I am pleased to announce that the lending library has been installed. I did a little video to capture the moment.
Please head over to grab a book or leave one for your fellow Timbercresters :-)
Thursday, October 17, 2013
Friday, June 7, 2013
The planter box/garden project stirred questions about voting and ultimately about planning. People are busy, and coming to a meeting during a weeknight or during a weekend seems to be problematic for busy families. As much as I like electronic voting, it is not the sole answer to engage this community and if not used properly, can be counter-productive.
I would like to formally document and clarify the budgeting process and offer an idea on how to address it in the future.
The current process:
In order to get a project or a proposal funded, it needs to be approved in that year’s budget. The budget is submitted for approval at the November community meeting. The items are discussed and voted on during the November meeting.
But what about issues and ideas that come up after the budget is set? If an item is proposed to be funded that is not in the budget within a calendar year, a community vote will take place to approve or reject said funding.
Many of you who cannot attend meetings want to provide input into the budget process. This is my suggestion allowing everybody in the community to be heard but also encourages meeting attendance:
Potential future process:
1. All budget proposals must be submitted to the association by September 15th (you can access the form here).
2. A preliminary electronic vote will take place with all proposed items. This preliminary process will determine if an item will go to the community meeting for final vote. Essentially the community can determine if a proposal has merit and be placed on the ballot or if it should be eliminated.
3. The formal budget voting with the approved items will take place at the November meeting and the budget will be finalized.
In the past, if a suggestion has been made, one of the board members would jump in and research the request. Moving forward, the person making the request should have some idea of the cost and work involved in said project before it is proposed. We also included additional contact information so you can give us the information on a contractor or local official you are working with.
I think this process is a fair balance of engaging busy community members while still encouraging people to come to the meetings to participate in person. Let me know your thoughts.
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
When: Thursday, November 15th 2012 | 7:00 PM
Where: Centre City School | 301 Columbus Drive Mantua, NJ 08051
- 2013-2014 Elections will take place at the community meeting. If you are interested in a position, you can sign up online or leave a voicemail (leave your name, address, and position you are running for).
Note: Descriptions of the positions (there are some new ones) are included in this mailer packet.
- The 2013 budget will be reviewed/approved at the fall meeting as well.
- All new residents: Please register so you can stay up to date with the latest news and information (we won’t flood your inbox - we promise!)
Hint: If you don’t know if we have your contact info, if you didn’t get this flyer in email, we don’t have your contact info.
- Notice to all renters: Become more informed - please register on our homepage (timbercresthoa.com) to be included in community news and information.
Board Roles and Responsibilities
- Oversees all projects related to the community
- Manages all suppliers and vendors that perform services for the community
- Engages Mantua Township on community related affairs
- Responsible for financial oversight, documentation, and reporting
- Active communication with residents and focused on building a community
Candidate should have a background in business management/finance, comfortable with public speaking, and knowledgeable in computer technology.
- Must be willing and able to perform all duties of the President
- Will assist or run projects as well (especially if multiple projects are occurring at the same time)
- Official note taker during all association functions
- Acts as a check-point, auditor, and data backup for all records
Candidate should have a background in business management/finance, comfortable with public speaking, and knowledgeable in computer technology.
Director of Communications
- Formerly the role of Secretary
- Manages the delivery of communications to residents within the community (mail, electronic, flyers)
- Responsible for various online communications and interactions
Candidate must have excellent computer skills in order to type (with proper formatting) notes and communications to residents as well as uploading content to our community web portals. Candidate should also feel comfortable with editing and possess above average writing skills.
Director of Community Affairs
- Keeps accurate records of residents (especially those coming and going)
- Manages the yard sales and any potential social events within the community
- Develops an engagement strategy to increase community participation
- Assists with communication campaigns
Candidate should feel comfortable using social media and interacting with neighbors. Candidate should have excellent communication skills as well as solid computer skills. A background in PR or social media management would be appreciated (but not required).
Director of Real Estate Transactions
- Responds to various real estate requests that go beyond the community’s self-service real estate site.
- Will need to check community records to validate residents are current on their dues for refi/closings
- Update the real estate website with new information to ensure self-service section is effective.
- Works with Community Affairs Director to ensure resident records are accurate.
Candidate should be someone who is comfortable checking email and voicemail daily and responding to demands for information. Someone with a real estate background is preferred but not required.
Home Owners Association Internship (2 positions)
- Assist HOA directors in publishing communications to the websites
- Assist HOA directors with social affairs and gatherings
This position would be for children ages 12-16 that live in the community. Candidates will learn several skills such as blogging, web site management, drafting professional communications, and social planning. It would also be good for the board to hear about issues and ideas from their perspective.
If you would like to run for one of these positions, please sign up at our website (or call the community phone number).
Sunday, August 26, 2012
The board wanted to check in and discuss a few items that have come up over the summer months.
