Extended Articles from The Creekside Chatter
Following is a summary of the new Steering Committee, which represents an expanded representation and governance of our HOA, or formally, the Cloudland Station Town Association. Cloudland Station is growing and it is time to involve owners in many areas of the community. This is a first big step, and I am confident that you will provide needed insights, wisdom, and creativity in making Cloudland Station a better community. Furthermore, it is an important step towards providing better overall governance at Cloudland Station.
Cloudland Station has a number of activities and assets that must be managed and maintained by the HOA. The primary mission of the steering committee is to oversee the budgeting and spending of funds available to the HOA to accomplish this most effectively. As such, all of these activities and assets have been divided up into eight logical areas, each led by a Chairperson (or in some cases, Co-Chairs). The Chairperson, in turn, solicits a group of additional Owners to assist them.
The Chairperson along with the assisting Owners make up what is called a Task Force. The eight Task Forces are set forth below. Note, that the budgeting subcommittee has a unique and distinct purpose, which is described later. Finally, the actual Steering Committee is comprised of the Chairpersons.
- Groundskeeping - Chris Hollingsworth
- Facilities - Christel Kennedy
- Amenites and Trails - Les Lambert
- Neighbor Communications - Ted King and Gary Payton
- Store Inventories - Ruth Pearl
- Social - Laurie King
- Swimming Areas - Zack Walley
- Budgeting - Chris Amato, Jim Campbell, Bill Herrell
Allocating the Budget
The Full HOA Budget is to be allocated and priorized by the Steering Committee. This occurs essentially in two steps:
Step 1 - The Budgeting Task Force determines the overall dollar budget for the upcoming year.
Step 2 - each year before the annual meeting, a Budget Allocation Meeting (BAM) is held. This predetermined amount will be presented at BAM in the opening minutes of the meeting.
Step 3 - Thereafter, each chairperson will present their desired priorities for the upcoming year for their respective Task Forces, along with needed portion of the budget.
Step 4 - If the combined dollars requested by all Chairpersons exceed the predetermined budget, then the Budget Chair facilitates the remainder of the meeting to gain a consensus on the necessary cut backs across the various areas to reach a zero based budget. If for some unlikely reason, a zero budget can not be reached, then BAM is adjourned and what ever small budget overhang that couldn’t be cut back, will be done by the Budgeting Task Force. Note the Budgeting Task Force is comprised of 3 Members who can all attend BAM.
Philosophy of Governance
I believe that we all agree that broader representation by owners in the operations of Cloudland Station will enable it to run smoother and more efficient. Moreover, it will create an even a greater sense of ownership at Cloudland Station, which can only be positive. Finally, it will help me better leverage my time to focus on building out the development.
That said, people have busy lives and are reluctant to take on new commitments. This is why recruiting supporting members to help the Steering Committee chairs is so important. By involving more members within each of the eight Task Forces, the load is spread immensely. Depending on how many people are involved, there can be a very minimal amount of work.
My personal hope is to have every owner helping out a Task Force at some level or at least assisting a Task Force for a specific project. For example, Facilities Task Force assignment might include someone committing to inspect and report on two facilities each time they visit Cloudland Station. Another example is someone assisting the Social Task Force by helping prepare the decorations for the Firefly Ball.
One of the best examples of this model at work, is the traditional swim team events at your local neighborhood pool clubs. There are many moving parts and so many volunteers that come together to create a successful event over and over again. Our goal is to emulate this level of involvement.
Role of Chairperson and Subcommittee
Here is an overall summary of the role of a Chairperson and his/her Task Forces. Note, the Chairpersons commit for a 2 year period.
- (Chairperson only) Provide oversight to the task force.
- (Chairperson only) Recruit members to the task force.
- Once additional members are recruited, determine goals, needs, and projects for the coming year.
- Once needs and projects are identified, gather estimates/bids to determine costs of execution.
- (Chairperson only) Report to and participate in the annual Budget Allocation Meeting (BAM). This meeting will be attended only by the Chairs of each task force. The meeting will take place early in the year and will be given a dollar amount presented by the Budgeting Task Force Chairperson (See Q&A Below regarding BAM as to the purpose and details of this meeting).
- Report on a bi-monthly basis to the community newsletter, THE CREEKSIDE CHATTER.
- Direct and/or execute, throughout the calendar year, the allocated budget it receives from BAM.
- Document needed routines for monitoring, purchasing and maintenance.
- Establish standard operating procedures (SOP’s) and rules for owners’ and guests’ enjoyment and use within their area.
- Continue monitoring throughout the year for any arising new needs, which depending on the urgency, could carry over to the following year.
- (Chairperson only) Serve as the point of contact for your task force.
- (Chairperson only) Designate a successor Chairperson.
Question and Answer Summary
Q. How were the task force areas determined?
A. The areas were chosen based on their representing a reasonable set of annual activities and related costs that could be managed by a focused task force.
Q. How were Chairpersons selected?
A. Many of those selected had offered constructive input demonstrating their sincere interest in bettering Cloudland Station in a particular area. Second, their experience, knowledge, and insights made them an easy choice.
Q. How do other Members participate?
A. Members get involved as their schedule permits in anything that interests them. You can stick to a single Task Force, and help with determining needs and priorities, or get involved in execution. You can also bounce around different Task Forces and use them as an opportunity to get to know other Members.
B. Members can also serve as a future Chairperson. Chairpersons will rotate every 2 years.
Q. How many comprise a task force?
A. This will be dependent on each task force and its particular needs. The thought is the each Task Force would have about three that are committed to that Task Force for a year, while other Members show up to help with events and work days, etc.