The following post submitted by SOA Board candidate Terry Retter
When I was elected two years ago, I had stated that I wanted to improve communications throughout the community, assure more consistency regarding community standards and update our controlling documents. Much progress has been achieved over the last two years but there are still improvements needed.
The conflicts that existed two years ago are for the most part gone. We have regular discussions with all the sub-associations where suggestions can be exchanged, and issues resolved before they become problems. Our information distribution to the community has been improved a great deal with expansion of Somersett Living, the growth of the periodic email — Somersett Happenings and the improvement of the Somersett web site.
Through my “Terry Talks” I was able to identify several areas of concern and facilitated changes which were included in the revisions made to the Aesthetic Guidelines that were approved in September and go into effect at the start of the year. Not only were changes for string lighting and sheds incorporated but many other small change requests were made easier to implement and less expensive to process. In addition, changes in the notification process from the AGC were adopted, so when submittals are not approved specific reasons are provided.
Finance and Budgets
Financial strength and stability are the backbone for a strong community. Over the last two years the problems caused but unanticipated events have been addressed such that cash and reserve issues of two years ago are resolved. Further, plans are evolving to more rapidly address the debt concerns that developed with the acquisition of the golf course land and water rights. And this is being accomplished while keeping assessments from rising inordinately (no increase this year).
The board approved the modifications to the Article of Incorporation and ByLaws and these will now be put to the homeowners for approval. The updates to these two documents clear up many administrative issues and set the foundation for the next 10 plus years.
The next iteration of the web site improvement is underway, and the rollout of this upgrade is expected in January. The revision will provide more ease of use features, more robust access and search of all Somersett documents, increased functionality for event and amenity scheduling and reservations and a robust platform for feature additions such as surveys, problem reporting and others. There will also be content expansion with more articles in both Somersett Living and Happenings including input from the SGCC.
I anticipate restarting the “Terry Talks” in January starting with Zoom and moving toward physical meetings when allowed. The continuing direct input from homeowners goes a long way in influencing the actions of the committees and the board. The discussions are essential to my commitment to the community so I can properly represent their interests.
The revised Aesthetic Guidelines will be distributed along with the election ballots in October. But this is just the first step in providing information to homeowners regarding requesting and implementing changes. Many change requests in the past had to proceed through a multistep process. Now these are handled by a quick review and approval. The redundancies between Sierra Canyon’s ARC and the AGC have been eliminated. More complex change requests still need to be reviewed for consistency however, this process is expedited as much as possible and specific information is returned when issues arise. The intent of these changes is to make it easier to get requests processed and more expeditious to get problems resolved.
Finance and Budgets
While our finances are good today there are three things that we are anxious about: most of our core infrastructure is more than 15 years old and will need to be replaced, so we are closely watching reserve levels; our day to day operating costs continue to increase as the demand for services increase, so we are watching our income and expenses closely; and we have increasing requirements for expanded amenities, so we are trying to reduce our debt and are looking for alternative sources of capital. There has been a lot of progress made in the last year in all three of these areas, but constant attention is still needed.
While we have two of the key documents being submitted for approval this year, a key document that needs further effort is the CC&RS. There are multiple areas of change that need evaluation and in some cases negotiation. There remain a few sections where the original developer still has rights that may conflict with the intended direction of the SOA. Negotiation with the developer to determine what changes would be allowed and which ones would not have been started but deferred until next year. A second concern has to do with an accurate property description and associated easements. These will require a bit of investigation to finalize the documentation needed for this document.
So, I believe I have more work to do for our community and need your vote in order to complete these tasks.
This year I have participated with the AGC Committee, the Finance and Strategy Committee and the Communications Committee. We have seen improvement in the interaction among these committees. This needs to be expanded such that a strategic plan is evolved that sets goals for amenity improvements, more effective use of existing facilities, increased events, social activities and such, and more efficient processes for managing and administering everything. Then this plan should be coordinated throughout the community to obtain resonance with its goals and to gather modifications as Somersett continues to mature.
Somersett is a thriving and diverse community with variety in demographics, interests, and expectations. Thus, it is only through continuing improved communications and planning that we will be able to discern what the more essential actions should be for now and into the future.
I believe I have demonstrated that I do communicate effectively with people and I do translate that into improved activities by our committees and the board. I need another year or so to finish the tasks that were started over the last months.
Thus, I need your vote.