Sierra Canyon, Somersett, Villages, The Vue – Your Community Forum

Submitted by Joe Fadrowsky, SOA Board Member and Candidate for Re-election

A Happy Veteran’s Day Salute to all our courageous men and women who have and are serving in the armed forces of the United States of America. Judy and I particularly honor the memory of my late father, Alex Fadrowsky, and Judy’s 94-year old father, Virgil Bloodsworth. Both served lengthy tours in the South West Pacific Theater during WWII. Alex served in the Army Air Corps aboard a B-29 bomber and Virgil served in the Navy aboard the USS Bunkerhill aircraft carrier.

On a less notable topic, I would like to clarify and correct several things contained in Joe Bower’s lengthy rant.

First, consider that the Somersett Owners Association is governed by a 5-member Board of Directors. This is basically an elected ‘committee’ which is neither the speediest nor necessarily the most efficient form of governance. It is, however, what we have to work with. All progress requires at least three votes. What this means is that credit generally must be shared with others. This is not a bad thing. I am reminded of the Harry Truman quote – “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” Overall, I am quite proud of what the SOA Board has accomplished over the past two years and what is budgeted for 2017.

Safety. What has occurred in the last two years? A budget significantly increasing the patrol company hours was approved by the Board with the belief that the patrol service is a deterrent and it makes a difference.

The SOA has removed trees from the common area owned visibility corners, and is investigating with the City the responsibility for enforcing similar action on privately owned property.

The Board had a flashing crosswalk signs installed on Somersett Parkway by East Park. The Board recently authorized installation of up to six additional pairs of similar signs.

The primary responsibility for safety lies with local government while the SOA has very limited purposes. To give Somersett added access to local government, notwithstanding that being a member of a Neighborhood Advisory Board is time consuming, Pam McNeil, Bret Scoggin, and myself are Somersett residents and City Council appointed members of NAB 5. We have a good relationship with Councilwoman Neoma Jardon (also a Somersett resident and an outstanding public servant) and she has met with Susan Novell as well. You may not be able to connect the dots directly, but we see the following progress:

  • The Fire Station has been reopened – medical for now, but it is OPEN.
  • Councilwoman Jardon has held a well-attended town hall meeting at Sierra Canyon which included top representatives from the police and fire departments.
  • The City installed a Radar speed sign on the eastern exit from Somersett.
  • The SOA and Sierra Canyon are working with the City Engineer and Public Works Department to solve truck routing problems in Sierra Canyon.
  • The City Parks Dept is actively participating with the West Park committee on plans for this new park.
  • Radar traps for speeding have been increased in frequency in Somersett.

Yes, there will always be more to be done.

Finance & Accounting: For those that do not know me, please feel free to contact SOA Board directors Susan Novell, David Nisenfeld or Glenda Powell, or check with Finance Committee Chair Ron Sobrero, Vice Chair Helen Bell, or members Ray Lee and Steve Spear. Feel free to ask them anything about my qualifications or performance.

Frankly, I don’t see any Finance Commiittee ‘dominance’ unless it is Chair Ron Sobrero whose leadership keeps us organized and whose efforts on landscaping, irrigation, tree mapping, etc. (very material parts of the SOA budget) are truly tireless and awesome. Vice Chair Helen Bell has taken the lead on investment policy. I certainly recognize and appreciate Ray Lee’s experience and contribution as he served as SOA treasurer for several years before I was elected to the board. All of the members have the acumen to carefully & critically review the financial statements, and make significant positive contributions, and provide excellent guidance to management and staff.

Ray Lee, over his many years as Treasurer, has developed an excellent Powerpoint budget presentation format. For 2016, he was kind enough to do a repeat performance. I subscribe to a couple of theories: a) “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it;” and b) “Many hands make light work.” Ray was away this year, so the 2017 budget was presented and explained by myself and Ryan Dominguez, our new SOA Community Manager.

The question of how to allocate the money the Somersett General Common fund receives every time a home sold has been investigated for years. Legal counsel was not supportive of previous proposals. The need to move working capital from the General Common fund to the Club at Town Center (TCTC”) was obvious. You can ask Ray Lee who “figured out” the accounting. What I do know is that I asked Ray to take the lead on presenting this approach to the Finance Committee because there are a few people out there who (not unlike Mr. Bower), when I say “the sun will come up in the morning,” make it their life’s mission to disagree with me.

What did Mr. Fadrowsky accomplish financially speaking? After the owners voted to approve the acquisition of the 18-hole golf course, the task of soliciting three banks for a $2,600,000 loan fell to me as Treasurer. The outcome was a loan with the longest term and that matched the lowest rate offered by the three banks resulting in minimal impact on the assessments paid by homeowners. To protect the SOA, I also worked many weeks with Tony Fakonas and our professionals (legal, engineering & title company) to work through over 150 exceptions to the title report and on the myriad of other due diligence tasks that a transaction of this magnitude requires. I could list more, but in the end most things are accomplished through team efforts.

