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A Message from the SRMA Board of Directors - 2018 Accomplishments and Focus Areas

6/8/2018



 
 
 
 
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A Message from the Steiner Ranch Board of Directors





March, April and May 2018 Accomplishments and Focus Areas

SRMA
New Board (2018-2019) with new officers was seated in April 2018. Re-elected director and President Naren
Chilukuri, new director and Vice President Brad Stanton, new director and  Secretary
Christina Morales sincerely thank our Steiner Ranch community for the opportunity
to serve along w/current director Rekha Garapati and Treasurer Amy Colton.


Two Board workshops were conducted this year, onsite HOA staff leadership is being consulted &plans being explored to improve service levels to our residents, enhance the community, amenities, and transform the current HOA business and financial operations through the latest integrated community management systems (ICMS) and professional onsite management services (POMS) in conjunction with the current onsite staff.  Accomplishments to date and focus areas are outlined below:

1) Community & Amenities Investment

  • Our broader community (incorporated in 1987) with now ~4,500
    homes & 16,000+ residents has outgrown current amenities - Pools,
    parks, fields, & community centers. Our community is
    lagging behind similar communities that have invested in capital
    improvements, security, & amenities. These similar
    communities are leveraging technology & professional companies to
    improve service levels. Capital improvements in security
    enhancements, amenities such as fields, pools, courts, dog parks,
    & modern/ bigger community centers.
  • We have a need to transform Town Square & surrounding areas into
    multiplex facility to include some of the following; new heated 8 lane lap
    pool & splash area, dog-park, running track, additional meeting
    rooms, and indoor recreational areas for common use.
  • Current Lake Club is severely under developed. There is
    significant opportunity to convert Lake Club into truly a multi-storied
    club with latest & greatest community center.
  • Active planning is also going on to revamp landscape of the front
    two entrances that is 20 years old. We are tracking to implement it
    by fall. Plans will be developed to improve rest of the
    community’s landscape.
  • Above investments if approved & implemented is estimated to
    cost association $2.5M to $3.5M (budgetary estimates only). Expectation is
    that board to fund above investment costs through current enhancement
    funds along with cost savings realized (over 3+ years) from organizational
    transformation as outlined below
    .




2)  Organization & Operational Transformation
thru Onsite Staff & Professional
Services with Integrated Technology


Steiner
Ranch HOA,
an ~ $4.5 million annual complex operations (master HOA, 9 gated
communities, multiple other legal entities / HOAs) has been self-managed for
years. In 2016 & 2017 board
discovered number of significant business & financial operational
issues. Master association, multiple sub
associations & gated communities operational funds have been commingled for
years & also proper accounting practices were not followed. Funds were also spent in prior years on discretionary
items without board approval. Auditor
discovered accounting issues & recommendations were made in 2015
including
accounting controls but were not adequately implemented. HR & Payroll
system was changed to a different vendor without board approval in March 2016
losing employee historical payroll information. ~$73,500 was paid to auditor in
2016-17 for conducting audits without board approval (2016-17 approved budget amount
was only $7,500 for each audit). Even after audits, 2015-16 financials could
not be mapped to actuals at each granular cost center line item other than big structural
blocks (though structural integrity was confirmed by auditor). After 2016 audit, financial control gaps were
discovered again &
recommendations made in 2017. Some contracts & agreements were made
without board oversight. In other cases, business is done with other HOAs
without contracts & some involved in protracted financial disputes. Association
also has no documented history of
maintenance work, & operational metrics.
There was also law suit brought by resident in 2017 on an architectural matter but
that was not brought to board attention in a timely manner. The business, financial
& operational mismanagement from prior years is concerning
.

