Dear Neighbors, please find here words from all 4 volunteers serving on the RW BOD.
May 22, Last Update from Thibaut, as the RW BOD President:
The spillway. Most of you know that the repairs have been completed (completion date 02/20/2021). Many contractors were interested and had a chance to bid on the scope of work. We received bids ranging from $229,000 to $313,000. All of them were considered. We chose the $229,000 bid with A& E, a contractor who performed well for the POA on many occasions. They did an excellent job in a timely fashion while adapting to unforeseen challenges, ranging from a disgruntled homeowner trying to slow down the project via false statement made to the pipeline company to some real technical challenges.
CJR Services LLC was awarded the clearing and trees removal followed by crushed concrete surfacing of the access to the site. They also performed well and in a timely manner at a very reasonable cost ($23,000).
The result is a safer and operational structure. The repairs also reduced liability and risk exposure to the POA and its residents. The majority of the homeowners understood why we had to lower the water lake level and that the lake would naturally replenish itself. For the few who misunderstood the drainage in our subdivision and after seeing the current overflowing lake condition, I would expect that everyone is reassured by now: the lake is full again:)!
Nature Trail and Park. Residents have also gained a new recreation area or what we now call “nature trail and park” accessible from the end of Desna that’s approximately 1.5 acre to enjoy walking, biking, horseback riding. A few benches will be added at the top of the dam for bird watching or other nature enjoyments. Hydroseeding at the base of the dam was approved at the last board meeting and will be done once the sale of the residential lot adjoining the Lake Park on Cabango St occurs. Note that in order to keep the area safe and peaceful, no motor vehicle will be allowed.
One of the primary roles of the Board of Directors is to identify and repair existingPOA structures. Over the course of the last 2 years, we have done that with the Lake Park resurfacing, multiple drainage ditches and now the spillway all while remaining solvent and avoid debt.
Please visit RiverwalkPOA.com for pictures under the maintenance link. It’s also a great place to find contacts and other community info.
We identified the spillway repair to be urgent and any delay, in our point of view, could have created exponential expenses and liability exposure. Having said that, the price tag on the repair was not part of the budget. We took a line of credit (worth 10% of the annual budget, the maximum allowed by our bylaws without the approval of the membership) that we have not touched yet, in order to close the 2021 fiscal year. Essentially our entire reserve will also be wiped out. Confirming our assessment, the management company (Spectrum) conveyed to us that even with this line of credit, we were not in a desirable financial position due to the great expenditure of the spillway. Essentially, even with all our savings and control on spending, it’s too tight for comfort.
An auction. It became obvious that we needed to raise some money.
At the Thursday, April 22, 2021 BOD meeting, in the well-advertised open session (meeting and exceeding all regulatory requirements including multiple notices via blast emails, marquee and website notices), I proposed a motion to sell the lot adjoining the Lake Park. That lot was purchased a few years ago with funds from a large $370,000 loan that put the POA in debt.
The lot will initially be offered at a neighborhood auction with a reserve. This will be followed by a listing with a real estate agency in case of failure to reach the reserve price which is higher than the 2017 $120,000 purchase price.
Selling this lot will allow us to keep all of our reserves, renew the security contract with the Constable office, keep the gate at the park gate in good working order, as well as continue and improve the upkeep of our common areas like the entrance, while staying in a comfortable financial position without touching our small line of credit. I would like to include here an excerpt from the last BOD update from Mrs Sally Armitage:
- In the FP attached you’ll see we credited the $4k in the overpayment of payroll taxes, which is why that’s showing a credit which is great. Give yourselves a high five – we were $229k overspent in Feb, and we have already saved $77k so we are now $152k over. That is an excellent control of expenses!
- Collection rate remains at 92% but we collected another $2,533 this past week. The POA is owed $38,036 from 2021 assessments & $18,889 from 2020.