Landscaping. An extensive RFP for Landscaping Services was prepared & circulated at the end of 2015. Board members did extensive interviews with four landscaping companies. Reno Green had a superior proposal and was selected to replace Groundskeeper. The contract includes the extensive RFP provisions.

An arborist has not been hired to inventory every common area tree by its location, species, and health because of the change in landscape companies. It was agreed with Reno Green to give them the 2016 season to assess the trees and make replacements before doing the inventory in 2017.

Separate and very detailed RFPs for an irrigation audit inspection and for tree inventory/mapping services have been prepared and will be issued very soon. The costs for these and other water conservation and tree replacement projects have been budgeted for 2017.

Sierra Canyon: Yes, I was a Sierra Canyon director and the Treasurer. I resigned two months before my two-year term was up because negotiations between the Sierra Canyon and Somersett boards had become quite contentious over two very significant agreements. To remain effective, I felt that it was important for me to not be in a position to be accused of having a conflict of interest.

Yes, I took credit for Somersett acknowledging its duty to maintain the portions of the Somersett “Public” Trail System that are located within the borders of Sierra Canyon. Mr. Bower deserves credit for pointing out the PUD and CC&R clauses on this to me during the summer of 2014, but literally no one else was convinced of the viability of his interpretation of the wording in these documents.   It took extensive, detailed research and compilation of overwhelming evidence to overcome the extreme opposition that was encountered. In the end, this evidence convinced SOA’s legal counsel and a majority of the Board to acknowledge Somersett’s obligations. Please note that many of these trails were resurfaced by the SOA in the summer of 2016.

Sierra Canyon’s “Common Area”, however, is treated differently in the governing documents than the Public Trails. While the PUD does say that the SOA will maintain common area, the PUD does not prohibit the SOA from delegating responsibility for common area to sub-associations. In fact, Somersett CC&Rs, Article II, Section 7.(a) specifically provides for such delegation and conveyance of common area to subassociations like the Vue, the Villages and Sierra Canyon. Sierra Canyon CC&Rs further reinforce the acceptance of the subassociation’s responsibility to maintain its common area. You cannot rely on the “plain language” of only one document. The three key documents must be read together to arrive at the correct answer. This has also been corroborated by SOA legal counsel.

The July 2, 2009, Maintenance Easement Agreement (“MEA”) between SOA and Sierra Canyon is therefore both necessary and important. In the MEA, the SOA accepts the responsibility (and costs) to maintain the landscape, softscape, hardscape and irrigation along the main thoroughfare through Sierra Canyon. The original MEA covers a defined easement area through about three-fourths of Sierra Canyon. The main goal of the First Amendment is to add the remaining one-fourth of main thoroughfare frontage (roughly from Andover Trail down to the tower entry feature) to the MEA. Whether the “common look” goal has been attained or not is up to the two parties to the agreement to decide.   It took extensive, detailed research and compilation of overwhelming evidence to overcome some extreme opposition even to the SOA’s living up to obligations under the original agreement. In the end, this evidence convinced SOA’s legal counsel and a majority of the Board to acknowledge Somersett’s existing obligations, to accept the intent of agreement and approve the amendment.

Board Meetings/Communications/Misc. We have made great progress this past year in conducting our board meetings in a business-like manner. We now follow Roberts Rules of Order, and each director’s time to comment on a particular topic is limited. It is a common courtesy to the owners that attend our meetings to not keep them there for 3 or 4 hours.

The Board authorized a full time communications position which has recently been filled by a talented person so the Board expects significant improvements in the website and other forms of communication.

Communication, however, is a two-way street. The regular Board meetings and all of the committee meetings are open to all owners. I attend all Finance Committee meetings and many Strategic Planning Committee meetings. Occasionally, one or two owners attend. Often, no owners attend. It is easy to throw around the “transparency” and “openness” buzzwords, but everyone needs to accept some personal responsibility.

As indicated at one of the Candidate nights, I am not opposed to monthly regular Board meetings. In fact, the Board already meets monthly in executive session to deal with confidential matters (delinquent assessments, violations, lawsuits, etc.).

Like Mr. Bower, I am retired. I do not represent Somersett as either an attorney or a CPA. The SOA engages licensed outside independent CPAs and legal counsel.   What I can do and have done is assist the board in communicating with attorneys and CPAs because I am conversant with both professions and their jargon.

I am opposed to special assessments, whether it be for drilling a water well or for any other purpose. If you made it this far, thanks for being open to hearing both sides of the story.

