Sunrise Mountain View Estates
5550 N. Paseo Otoño
Tucson, AZ 85750
Volume 26 No. 2
Welcome to the Sunrise Mountain View Estates Fall 2017 Newsletter!
The SMVE website and SMVE News Alert emails are the primary vehicles to communicate important information to homeowners in a timely fashion. We recommend subscribing to website update emails to receive the most timely information. Twice each year, articles published on the website since the prior newsletter are consolidated into a newsletter format. An SMVE News Alert is sent to notify homeowners that the newsletter is available. Articles that are no longer relevant at the time the newsletter is published are omitted. We mail a printed copy of the newsletter only to those homeowners without email.
Welcome back to everyone who was gone for the summer! You picked a good summer to be gone — it was hotter than usual. We did receive more rain during the monsoon season than usual, but it all came in three weeks in July. Beside those three wet weeks, we had a hot, dry summer; even the cacti wilted.
As you will have noticed, the paving work scheduled for 2017 has been completed. We have repaved Paseo Otoño, the pool parking area, Strada de Acero, and Via Sempreverde from the Paseo Otoño intersection to a few houses past Strada de Acero. This has been an eighteen-month effort, starting early in 2016 with no one on the current Board having experience with paving roads. Fortunately, several homeowners with experience with paving equipment and building projects helped joined the Roads Committee as we researched paving options. We hired a consulting firm to study our roads and present a five-year plan for the roads. Portions of both Paseo Otoño and Via Sempreverde were failing, and we had to patch potholes late in 2016 and more early this year. Based on that study and our own evaluation of road conditions, we selected the area to be repaved.
We used the consulting firm to help us with the bidding process and to monitor the paving work. Work was scheduled to begin in early Summer but was delayed by the monsoon rains. We started again in late August and finished almost everything in three weeks. A few minor items have taken longer to complete and we’re now down to a final punch list of small issues.
All of the other roads have been seal coated to extend their life. This is a maintenance activity needed every four to five years. All roads have been restriped as they were before and parking areas were restriped.
We have ten new home owners so far this year. Most of the resales were in the first several months of the year, followed by an almost five-month dry spell of no activity. Recently, two homes have sold and another is in escrow. Real estate agents tell me there are very few houses for sale in the entire Fairfield area.
Elections are coming and Help is needed
Our annual membership meeting and election of Directors will be coming up in February. If you are interested in joining the Board or contributing on any committee, we would love to hear from you. Please contact the Nominating Committee before December 1st if you are interested.
I’d like to take special notice of how homeowner volunteer efforts have made a real difference to our HOA. Our association functions because of volunteer efforts. All of the work preparing for paving the roads has been done by volunteers; the HOA has no paid staff. Without the volunteers on committees and on the Board, nothing would get done and amenities would decline. The worst case is that without volunteers we might need to engage a management company. And management companies generally result in poorer and less friendly service at a higher cost.
A major challenge for our HOA continues to be to have more homeowners volunteer for our committees. We more than welcome homeowners who want to contribute. Please talk to me or any Board member about your ideas and ways you might contribute. We welcome people interested in participating in any way — as a volunteer, a committee member, a committee chair, or a Board member. We especially welcome the newer homeowners who are part of the next generation moving in.
We want to hear from you about what you would like to see your HOA doing. Please contact me or any Director by phone, email, or mail with your thoughts and suggestions.
The nominating committee has had the pleasure of talking with a number of homeowners about upcoming board and committee openings. To those of you who have taken the time to further explore the volunteer opportunities, thank you! While we have made progress getting volunteers for some slots, we are still actively searching for a Treasurer. You do not have to be a full time resident to be Treasurer as this position can be done anywhere because everything is on-line. This position does NOT require a finance or CPA background, however, you should be comfortable with financial statements. If you have ever managed your own finances you can probably do this job! (Remember we have a bookkeeper who does the heavy lifting). Several of our past Treasurers did not have financial backgrounds and were still successful in this position. This volunteer position will take 8-10 hours a month of your time. Please consider taking on this volunteer opportunity.
While our most urgent need is a treasurer, other committee positions which do not require being on the board are also still open (maintenance committee member, bank statement reconciliation manager, assistant to secretary and more!) Remember many hands makes small work for each and the fewer hands we have the more we have to outsource for fees.
As of the end of September 30, 2017, operating expenses as a whole are running below budget by 8%. As fall common area maintenance expenses are incurred, I expect that overall that percentage will drop, but operating expenses should still remain slightly below budget overall.
As expected, the largest operating expenses continue to be utilities, trash collection, landscaping, and repairs and maintenance.
