January 9, 2019 at 8:22 pm #23607
First of all, let me tell you that this message is costing me the ten dollars that Margaret bet me that I could not re enter the community discussion when an issue really got under my skin.She was right.
We all are faced with voting to accept or reject the package of bylaw revisions that a very hard working committee of volunteers have worked on since last April.I applaud their dedication on our behalf.
I read through the revisions twice on the website (because we were not fortunate enough to get the mailing) and felt very comfortable until 3:00 am this morning when the word “or more” leapt in to my subconscious.
That cause reading number three.In the cliff notes that summaries the changes, section 9,01 stated “limit the board’s authority to approve new construction”.My first impression as a fiscal conservative was to applaud the committee’s decision.
However,when I reread the provision it actually said “limit the board’s authority to require a vote of the community for expenditures of 6.25% or more ,(in the current 2019 budget for the next 11 months that is in excess of $60,000).Does this provision then authorize the board to spend up to $60,00 without the approval of the community??????????
If that is the case,I urge a rejection vote of the bylaws (even though the rest are well thought out and acceptable).If you agree, talk to your friends and neighbors.This vote will go on until 607 ballots are returned and the more times we have to cast votes until the 607 number is reached the more expensive it is for us ($3000 per mailing)
Help our board get the total votes that they need to reject.January 10, 2019 at 8:37 am #23608Nancy ChontosParticipant
I would have been with Margaret on that bet, as well! 🙂
Thanks for calling this to the attention of the community. There’s a lot to read through with the proposed ammended Bylaws, and it’s good to have eyes like yours and Joe Bower’s to help us with the review. Hope you’ll keep your thoughts coming our way … especially now that you’ve lost the bet!
Happy New Year to you!January 11, 2019 at 10:16 am #23642
I am with Margaret and Nancy on this one…. If I would have known that there was $10 action going on with you and this forum I would have taken that bet.
Your question, <span style=”color: #777777; font-family: ‘Open Sans’; font-size: 15px;”>Does this provision then authorize the board to spend up to $60,00 without the approval of the community, </span>
And the short answer is YES.
Here is the long answer, I know you were at the meetings when there was a discussion about the fire abatement issues where the prices ranged from half a million down to $160K. As you will recall the board voted on and approved the $160k which is well over the 60K that is of concern. the BOD could have voted for the half million.
My understanding regarding the section that you are concerned about is that it was put in there to actually reduce the amount of money being spend on construction projects. NRS has something about how much can be spend on these types of projects and as far as I know it is more than the 60K that the bylaws is setting up. I will refer you back to the 1.2 to 1.5 million lodge expansion that was going to occur…. no votes on that one other than to go out and get permission from surrounding home owners to build. As I recall, back then there was also 100K spend on fixing a door on the lodge that never went to a community vote…. so as far as I know this bylaw actually puts MORE restrictions on the BOD.
I will also refer you to the BOD meeting two days ago….. the BOD voted down the library enclosure because the community spoke up…. which included you! So the process does work, the community just has to get involved.
Also, I think what you are more concerned about is that this section could allow the BOD to do something in secret without telling the community, and this is not and cannot be the case. The bylaws are just one of many docs that have to be considered when doing anything in the HOA. NRS requires construction projects, all projects for that matter, to go out to bid, and NRS requires all bids to be opened in a public BOD meeting. So, the community, more specifically community members like you and Margaret who do take action to stay informed, will know what is going on.
And to top all of this off, I know that there are many members of our community who respect the community too much and would not allow something like this to happen. I can promise you this, as long as I am living in this community I will be the first one up fighting the BOD on doing anything in secret…. The secret stuff associated with the lodge expansion and some other things is what prompted Loren and I to run for the BOD in the first place. To much power was in only a few hands and these people were playing dirty. I am still fighting a few battles started by a board member who thought they could do more than they had authority to do. It has taken me this long to find a way to fight the issues still pending.
And to both you and Margaret, you two know that you can ask me anything and I will answer. Whether or not I am on the BOD I will always answer anybodies questions. And it will always be a truthful answer. What has to be accepted is that my answer may not be what you want to hear so don’t shoot the messenger.
