Town Crier Articles

Communication Helps It Happen! Part One: Communicating with Your Homeowners Association
Posted on October 1, 2020 7:00 AM by Mary Cheston, Chair, Communications Committee
Categories: NTRA Business
Now that we homeowners control the Board of Directors, many residents have ideas (and complaints) to share, and share we have!  Perhaps we were just waiting for a changing of the guard to see if things could improve? Perhaps Covid-19 restrictions have given us more time to walk through neighborhoods and observe. Whatever the reason, Town Management and individual Directors on the Board have received a deluge of emails and calls about a variety of issues, some of which are outside the NTRA’s control. 
 
So let’s focus on COMMUNICATIONS to the NTRA – how, when, who and what. 
 
1) How? The primary vehicle for reporting a problem or concern to the Association is the NTRA website “Report an Issue” feature (See Residents page dropdown box) All NTRA Committees including the Board of Directors receive the comments submitted in their subject area.
 
  • Why is this the first place residents should go? It creates a ticket, similar to an HOA work order, where both the Board and Town Management, as well as the resident, can track issues. If we send something privately to an individual, there is no traceability. Help us to improve accountability on the part of the Association by using this website system.
 
  • “I have not had timely or satisfactory responses from using this feature.” We feel your pain. Know that the delays are not due to any lack of responsiveness by the website team. Town Management controls this system. Sometimes it takes time for a Committee or the Board to provide Town Management with a reply. (Please do not duplicate your comment by sending in a separate email.)
The ticketing system is a work in progress. Some Board members recently met with Town Management to review and expedite open tickets. Several status categories were added to clarify what is happening with each ticket. Town Management has committed to improve its transparency in replying helpfully to every resident. (Residents can also close out tickets if they know the issue has been addressed.)
 
2) When? If there is a true emergency situation requiring immediate attention, e.g. the recent overflow of the pool after hours, then a call to Town Management is best. 
 
3) Who? The Board of Directors are volunteers, as are all NTRA Committee members. Their time is their own, not ours. The new Board has been looking at a wide range of issues – in just the past 90 days, they have officially met 11 times, with individual Directors also meeting separately with their assigned Committees. Distractions from calls and emails only add to this workload. Remember that the Board acts collectively, not individually, so while it may feel good to vent on our favorite Director, there is not likely to be resolution within her/his power. Send your comments to the Board through the website, and let the system work. 
 
4) What? Finally, some things that may be annoying to us are not within the Association’s purview. Complaints about median strips, trails, construction crews, and US Post Office practices should be redirected. If you contact the appropriate source and learn something about New Town that you weren’t aware of, chances are your neighbor isn’t either. Share what you learned with the Communications Committee to add to the website’s Frequently Asked Questions. Contact ntrawebsitecommittee@gmail.com We all benefit when we communicate precisely.
 
So let me take a page from “Miss Manners” book, and encourage all of us to follow communication chains. Although your friend/neighbor may now be on the Board, there is a protocol to follow to ensure that concerns from the community are shared in a timely and respectful manner.  
 
Next month, I’ll focus on communications from the NTRA. What have we been doing to keep you informed of New Town matters?
Comments
Comment By: Rebekah Roberts
Posted on October 2, 2020 8:40 AM

This is a useful and informative article. Good to know. Thanks