Jan-September 2017 Operating Expense
The north pool area incurred some non-recurring expenses. In June, the lounge chairs were re-strapped at a cost of $3040.00. This was a much-needed expenditure and one that will extend the life of the chairs. Also in June, the north pool tile was cleaned and sealed at a cost of $1075.00, and in July a water heater was replaced at a cost of $1040.00. The south pool area had a pump replaced at a cost of $1305.00 in June. Sidewalk repairs were made in August at a cost of $4036.00. In the future, sidewalk repairs will be a reserve item expense.
Contributions to the reserve fund are at $129,000.00. We are budgeted to contribute $175,000.00, which will be met in December. All of our homeowner dues for 2017 are current and paid in full.
We have been able to earn slightly more interest on both our operating funds and on our reserve funds as interest rates have risen. Year to date, interest income is $1770.00 over last year. It is the board’s policy to keep the operating funds and reserve funds separated, fully protected by FDIC, and to earn a competitive rate of interest. The majority of our operating funds are earning between 0.80% and 0.90%. Our reserve funds are invested in money market accounts earning between 0.75% and 1.10%. In addition, the board began investing in six-month CD’s in order to earn a higher rate of interest. Currently we have a $75,000.00 CD earning 1.06% and a $55,000.00 CD earning 1.37%. The $75,000.00 CD matures in November and will be rolled over into another 6 month CD.
The board is currently working on both the operating budget and reserve budget for 2018.
Several board members attended a free webinar on Maximizing Home Values in an HOA. The focus was understanding why some HOAs are inviting places to live with strong home values and other associations are in a state of decline. One of the most important items was a strong Reserve fund. A study by Association Reserves showed home values were 12.6% higher in associations with a strong (over 70% Funded) Reserve Fund than homes in associations with a weak (under 30% Funded) Reserve Fund. You can read more about this here:Reserve Funds and HOA Home Values.. As you may recall, we are contributing more to the reserve fund than we have in years past in order to get us to an acceptable funding level. The Board is focused on the Reserve Fund and an update to the reserve study was recently completed.
Other items that can make a difference in home values within an HOA are as follows:
Budget Accurately & Honestly
Maximizing Curb Appeal
Avoiding Deferred Maintenance
Avoiding Special Assessments
Creating a Culture of Transparency
Adhering to Rules & Standards
Employing accredited, credentialed managers
Training Board Members
Teaming up with Knowledgeable Business Partners
All of us can contribute to helping maximize home values in SMVE whether or not we volunteer as board or committee members. Do your part to maximize curb appeal of your property and help us continue to build a sense of community. We’re also always looking for volunteer board and committee members to help. A strong volunteer base will keep our community strong.
The “normal” maintenance accomplished since spring was overshadowed by the road repaving and curb repairs that were completed this summer. Prior to that work, the HOA had 16 sections of sidewalk replaced to fix tripping hazards and slabs that had begun to disintegrat. This is the second year in a row sidewalk repairs have been made. Several cracked and disintegrating curb sections were also identified and incorporated into the road repair contract. Finally, we contracted to have a storm sewer catch basin repaired on North Via Velazquez. That work is being done as this is written. While we have fixed all the problems that our survey discovered, please let me know if you have any sections in your area that need repair. We are allotting funds in 2018 for additional repairs if needed.
At the south pool, the HOA contracted for trim to be painted in the shower area. In the same vein, we hope to have all the wrought iron fencing at that pool painted yet in 2017. Quotes were obtained earlier in the year and we are waiting on an updated quote from the then low bidder. The wrought iron at the north pool is in better condition, but is also on the list for painting. Those of you who stay for the summer already know that the entrance doors to both pools were modified so that you can now exit the pool areas without a key. Grill work was installed to prevent anyone entering by reaching around to operate the exit lock knob.
This past year the HOA updated the reserve study and has also improved accounting procedures that deal with maintenance projects that are paid for from the reserve fund. Previously some of this work was done under the annual operating budget. The reserve study (which is available on the web site) has a long-term plan that shows when major maintenance and repair projects are anticipated to be done. Of necessity, that plan loses accuracy after the early years and it is recognized that the timing of projects may well change. This is why we update the reserve study periodically. I encourage you to read it so that you may understand the planning that goes into insuring we maintain our property and facilities.
In last spring’s newsletter I explained that the board was dividing up the maintenance work load so that the overall task is in manageable parts that one person can handle without taking on the entire responsibility. In that vein, I’m looking for someone to help out in the summer when I can’t be on site. The job would primarily involve being “eyes and ears” for the board in my absence, with perhaps a limited amount of watching over any maintenance projects that are undertaken in the summer months. This job could conceivably be shared to further lighten the load. Please let me know if you’d like to help.
