“Time to Say Goodby”

It is with some remorse that after ten years, I have chosen to take down the SomersettUnited website. Our long-time followers will recall that it was originally launched in March of 2012 when there were limited communications from and significant concerns with the actions of the Developer controlled Board, some of which continued under subsequent Owner Boards. In response, SomersettUnited was launched with the following mission:

  • To be proactive in supporting initiatives that we believed to be in the best interest of Somersett owners and opposing those we felt not.
  • Provide a place where important issues are posted and open for comment.
  • Establish an open forum for all Somersett owners to voice their opinions and become involved in community affairs.

In doing so along the way we made many friends, and perhaps a few enemies, with our reporting and editorializing. Be that as it may, with the passage of time, our community has evolved (i.e., settled down) with fewer controversies along with much improved Association communications. This via the Association website and email newsletters, which we encourage all our readers to access and sign up for. Obviously, owner issues with Board actions will continue to exist, but we will now leave that to be addressed in other venues.

SU will be forever grateful to our many followers and contributors (both pro and con), who made this website successful. Also, to those Association staff members (too many to list) who, willingly or not, always responded to my many questions and requests.

Although I will miss reporting on community affairs, I believe it is time to move on to other endeavors.

Again, thanks to all for your support over the years

Jim Haar
SomersettUnited Editor

A New Years Message from SomersettUnited

new year 3

Time to leave behind whatever joys or sorrows 2021 may have brought us, and welcome in the new year with a smile and a new beginning. To quote T. S. Eliot:

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language, and next year’s words await another voice”

Here’s wishing all of you a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!

somersett United

 

2021 SOA BOD Elections and Budget Ratification

election results 2

The Somersett Owners Association (SOA) Annual Homeowner Meeting was held at The Club at Town Center on Monday, November 15th, and contained the following two agenda items: 1) Board of Director (BOD) Elections and 2) 2022 Budget Ratification.

BOD Elections

Four candidates were running for the two open BOD positions previously held Simon Baker, who is moving out of Somersett, and Craig Hanson, who had previously resigned his position. Ballots were opened at the Meeting with the resulting vote counts:

Anna Olea-Moger  –  605
Clint Maples  –  512
Pete Platt  –  266
Barney Siri  –  124

As the two highest vote getters, congratulations to Anna Olea-Moger and Clint Maples on their election to the Board. Also, kudos to Pete Platt and Barney Siri for their unselfish interest in serving the Community. The new Board met subsequent to the election and selected the following to serve as Officers:

President: Mark Capalongan (continues to serve in this position)
Secretary: William O’Donnell (continues to serve in this position)
Treasurer: Clint Maples (replaces outgoing member Simon Baker in this position)
Vice Presidents: Jacob Williams and Anna Olea-Moger

Approximately 810 ballots from eligible Association members were received, which only represent about 25% of the total. Therefore, it appears that the BOD elections continue to not be a high priority for most owners, with 2021 being even lower than in past years, which were in the 30%-35% range.

2021  Budget Ratification

With regard to ratification of the 2022 Budget, this is just a formality, as rejection by owners is next to impossible to accomplish. To understand this, the reader is referred to the following provision of the SOA’s CC&R’s:

Article II, Section 6. Budget. The Board shall adopt a proposed budget for each calendar year based on the projected common expenses of the Association, which shall include a reasonable reserve, Within thirty (30) days after adoption of any proposed budget for the Association, the Board shall provide a summary of the budget to the Owners, and shall set a date for a meeting of the Owners to consider ratification of the budget not less than fourteen (14) nor more than thirty days after mailing of the summary. Unless at that meeting seventy-five percent (75%) of all voting power of Owners rejects the budget, the budget is ratified, whether or not a quorum is present. If the proposed budget is rejected, the periodic budget last ratified by the Owners must be continued until such time as the Owners ratify a subsequent budget proposed by the Board.

Still Have Your BOD Ballot?

