2016 Year End Recap
Check out what your HOA Board has been up to in the past year to improve the property and to keep you informed.
Meet Angel and his crew of carpenters and painters. We think everyone will agree Select Painting did a nice job at repairing the stucco damage, repairing the benches, replacing damaged wood on window and door seals and on the balconies and A/C vents. The Board liked their work so much we signed up for an annual touchup agreement to keep the property looking good. Cost $19,895 from Reserves
We spruced up the pool area
If you have not been for a swim this summer you may have missed some of the projects we have done to improve the pool area:
Dan’s Cleaning Lady, Beatrice cleans the pool area including the tables and bench twice per month. We no longer need to be embarrassed to bring quests to the pool. $1,200
The Gardeners removed the old dead palm trees in the pots and replaced them with some beautiful flowering plants. $500
The old signs were replaced with some new ones that you can actually read. $332
The old broken clock and pool skimmer basket were replaced. $50
The rusty old fire extinguisher was replaced. $150
New LED post lamps were put in around the pool.
A couple new hose pots were purchased to get the hoses off the ground. $364 with two new hoses
A new garbage can was set out to keep the trash contained.
A new automatic pool-filling valve was installed to eliminate the need to manually refill the pool. $388
The storm drains were cleaned to prevent storm water from collecting. $1,100
All the trees around the pool were professionally trimmed.
The old rusted gate into the pool area was repaired and painted. $1,222
New LED Lighting
Over eighty new LED light fixtures were installed throughout the property. New spot lights were installed along Kling and Clybourn Streets, which brings added security to the perimeter of the property as well as creating beautiful shadows.
Toluca Townhouse No. 4 suggested we call B & K Electric and we have been very happy with their work and pricing. Our new electricians also found and fixed several short circuits underground that had been creating problems. B & K receives a 5 Star Rating on Yelp and they are local. Cost $10,456 from Reserves
Hydro Jet – New Main Drain Cleaning Process
As you know, main drain backups and repairs has been our number one property repair cost problem over the years. We recently organized a meeting of all the other Toluca Townhouse Boards in the neighborhood to promote improved security and improve costs. Some of the other Boards told us about a drain cleaning process called hydro jetting. Hydro jetting uses water at extremely high pressures to cut through tree roots and anything else that may be clogging the drains. Cost $4,197 annually
We recently tried the hydro jetting process and so far we like what we saw and the price is less than we have paid for the roto rooter process. Toluca Townhouse No. 6 recommended a company called Top Contender who has cleaned their lines for ten years. The drains are cleaned three times per year and Top Contender guarantees their work if the drains get clogged up between cleanouts. We also received the same price that TT No. 6 has had for the last six years. Top Contender Drain Specialists has received the highest rating on Angie’s List and they won Angie’s List Super Vendor Award for 2015. Noel, the owner of Top Contender lives in Burbank.
Another benefit from hydro jetting is that we should be able to stop paying to get the drain lines cleaned through the garages. TT No. 6 told us that no one on their property gets their garage drains cleaned and they have only had a few issues over the years. This is a $6,400 savings for the homeowners. Please continue to watch what you put down your drains and try not to use your disposals as they can clog up the drains. From what we heard from the other Boards, it seems like we have been throwing our money down the drain for years with these twice-yearly cleanouts. You are still welcome to have your individual garage drains cleaned if it makes you feel better. If you have ficus trees in your area it might still be a problem with tree roots. The other area Boards have removed all ficus and rubber trees from their properties, which they feel has reduced their drain problems. We are thinking about using the camera to check these garage drains to see what kind of shape they are in. We will keep you posted. Don’t forget to water the trees on your patio so they won’t have to go looking for water in the wrong place.
Please remember that the individual homeowners are still responsible for any garage drain backups in your house. Once your stuff gets to the main drains the HOA is responsible for any cleanups. Please note our guarantee with Top Contender does not apply when a clog is caused by some foreign object getting stuck in the drain like toys and other large things that don’t belong down there.
We are in the process of installing additional drain cleanouts on the property to make the hydro jetting process easier and to expedite any future clogs. Cost $2,900
We used this same process to clean the pool drains and all the storm drains, which probably have never been cleaned before. During the recent heavy rains all the storm drains were flowing well. Cost $1,125
See the video below for more information on the hydro jetting process. Copy the link and put it into your browser.