Landscaping has been relatively uneventful in 2017. We are on target to complete the year at or under budget.
Two refreshes were completed — one is the narrow strip on Via Sempreverde across from the north pool and the other is the mid parking area of Via Sempreverde. The strip across from the pool had new plantings added as it is irrigated. The parking area had repairs made to fix erosion problems and a new coating of granite was added.
We had minimal irrigation problems this year and about half of them were leaks at the south pool. Thanks to all of you who did note a problem and quickly reported it! Please continue to do so. We did have issues with aging timers which resulted in areas getting quite dry before we realized the valves weren’t operational. If you happen to notice an overly dry area, please contact me so we can investigate whether one of the valves is sticking. I will be soliciting help from community members to watch irrigated areas for leaks and failure to irrigate. We have over 9 areas that are irrigated with some areas having more than one schedule associated with it. I’d love to see an owner per area/schedule. If you are interested in helping, please contact me.
We did have an overly active year of packrats — particularly in the 3rd and 4th quarters. This in part was due to our healthy rains this summer. Over 87 nests were addressed. Remember that you can discourage packrats in your yard by ensuring that you keep packrat friendly hiding places removed. This includes stacked bricks and wood, low hanging thick plants such as rosemary. If you leave fruit on the ground from a fruit tree, this will attract packrats as well so ensure you discard any fruit that falls from your trees. Remember you are allowed to keep the area behind your wall weed free if it is flat (up to 12′). Keeping that area clear also discourages packrats as generally they don’t like to cross open areas.
Our heavy summer rains also contributed to active weed growth and over 30 homeowners were notified of weedy yards needing cleanup. All homeowners addressed the problem (thank you). We all benefit from the tidy appearance of our HOA so keep up the good work. Don’t forget that even if you are away, you are responsible for ensuring weeds in your yard are removed in a timely fashion.
Thanks to all of you who help us keep our community looking terrific. If you have any questions about your yard, contact me or consult Yard Rules and Regulations. Also as a reminder you may not trim any trees behind your homes in common area without permission. You can be fined and/or required to replant if you do so. Please ensure you are working with the landscape chair if you need to trim trees for view.
In October, I accepted the Hospitality Chairman responsibilities, having worked the past year with former chairman Teresa Scharf and the Committee members to explore how we can best serve our community. We are grateful for Teresa’s warm leadership and thankful for her easy access to Guy’s information and skills. Thank you both for getting us started! We will continue to have a leader for each event who is both the contact person for the community and usually the idea leader as well. It has been fun for all of us to trust this leader’s vision to determine the event details in different ways. We enjoy working together, we would enjoy supporting new ideas for future events, we welcome your feedback, and welcome you to join us as volunteers.
Each event will be posted in advance on the SMVE website, listing details and the event contact information. In addition, the event flyer will be posted on the mailbox clusters one week ahead. All our residents, whether Owners or Tenants, are always welcome; if you need a ride, just let us know.
*October 20, 2017, 5-7pm at our clubhouse. Event Leader: Carole Stephan
Last year the BOD changed the alcohol policy to allow individuals to bring their own beverages of choice to HOA events. As a result, the Committee planned several “BYOB and Appetizer to Share” social gatherings at the clubhouse. Food is set out for all to help themselves and there is space for people to mix and mingle in the clubhouse and outside under the ramadas (please remember food and drink only under ramadas and in walking paths and never by pool or spa. Also never use glass containers!) We hope people feel free to drop in before or after dinner, or, plan to spend the early evening with your neighbors.
*November 10, 2017, 5pm start at the clubhouse. Event Leader: Pat Larson
There have been requests for a sit-down format, potluck style event so this month includes the BYOB and bring food to share concept, but will require an RSVP to the event leader who will keep a list of the foods coming (appetizer, salad, entree or side dish, dessert) or, ask her for suggestions of the categories needed. The RSVP will help us be prepared with enough tables and chairs inside and outside under the ramadas.
*December 14, 2017. Event Leader Sonja Allen
The leaders of this event love music and a lively party… the “Winter Holidays” is the theme in progress for a BYOB and appetizer even in December.
Hospitality Committee: Sonja Allen, Pat Larson, Diane Meuser, Jane Spalding, Joyce Steiner, Carole Stephan, Susie Struck
The pools are kept sparkling clean and at the proper temperature by Donald Pierce, our pool vendor. They were coated with Pebble Tec this year to maintain their surface and provide better walking. The north pool also had the tiles cleaned. You probably have all noticed that we have have easy exit from both pools with a key no longer being required. This was an important safety change allowing for fast exit if needed.
As usual the South pool will be closed Dec 1, 2017 and will reopen March 1 2018.