Vote 5

If you have not yet submitted your ballot for the Somersett Owners Association (SOA) Board of Director elections, you have only three days remaining to do so. All ballots must be received no later than 1:00 PM on Monday, November 15th at The Club at Town Center (TCTC).  If you have not yet submitted your ballot, suggest you deposit it the Ballot Box at TCTC, as it is too late to rely on US Mail.

Ballots will be counted and results announced at the November 15th Annual Owners Meeting at TCTC starting at 4:00 PM, which will have only two agenda items: 1) Ballot counting and election results and 2) Ratification of the 2022 Budget, which is basically automatic given it would take a vote of 75% of all owners present at the meeting  or with proxies to reject it.

October 27th SOA Board Meeting Recap

recap 1

Following is a summary of discussions and actions taken by the Board at the October 27th Somersett Owners Association (SOA) Special Board Meeting. The complete Meeting Agenda may be accessed below. For background information on some of the agenda items see  SU’s previous post of October 25, 2021 entitled:   “October 27th SOA Board Meeting Info”.

October 27, 2021 Board Meeting Agenda

A summary of Board actions/discussions on agenda items follow. Readers interested in the complete proceedings may access the following Zoom Video Conference recording link:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1r-IZjnRAKs8wdkk7wqFqQUi0Rddh8VM3/view?usp=sharing

2.  Homeowner Comments on Agenda Items:

  • Per Agenda Item 3.f, the Technology Advisory Committee requested Board approval for the expenditure of $197K for the purchase of security gate cameras and associated equipment from Pacific States Communications. A Homeowner suggested that this action is premature based on: 1) A Nevada Law that states purchases of this size require the solicitation of competitive bids to be opened at a Board Meeting and this action has not been performed; 2) the Technology Committee report identified several unresolved issues associated with the project, and given this project in not time sensitive, why not resolve them before the authorization of funds; 3) This total project will most likely deplete the “Gate Equipment” reserves, how will hey be made up?
  • With regard to item 3.c, “Acceptance of Streets and Gates from The Cliffs”, an owner questioned if the Board has considered the posting of a five year performance bond from Toll Brothers? Also under item 3.g., “Agreement for Comprehensive Landscaping Services”, will this include vendor services for an aggressive fire fuel abatement program, and addressed the need for such.  Board response was: 1) Toll Brothers has a common area performance bond with City and the SOA will not require a separate bond: 2) The Landscape contractor will have some responsibilities regarding incidental clean-up of fire fuel, but the SOA will employ a separate vendor for more aggressive clean-up, and this is covered under a separate budget item.

3.  Special Meeting Items:

3.a.  Review and Approve Policy Regarding late Fees  –  There was a concern that, due to the SOA’s transition to a different accounting system, some delays may be inadvertently encountered requiring an amendment to the SOA policy on collection of late fees.  Review concluded a change was not required.

3.b.  Transition Update  –  The SOA’s soon to be Community Manager, Nancy Kerry, provided her usual update, indicated everything was in place for the November 1st management turnover from FirstServices Residential and summarized how we got here. Some Board members also offered their comments. If interested in the details, the reader is referred to the video recording referenced above.

3.c. Discussion, Legal Analysis, and Acceptance of Streets and Gates of the Cliffs Subdivision from Toll Brothers –  Toll Brothers has demanded that the SOA accept turnover of “The Cliffs” Streets and Gates no later than November 1, 2021 or face litigation via the Courts. It had previously been the Boards position not to accept turnover of partial common area parcels but to wait until turnover of all common areas from the Developer. Upon consultation with the SOA attorney it was determined that, to avoid expensive litigation , the SOA accept turnover subject to stringent conditions. These being the following: 1) Acceptance of the SOA’s Policy on turnover of common areas from Developers; 2) Completion of the  “punch list” items identified by the SOA Engineer; 3) Indemnification against any damage caused by Toll Brothers construction traffic; and 4) Recognition that acceptance of the Streets and Gates does not compromise any of the SOA’s rights with regard to acceptance of future common area turnovers (e.g., hillsides and ditches).  With regard to these conditions: 1) Generation of a  turnover policy was required, which was prepared by the SOA Attorney and approved by the Board;  2) The SOA punch list was given to Toll Brothers who will be working on them; 3) Toll Brothers had already proposed an indemnification provision; and 4) Toll brothers, in a letter to the Board, has acknowledged continued responsibly for the balance of the common areas. It is anticipated that Toll Brothers will agree to the SOA conditions, upon which the Board voted to accept responsibility (turnover) for The Cliffs Streets and Gates. The provisions of the “Turnover Policy” were read at the meeting. The reader is referred to the video recording referenced above for details.