I am always looking for a good debate, Joe B. can vouch for this as we have had many over the last 3 years and we are still debating!!!!!
Steve G.January 11, 2019 at 11:22 am #23643
Thanks,Steve,for your response and your service. Though you have addressed my concerns,I still have reservations about the clause basically giving the Board an open checkbook on the first 6.2499999 % of the annual budget to address projects.As President Loren has said many times at Board meetings he (and you) are looking to future boards as you make decisions. So am I.
My use of this forum or the Somersett Next Door forum is to make sure more members of the community are made aware of issues that will concern them going forward.The remodel of the remodel was a good example of igniting the silent majority. Even though President L. assured that the board would not have approved the R of the R and you underlined the objection by stating that you would never use whatever funds the board received for the West Del Webb project for the R of the R,I was heartened by the enthusiasm of the audience when the rejection was announced. Prior to my forum(s) challenge on that project, very few members of the community were aware that it was even under consideration.
I know, from past experience with you, that I can always receive your honest opinion and your support when needed. But I still reserve my right to question on -going debate on community issues and inform our neighbors and friends of those concerns.January 11, 2019 at 8:12 pm #23653Joe BowerParticipant
Fellow Owner and Board Member Steve,
As usual you refer to NRS without giving its Section number or quoting what it says.
NRS 116.31086 says: “If an association solicits bids for an association project:” (notice IF and not must)
then if sought, “The association must, whenever reasonably possible, solicit at least three bids if the association project is expected to cost:
In a common-interest community that consists of 1,000 or more units (that’s us) 1 percent of more of the annual budget.” That would be $14,210.10 for us.
Further “As used in this section, “association project” includes, without limitation, a project that involves the maintenance, repair, replacement or restoration of any part of the common elements OR which involves the provision of professional services to the association, including, without limitation, accounting, engineering, and legal services.” (emphasis added) – Don’t always run to the same reserve analyst, auditor, engineering firm, or lawyer without first getting bids.
No only is the 60K you mention a complete folly as 6.25% of the 2019 budget is $88,813.13, but both numbers are much more than the [1% – $14,210.10 – NRS 116.31086(1)(a)(2)] amount.
Since owners must vote, if they bother to do so, on All changes to the Bylaws or None of them, there is no doubt that the only way for owners cast their ballot is to REJECT even though no owner would object to removing references in the old Bylaws to our long departed developer. Even that is not necessary as whatever is said is now moot.
Cosmetic changes are one thing, but sneaking in a board authority dollar amount is another. Especially when the whole new 6.25% section [9.01(j)] in the proposed new Bylaws didn’t even exist in the old Bylaws. Its not like some old outdated percentage number is being updated. No, this a whole new one!!!
And saying “it was put in there to actually reduce the amount of money being spent on construction projects” makes me puke.
REJECT is the only way to go. Fellow owners, don’t believe “this bylaw actually puts MORE restrictions on the BOD.” Santa Claus, Easter Bunny and Tooth-fairy days are long behind us.January 12, 2019 at 8:51 am #23654Nancy ChontosParticipant
Another well-written post, Joe. Thanks for sharing with us!January 13, 2019 at 8:46 am #23655
Joe, you know that I will always debate NRS with you, because we have so many times in the past. I must also say that you and I have had many conversations and discussion on a variety of association topics and will continue to do so. And you are right I do not always quote the sections.
So, right now Joe the argument is that like Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and a few other things this clause will not put more restrictions on the BOD.
There is a fatal flaw in your argument here…..
What restrictions currently exist in the bylaws on the BOD for spending money like this?????
I am not aware of any restrictions in the current bylaws and I am hoping that somebody will prove me wrong.
Like I have said before, lets go back to the lodge expansion a few years back, what restrictions were in place on the spending of the 1.5 mil on that project? Or the back door fix at around 100K
So is it better to have no restrictions in the bylaws or a restriction?
And I will argue that a section at the beginning of NRS puts a fiduciary responsibility on BOD and to spend that kind of money without member input would be a violation of the section. And the reason I am not looking this section up Joe is because I am sitting on my couch with my dogs sleeping besides me working on my chromebook.
