Town Crier Articles

Posted on November 23, 2019 1:00 AM by Phil Casey
Categories: NTRA Business
Rick Fisher, Chair of the NTRA’s Finance Committee, briefed residents on November 21 at an open meeting about the 2020 budget.  A 25-page handout with the details was distributed.  Residents can submit written questions by November 26 to Tim Grueter at Town Management (  The Committee’s expectation is that at the NTRA’s  Annual Meeting, the budget will be accepted as approved.  Some key points follow.
The NTRA Finance Committee is composed of five New Town residents drawn from several neighborhoods.  There are no members other than residents.  Tim Grueter works with the Committee as the Town Management representative.
The Committee followed a documented process to identify requirements, forecast their costs and communicate their recommendations.  They have been working the process since August 20, 2019.
NTRA expenses include both “per door” requirements, which increase as New Town adds residences, and operating expenses, such as legal services and pool maintenance.
Landscaping services is the major “per door” expense.  It accounts for 43% of the NTRA budget.  The cost of landscaping services is set by contract.  The Committee has budgeted a $42K increase for 2020.  The Landscape Advisory Committee requested an additional $12K which is aimed primarily at refreshing the landscaping in a mature common area of Chelsea Green.   An additional $4K has been budgeted for legal support to help with the transition of the Board of Directors to resident control.  The NTRA will use our current lawyer who specializes in HOAs and is recognized in Virginia as one of the best.
The Committee’s recommended budget keeps a sharp watch on reserves.  The objective is that reserves build consistently over the years so that if an unplanned capital cost suddenly appears, the HOA can afford the work without a special assessment on residents.  An engineering firm has studied New Town’s assets and provided a recommended annual contribution to replacement reserves.  NTRA will meet its 2019 reserve goal and, if adopted, the 2020 budget will maintain it.
The total 2020 budget is $808,540, which is $110K above 2019.  Of that total, $69K are “per door” costs and therefore do not affect fees.  Operational expenses are basically static and so likewise do not affect 2020 fees.  HOA fees will need to rise to meet the recommended replacement reserve objective.
The budget reflects different costs and fees for Village Walk since exterior maintenance of individual homes (e.g., painting, roofing) is part of their homeowners’ agreement.
NTRA will maintain its fee structure, divided among cottages, detached homes and town homes.  Fees are budgeted to rise annually for each, respectively:  $44, $96, $52.  Village Walk town homes will have an additional $40 annual increase to cover their exterior maintenance.
Posted on November 1, 2019 9:00 AM by Rick Fisher, RAB Member
Categories: NTRA Business
The Finance Committee is currently staffed as follows: Chairman Rick Fisher, Vice Chair Chuck Stetler, Secretary Jim Carey, and members Everett Lunsford and Angela Lesnett.
The responsibilities of the Committee include:
·     Monitor monthly/quarterly financial reports and investigate significant variances to Budget. Advise Board of Directors
·     Work with the Managing Agent (Town Management) in preparing the NTRA Annual Budget.
·     Conduct an Annual Budget Meeting focused on presenting a detailed review of the Budget to homeowners.
·     Work with the Managing Agent to ensure responsible management of financial assets in accordance with accepted financial practices.
·     Review Replacement Reserve Study and ensure that its guidance is reflected in the Annual Budget
·     Advise the Board of Directors in all financial areas
·     Conduct studies as directed by the Board of Directors
·     Act solely for the benefit of the New Town Residential Association (NTRA)
To learn more, be aware that the ANNUAL TOWN HALL BUDGET MEETING will be on held on November 21st from 6:30 - 8:00 PM in Legacy Hall.  The Preliminary 2020 NTRA Budget will be presented to Homeowners. Homeowners are encouraged to attend to ensure that all of their questions are answered.
Posted on November 1, 2019 9:00 AM by Tim Weidman
Categories: NTRA Business
Your NTRA Activities has planned another great Holiday Party this year.  So, mark your calendars for FRIDAY, DECEMBER 13th, 6:00-9:00 at LEGACY HALL! This is just one of the many fun events which the Activities Committee enjoys putting together each year for our residents:  Noon Talks at Center Street Grill, Kentucky Derby parties, summer parties at the pool, the Holiday party and more. 
Over the years, the committee has experimented with various activities and is always looking for new ideas to include more families and other residents while being mindful of cost efficiencies.  