3.d.  Review and Approval of Holiday Lighting  –  The Board accepted the Lawn Express proposal  for SOA Holiday Lighting at $24,500, which was competitive to BrightView’s $23,296 and Sierra Christmas Lights $80,700. Lawn Express was also selected based on their past performance as the SOA’s Holiday Lighting vendor.  Given that this amount was significantly higher than the previous year (i.e., $15,600), Board member Jacob Williams volunteered to see if he could negotiate a lower price with Lawn Express. (Note: Subsequent to the  meeting, Jacob met with Lawn Express and negotiated a price of $17,600 – kudos to Jacob)

3.f.  Review and Approve Security Camera, Phone System and Gate Proposals:

In June the Board opened three proposals for security camera additions and upgrades for the Town Center. This included both indoor (TCTC) and outdoor cameras. Quotes ranged from $45.8K to $67.5K. The Board referred these to the newly formed Technology Review Committee for evaluation. The Committees recommendation was to proceed with the Pacific States Communications proposal at $57K.  In their evaluation, the Committee also looked at the security gate camera systems, knowing that these were also in need of upgrading, and whatever decisions were made, it did not make sense to go with two different vendors with two different technologies. Hence the request for the approval of the $197K for a compatible Pacific States solution for the fifteen SOA security gates, which the Board could not act on at this time due to process constraints.

After much discussion on these agenda items, which primarily centered on the complexity associated with the Gates camera, access and communication systems, the Board approved the following:

      • The Pacific States proposal ($57K) for upgrading the Town Center camera system.
      • $15K for a “Demonstration System” using the Pacific States solutions to be implemented at one of the SOA’s security gates.
      • Switching from a month to month to a yearly contract with ATT for gate communication lines, which reportedly will save the Association approximately $20K/year.
      • A new Phone System for TCTC  at a $600 one time fee and $357/month,  a savings over the current system.

3.g.  Review and Approval of Agreement for Comprehensive Landscaping Services – The Board unanimously approved using Reliance Grounds Management (i.e., over BrightView and Reno Green) as the SOA’s new landscape contractor.  In doing so each Board member commented on his reasons for doing so. Reliance was also the low bidder based on the following price evaluations: Reliance – $1.5M, BrightView – $1.6M and Reno Green – $1.8M.

3.h.  Personnel Policy for Cell Phones and Mileage –  The Board adopted a new Policy relating to employee use of personal cell phones and autos in conducting SOA business. This policy allotted phone reimbursement at $75/month for salaried employees and 65% of actual not to exceed $75/month for non-salaried. Mileage reimbursement to be at the federal rate established by the IRS.

4.   Homeowner Comments on any Topic:

  • A Homeowner commented on: 1) The need for and if Lawn Express would be using licensed electricians to oversee the installation of the proposed Holiday Lighting, 2) Does turnover of The Cliffs Gates include a compatible camera system to be installed by Toll Brothers and 3) Sierra Canyon landscape issues related to their own landscape contractor.
  • A Homeowner brought to the Boards attention the hillside erosions and street debris encountered at The Cliffs as a result of the recent storm, and wanted to emphasize there are still runoff and street issues within the Development.

Who to Vote For?

vote 2

Somersett owners have either received or will soon be receiving their ballots to vote for the two open positions on the SOA Board of Directors. Four candidates have thrown their hat into the ring, none of which are incumbents. These are : Clint Maples, Anna Olea Moger, Pete Platt, and Barney Siri. Clicking on the forgoing names will link to the individual candidate statements.