- Lot Sale
Approved. Sally to begin working on this
- Nature Trail
As you can see, we are staying extremely focused on controlling spending as well as startingand completing projects. I just inquired Mrs. Sally A. our community manager and she confirmed that once we started with Spectrum we were saving $15,000/months on 2020 budgeted items by aggressively controlling spending on most line items!
Over the last two years the total property owners assessments have remained stable while the average property value has substantially increased. We have implemented many restrictions that apply to the BOD and that I believe protect the property owners at large without preventing the BOD to be highly effective within the constrained of those self-inflicted limitation.
As a recap: the most important changes:
- BOD term limit (None existed),
- BOD control on spending on new expenditure (None existed),
- BOD limit on borrowing money (None existed),
- Emphasize the ACC role as a facilitator for permit approval as oppose to a micromanager based on personal taste and an enforcer of CC&R which is beyond the ACC role,
- Requirement for increased membership participation at membership meetings.
More Changes. I invite all residents to remain vigilant as time changes. Please participate in the membership and BOD meetings. A BOD should never be offended when asked how much things cost. Rarely are things for free and choices have to be made, but things should be reasonably priced.
Please join me to welcome Mr. Randolph Selten appointed as a BOD adviser at the last BOD meeting. You are invited to read his few words of wisdom. Also join me to give a great thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Mike and Janet Winkler. Janet is stepping down from the ACC after serving for over 2 years and Mike is stepping down from the ACC chair position but is staying as an ACC member. Join me in welcoming Mr. Earnest Smith as new ACC chair as well as Mr. Steven Anderson as newly appointed ACC member.
It has been a privilege to serve on the BOD over the last 3 years and I hope to cross you during our firework display planned for Friday July 2nd, 2021 in celebration of Independence Day (a display you won’t want to miss it. And note we are still currently well under 2021 small entertainment budget).
RW BOD President (former as of post date, now Riverwalk POA Honorary Lifetime adviser :))
Gene,VP: Do we sell a small portion of the lake lot
or take on debt and raise your fees?
The board of directors voted to sell the lot to pay for repairs to the dam.
What are we selling? When you pull into the park the lot in question is to the right side from the iron fence near the street to behind the playground. This lot has no significant lake frontage.
With this purchase in 2017, the board at that time put the RWPOA into debt. A $370,000 loan was taken. Approximately $120,000 were spent for the lot, plus interest.
The loan allowed the POA to leave beyond its means.
The board at the time stated that they purchased the extra lot to expand the lake park in the future. As more homes were being built, they anticipated that more residents would use the lake park and possibly overcrowd the area. This has not happened, as we are approximately 98% developed with no overcrowding. Therefore, over the last few years we have not needed the lot to begin with. Also, we have 5 acres on Riverwalk Drive that have not been developed, as well as a new park on the dam in the process of receiving improvements with small associated expenditure once funds become available.
When do we use the lot in QUESTION?
- Day to day operations? No
- Summer fun day? No
- Car show? No
- 4th of July fireworks? No
- Christmas at the park? No
- St. Patrick’ Day parade? No
- Bass Tournament? No
- Easter Egg Hunt? Yes, but the egg hunt can be moved toward the lake
- Halloween Parade? No, the venue has changed
Many homeowners enjoy the lake park, but not all property owners use it. All our amenities are still in place. The dam work has created another park at a very low development cost. Our new security system is in place with cameras in the lake park. Officer Dodge is on duty, cruising the roads and keeping a close watch over our beautiful lake park. All of this is being done at a very low cost to you, the homeowner.
Without the interest cost, a pavilion could have been built by the lake for the homeowners to enjoy. Instead, we have a lot that we very rarely use. The goal of this board is to keep your money in your pocket! And you have control of your yard!
RW BOD Vice President
Our Secretary/ Treasurer
Hello Riverwalk POA members. This is Gary Dillard Treasure/Secretary of our POA board I like to take the time to explain some of the changes that have been happening within the Community.
First Thibaut has explained the spillway repair and cost. We, as a board, have been adjusting the spending to try to offset the cost of this expense, one way is to look at the infrastructure of our community to try to reduce spending even further.
