Hilltop Homeowners Association
Annual Homeowner Meeting Minutes
Date: December 3, 2019
Held at: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
The meeting was called to order by Jeff Butch, President at 7:00 PM
Present were Board members: Jeffrey Butch, John Cantwell, Bonnie Benjamin, and Janet Havner (Board member Sue Adams resigned on 10-8-19 due to moving out of Hilltop)
Also present were: Adam Westgate, Property Manager and Scott Sterner, Hilltop Accountant
Minutes taken by Property Manager, Adam Westgate
1. Call to Order and Pledge of Allegiance
2. President’s Remarks and State of the Association* – Jeff Butch
Jeff led an introduction to the meeting: He welcomed all Hilltop Homeowners, recognized owners with previous service and thanked all in attendance. Jeff talked at length about community wide home inspection reports which began in 2019. He described them as a great success and that the neighborhood is in excellent shape. He recognized the Property Manager for his hard work and dedication to the neighborhood. Jeff shared that the Property Manager had been subjected to verbal abuse fro a few owners during the home inspection process and felt that it was uncalled for. He requested better cooperation from the owners in 2020 as the goal is to improve the appearance of Hilltop, describing the process as fair and consistent and that we all benefit from living in an attractive, well-maintained development.
Jeff also talked about a new resource for residents in 2020 who due to age or physical disabilities are unable to weed and otherwise maintain their properties. He is working with the local high school to bring in students looking for volunteer work or community service projects. The student volunteers will be available to assist with weeding or other exterior work. If you wish to use this service and are elderly or have a physical disability, please contact Jeff Butch directly at 717-898-9111
3. Property Manager Report by Adam Westgate
“Thanks everyone for attending. My name is Adam and I have been the property manager at Hilltop for about a year and half now.
As you know, this year was the first year for community wide home inspection reports. Some of you were vocal about your concerns and I want you to know that all of your comments or complaints were shared with and reviewed by the Board.
The Board believes that the neighborhood looks extremely sharp aesthetically at this time and the home inspection process was a worthwhile effort. I believe we are moving towards a 95% compliance level with the majority of architecture and landscaping being restored to the standards dictated by our governing documents.
Just a reminder that every property receives a home inspection report. This includes Board members sitting before you. This simply the only fair and consistent way to do this.
The Board is planning on continuing the home inspection process in years to come. I know a few of you were very upset receiving a letter or the wording of the letters and I will incorporate your suggestions moving forward.
In 2019, there have been less than 10 fines given. I know many of you were upset up receiving a home inspection report, but fines were only given in extreme cases. In all minor cases the Board and I have made every effort to avoid fines. This means that when possible, multiple letters, emails and reminders were sent. Every effort is made to avoid fines, including volunteer efforts.
I would like to report that I have put in over 50 hours of volunteer time this year. This is work beyond my regular duties and included pulling weeds, trimming root shoots, painting siding, planting grass seed, removing branches or trees, removing a hornets nest, repairing damage caused by our contractors, removing trash that had been dumped in our landscape areas over the years, and cleaning out storm clogged storm pipes just to name a few.
I’m not reporting all of this for thanks or praise, but I want you to know that there is a lot of work going on behind the scenes in the service of the neighborhood. My mission is to make sure the rules/procedures are followed and the neighborhood looks top notch. I think we are making progress and again I appreciate the effort from all of you. It is obvious to me that the majority of folks care about the general appearance of their homes. I greatly appreciate the pride and effort that all of you are taking in regards to the exterior or your homes.
I would like to close my remarks by saying:
Please remember that approval is needed for all exterior projects, installations, or repairs. This includes installing or attaching anything to the exterior of the home including satellite dishes.”
4. Compliance Report by John Cantwell
John gave a brief update on compliance and home inspections. He described working closely with Adam on all compliance issues in a manner that is fair and consistent according the Rules and Regulations and Declarations. John sated, “When you receive a letter or home inspection report, please read it thoroughly and do not tear it up. The Board has an appeal process in place and owners are welcome to come before the Board to discuss concerns and/or appeal fines.”
5. Landscape Report by Janet Havner
Janet shared that due to ongoing problems Tomlinson Bomberger both in communication and the quality of work and the way the grass looks, we will not be using them in 2020.
After much research, Janet found a new contractor for 2020 called NaturaLawn of America.
NaturaLawn uses all-natural ingredients and applications that will be environmentally friendly and safe for pets. It may take more than one year to fully restore the grass.
Janet concluded by describing that the neighborhood is currently beautiful and the general appearance of Hilltop has greatly improved in 2019. Compliance efforts have been successful, and Janet is confident in the future of Hilltop given the current procedures and direction the Board has taken.
6. Financial Committee Report, given by Scott Sterner, Hilltop accountant and Bonnie Benjamin, Hilltop Treasurer
1. Bonnie provided an update on the Reserve Study (see handout*):
a. The Board will re-update the Reserve Study in three years
b. The Board acknowledges that there have been rumors that maintenance fees will go up indefinitely by 10% ever single year. Bonnie pointed out that this is NOT the case.
Monthly fees are reevaluated each year by current needs and the current Board. In one of the previous amendment meetings, Bonnie stated that in about 4 years (in the year 2023 when dues would be about $200/mo.) we could reduce or possibly eliminate the increase, based on an update to the Reserve Study. Also, the Board has put a budget item for Repairs at $30,000 for next year to help cover the items we will be repairing/replacing each year. That will help to offset some of the total needed in the long term, particularly for chimneys and gutters.