An old saying comes to mind here, don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. In the hierarchy of governing docs the bylaws is down near the bottom so there are lots of other things that also come into play here.
I will be waiting for the section in the current bylaws that restricts this spending of money more than what the change will be.January 13, 2019 at 12:04 pm #23656
As you are well aware, there is no restriction in the current bylaws but that has worked fairly well for the past twelve years.The two projects you note (1.5 M and 100.o Gs) were both stopped by the 500 yard requirement and both would have gone to the community for vote had that rule not been invoked.Actually,I guess the failed 2018 remodel of the library (30+% over budget and did not accomplish the objective) might be considered a mistake but probably would have been done anyway if the proposed restriction was in place.
The biggest problem with imposing a restriction (6,25% of total budget requiring community approval) also implies that the board have up to 6.249999%) to spend at their discretion.While I realize that the current board would not abuse this privilege, I am not sure future boards would be as prudent.
I realize your post was directed at Mr. Bower,but I wanted to share my reasoning as the original author of the subject posting.
Rob McG.January 13, 2019 at 4:14 pm #23657
I will be more that happy to argue with you as much as I do Joe!!!!!!
I have to disagree with you on a couple of points, the lodge expansion did make past the 500 foot rule on the vote by the homes affected. The expansion was only stopped because the cost of the de-hu came up and there was no way we could fix the de hu and have the expansion. Lots, lots more to this story, including the Maintenance Easement Agreement. The west door repair went through without any oversight from the board.
And your points throughout this thread are very well taken. And, thanks for opening up the discussion on this as it gets info out to the community.
SteveJanuary 13, 2019 at 9:42 pm #23658Joe BowerParticipant
Well, I’ve been waiting all day to get in a few comments here, but definitely HOA stuff falls below NFL football on my priority list. So now, here goes.
Debating NRS is no-brainer fun, if Section numbers and even sentences are first quoted. No one should hide behind NRS by just saying “NRS” any more than behind the US Constitution or even traffic tickets without first spelling out the details Do traffic tickets read you have violated the law? NO, they spell out what law(s) was violated.
Owners need to read the proposed changes to the Bylaws and decide for themselves. Proposed Article IX, Section 9.01(j) is the big bad boy as owner pocketbooks can be affected. If an owner disagrees with just one proposed change, s/he must vote REJECT, as all proposed changes are to be voted on an “All” or “None” basis, a fatal flaw in how owners are asked to vote.
There needs to be no monetary restrictions/rules/options/parameters in the Bylaws. Firstly, before spending money it already subject to detailed analysis by the Finance Committee and its recommendations to the Board; along with the Board doing its own due diligence; and getting three bids before voting; is enough. Secondly, putting anything in the Bylaws means requiring another revision all-owner vote when practices/circumstances change over time. When capital improvements are the matter at hand, there needs to be an all-owner vote and not a board-only decision.
Going back in time, there was no such thing as spending 1.5 mil on a project to expand the Lodge. The money never got spent and the issue lingered for years with nothing ever being done. How many finance committees and facility committees have looked at expansion!!!
A full explanation of the “back door fix” is too long to explain here. However, here are a few facts:
1. The original proposal was for the front, back and side doors. It was voted down by owners whose lots are within 500 feet (not yards) of what was being proposed. To read the 500 foot requirement go to NRS 116.345(3).
2. Even though it was voted down, the 500 foot measurements were not done correctly. The community manager at the time measured outward from each of the four corners of the Lodge instead of from the point at the Lodge where the new construction was to take place (West Entry). The wrong measurement allowed Pulte to have 12 votes before the vote even started as it wrongly included the 12 Pulte lots; and Pulte was happy to vote “Yes” as the improvement would be at little cost to them as shared with owners.
3. A second “election”was held among the “500 footers”and the project was passed. I don’t recall if an all-owner vote was then held. However, the project was not the same as in the first election as prior to the “last” election it was decided (by “the powers that be” and not well-explained to owners) to exclude the proposed revolving front door and to lock the back doors on windy days, instead on installing better new ones.