As a board we have decided to have the lake park gate open from 7am to 9pm this will reduce the cost of repair. This system was poorly installed and needs lot of electrical work and for the mean time I have personally been doing the repairs at no cost to our community in order to keep this gate operating.
We, as a board, have made other spending decisions to keep our POA members from having added expenses and keep as much as we can like paying the light bill, the Constable, the landscaper etc. We, as a board, have made great head way with the control of the spending and I know that once we sell the lake lot, we’ll get the 2022 balance sheet exactly where it should be even after incurring the largest urgent expenditure the association should ever see.
Thank you for your support
RW POA Secretary/ Treasurer
A review of the lot history by Mr. Selten
The lot address is 19360 Cabango Dr, Porter TX 77365. The legal address is RIVERWALK 03, BLOCK 3, LOT 66-A, ACRES 1.290L It was acquired by the BOD for the benefit of the community on December 12, 2017. The first mention of the acquisition I could find was a reference from the September 21, 2015 meeting under OPEN FORUM, “Inquiry about the Association purchasing the lot adjacent to the park for future expansion of the amenity. Per the Board, they have made attempts to contact the property owner “. After that, there were several references to the Lake Park Lot as a separate agenda item. The Lake Park Committee was never involved in the process – at least as reported, in spite of their request in March of 2017 that the committee would like to be more involved. The information came from Pete Oliver, according to the meeting minutes, who was then Vice President but would subsequently become President in 2016 and continue the negotiations with the owner of the lot. At the JAN, 2016 meeting, there was a discussion of possible uses for such a purchase but there were no detail about costs nor effect on assessments nor financing options/cost. After reviewing all the following year, could not find reference to any formal agenda item to discuss the purchase nor were the Property Owners given the option of voting on the proposition.
In July of 2016, under OLD BUSINESS, it was reported that the property owner was still interested. No source for that information was given. In August, 2016, Pete Oliver “advised that Prime Texas surveyors had been engaged to survey the property”. The contract for that was not associated with that notice nor did it appear to have been discussed or voted on. there were some subsequent . The next important reference was to the “Pending financial analysis and loan information to be provided by CIA Services to Mr. Oliver to review funding availability. I assumed that referred to the subsequent search for and procurement of a substantial loan to finance the purchase of the lot and other improvements (i.e. the guard shack rebuild) “to avoid depleting reserves”. Again there was no record of any discussion agenda item nor opportunity for the Property Owners to be informed as to the purpose for and amount of the indebtedness intended by the Board. There was no record of the application details of the loan until April, 2017 when there was an item about Mutual of Omaha “processing the loan”. No source was given. Then in August of 2017 an item recorded the loan approval and the official offer was made to purchase the lot. Again no reference to any committee, person, or process for this purchase or loan authorization was given.
In November, 2017, there was a 2 line item that the contract had been sent to the owner. The following month, the contract for sale was signed and recorded December 15, 2017 and there was again a reference to contact with a “landscape architect” to do a site visit and make recommendations. Again, no reference could be found about costs or results.
CIA services document a loan for: $370,000 taken in 2017.
It is now more than 3 years ago that it was purchased, and it remains unimproved, unincorporated into the existing park, and unused by the Property Owners of Riverwalk ! I felt this was an important part of the equation as this Board does not believe it is part of our mandate to initiate new debt in the name of the property owners for things that are not already part of our community. We rather must manage our resources in a fiduciary manner and avoid situations that involve significant financial risk. This property has not provided any measurable benefit to our members. It has not been used in any significant manner. It has not been developed in any way that was originally the announced alleged purpose, and it is costing a great deal of money with little or no return.
Therefore as part of my responsibility to advise the Board, it became obvious that in the light of having to maintain existing structures, avoid increased association fees or take on more debt, the right thing to do for the property owners was to sell and generate the needed operational funds.
I would like to thank the Board for this opportunity to be a part of protecting and serving the interests of the Riverwalk homeowners and POA.
RW BOD Adviser (Non voting)