Town Crier Articles

2020 Annual Meeting – The View from Both Sides
Posted on December 14, 2020 6:00 PM by Mary Cheston, Chair, Communications Committee
On Thursday, December 10th the NTRA Board of Directors held the first Annual Members Meeting since homeowner control.  This Zoom meeting included reports from seven of the NTRA’s Committees and a message from the new Board of Directors.
Almost 90 residents (about 70 households) participated on the Zoom. The traditional annual meeting packet with financial reports was posted to the NTRA website for early review and use during the session. (See Annual Meeting Docs). Included in the financial report was a list of replacement projects for 2021 including the pool pergola and gravel path at Chelsea Green. 
The 2021 Budget and associated assessment fees have been adopted by the Board. Members voted through an electronic poll to approve the transfer of any surplus operating revenue to be applied to future assessments per IRS rules. It is estimated that $47,000 could be transferred to the NTRA replacement reserve and another $38,000 to Village Walk replacement reserve at the end of the year. In response to comments submitted earlier on the budget, the Board has agreed to examine whether a different approach to assessments may be warranted in the future to comply with community declarations.
The Board also presented its priorities for 2021 namely:
  • Institute quarterly inspections and evaluations of landscape contractor
  • Perform detailed review of Assessments to ensure compliance with governing documents
  • Improve responses/actions under Website Ticketing system 
  • Timely completion of the 2021 home inspection program for Abbey Commons and Savannah Square
  • Initiate Phase 1 of warm weather grass pilot project (Bermuda grass in select common areas)
The Board recognizes that services need to be improved and asked Members to recognize the significant challenges that the community is dealing with under homeowner control. Above all, the NTRA needs more volunteers who are willing to step up and work on these issues.
Tim Grueter of Town Management provided an update on buildings including 516 current homes in New Town. Work to refurbish the trails and to complete the storage building that is shared with the New Town Commercial Association is ongoing. 
The comment period that followed covered a range of topics. Besides requesting more details on the replacement reserves and assessment fees, owners asked about the condition of trails with several commentors complaining about the volume of trail trash, especially in areas near commercial establishments. The placement and security of the mailboxes in Roper Park was another concern. Board President Chuck Stetler committed to followup on both issues. 
One Member inquired about the possibility of having a Neighborhood Watch program in New Town. Several participants noted options for approaching this, including one resident who tried to initiate such a program in 2009 but found a lack of interest from the community. 
An update on the retention pond maintenance work in Village Walk was also provided (see related December Crier article – BMPS and BRBs in New Town). One Member asked how owners could provide ideas for governing documents that should be revised, and the President encouraged all to submit comments through the website or directly to a Board member. The placement of the playground slide generated a question for Town Management who advised that the New Town Design Review Board is reviewing this decision. Libby Flowers of the ARC advised owners to anticipate delays in finding suitable building materials for any repairs and refurbishments, which generated several comments related to roof tiles and repairing leaks. Finally, our ever-vigilant community wondered about a damaged Honda that has now been removed from Casey Boulevard and RVs parked on the public side of Casey Boulevard (beyond the speed bump) as well as reporting that landscape crews had blown leaves into the BMP on Casey Boulevard rather than using a vacuum truck to remove them. 
On a personal note, I attended this meeting as one of my last official functions as Chair of the Communications Committee. I also participated as a brand new Board member. From both perspectives, given the challenges of this unusual year, my sense is that the Board’s points and the Members’ contributions were sincere and well-received. Perhaps Zoom also helped us to remain calm and respectful of differing views, more than during past in-person sessions. Our Association goal: “We know 2021 will be even better than 2020.”
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