4. The accepted bid for the West Entry improvements was $63,299. The final cost to owners was $93,324 (close enough to Steve’s guess of $100K). The reasons for the increase do not matter now. However, only one board member signed off on the three subsequent change orders ($17,143.50; $3,525.50; and $9,426.00) submitted by the contractor as necessary to get the job done which then inflated the final cost. While not appropriate for the Bylaws, board approvals of major expenses should contains a clause requiring at least two board members to sign off on any subsequent financial/material changes once bids have been accepted.
5. The West Entry was not built to the exterior and interior drawings owners were able to view in the Lodge lobby prior to voting. The major flaw: a floor-to-ceiling window was to be installed in the vestibule portion and it wasn’t. Instead a donated painting was hung to “hide” the bleak wall where the window was to be and it is still there today.
6. Owners who protested the lack of the window were told it wasn’t put in because “some” people thought sun on it would cause the vestibule to get too bright and too hot. As you know, there are such window panes in office buildings that reflect the sun’s rays outward and prevent interior brightness and heat. In fact in many window offices a chair and desk can be found close to a floor-to-ceiling window. Even a desk with a computer on it. Also, while neither brightness nor heat would be a concern as people pass though the vestibule in seconds, there are concerns about how dark the vestibule and adjacent interior hallway are.
The bottom line of the West Entry is: owners did not get what they voted for. That is something future boards cannot be allowed to do.
Once again, Steve, you mention “a section at the beginning of NRS puts a fiduciary responsibility on BOD and to spend that kind of money without owner input (I say vote) would be a violation of the section.” What is the Section number(s)? Also, since NRS overrules bylaws, why does anything already in NRS need to be re-addressed in our Bylaws?
In the hierarchy of governing documents, Bylaws is Number Two as it primarily governs the Board. First is the PUD (and along with it in the case of Sierra Canyon the “Restrictive Covenant Somersett – Active Adult Community”); third is the CC&R’s; Fourth the Architectural and Landscaping Design Guidelines; Fifth, the Policies, Rules and Guidelines (PRG) – more about it needing updating more than the Bylaws in a future post.
I must admit it isn’t proper to rank governing documents for an HOA any more than it is to rank the three branches of our federal government (judiciary, legislative, executive). Neither has more significance or supersedes the other, However, in the case of Nevada HOA’s the Bylaws could be considered a little higher as they govern board behavior versus the other documents governing association member/owner behavior. In the end, citizens and owners vote and that is of utmost importance. They can even not vote for incumbents and in Nevada HOA’s can recall a board member or the entire board (NRS 116.31036). However, people first need to be kept informed. That seems to be done better in the greater world out there than in our little HOA.
The proposed “30% over budget and did not accomplish the objective” library remodel of the library remodel was not a “mistake.” Rather it was a “slight-of-hand” attempt the Board hoped to pass right in front of the eyes of owners until it was an “in-your-face” alert brought to the attention of owners by concerned owners. Thank you and you know who you are.
Most of the proposed changes to the Bylaws are elimination of references to the developer. If enacted, they might make reading the Bylaws prettier, but they are moot and could stay. The proposed changes are difficult to discern when both what is being eliminated and what is being added are both in red type. Huh! If owners would completely “black out” what is being eliminated before reading and then concentrate on what’s left, the only conclusion to be drawn is to vote REJECT.
PS I don’t know how many owners visit this section of our website or even if they do how many know how to get posts and comments to posts on it sent to them via email? Wish there were more, as a small number of the same owners seem to be the only ones putting articles/comments on it. How about moving from gym/cocktail party chatter to here? Also, while complimentary comments are appreciated, better to post the thoughts of one’s’ own on the subject at hand. The more the better. Thank you.January 13, 2019 at 10:17 pm #23659
Well stated,Mr.B. I had several other historical facts to illiterate but your message covered all my concerns.While I appreciate the many hours and hard work of the board and the committees, we will never be a “Stepford wives” Community. Again,Joe,Well stated………Thanks.January 18, 2019 at 9:00 am #23828
I had an interesting conversation this morning with a friend regarding my view on the revised (inserted) bylaw concerning the 6.25% limit requiring a vote of the community(leaving 6.249999% at the discretion of the board).
