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.