Hilltop Homeowners Association
Annual Homeowner Meeting Minutes

  Date: December 4, 2018
Held at: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
The meeting was called to order by Keith Miller, President at 7:00 PM
Present were Board members: Keith Miller, Jeffrey Butch, Bonnie Benjamin, Janet Havner, and John Cantwell.
Also present were: Adam Westgate, Property Manager, Scott Sterner, Hilltop Accountant, and Keely Brady, Esq., Hilltop Attorney

Minutes taken by Property Manager, Adam Westgate

1. Updates

 1. Keith Miller led an introduction to the meeting: He welcomed all Hilltop Homeowners, recognized owners with previous service, and provided an overview of new developments on the Hilltop Bylaws and Rules and Regulations. Keith recognized Board member Bonnie Benjamin for her excellent work in 2018.

 2. Architecture Report by Adam Westgate

   1. Adam made a point that any homeowner can call or email him privately if they have any questions.
  2. Any exterior alterations, repairs or changes need to be approved by the Architecture Committee. This includes decks, doors, windows, light fixtures etc. If such changes are not approved, the Association can ask to have them removed or restored to the original condition. Part of the reason we do this, is to help ensure that the right color and style to match surrounding units is being used. This could ultimately save the owner time and money by going through the process correctly the first time.
  3. Adam will keep everyone updated on Painting and Staining in 2019. Now is a great time to complete any repairs prior to scheduled painting in the Spring. Adam pointed out that it is the Homeowner’s responsibility to remove any furniture, planters or other furnishings from courtyards or decks prior to scheduled work. The contractors are not responsible for moving or relocating the above items during or between painting sessions. If the owner interferes in or causes delays in the process, they will have to pay the painter personally to come back and complete the job. The Association has a set contract and cannot increase the scope of services or make special arrangements.
  4. Roof leaks and gutters are becoming more frequent and we are searching for a person who can be on-call to inspect roofs, gutters, and chimneys to determine the cause of damages and estimate repairs. The Association only covers damaged caused by normal wear and tear and not by wind, ice or other storm related damage. The homeowner should contact their insurance as the first line of defense for these issues.

3. Compliance Report by Jeff Butch

  1. Jeff expressed a positive outlook on Hilltop and progress with compliance. He stressed the importance of maintaining home values and keeping Hilltop a desirable neighborhood to live in now and in the future. He reported that approximately 94 compliance letters were sent out in 2019. If any homeowners would like to report a violation, please contact Jeff Butch or Adam Westgate to report a violation. The report must include a description of the alleged violation and the address where it has occurred. If this information is not provided, the report cannot be acted upon. Hilltop appreciates everyone’s collective efforts in improving the neighborhood.

4. Landscape Report by Adam Westgate

  1. Adam again emphasized that any landscape alterations, changes, or repairs need to be approved by the Association, and specifically the Landscape Committee.
  2. Adam felt that ZJs did a good job overall in 2018 and that he has a good working relationship with Johnny King. However, ZJs contract ends at the end of 2019. Adam and the Board will research other options.
  3. Common and ongoing complaints with ZJs continue to be: Not sharpening blades and mowing when grass is wet or dry leading to lawn damage.
  4. Adam addressed the complaints about lawn treatments performed by Tomlinson Bomberger. The complaints were mainly in regards to Nutsedge, Crabgrass, and not receiving notification or signage prior to treatments.
  5. At the Direction of the Board of Directors, Adam spoke to Clark Tomlinson about resolving the above issues. Clark Tomlinson agreed that these issues can be resolved in 2019 and signage and notice will be provided. The contract for 2019 was renegotiated with the complete cooperation of Clark Tomlinson, to specifically address and resolve the issues we had in 2018.
  6. Adam explained that weed growth in sidewalks and curbing is not part of any Hilltop contracts. ZJs provided an estimate of approximately $2,000.00 per treatment to spray all sidewalks and curbing but the Board has not yet made a decision or added it to the budget.

5. Media and Hospitality Report by Keith Miller

  1. Keith Miller explained the failures of Boyd Wilson including a portal for correspondence. He expressed the importance of finding a chair in 2019 that can assist with the planning of the annual yard sale and the drafting and mailing of Hilltop Newsletters. Keith stated that we are in the process of recreating the website in WordPress to fix security issues.