Back
office operations including entire accounting system, & community
management operations are very manual leveraging multiple software &
methods that don’t communicate with each other. Staff spends inordinate amount of time managing these back office
operations including Payroll, HR, Benefits, that limits their focus on resident
services & amenities investments. Bottom line, fully self-managed
association as complex as
ours comes with inherent challenges. A large master
planned association cannot be run the way it is being run today. Large & mid-size associations (including
River Place, Rough Hallow, Travisso, Avery Ranch, Teravista) in greater Austin,
most of them are run by onsite staff in conjunction with professional onsite
management services (POMS) with latest community management software system.
Even high end developers including Toll Brothers & Taylor Morrison
are
using POMS instead of being self-managed knowing inherent challenges with
self-management. Our HOA current self-management approach will only continue to
perpetuate business & financial operational issues & HOA will continue to run with high operational costs.
HOA
Organizational Transformation is imperative to dramatically improve back office
operations, provide real time transparency, business & financial controls
& improve service levels. It’s been
more than a year since professional management evaluation started including
board workshops, meetings with professional companies, other large community
associations directors & staff, consultant evaluation & recommendation,
costs &
integrated community ma
nagement
system (ICMS) capabilities evaluation. In May 2018 meeting, majority board agreed
(after further validating data & contractual terms) on intent to managing
our association in a hybrid model leveraging existing onsite staff in
conjunction with ICMS & POMS (professional onsite management services) with these key objectives:

  • Automate manual HOA back office operations including accounting, financial, architectural, reporting, work orders and task management.
  • Provide real time transparency of accounting and operations to board, staff and homeowners.
  • Leverage economies of scale in
    back-office operations including Accounting, HR, Benefits Management, Pay Roll,
    Training, Insurance & Contracts.

  • Replace current antiquated multiple software, tools and methods that don't communicate with each other to one integrated community management system. Enable mobile technology to manage and consume services.

  • Leverage latest management methodologies and best practices from the community management industry.

The operational automation achieved through integrated community management systems combined with industry best practices from POMS will not only provide much needed business and financial controls, real time transparency into finances and operational metrics but will also improve productivity of the current onsite staff.

Once
the burden of back office operations including Accounting, Reporting, HR,
Benefits, Pay Roll, is taken away from onsite staff, then they can focus on improving
resident services & investments in much needed new amenities, security
& landscape. Above operational efficiencies through automation, staff
productivity, & POMs along with ongoing operational & staff
optimization initiatives are also expected to result in cost savings of $1.1M
up to $1.5M over 3 years.


Below
is the recommended new Hybrid Onsite Management. Green equates no change to
current set up & we will have onsite staff. Orange equates management by
POMS. Residents still will be able to walk into HOA office or call in.






Some
community members have expressed concerns in the following categories. The board has made a priority to address
these concerns through contractual negotiations & also ensure board retains
full control in all key areas.


 


3) Financial

  • Currently, through various operational
    optimization initiatives & budgeted amounts, enhancement fund savings are
    estimated to be > $750,000 this year
  • Assessments have been mailed 2 months in advance
    of due date (late fee past July 30) 
  • 2017 financial audit will start this month &
    is expected to have draft audit results in July







4) Traffic (internal to Steiner), Safety
& Security

  • Board has nominated Director Ms. Christina
    Morales as liaison to all traffic, safety & security matters within
    Steiner. Travis county signals, roads, & sheriff’s office have
    already been engaged & plans being discussed to improve current conditions
    with traffic, safety & security. Travis County ESD is also engaged to
    evaluate & plan alternate emergency exit routes. This section is a top 3 priorities
    to begin solving for by the Fall


5) Policies
  • Business & financial operational controls,
    checks & balances were developed & adopted by board & HOA staff
  • New contracts review policy has been approved to
    insure board has better oversight on all new contracts.
  • Board member appointment & election bylaws
    has been updated so board deadlock is dramatically minimized



 
We, the board of directors thank our
community for the opportunity to serve in 2018-2019 year. Our sincere thanks also
to HOA staff, committees, volunteers & residents for their contributions, support
& cooperation. Looking forward to significant improvements in our broader
Steiner Ranch community as we continue to evaluate, plan & implement
various key initiatives.

If you would like to contact the Board, please email






Regards,




SRMA Board of Directors
(2018-2019)




President, Naren Chilukuri


Vice President, Brad Stanton


Secretary, Christina Morales


Treasurer, Amy Colton


Director, Rekha Garapati






 

 
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This is a Publication of The Steiner Ranch Homeowners' Association