The Pains Of Community
Last night's meeting was attended by Brandi Leal, our PCMI manager, Sarah Hudson, who also works with PCMI, Roy Hailey, our POA attorney, and Linda Houston and Rick Gadd, two of our non-resident board members. Not in attendance were Bliss Roberts and Greg Grant, our two resident board members. As always, Al Brende wasn't there, either. Has anyone actually ever seen him? I've been to several of the POA events in the last year and he never shows up. In the cheap seats out of front of them were about 44 residents, give or take a few.
The most important news: The POA is still broke. So far this year, we've spent just over a million dollars. There's $44K left in the operating account. I sincerely hope much of the expenses for the year are paid upfront, or else there's a problem. My math suggests our burn rate is right at $112,800 a month. As a side note, that seems a trifle excessive. In any event, $44K isn't enough to cover three months at that rate.
The attorney explained (again) what is being done to collect the money we're owed by delinquent builders and homeowners. Unfortunately, you simply can't get blood from a stone. If the entity in question does not have money, you can't get it from them no matter how many nasty letters you send. Having said that, the POA is foreclosing on 32 houses in the next two months. As builders sell properties, they are paying the POA the past due amounts. I guess if you want the POA to be current, you should be extolling the virtues of our humble community to everyone you meet. Push that real estate, folks!
We are going to go overbudget paying for the constables who spend 4 hours wandering aimlessly through our subdivision. So far we've spent $31K of the $35K budgeted for the year. The more numerically inclined among you can see that's not going to work. Given we're so broke, why we continue to pay for a Constable to do... do... okay, I'll be honest. I have no idea what the hell the constables do for their 4 hours in the subdivision besides hang out at the Splash Pad scoping out MILFs. Since the Pad is closed for the fall, they won't be doing even that. I know they're not enforcing traffic laws. I'm sorry, but giving the more scatter-brained among us a warm fuzzy feeling when they see a police car just isn't worth $35K.
On that note, we pay $160K a year for the guards at the front gate. That's guard service alone, not any of the infrastructure to support the guards. I have no idea if that's excessive or not.
So,the next topic of conversation was the pool hours. Let me be upfront with you: I don't care. I don't go to the pool. I don't know what the hours were. I barely read what the proposed hours are. Some of you, quite obviously, care a whole lot. In fact, I get the impression that one or two of you could give a rat's ass about anything other than making sure the pool will be open when you want to swim. Here's an observation: the pool hours are always going to be one of the first things to get axed when the POA goes broke because pool hours are one of the few discretionary items in the budget . Again, other than my desire to not see my assessment increase and to see the POA remain solvent, I don't care. Fight amongst yourselves about when the pool stays open and get back with me.
Anyhow, if you really like to swim, the pool will be open from 5AM to 10Am throughout the fall for you to swim at your own risk. I note, however, that the pool is not heated. It's going to be a wee bit chilly come January. Having owned a pool until recently, and having had to jump in it in January, I can verify this from personal experience. I ain't that hardcore. More power to you if you are. Go sign the waiver at the clubhouse and get on with yo' bad self.
After finances and pool hours was the best part of the meeting: Open Forum. Some of what I have mentioned above actually came out in the Open Forum. You know what an open forum at a POA meeting is? It's an opportunity to bitch. Whee! Or, for those of us who don't really have any complaints, it's an opportunity to see what everybody else is complaining about this month.
First up is the most annoying complaint: Spring Trails property values are apparently higher than ours. Let me be the first to say: so fucking what? Don't come to the meeting and complain about a fact. This is like coming to the meeting and complaining that Riley Fuzzel is only two lanes past Rayford. Yeah, and your point would be? There's nothing the POA Board, or anybody else, can do to magically make property values in Legends Ranch increase. A quick run through some of the builder websites and the properties for sale at Spring Trails tells me houses start out priced higher in that subdivision. I can buy a similarly sized home in Spring Trails for $100K more than I can buy one in Legends Ranch. Of course they're gonna be worth more on resale! They were worth more in the first place. If it offends you that much, (and since this is the second meeting I've heard this complaint, it must), sell your house and move to Spring Trails. Quit complaining about the real estate market. It's not susceptible to change by the POA Board no matter how much you bitch about it.
There was also an amazing amount of discussion about how other people keep their lawn. I'm sure none of the good citizens in attendance ever get letters about their lawn care. Well, except for me and the guy that admitted he gets them. Not being at all anal-retentive about lawn care, I just can't get fired up over this issue like some of y'all do. Having looked over the deed restrictions carefully, I'm willing to bet money a large number of residents are in violation of the landscaping guidelines and don't even know it. I'm equally as willing to bet Brandi isn't checking for some of the things in the deed restrictions. It seems to me if you keep your lawn mowed, nobody cares. Well, that's not entirely true, but it's a good rule of thumb. Some of your neighbors care a whole lot about the way you keep your lawn. Some people apparently don't have a lot to do except find fault with their neighbors.
While we're on the subject of lawn care, let's discuss untended builder lots. The POA is not going to force mow the builder lots and homes. I know some of you will be unhappy, but it's the right decision. If the POA force mows, the lawn service has to be paid. Remember the part above about the POA being broke? Yes, the money can eventually be recovered when the property sells. But in the meantime, the POA is out the money, and with things as tight as they are, that's not an optimal situation. The POA can't afford to kick out $17K once a month to force mow and wait some indefinite period to get the money back.
The traffic light at the front entrance came up again. We're on the list and have a nice day. After the goatfuck that was the traffic petition, the Commissioners' Court isn't inclined to do any favors for us. So someday, we'll get a traffic light out there. One person in attendance thought the way to get the traffic light was to call and complain to the Commissioners. Hmm. Maybe I'm missing the subtle nuances of the political process, but isn't BS like that what got them pissed off at the subdivision in the first place? I'm thinking continuing to antagonize the Court isn't likely to win us friends at the county. We may want them to think kindly of us at some point.
Some enterprising soul also asked about speed bumps. Apparently, speed bumps are in the budget for next year. These will not be the cheesy little bolted POS ones, either. Brandi is talking full on strips of asphalt and everything. Now I'll have to go back and look, but I seem to recall the survey on speed bumps from one of the community newsletters came back with a resounding NO. If that's the case, why are we going to spend money on something the residents don't want?
There were more complaints and blather, but at some point I had enough and left. Frankly, listening to people bitch about mind-bogglingly trivial bullshit gets old fast for me. Shockingly, I'm not a customer service kind of guy. Instead, I'd like to propose a good rule of thumb for these meetings. I know everybody thinks their problem is the most important one in the whole world. Surprisingly, the rest of us don't much care about your petty individual problem. If your issue doesn't affect a significant portion of the rest of the community, a town hall meeting probably isn't the time and place to bring it up. Brandi and the rest of the Board have contact info posted on the official website. Call or email them and bitch instead of airing your personal problems in front of the rest of us.