Joe Fadrowsky

Advertisements

Comments on: "Joe Fadrowsky BOD Candidate Statement" (3)

  1. Geoffrey Brooks said:

    Joe – Well said! Yes, the Board has been on top of events sorting stuff out…

    However, there has been no interest in modifying the PUD so we can xeriscaping (and option, not compulsory), updating the “planting guidelines” to eliminate high fire danger” juniper bush plantings from yards, mow strips and common areas.

    We have as a part of our PUD, for the Developer/Owners Association to install a solar hot water heating system for our pools…. The monies we have that have been spent on outside consultants could have been spent on this improvement which would have also saved on the use of the gas heaters for the pool.

    Geoffrey Brooks

    • Joe Bower - Sierra Canyon Owner said:

      Just to clarify, the amended 2003 PUD was recorded on 03/12/2009 and it says: “To encourage and again lead by example the Club at Town pools SHALL have a thermal solar pool heater installed within 1 year of approval of the PUD amendment.” (caps added to shall)

      The Somersett board has had several different owner members since March 2009 and none of them have pursued this PUD requirement.

      FYI I will post a separate article about mow-strips so there can be a thread of comments on that subject.

  2. Joe Bower - Sierra Canyon Owner said:

    Here’s the bottom line right at the top. Owners want new blood and someone is worried.

    The main reason the Fadrowsky Board is not the speediest is because it only meets every other month. Most associations across America, especially those the physical and dollar size of Somersett meet monthly. If the Board goes monthly in 2017, what took took it so long? Even Sierra Canyon with a lesser physical and financial size meets monthly.

    Five member HOA boards are typical across the country. Efficiency depends on whether the main business is in the interests of all owners or do board members have personal agendas they want to accomplish with members’ money?

    Regarding safety, under the Mr. Fadrowsky Board there were three traffic deaths and burglaries were at an all time high. Why weren’t “No Entry” signs installed at the dangerous main exit to Somersett before the accident? Did Mr. Fadrowsky even think of that? Fortunately, we escaped fire, but the approved fuel modification zone of three feet behind rear split rails is inadequate.

    Regarding our “rent-a-cop” patrols, for years they concentrated on (1) The Club at Town Center to keep an eye on unauthorized night time pool usage and (2) on private streets looking for unauthorized overnight parking; and they were seldom seen in other locations, particularly Sierra Canyon. The increase in patrolling hours was only approved in the last 60-90 days so too soon tell effectiveness. While owners shouldn’t know the scheduling of exact routes, they should be shown a map of the streets covered so they can know theirs is and how often. How many times have you seen a patrol car during the day, when many burglaries have occurred?

    Do you know that the prior contract with the patrol company was never signed by the Fadrowsky Board when it supposedly was in effect? Who was liable had something “bad” happened while a patrol was underway? Owners weren’t legally protected.

    This year, and for the first time, the Association removed a few trees from parkway visibility corners. Not only are there more to go, but the effort of a single owner to get them removed goes back to when Melissa Ramsey was community manager, i.e. years ago. Why did this important safety matter take so long to get started? The removal has been raw, i.e. gapping holes left where trees once were and no grass or low-growing bushes planted in their place.

    There is no need to investigate with the City for enforcing the removal of trees on the visibility corners of private property. The City approved PUD’s of 2003 and 2009 address the trees in visibility corners by clearly stating:

    “Visibility triangles will be maintained at all intersections. Within visibility triangles all trees will be pruned such that no branches extend lower than six feet above curb level at time of planting and 8’ above curb height at maturity. Other plants will not exceed eighteen (18) inches in height above any curb level.” Note: a visibility triangle is defined as 30 feet in both directions from where two streets meet with an imaginary line connecting the two end points.

    It appears the wrong species of trees were permitted to be planted in the first place. “All intersections” means on parkways and residential streets. The Board needs to stop pointing fingers and get done what the PUD says in black and white. Once a PUD provision is approved by City Council it is up to the association to see that it is followed and not the City.

    Flashing crosswalk signs on Somersett Parkway at East Park are great, but owners suffered years of delay before installation. There are several other locations where such signs are needed to ensure safe pedestrian crossings.

    The Fadrowsky Board did install one sign that flashes the speed of a vehicle passing by. It did not authorize the installation of six additional pairs of similar signs. Rather the Board has chosen to spend $21,000 plus installation to install single signs at six vaguely described locations. It isn’t clear as to whether or not Sierra Canyon or Somersett will pay for any to be installed in Sierra Canyon. Less money could be spent more effectively by installing actual stop signs that not only slow traffic as they are approached, but stop traffic, enabling pedestrians to cross safely. The most dangerous locations could even have flashing stop signs. Don’t laugh, it only a matter of time before red lights are installed.

    Flashing speed indicator signs are susceptible to vandalism as clever people can change the flashing number to flashing four-letter words. Sometimes the flashing area of the sign is a target for drive-by shootings. Sometimes people race by to see how high a speed number they can register.