2. Bonnie reviewed the current financials:
a. Review of Accounts Receivables: Bonnie noted that accounts receivables for monthly dues are greatly reduced. Owners are starting to catch on that if they do not pay, the HOA will utilize its attorney to collect past due accounts. In this case attorney’s fees are added to the owner’s delinquent balance.
c. Reviewed HOA responsibility of building surfaces. Bonnie highlighted that the HOA is responsible for “all exterior” building surfaces, including chimneys. The HOA covers the chimney stucco only. The HOA does not cover the chimney infrastructure, framing, topper, or other metal components attached to the top of the chimney.
d. Reviewed the budget pie charts handed out with a breakdown of expenses for 2019 and 2020. Bonnie highlighted that with the increased income from monthly fees, the HOA is building reserves to fund the next roof and other replacements as necessary.
3. Scott Sterner reviewed Hilltop Income and Expenses (Refer to Income & Expense Handout*):
a. The monthly fee for 2020 is $144.10/mo or $1695 if paid in full by January 30th
.b. Reviewed income from fines.
c. Reviewed that recent issues with sending deposits to Merrill Lynch have been resolved.
d. Reviewed resale certificate fees (The HOA charges a fee for the preparation of the resale certificate when a home is sold).
e. Reminded owners to contact Adam when it is time to sell their home. Adam performs a compliance inspection and works with Scott on the resale certificates.
f. Reviewed interest on CDs which are still in the 2% range.
g. Reviewed expenses for roof inspection and reserve study that was unique to 2019.
4. Scott Sterner reviewed all components of the Balance Sheet (Refer to Handout*)
a. Highlighted that the prepaid discount for paying HOA fees in advance for the year is a liability because the HOA receives less income for the year from those who participate in this option.
b. Highlighted that when Escrow accounts are returned to the seller at the time of resale, the account is returned in the exact amount. There is no interest given. The Escrow account is returned if the owner has resolved all compliance issues and any outstanding fines, to the satisfaction of the HOA.
8. Election of New Board Members
Based on the sign-in sheets, 35 Hilltop households were represented at the meeting. There were 3 open positions on the Board with 2 incumbents running again and 1 new person, Joe Krawizcki, nominated prior to the meeting. Biographies* of these people were furnished to all homeowners prior to the meeting.
President, Jeff Butch called for nominations from the floor and there were none. He called for discussion and there was none. Cheryl Laub (105 Treetops) made a motion to elect the candidates as presented, the motion was seconded by Gene Mummau (112 Treetops), and all homeowners present voted unanimously to approve the 3 new Board members
9. Owner Question and Answer Session
1. Ken Judd (234 Winding Hill) asked why the discount was reduced (from 3% to 2%) for prepaid monthly dues for the year. The Board made this decision because it loses money by offering a 3% discount when we only make 2% on our CD investments.
2. Ken Judd (234 Winding Hill) asked why no update or specifics were provided following the second Amendment vote. The Board did not have specific details or voting percentages available at the meeting but replied that the effort to reject the Amendment vote was rejected overwhelmingly. Following the meeting, Adam researched and provided the following summary:
1. 193 total units in Hilltop
2. 90% of the owners must approve which translates to 174 approval votes needed
3. This means that if there are more than 19 rejection votes, the Amendment fails
4. Not voting is the same as rejecting the amendment
2019 2nd Amendment Vote Results:
1. 11 Rejection votes
2. 65 votes for approval
3. 117 owners did not vote (translates to 117 rejection votes)
4. Votes for approval were approximately 33% and votes against were 67% (The effort to reject the Amendment was overwhelming)
3. Carlotta Filarowitz (113 Pinnacle Point) asked if grass repair or seeding was provided by the HOA and recalled it being mentioned in a previous year. The Board replied that this is not provided by the HOA and is the homeowner’s responsibility. Adam commented that in his four years involved with the HOA, he had volunteered to repair lawn in some cases, but it has strictly been a volunteer effort on his part. It is not directed by or funded by the HOA.
4. Gene Mummau (112 Treetops) asked why the mowers were mowing in the summer when it had not rained and why do we pay if the mowers do not come. Adam explained that we pay a set maintenance fee each month and there is no discount received if the contractor does not mow. Adam explained that he works closely with Janet on the mowing and lawn treatments. Adam and Janet did cancel mowing one week over the summer when it was very dry. However, there were then several complaints coming in from owners stating the HOA should not have cancelled mowing (very challenging to please everyone).
Adam stated that the mowing contractor is the same, but the owner has handed over mowing responsibilities to his brother-in-law, Michael. Adam and several of the owners offered Michael high praise for his work this year. Michael works extremely hard and is very responsive and attentive when communicating with Adam about scheduling and special concerns.
5. Gene Mummau (112 Treetops) offered several comments:
Gene stated that he was against Adam at the time of his hire, but has been extremely happy with progress. Gene stated that he is in full support of ramping up of compliance efforts and home inspections and is happy with the way Hilltop is running. He feels the HOA has no other choice and these efforts benefits us all (aesthetics, home values etc.) Gene mentioned that due to the home inspection report, he put in a lot of effort to his rear yard this year and is very satisfied with the results. He stated that his property now looks like new and the Board has his support in the inspection process.
The meeting was adjourned by President Jeff Butch at 7:51 PM. The Board and Property Manager were available for informal discussions with owners after the meeting.
Minutes Submitted and Signed by Adam Westgate:
Adam Westgate 12/5/18
*Please read this report in conjunction with the packet you received at the Annual Meeting OR that will be delivered to you over the next 7-10 days, depending on weather and Adam’s availability. Please be patient as it takes a long time to hand deliver this information to everyone who did not attend the meeting.