It has been an interesting summer regarding weather. We have had a little more rain than usual and lots more unwanted growth (at least I have)... and the weed killer hasn't been working so well. Even though it can be a chore, residents of the community need to maintain their lawns per the deed restrictions:
(i) Lawn. No weeds, vegetation, rubbish, debris, garbage, waste materials or materials of any kind whatsoever shall be placed or permitted to accumulate on any lot which would be unsanitary, unsightly, offensive or detrimental to any lot in the vicinity thereof. Grass, hedges, shrubs, and plantings of all types shall be kept trimmed and shall at regular intervals be mowed, trimmed and cut so as to appear neat and attractive. Trees, shrubs, vines and plants, which die shall be promptly removed. Lawns shall be mowed at least twice a month between April 15th and November 15th of each year. It is the responsibility of each owner to perform this work. Should this work not be performed and citation be issued by the Mantua Township Authorities, the Association shall perform the required work to insure that the premises complies with the Township Ordinances. The cost of such work in addition to a surcharge shall be special assessment against the particular lot and shall be a continuing lien upon the property in accordance with the Timbercrest Owners Association Declaration of Covenants and Restrictions. A blanket, perpetual and non-exclusive easement to the Association, in, upon, over, under, across and through the lots and property for the purpose of maintaining lawns, including but not limited to, cutting edging, fertilizing, weed control and the like, which easement shall be for the benefit of the Association and which creates a right not an obligation for the Association. No lawn ornaments shall be permitted. The removal of snow shall be the responsibility of each owner at his own cost and expense. This includes any sidewalks along the frontage of a lot.The association is always willing to work with residents with special needs and in special circumstances, but there needs to be communication. For all residents, please inform the board of homes that may be in need of lawn care via our contact page. NOTE: Please don't call out the homes publicly on the social site because it is going to start the process on a bad note.
Moving forward, once we aware of a home that needs to be addressed:
a) The board will send a note or letter informing the resident of an issue.
b) The resident will have 7 days to address the issue.
c) If the resident fails to address the issue, either Mantua township will be called in (in which the home will be billed/fined for services) OR the association will have our lawncare service address the issue AT THE OWNERS EXPENSE.
d) If the resident does not reimburse the association for services, a lien will be placed on their home for the cost of services and any legal fees.
2. Motorized Vehicles in the common areas:
It has come to our attention that motorized vehicles are being used in the common areas (specifically the basins). Motorized recreational vehicles are not permitted in any common area as they can damage the drainage system.
Anyone found to be operating recreational vehicles in any common area may be liable for repair costs. Residents, please let the board know of any inappropriate activity occurring in the common areas.
Over the last few months I have received a handful of emails regarding animals. Specifically, I have been asked about community dogs that have been roaming freely without a leash or supervision. The association does not have rules regarding free roaming dogs because Mantua Township has their own rules that govern appropriate animal care.
The Timbercrest Board does not recommend residents approach pets they do not know.
Additionally, please do not approach any wild animals (we had an incident with a
If you are in need of assistance with an animal, we suggest calling animal control: 856-881-2828
I just want to point out two recurring themes in each of these points:
a) We are asking for residents help to make the community better.
b) We are taking a stronger tone on some common complaints.
Even though the board is taking a stronger tone, nobody wants our community to become a police state or have a situation with an overbearing HOA board. While we don't want to be uptight and in everyone's business, we do want to take a different approach to some frequent and common complaints.
This is a work in progress, so as always, let us know your thoughts.
Sunday, July 15, 2012
As our neighborhood continues to evolve and utilize new technologies, a need has also been identified to develop basic guidelines for community use.
Note: These terms are a work in progress and are subject to change as we all learn to interact with each other electronically.
Timbercrest residents who choose to use the social media sites will adhere to the following guidelines. Posts that do not follow the guidelines will be removed by the designated moderators.
- Residents will not make negative comments about other residents on either site.
- Residents will not make negative comments about someone's home on either site.
- Residents will not reveal personal information about another community member on either site.
- Residents will not make comments that are off-topic in a given thread (If you want to bring up another subject, please start a new thread).
- Residents will not belabor a point they have been making via several posts.
- Moderators reserve the right to remove topics or comments that are turning the social site negative or hostile.
We hope that you find these guidelines fair and easy to accept. Participation in the community's social media sites are not mandatory and if the guidelines are not acceptable to individuals living in the community, said resident is encouraged to opt-out (or de-friend us). That being said, it is our goal to have as many residents as possible using the sites regularly to improve community engagement and communication.
Saturday, July 14, 2012
The Timbercrest community was asked to vote on having a playground installed in the community. This vote was a preliminary vote to determine if we should move forward with requesting more estimates, engaging Mantua township for zoning regulations, etc after rough estimates valued the project between $30,000 - $40,000.
78% of the community voted no, striking this project request down.
Regarding the voting, I just wanted to share these facts:
- In total, 43% of the community voted on this project.
- The last community vote, which had a mail flyer hand delivered to each home associated with it, only had 26% of the community actually vote.
I want to thank the residents who requested this project for having an interest in improving the community and for being involved. Please don't be discouraged. I also want to thank every member of the community who voted without issue for giving community leadership insight into the overall opinion of the community allowing us to make an informed decision about the future of this project.
In the coming months, as more projects are suggested and sent out for vote, please remain engaged and allow us to have an active dialog with the residents. Encourage your neighbors to join the ongoing discussions via the following tools:
- Our Community Social Media Site: Nextdoor Timbercrest
- Please keep your information (especially email) up to date via our Resident Registration Form
Additional Background Information:
Here is some of the data I included on the voting form, I wanted to keep it here as well:
- Insurance fees will NOT go up due to the playground.
- Landscaping fees WILL go up, but the price has yet to be determined (based on final layout and mulching requirements).
- Even if the community votes yes, the final plan needs to be presented to Mantua Township and approved by a special zoning comittee.
- Will there be a dues increase?
In the short term? No - the decision to move forward with the playground is not directly tied to an immediate dues increase. BUT consider the following...
- The playground will consume about 1/3 of available association funds.
- The community raises about $26,000 per year in dues. Our current expenses are about $24,500 per year.
- It would take 26 years to recover the costs of the playground at our current fee structure.