The “AC” consists of seven voting members plus other interested residents and meets once a month for about an hour.  The meetings are fun and putting together the events for you is rewarding.  Voting and non-voting members of the committee over this last year have included Tracy Acompara, Karen and Richard Durst, Gloria Engelberger, Bill Haas, Mike Reilly (our leader), Eileen Reilly, Susan Schlimme, Phyllis Sizoo, and Tim Weidman (RAB).
Each year there is opportunity to join the committee as some members move on. So, please come and join us.  Just call Mike Reilly (843 450-5665) or Tim Weidman (757 564-1818) for more information.
Posted on November 1, 2019 9:00 AM by Lucy Painter
Categories: NTRA Business
The Communications Committee carries on the work of informing residents of events, activities, and policies that affect residents of New Town, including information on landscaping schedules, new neighbors and businesses, emergency preparedness, and social events. Working with members of other committees such as Activities and Landscaping, the members of Communication provide an outlet for news and special features of interest to residents provides information by way of a monthly online newsletter, the Town Crier.
The Town Crier has been available online since its beginnings but in a formal newsletter format.  As of mid-2019, that format has changed to individually posted online articles easily available to residents on the NTRA website.  Here a reader may also find a resident directory, an archive of past issues and timely posts. Featured in each release of articles is a file (absent pictures) that enables readers to print out the whole newsletter if they prefer.
Currently the Communications Committee is staffed with six members:  Mary Cheston, Kathy Mullins, Beckie Roberts, June Dawkins, editor Phil Casey and chair Lucy Painter. Dave Burket serves as RAB Liaison. As we enter 2020, this committee will need new volunteers, including those who love to edit, to talk with neighbors and new business owners, to write, and to work with the technology involved in publishing online. If you are interested, please contact Lucy Painter at 941 323-7037.
Posted on November 1, 2019 9:00 AM by Mary Cheston
Categories: NTRA Business
Have a question for the Landscape Advisory Committee or want to suggest an event for the Activities Committee?  Can you volunteer to serve on or even provide specific help to one of our committees? There’s an easy way to reach us through the NTRA website.
  • Use the “Report an Issue” feature under the Residents tab on the NTRA website (see screen shot below). 
  • Select the drop down title closest to your interest. 
  • Then let us know what you are thinking.
The website software provides the fastest way to reach appropriate NTRA personnel and allows us to track how your concern is addressed. You can check back later to see how your comment was handled.
Remember, this website feature is not limited to reporting something wrong to NTRA management. We’d love your suggestions and ideas as well!
Posted on November 1, 2019 9:00 AM by Dave Burket
Categories: NTRA Business
Beginning January 1, 2020, the NTRA will be using a different banking firm for the collection of our homeowner dues.  The new banking entity is Alliance Association Bank with its home office in Chandler, Arizona.  Their business focuses on homeowner associations and is backed by the national strength of Western Alliance Bankcorporation.
This change from BB&T to Alliance will be of financial benefit to the NTRA in that there are no service fees applied on our deposits and they will pay interest on monies in the checking account.  It should be noted the NTRA currently has a long-term Certificate of Deposit (CD) with Alliance Association Bank.
The NTRA will be providing more information to our homeowners on this change prior to January 1, 2020.  
Posted on October 1, 2019 9:00 AM by Jim Bowers
Categories: NTRA Business
Much of the landscape preparation for next year’s growth has already been executed:
  • Mowing height has been lowered
  • The ground has been aerated
  • Lawns have been over seeded
No doubt you have seen plugs of sod left from the aeration process and wondered where the lumps of clay came from. Besides promoting grass growth, this may help some lawns drain better.
There is still work to done in 2019:
  • Pruning will start around October 28  
  • An application of winter weed killer will be done in December, but the exact dates depend on the weather.
Posted on October 1, 2019 9:00 AM by Phil Casey
Categories: NTRA Business
Our pool is buttoned up until the 2020 opening, but 2019 was a successful season. 
Attendance was steady from the year before and never became a problem.  The biggest crowds during the year were in fact during the NTRA sponsored pool party events for which attendance was estimated at 150.  This was the second year that we kept the pool opened for use during extra weekends in September.  The weather was good each weekend, unlike 2018, so we got a better idea of use.
The year end maintenance went smoothly with no major investments or maintenance actions known to be required to open in 2020.  Town Management will investigate costs for painting the “mushroom” fountain and for design modifications to the gazebo to prevent water capture and wood rot.
The furniture we bought to begin 2019 was integrated with existing furniture and will continue to be cycled through as indicated by wear.  To date, the new furniture is wearing well and the extra umbrellas provided welcomed shade throughout the season.
It was a quiet year regarding pool policies and rules.  No new rules were identified for consideration.  In fact, the only issue identified by residents to Town Management during the season was about the temperature of water coming from the newly installed drinking water fountain.  Speaking of that, we saved about 450 plastic water bottles via the new feature for filling reusable containers.
New plants were added around the pool border in 2019.  It turned out that the hydrangeas we used could not tolerate the heat well.  The landscaper will replace them with a hardier variety.
We were very lucky with our lifeguards this year.  They were a steady presence through the whole season.
So, that marks the close of the pool for 2019.  It’s a great year when the most pressing issue is that the drinking fountain dispenses too cold water!
Posted on October 1, 2019 9:00 AM by Lucy Painter
Categories: NTRA Business
As you know, much of what goes on in New Town does so because of dedicated volunteers who work on different committees to keep our community running smoothly.  With this issue, we begin a look at these different groups that impact our everyday lives.
Do you go to pool parties, talk with neighbors at the December Holiday parties, learn about happenings outside of our area at Noon Talks?  Thank the Activities Committee. Do you know what to do in an emergency, how to prepare, where to go in case of evacuation? Thank the Emergency Preparedness Committee. Are you reading this article online? Thank the Communication Committee.
These are only three of the seven committees that operate here. To let you know what each does and how it functions, we begin a series of articles highlighting their work and, in some cases, how you may get involved.
We begin with two committees that currently do not require volunteers - the Architectural Review (ARC) and the Transition Committees. The Board of Directors appoints these members, unlike other committee volunteers. 
According to the ARC Charter, the "ARC is empowered to provide for efficient review, approval, or disapproval of all plans submitted by Owners within the Association for additions to or alterations of the exterior appearance of completed structures of a property itself."  Vice Chair Libby Flowers explains that such changes are permanent alterations to the exterior of a home such as addition of fencing, storm doors, satellite dishes, solar panels, patios and decks, and change in exterior paint colors.
Once the ARC receives an application, its members visit the site of the proposal to see how that change would affect the neighborhood.  Traditionally the ARC members have worked to maintain the appearance of our community, the orderly and maintained sense of place it now has. 
Another important committee that impacts our community's future is the Transition Committee, now in process of completing its Charter.  In response to our request for information, Rick Fisher provided the following:
The Board of Directors (BOD), at the June 2019 meeting, directed that a Transition Committee be formed to ensure that a due diligence review is performed by an independent group of homeowners prior to the Transition from the Developer.  The Transition Committee will have an approved Charter and membership. The Charter will become a self-explanatory document that will be shared with all homeowners and will outline specific tasks that will be accomplished by assigned Committee members. 
During this process, there are many categories of work planned that cover our community from its fiscal to its physical health. Some categories included are review of documents, existing policies and procedures, nomination and election processes, insurance coverage and vendor contracts. More details of the scope of this committee will be available as the Charter is approved.
In future issues of Town Crier, look for more information on what is happening around you and how you may want to get involved. 
 (Editor’s Note:  After three years as editor, I solicit a volunteer to replace me.  If interested to learn more, please send a note to
Posted on September 1, 2019 7:00 AM by Town Crier Staff
Categories: NTRA Business
Angela Lesnett and her husband, Fred, moved to New Town’s Village Walk neighborhood from Arlington, Virginia, in 2017. 
Since moving to the Williamsburg area, Angela’s involvement in the community has included volunteering for Literacy for Life and starting the Women's Lunch Group in New Town. She enjoys travel and reading, and is committed to daily workouts at the Jamestown Recreation Center (...a necessity, Angela says, because she also enjoys the many good restaurants in Williamsburg). 
Angela loves the friendly and walkable Village Walk/New Town community and is happy for the opportunity to serve on the Residents' Advisory Board to maintain New Town as a great place to live.
Angela retired after 26 years as an in-house corporate attorney for Freddie Mac. Prior to that she was an associate at a large St. Louis law firm and held two judicial clerkships.  Angela holds a Master of Laws in Taxation from Georgetown University, a J.D. from IIT/Chicago-Kent, and a B.S. from Quincy College in Illinois.