undue stress and very little gratitude. Being able to serve the community you live in is one of the greatest joys you can have, and the previous board approached their service with passion and a sense of doing what they felt was right.
One of the first things the new board wanted to do was to get a sense of the obligations and responsibilities the neighborhood had, how those obligations and responsibilities came to be, and what was the history behind those decisions. The best way to do this is to obtain the meeting minutes from the previous board and general membership meetings. It took some time, but eventually this board was able to piece together the majority of this information from several sources. After experiencing this transition, it became apparent to us that the previous record keeping of the association was not conducive to conveying information to the association’s members or a new board in a transparent and timely manner. The new board decided to consolidate the information in one location where any resident or member could access it easily and timely.
Therefore, the board has utilized the Granada Hills HOA website to be the “one stop shop” for all the information concerning the neighborhood. On the site is information on upcoming events, HOA board meetings, approved minutes of those meetings, agendas, etc. The site has contact information for every board member as well as information on deed restrictions, by-laws, the pool, membership applications, and more. The site is a work in progress and will be continually updated and modernized over time. It is the best way to know what is going on in the neighborhood and to contact the board about any issues you believe we need to address or any concerns you may have. To get to the site please go to www.granadahillshoa.org. The board will be distributing a quarterly newsletter to the members which will have similar information to what is on the website, but not in as great detail. We encourage all residents to utilize the site as much as possible and give us feedback on how we can make it better.
I wanted to talk about the two major issues that seem to be on our members mind, the lawsuit with one of our members and the HOA dues. In regards to the lawsuit, when the new board looked at the history of the suit, who was involved in the decisions to move the lawsuit forward and the actual decisions of the board, we had some concerns. There were several parties that appeared to have a vested interest in moving the suit forward. Because of these concerns, the board felt it was prudent to hire an independent firm that was not only familiar with HOA issues and HOA law but had no vested interest in the success of lawsuit. We hired the law firm of Lippincott Phelan Veidt, PLLC to review all aspects of the suit and advise us in moving forward. After reviewing the HOA’s standing, liability and merits of the case, they strongly advised the HOA to settle the lawsuit in the most expedient way possible. I’m happy to report we are well on our way to settling this suit and hope to have it resolved in the near future.
Because of this suit, and on advice of our new counsel, the board will be bringing to the neighborhood proposed changes to the way the Architectural Committee is comprised and conducts business. These changes will include changing the makeup of the committee so that all sections of Granada are represented as well as establishing oversight of the Architectural Committee which would guarantee every resident a process to appeal decisions. These changes will need to be voted on and approved before taking effect, and the board will hold open meeting to discuss any proposed changes and answer any questions.
It is the official end of the dues paying season (technically Jan 1 through May 31). HOA dues are used for maintaining the public areas of the neighborhood, including the front entrance and the park. As you can see, much improvements were made to the park recently which have enhanced all of our property values. HOA dues also help us organize community events, pay for common area utilities (i.e. streetlights) and general insurance and communication services. Actually quite a bargain vs. what your friends and relatives are paying in their communities. So please, if you have not yet paid, use the enclosed form to pay with a check (drop off in our HOA mailbox at the SW corner of the park) and help keep our finances solid and our community vibrant.
In July of 2014 there was a vote taken at the general membership meeting to raise the HOA’s dues from $96.00 to $120.00 a year. Unfortunately, there is no documentation stating how many members were at the meeting, how many members voted yes or no to the raise the dues or who, if any, abstained. Since we are unable to verify the vote was in conformity with the by law requirements, the board cannot certify the dues were correctly raised to $120.00. As a result, member HOA dues are still $96.00 a year. For those of you paid the $120.00, the board will gladly reimburse you the $24.00 if you want a refund. If you want a refund, please contact any of the board members and we will see you are refunded your dues. Otherwise, the $24.00 can be applied as a discount on next years’ dues, or you could donate the extra $24.00 to the HOA. If you want the discount on next years’ dues, please remind us when paying your 2016 dues so we can credit your account accordingly. For those of you or your spouses who are 65 years young, the board is capping your dues at $96.00 on the year you turned 65 and every year thereafter. Please contact any of the board members if you fall into this category so we can give you this discount. At the July membership meeting we will be bringing up the dues question again. We will be discussing several innovative options for residents to pay their dues including having different membership plans to choose from.
In moving forward, it is this board’s intention to not only be the most transparent organization but also to set a best practice on how to conduct the members’ business. I encourage any and all of the members or potential future members of the association to contact myself or any member of the board with questions or suggestions. There is a mountain of knowledge and experience in our neighborhood and many residents have served on the HOA board or a committee of some sort. We encourage your feedback and ideas to improve the neighborhood and continue the friendly atmosphere that has defined Granada Hills in the past. We are looking to do fun and family friendly events this year such as: movies in the park, live music in the park, a Fourth of July parade with a float completion, and a chili cook off. We will need volunteers and participants to make these events a success, so please look to the website and inside this newsletter for more details. Once again, thank you for the opportunity to serve the neighborhood and I look forward to meeting and getting to know as many of you as I can.