Please remember to keep pool gates closed/locked at all times. Do not prop the gate open or prevent it from closing securely — even for a few minutes.
In May the North court surface was completely redone. The cracks are gone and the paint looks great. I am going to suggest we put up some sun screens on the east side, maybe just 4 by 8’ latticework or windscreen material, to provide some shade between games when players are sitting. Any thoughts on this would be welcome. The South court is fine, I call it our “Wimbledon” court. Many people I play with have said it is the most beautiful court they have played on. It also mimics a grass court a bit because there are a few places where the bounce is erratic.
Lately there has been very little use of the South court, which is easier on knees, hips and feet. So if you have not, consider trying it. Remember that you can’t reserve courts more than 48 hours in advance of when you want to play. Reservation are not needed after about 11 AM, most usage is before that.
There were no security related incidents reported in the last several months. Earlier in the year the Board voted to eliminate services of Central Alarm during the weekdays and maintained only weekend evening coverage. During the September meeting, the Board voted to eliminate those remaining weekend evening services. This decision was taken largely because the value didn’t seem to warrant the cost given the service rarely identified a problem and hadn’t over the last several years. While there may have been some deterrent factor of the Central Alarm Vehicle driving the streets during the day, we do have an active neighborhood where neighbors watch out for neighbors and many homeowners are walking the streets in the area. We can each contribute to added security by asking the sheriff for a drive by when we are out of time for extended periods. This is a free service.
On September 1, 2017 we changed janitorial service provider. After soliciting bids, we selected Rincon Janitorial as our new supplier. The pool areas are scheduled to be cleaned twice a week, on Tuesday and Fridays.
Some homeowners have chosen to install security systems in their homes. Security companies traditionally posted a small sign announcing that the house was “protected” by their services. This sign was usually posted discreetly on or next to a house wall, was small, and only a foot or so off the ground. SMVE HOA has allowed these signs as they were considered a theft deterrent and part of the security service.
Recently, some security companies have been placing signs prominently in the middle or front of the yard or using larger signs. Some homeowners have questioned whether such signs violate the CC&R prohibition of advertising signs.
The Board considered this issue and adopted on August 7, 2017, a resolution clarifying the CC&R prohibition against advertising signs as applied to security system signs. The resolution states:
A small security sign, 11″ x 11″ or less in size, placed discreetly within one foot of a wall, is permitted as part of a security system installation. Larger signs or signs placed prominently in a homeowner yard are considered advertising and are not permitted.
The page on sign rules has been updated to include a section on security system signs.
If you have a security system sign that is more than a foot from your wall, please move it to a location next to a wall. If you have a larger sign, please ask your security system company for a smaller sign and place it appropriately. If you are unable to position a security system sign as described here, please contact the Architecture Committee to discuss your issue.
As most homeowners know, architectural changes to their home and lot require approval by the SMVE Architecture Committee (AC). But what is an “architectural change” and what standards does the AC apply when considering a request? Over the summer, the Architecture Committee and the SMVE Board have been working to make the answers to those questions clearer. We have rewritten the Architecture page on the website to help answer your questions. A new Architectural Design Notes document provides details on the standards for frequently requested changes. Please read these notes when thinking about a project so that you know what criteria the AC applies when evaluating a change request.
✉ by Guy Scharf, Chair, Architecture Committee
The next regular Annual Meeting of the Sunrise Mountain View Estates Homeowner’s Association (SMVE HOA) will be held on Monday, February 19, 2018 at 7:00 PM at the Clubhouse. At that meeting homeowners will participate in electing three (3) directors. Current board members may stand for reelection. Formal notice of the Annual Meeting will be mailed to you no more than 50 days but at least 10 days prior to the above meeting date. Homeowners unable to attend may vote by absentee ballot. Homeowners are entitled to one vote per lot owned.
Candidates should be willing to serve a 3-year term. Candidates should help foster collaborative team building and work with colleagues in a collegial, respectful and sensitive manner. Board members have found email essential for prompt feedback among members, circulation of information, communication when member may be away from Tucson, and the ability to transfer documents as needed.
Board and Committee Members have found their service to our community especially rewarding because of social interactions and a unique opportunity for personal learning and growth while serving other homeowners in the SMVE Community.
How to be Nominated for Election
Please address a letter or email to the Chair, Nominating Committee (Kathy Mitton) no later than December 1, 2017 expressing your willingness to serve a 3‑year term. Enclose a brief résumé of your qualifications (education, experience, special expertise, previous leadership positions, and what position you think would fit you best). Please send your letter and résumé to:
, Vice President and Chair, Nominating Committee
5408 N. Via Sempreverde
Tucson, AZ 85750