6. Financial Committee Report, given by Scott Sterner, Hilltop accountant and Bonnie Benjamin, Hilltop Treasurer
  1. Cash: We had over $415,000 cash in our money market checking account earning almost no interest. We took $355,000, and purchased additional CDs (all 3-month maturity), for a total of $455,000 in CDs in our Reserve Fund. This short duration will give us time to evaluate the best place and manner of investing for a longer term in January, 2019 at the first Board meeting.
  2. Collections: Since December 2017, we have gone from $24,000 in past due monthly maintenance fees (mostly due to bankruptcies and sheriff’s sales) to $5,387 ($3,000 of which is escrow for a recent sheriff’s sale and the balance is a collection action). We had to write off $8,000 this year, because of a bankruptcy and sheriff’s sale. Our current system of collection letters has been very successful in keeping people up to date with payments.
  3. Monthly maintenance fees for 2019 – as you may have seen on the payment coupons (optional, for your convenience only) that were in the packet you received just before the meeting, the monthly fee is $131 for 2019. (See later comments on Reserve study and maintenance needs).
  4. All excess income beyond what is needed for operating expenses is put into our Reserve Fund for future maintenance.
  5. Reserve Study:
Bonnie Benjamin, Treasurer, presented a detailed report on the results of the Reserve Study commissioned by the Board on the advice of our attorney Keely Brady, of Brady and Cissne, LLC. Following is a brief synopsis:
A Reserve Study was performed by a specially licensed and trained engineering firm (Yingst, Engineers & Associates, Inc.) that specializes in helping organizations such as Hilltop budget for future replacement of major items like roofs by looking at current conditions, projected useful life and cost to replace at the end of the useful life over the next 20 years. The engineering firm works WITH the Board, and our attorneys, if necessary, to find the best way to maintain the integrity of all Hilltop homes, while working out a reasonable funding plan.
Our Declarations are very clear that the HOA is responsible for ALL exterior maintenance and replacement. For decades, money has only been set aside for roof replacement, which was done from 2004-2008. No money has been set aside for any other maintenance, repair or replacement. Right now we have $455,000 in our Reserve Fund toward roof replacement.
Now, at 30+ years old, we need to look at the inevitable deterioration of not only roofs, but also things like siding and chimneys.
The Board received the 30-page Draft Reserve Study from Yingst Engineering last Friday, so we have not had a chance to review it in detail. Here are some of its preliminary findings and recommendations:
  Cost to replace roofs in 15 years: $1,175,000 (over a 5-year period)
  Cost to replace 350,000 sq. ft. of siding in 5 years $2,000,000 (over a 5-year period)
  Cost to replace chimney exteriors in 5 years $125,000 (over a 1-year period)
These are conservative estimates and NOT set in stone. Most residents have always believed that chimney stucco repair or replacement (or siding or gutters) was their responsibility. However, our attorneys pointed out that is in direct contradiction to what our Declarations say and, other than getting the required 90% of Hilltop owners to agree to change the Declarations, the HOA must budget for ALL these items, as well as ongoing maintenance.
If Hilltop does NOT change the Declarations and it assumes full responsibility for all the costs set out in the Reserve Study, it would increase monthly fees by $80/mo for the next 20 years, and/or we would need a special assessment.
There are various ways we can fund these projects, and your Board will be reviewing ALL aspects with Yingst Engineering and our attorneys (including what changes could be made to the Declarations IF we can get 177 out of 193 – homes – i.e. 90% – to vote “yes”). With this information the Board, with expert input, can put together some options to share with you – and all other owners – for YOUR input at one or more future meetings. Together we can work out how we will keep Hilltop in good repair for another 30 years.

7. Hilltop Attorney Presentation by Keely Brady, Esq.

  1. Keely described her company and work experience: Keely and her partner Samantha have over 12 years of combined experience in Condominium and Association Law, which is the firm’s only area of focus. More information about the company can be found here: https://www.bradycissnelaw.com/
  2. Keely explained that she works for the community at large by working with and advising the Board of Directors on all legal issues, including the Governing Documents, Rules and Regulations and collections. She emphasized that her firm does not represent any one individual or the Board, they represent ALL homeowners in Hilltop.

8. Election of New Board Members
Based on the sign-in sheets, 48 Hilltop households were represented at the meeting. There were 3 open positions on the Board and 3 people who were nominated prior to the meeting. Biographies of these people were furnished to all homeowners prior to the meeting.
The 3 people nominated were:
Bonnie Benjamin (has served 2 terms)
John Cantwell (new)
Susan Adams (new)
President, Keith Miller called for nominations from the floor and there were none. He called for discussion and there was none. Mike Freshwater (207 Winding Hill) made a motion to elect the ballot as presented, the motion was seconded, and all homeowners present voted in favor if the 3 nominees. President Keith Miller declared them elected.