    Local government owns the parkways and the residential streets that are not behind gates. What has local government done since 2003 to ensure safety on these streets and roads throughout the community? The meeting Councilwoman Jardon conducted with police and fire department personnel in attendance ended in finger-pointing with the councilwomen telling owners to contact police/fire and police/fire telling owners to contact their board members. The police showed statistics to justify their limited attention to Somersett versus greater attention to other areas in northwest Reno.

    The fire station has been reopened, consistent with increased numbers of fire/medical personnel across the City, but not as the result of a board action as it does not have the right to authorize/approve. Also, medical people don’t drive fire trucks.

    Yes, work is being done to solve construction truck problems in Sierra Canyon (route them thru the Somersett six roundabouts), but until new routes are finalized and City approved no board member can take credit as most of the effort has been done by the ad hoc Traffic Committee and not board members.

    In a like manner, the West Park Committee is doing the heaving lifting and not board members.

    “Radar trap” results should be publicly available so owners can know their effectiveness. Certainly, if the Board has such data it is available to owners just like other association books, records, and contracts.

    Check NAB 5 agendas and minutes. How many times during the last two years does anything related to Somersett appear??? Not often for sure.

    As for a CPA (there is another CPA board candidate running who would bring fresh eyes to the books), there is no doubt that it was nice to have the treasurer being a CPA. Most associations do not have CPA treasurers and they get along very well with “ordinary” owners serving as treasurers. A CPA is not needed to interpret management company prepared financial statements. While not a state requirement it is more valuable to an association to have an owner CPA available to go over the annual audit done by an outside CPA firm. What did our CPA board member catch that the outside CPA missed? Keep in mind that from 2003 to 2014 there was no CPA on the Somersett Board.

    Should the board treasurer not be up to speed on financial reports, the board can appoint a owner to be a non-voting board officer to serve as assistant treasurer to collaborate with the treasurer. Plus Somersett has a Budget & Finance committee. Plenty of numbers people.

    There is no doubt as to the superior accounting acuity, judgement, and understanding possessed by non-CPA former board member and current Budget & Finance Committee member (both in Somersett and Sierra Canyon) Ray Lee. Even though he was not able to physically present the 2017 budget, as he did for many years in the past due to being on a well-deserved vacation trip, he was the major person in developing it and it was he who figured out the important “recapture” of funds which has resulted in big changes to dues for 2017.

    The Board is responsible for landscaping, irrigation, and tree mapping. How much has landscaping and irrigation improved in the last two years? Is Mr. Fadrowsky directly responsible for any such improvements? Are you still getting free car washes? Are there still major leaks? Why hasn’t an independent arborist been providing services to the Association for years? Now it is almost too late, but better than never, as the cost for replacing the number of dead or dying trees is prohibitive and will have to be spread out over years while at the same time more trees are reaching the dead or dying status.

    I don’t have the Investment Policy in front of me, but the law dictates the types of financial instruments association money can be invested in and there are many brokerage firms and banks that perform that function for homeowner associations. Finding a firm with a better fee schedule is what the Board approves and not the specific investments themselves.

    Speaking of Mr. Dominguez, he is the third community manager in the last two years while Mr. Fadrowsky has been on the board. There also has been a lot of turnover in other positions too. Why is that?

    Why has the Fadrowsky Board set aside and approved $20,000 to be divided up among staff members who are not even our employees? They are employed by the management company and assigned to our account. Why haven’t owners been given copies of the goals for each staff position so they can judge for themselves what has been accomplished and what not? Can we be sure our association doesn’t pay a bonus on top of of one paid by the management company?

    Details of lawsuits and participant names may be confidential, but not what the Association spends on legal fees and settlements. Why aren’t owners keep informed as after it is our money.

    Why hasn’t the Fadrowsky Board put the meeting packet onto the website (Sierra Canyon does)? Confidential information can be left out. That would enable owners to know what is behind the agenda items so they can ask intelligent questions. Now owners at board meetings sit “in the dark.” Why isn’t a draft of board minutes posted within three days after board meetings? Those two actions would go a long way towards the Board’s goal of better communications.

    Why isn’t the Accounts Receivable Report (owners past due and their amounts and number of days) discussed openly thru the use of account numbers thus keeping individual owner names private?

    And oh yes, why did the Fadrowsky Board mess up the voting for this election by telling owners they needed to put their account number on the white ballot return envelope or the ballot wouldn’t be counted; and when owners called to find out their number they were told it wasn’t necessary. I am afraid that such confusion may result in a lower voter turnout percentage number than in prior years.

    What is going on between the Fadrowsky Board and the private Golf Club regarding certain provisions of the lease agreement not being fulfilled by the Club?

    Enough already. Please vote.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: