Board Buzz

BOARD BUZZ November 2021, Mary Cheston, President
Posted on Nov 1st, 2021

 
And then there were two…
 
This month Mark Burgess and I are focused on finalizing the Association’s 2022 budget for presentation to the community with the able assistance of our Finance Committee. It is clear that there needs to be a much-needed change of mindset from what we’ve employed in the past on the part of all of us homeowners. 
 
We can no longer seek the best deal/lowest possible HOA dues or expect to artificially link the NTRA budget to inflation or CPI. Underfunding our Association does long term damage both to our physical plant and our reserves. This year with professional advice, we have critically evaluated what it costs to operate and maintain our community and save for the future. For many homeowners there will be a big assessment increase in 2022. Because we are following our documents, assessments will look somewhat different as well (except for the Village Walk neighborhood). To further understand why an increased assessment is needed, be sure to read Treasurer Everett Lunsford’s article this month on our “2022 Budget Challenges.”
 
Exciting news! We will soon welcome a new management company to serve our Association. Effective December 1, Chesapeake Bay Management Inc. will take over as the NTRA management company. Chesapeake Bay manages nearly 100 communities in Southeastern Virginia, has strong technological capabilities, and is committed to making positive change in our community. During the selection process, Chesapeake impressed the Board with its commitment to customer service, “can do” attitude, frankness, and overall expertise. Chesapeake also provides value for the money because their management fee is all inclusive, saving us the myriad fees and pass-through costs of our current contract. Best of all, the NTRA will have a full-time dedicated manager.
 
In the meantime, there is a massive amount of Association data and history to share. This records transition work will consume much of Town Management’s attention this month, so please be patient with your requests. We want as smooth a turnover as possible, especially given the imminent beginning of a new fiscal year. There will be a learning curve for everyone involved.
 
In mid-November homeowners will be officially notified by Chesapeake with information about how to set up your dues accounts. A different bank will be involved in handling NTRA’s accounts, so expect to change your automatic assessment payments for January 1, 2022. Keep an eye out for this important communication. 
 
November is America’s traditional month of sharing and Thanksgiving. In that spirit, I would like to thank my colleagues who beginning in June 2020 served on the homeowner Board of Directors. Despite the roller coaster ride to get here, your ideas and involvement helped us accomplish several important projects to improve New Town’s common areas and operations.
 
Thanks also to Town Management, which at the end of the month will conclude 15 years as the management company for the NTRA. From dirt piles to developed neighborhoods, Town Management has watched and lived the transformation of our community and all of its growing pains. 
 
The volunteers who staff our NTRA Committees also deserve a big thank you. The Board especially appreciates the recent work of our Management Company Search Committee - Bill Voliva, Mike Reilly and Everett Lunsford - who expeditiously screened applicants to fill the critical role of our management company. A big shout out to our expanded Communications team who stepped up to assist me - our new Crier editor, writers, and all those who contributed clear and compelling messages on the need to change our documents. That said, we are always in the market for additional help.
 
A final note of personal thanks to my support system – my unflappable husband Ric and dear Charlotte Park neighbors/friends who have shared a kind word or a laugh (often with a glass of wine) and constantly remind me that the Board is only volunteers, doing the best we can with the cards we were dealt by the Developer Board. New Town is a great community to live in, and these moments rally me.
 
It is so important for all of us to keep working towards having the Association on sound footing-both legally and financially. We look forward to seeing all of you via Zoom at the November 19th 2022 Budget presentation. We are at the start of the holiday season and embarking on a new chapter in our community’s history. Let’s make it an exciting, memorable beginning.
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