The meeting was adjourned by President Keith Miller at 7:55 PM. Meeting Q and A started at 7:55 PM, Notable comments and review from Q and A:

  1. Pam Wise, 108 Winding Hill Drive, expressed concern about the use of HOA funds to rebuild the large retaining wall on Winding Hill Drive (located on private property), the upgrade in wall material from timber to block, and would all the retaining walls in Hilltop be rebuilt? The Board responded that the wall was rebuilt as an immediate safety issue, as it was originally installed by original builder, a material was selected that will not fail and should hold up for many years in the future. The Association would pay to have all builder-installed retaining walls within Hilltop that are not attached to dwelling units repaired or replaced, if necessary.
  2. Recap that all tree trimming and/or removal on homeowner private property is the responsibility of the Homeowner.
  3. Carol Zook, 103 Eagles Nest Court, expressed concern about snow removal marker stakes as a safety issue.
  4. Mark Showers, 109 Eagle Nest Court, suggested that analyzing the future repair of siding and roofing, how the Association will pay for them (increase dues), and who is responsible for replacing should be the Board’s primary focus in 2019.
  5. Mike Freshwater, 207 Winding Hill Drive, noted that Association would have to budget around $6,000.00 per year to treat weeds in curbs and sidewalks 3 times per year.
  6. Pam Wise, 108 Winding Hill Drive, expressed disappointment that the neighborhood is not in compliance and the violations submitted in September are still not resolved.
  7. Gene Mummau, 112 Treetops Drive, expressed disappointment in lawn treatments and the Board’s decision to hire Tomlinson Bamberger.
  8. Kathy Sobeck, 137 Pinnacle Point Drive, expressed disappointment that past Board member or committee members were not consulted prior to the hiring of Tomlinson Bomberger as they could offer a different perspective and expertise.
  9. Mike Freshwater, 207 Winding Hill Drive, requested that the Board should create a “Reserve Study Committee” in 2019 whose sole responsibility will be to analyze Reserve Study findings and the best way to plan for and build the proper funds in the future.
  10. Chris Bunce, 115 Pinnacle Point Drive, applauded the Board for the Reserve Study: “I fully support the need for increasing our fees and for the association to accept the responsibility of caring for our homes as outlined. It is impossible to maintain the exteriors of our homes as individuals and maintain value. We should have been paying much more during the past 30 years so this significant increase wouldn’t be necessary but it is. Thanks to everyone for biting the bullet and moving forward.”
  11. Q and A summary: In the Q&A after the meeting was adjourned, there was a great deal of support for the Board to look into changing the Declarations with the help of our attorney – who also offered input on some other areas that should be changed at the same time. A number of people offered to help the Board work toward getting the 90% approval needed to officially shift some of the maintenance and replacement costs to the homeowners, who have already been doing it for the last 30 years

Minutes Submitted and Signed By Adam Westgate:
Adam Westgate 12/4/18

General Information

For 2020, the sale will be Saturday, August 29th.  This sale is highly advertised and well attended. We have about 30 households that participate each year.
Residents:  if you are not participating, please park your cars off the street, so that we can have as much curb space as possible available to buyers!

At the Annual Homeowner’s Meeting 3 new Board members were elected for terms beginning January 2020. 

Board of Directors for Hilltop for 2020:

Jeffrey Butch – President and Hospitality Chair – 2 years remaining in term (ends Dec. 2022)

John Cantwell – Vice-President and Compliance Chair – 1 year remaining in term (ends Dec. 2021)

Bonnie Benjamin – Treasurer and Architecture Chair – 1 year remaining in term (ends Dec. 2021)

Janet Havner – Secretary and Landscape Chair – 2 years remaining in term (ends Dec. 2022)

Joe Krawizcki – Member-at-large and Finance Chair – 2 years remaining in term (ends Dec. 2022)

*The monthly fee for 2020 is $144.10/mo. *

Payments can be made electronically, by mail or just drop your check in our special HOA box on Winding Hill Dr. at Nolt (next to regular PO boxes). Please put your name or street address on your check.

*Monthly maintenance fees are anticipated to increase 10% per year, as permitted by our Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions  As has been communicated at the Annual Homeowners Meeting and other owner meetings as well as by email and personally delivered documents,  as a 35+  year old community, Hilltop does not currently have sufficient monies set aside to repair or replace due to ‘normal wear and tear’, all the items detailed in our governing documents, now and in the future (Ex. “External surfaces” such as: roofs, siding, gutters, chimney surfaces, etc.).

Annual Yard Sale

It is never too early to think about Spring Cleaning.
The Annual Yard Sale is scheduled for Saturday August 29th and is already posted on the Website. This event is heavily advertised and well attended. It is always the Saturday before Labor Day Weekend.

Mailing Address

Hilltop Homeowners Association, Inc., PO Box 4841, Lancaster, PA 17604-4841

ManagementHilltopHOA@gmail.com