The question is, what are you looking for in a Board Director?  Financial expertise? Prior HOA Board service? Management experience? Diversity? Sub Association affiliation? Active in community affairs? Other reasons?

Many of these aspects were addressed at the October 26th Candidate Night Meeting held at TCTC. which was accessible either in person or by Zoom Video Conference. Between the two venues there were about 70 participants. Not a very good turnout, at least in SU’s opinion!

However, if you were not able to attend either, and want to hear candidate responses to questions posed by the Communication Committee, participating owner questions, as well as their individual statements, the session was video taped and is available for viewing via the following link:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1J4hOKUlkv2lzpToZLwE2j0s1078ChkPD/view

Note:  If you have trouble with the above link it is also available on the SOA website (www.somersett.org) via the “SOA Board & Committees/2021 Candidates for the SOA Board” page links.

The prepared questions asked of each candidate by the Communication Committee were as follows, interpretation of responses is left to the listeners of the video. Note that these were given to the Candidates in advance, so they had ample time to prepare their answers.

  1. What did you do to PREPARE for this meeting and for and a future Board position? Did you attend Committee, Board or other Meetings? What did you observe or learn?
  2. Do you have the TIME to devote to being a Board member? With the transition to self/internal management, there may be a higher demand on your time for the first half of 2022. Does your calendar or travel schedule allow you to devote the time necessary?
  3. What is the RELATIONSHIP between the Board and Residents? Who is in charge? With the establishment of internal/self-management which will handle day to day operational issues, what do you see as the ongoing/future ROLE of the Board?
  4. What is your personal COMMUNICATION and MANAGEMENT style? Tell us how you listen & respond, pitch your point of view and resolve differences. How will you interact with the current Board?
  5. What are your comments about the BUDGET AND RESERVE STUDY? Dues, major expenses, etc.
  6. The current Board has changed the way it enforces COMPLIANCE with Somersett’s Architectural Guidelines (building and landscaping.) Instead of curt letters, notices and fines, the Board prefers direct and personal communication with homeowners about non-compliance issues. What is your approach?
  7. The current Board is reviewing the landscape contract for Somersett. Landscaping is an important and expensive item. What are your ideas about Somersett LANDSCAPING?
  8. On what COMMITTEES would you like to serve and why?

In addition to the canned questions, at the end of the formal session, participating owners were able to ask their own. These addressed the following topics:

  • New responsibilities and duties as an employeer
  • HOA Board experience
  • Safety and security
  • Green energy initiatives
  • Employee replacement plans
  • Risks/Benefits of self management
  • Position on when to increase dues
  • Willingness to serve on Committees if not elected
  • Common area infrastructure replacements

In addition to the Candidate Night video, what other sources of information are available to assist owners in making up their mind? Obviously the ballot mailing candidate statements referenced above, talking to friends and neighbors to gain their perspectives, perhaps social medial like the “Somersett Nextdoor” website (if you can navigate through the dialogs).

With regard to social media, SU has chosen not to endorse any of the Candidates, feeling they are all qualified to serve and will leave that to others. However,  for those of you who want to voice your support for or endorse a particular candidate or candidates on this website,  your comments are always welcome. This includes postings or comments from our Candidates as well.

SOA October 27th Board Meeting Info

More Info

The Board Meeting Packet for the October 27th Special Board meeting is now available on the SOA website (www.somersett.org) and may be accessed via the “SOA Board & Committees/Board Documents/2021” page links (log-in required). It contains the following pertinent information for the referenced agenda items: (Note: See SU’s previous post “October 27th SOA Special Board Meeting” for a complete listing of agenda items.