She said that she was talking to someone about my view and recommendation to reject the package and the person asked what about heath and safety issues like the redo of the locker rooms.Her friend pointed out that the community would probably not vote in favor of that project.
My response was “Did you vote for it before it was done?” the answer ,of course, was obviously no because it never came up for a vote.That illustrates that without an artifical limit, worthy and necessary projects can still move forward as they have in the past.
But I will point out that the health and safety issue of the locker room was not priority #1 in 2018 for the facility committee or the board of directors. The first project recommended and board approved was the over budget.under performing library remodel.(Overrun of 30+% and requiring an attempted second remodel to achieve original objective.)
It would be interesting, on the subject of the health and safety locker room project to see a report on the following:
original approved budget. actual final cost
Did the finished product meet the board’s expectation?
Based on the fact that the original published length of construction was ten days and the final product was released after more than 24 days’ one would assume there must have been an over run on labor costs .
Again, this is my view of the proposed bylaw revision and I will vote as I see fit.It is important to encourage your friend and neighbors to vote whether they support or oppose the issue.
Ballots are available at the Aspen Lodge and can be turn in there when complete.I personally have been carrying a folder of ballots to give to friends and neighbors, encouraging a vote prior to Feb.19th so that this issue can be put to bed without the need for extended voting.January 18, 2019 at 3:30 pm #23830
You are so wrong on so many counts and contradictory in so many ways it is not even funny here.
Joe how many pages in the governing docs?
How many page is NRS 116?
In your list of governing documents you forgot 1…….. which one was it????? Technically a whole lot more…. you also added one that is not considered a governing document.
What establishes a document as a governing document??????
I spend 15 years as a motorcop and there were 42,000 section in the CA vehicle Code…. guess what, I did not know them all by heart, but I knew they were there and could go find them if necessary.
Guess what, I know what is in the governing docs and NRS and I can go find them if necessary…..
Let me point out a little fact, you are in essence telling me that I need to quote sections so that you can be satisfied. Lets put this shoe on the other foot. JOE, answer this question for the community, am I wrong about the section in NRS establishing due care and fiduciary responsibility?
Simply because I do not satisfy your need for citation does not make me wrong. I will be looking for your response to me questions.January 18, 2019 at 3:47 pm #23831
I have to say that I am fascinated by the conversations in this thread and I also have to say that I for one want every single person in our community to vote on bylaws in the manner that they see fit. This discussion and a vote from the entire community is what we need to be a vibrant and strong community. So please vote any way that you see fit and based on what you believe is best based on whatever information you choose to make your decision.
The one thing I have to say is that I really do not understand the basis of this thread. The section is question was put in in order to restrict the spending of the board. Right now there is no restriction on spending. It is much easier for the BOD to spend money on projects under the current bylaws than it is under the new bylaws.
If the issue is oversight of the BOD and spending of money it would seem logical to me to have more restrictions not less.
Two other points, This specific section was recommend by a member of the finance committee in order to have more control over money spend
And, it was written by the association atty.
The SC BOD had nothing to do with this section.
A few more quick things, everything dime of association money that has been spend while I have been involved with the BOD has been voted on by the WHOLE BOD at an open meeting.
Can somebody please tell me when any BOD has ever spend any money like this without community involvement? I would really like to know why this is an issue.
And, the construction to enclose the library, our community voiced their opinion on this matter and what happened in the vote….. NO CONSTRUCTION, I made the motion and passed 7 to 0. The board president said it quite well at the end of the vote, the only reason this was up for a vote is because the board had to find out how much the cost was and this was the only way to do it. Once the cost was known the BOD also thought that the cost was way too high.
I do not know how a construction project could possibly go through without it being discussed at an open meeting.January 18, 2019 at 7:01 pm #23833
Thanks for your feedback,Steve. Your viewpoint is always enlightening and appreciated.It’s great that an active Director participates in these discussions.
But,bottom line, we are each entitled to our own opinion.Hopefully at least 607 homeowners will voice their opinion by registering a vote.
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