3. c. Discussion, Legal Analysis, and Acceptance of Streets and Gates of the Cliffs Subdivision from Toll Brothers – Toll Brothers is demanding that the SOA accept transfer of “The Cliffs” streets and gates no later than November 1, 2021. If not , “Toll intends to file an action for declaratory, injunctive, and monetary relief in the Second Judicial District Court of Nevada”. The Board packet contains two letters from Toll brothers substantiating their position that the SOA is obligated to accept such transfer. They also claim that: “Toll, as the owner of several lots in The Cliffs, has paid a total of $325,168 in assessments to Somersett for the maintenance of the streets and gates since January even though Somersett has not accepted any responsibility for the streets or gates, much less their maintenance. Toll has further incurred at least $67,000 in snow removal costs and gate maintenance during that time”. It will be interesting to see what our legal staff has to say!  Much less the Board who has a policy of avoiding litigation.

3.c. Review and Approval of Holiday Lighting – The Board had apparently solicited bids for Holiday lighting for the: 1) Entry Cottage, 2) Clubhouse & Trees, 3) Verdi Entrance & Trees, and 4) Parkway Roundabouts & Trees. In response, the Board Packet contained the following bids:

  • BrightView – $23,296
  • Lawn Express – $4,500 (assumes decorations are provided by the SOA)
  • Sierra Christmas Lights – $80,700

Makes you wonder what they were all bidding on! Last year the Board approved a similar proposal from Lawn Express for $15,600. (did the SOA keep the decorations?). Also, the Board previously approved $10,000 for TCTC Holiday lighting, where does this fit in?

3. f. Review and Approve Security Camera, Phone System, Gate and Gate Access Control Proposal – The Board Meeting Packet contains numerous vendor quotes related to the following:

  • Security Cameras – A PacStates quote for $197K (recommended by the Technology Advisory Committee). Plus four other quotes ranging from $44K to $74K. It was not clear how these relate to the $197K PacStates quote.
  • Server Upgrade – quotes ranging from $10K to $21K. Again not clear how these fit together.
  • Phone System – $600 one time fee, $357/month
  • Point of Sale Equipment – $1.4K

SU suspects the Board (and readers) will have a difficult time assessing all these vendor quotes and how, if at all, they fit together. Hopefully the Technology Advisory Committee will sort things out!

3.g. Review and Approval of Agreement for Comprehensive Landscaping Services –  For those interested in the details, the Board Packet contains the three bid packages received from BrightView, Reno Green and Reliance Grounds Management, wherein the prices ranged from $1.25M to $2.27M annually. It is expected that the Finance Committee will be making a recommendation to the Board.

Correction to SU Post “Meet the Candidates Reminder”

oops

SU has been advised that the Board if Director Ballot mailings, originally scheduled for mid-October, have been delayed in order to include the Budget Mailer Package as well, thereby saving the Association considerable mailing fees.  SU apologizes for the misleading statement, “ Owners should have received their Ballot package by now containing the Candidate Statements”, that was contained in our previous post.  Mailings should occur within the next few days, as per Nevada law they must be mailed at least 15 days prior to the final submittal date. This being November 15th at 1:00 PM, the date of the Annual Owners meeting.  Two items will be accomplished at the November 15th meeting, 1) ratification of the 2022 Budget, and 2) the counting of the BOD Ballots and announcement of the winning candidates.

Meet the Candidates Reminder

Reminder

A  reminder that the “Meet the Candidates Night” will be held tomorrow night, October 26th, at The Club at Town Center from 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM.

There are four candidates (Cliff Maples, Anna Olea Moger, Pete Platt and Barney Siri) running for the two open Board positions vacated by Craig Hanson and Simon Baker. Owners should have received their Ballot package by now containing the Candidate Statements’.  If not these may be accessed  via the following links:

Clint Maples Candidate Statement and Resume

Anna Olea Moger Candidate Statement and Resume

Pete Platt Candidate Statement and Resume

Barney Siri Candidate Statement

Candidates will be asked a series of relevant questions prepared by the Communications Committee, along with their own opening and closing statements. Time will also be allotted for responding to questions posed by attendees. For those who cannot attend in person, this session will also  be available to via the following Zoom Video Conferencing link:

https://us06web.zoom.us/j/87458505325?pwd=Q2phaWJLeDIyNGJkUTFWbklvZkllUT09

Meeting ID: 874 5850 5325       Passcode: 202993       Dial in: +1 720 707 2699