Professional Tree Trimming for the whole property
The Board decided to take a new approach to tree trimming and removal on the property this year. In the past each homeowner was responsible for tree trimming and removal. This approach has not worked out very well. Some homeowners did a good job while others refused to trim their trees or have root problem trees removed. This year we decided to try an approach where the Board hires a professional tree trimming company and pay for all trimming and removals on the property. This is another idea we learned from the other area HOA Boards. Cost $5,500
Property Diagrams for Utilities
Greg Cooke volunteered his time to put together diagrams of the various utilities on the property like lighting, plumbing and sprinklers. When the lights go out or the drains clog up it’s important to know where the utilities are located to expedite the repair. Greg also was our technical adviser on the lighting project.
Plumbing Insurance Claim
The Board found a clause in our liability insurance for large plumbing backups. We filed a claim against Farmers Insurance for the plumbing problem in 2015 and they just paid the claim for $17,161. The funds were deposited into our reserve account to cover the monies we borrowed this year.
The financials have not been finalized for this year but this check will certainly help to improve our financial position. Let’s face it, we live in an old house where the preventative maintenance was allowed to lax for a long time. Now we are trying to get caught up with the needed repairs. Fortunately, the old Boards left us in a pretty good reserve position so that we now have the money to make the necessary repairs. Our buildings are just like preventative maintenance on your car. It may seem expensive at the time, but it saves you money in the long term!
We think with the completion of some new projects coming up next year, like new gutters, pool deck resurfacing and possible solar pool heater we should be in good shape from a maintenance perspective.
New HOA Rules and Procedures
The Board has implemented a number of new rules, which we believe will enable future boards to better manage projects and expenses.
Every new project over $1,000 in expense must be accompanied with three bids.
Each project over $1,000 must also be accompanied by a scope of work document. The SOW document spells out what work is to be done and keeps both the Board and the Contractors on plan. If a problem develops you can always go back to the scope of work to see what was planned.
The Home Owners Association has always had rules but we have not always enforced the rules. The Board has started to enforce the rules with letters and if necessary fines to ensure a well managed property. So far the compliance has been pretty good.
We learned a number of things by talking to the other Boards. We were surprised to learn that most Boards do not get their windows cleaned. The 2017 budget does not include window cleaning but we did put in some money for pressure washing which we think will give us more bang for our dollars.
This year the Board decided to forgo the annual dinner meeting for a meeting at the Church to save $680 vs. $50 for the Church. We hope everyone can come to the meeting on February 28.
We numbered the buildings to help identify an area for repairs and maintenance.
The Board usually meets the 2nd Monday of each month and we welcome everyone to stop in to see what’s going on and to let us know what’s on your mind. Please consider joining the Board as we are looking for some new members who have some time to contribute to improving the property.
After each meeting we put together a newsletter to let you know what’s going on. Let us know if you are not receiving your newsletters. In the coming year we want to transition to communicating with you through our HOA Website called Bazinga or through email to save money. Can you please send our property management company or any Board member your emergency phone contact and email address?
Regular Maintenance Finished this year
Window Washing - $1,700
Roof inspection and vent painting - $1,200
Gutter Cleaning - $1,750
Removed old TV Antennas - $200
Higgins Termite Inspections - Please call Higgins if you have not had your inspection yet or you will be responsible for the cost.
The utility cabinets on the property were cleaned, painted and the electrical panels were labeled.
A new outdoor lighting shutoff switch was installed. $25
The pool shed was cleaned, painted and a rack was installed to hold the new cleaning supplies for the pool area.
A new sprinkler controller was installed which replaced two old controllers that had to be manually reset each time the power went out. The new controller has more functionality that should enable us to reduce the amount of water we use for sprinkling. Cost $200
A number of sprinkler heads were moved away from the buildings to reduce damage to the stucco. Cost $200
Safety and security
During the year we have experienced several safety issues including a stolen car from a garage, a stolen bicycle and two homes burglarized.
Your Board has led the effort to try and convince the other area Boards to band together and pay for a security firm to patrol the area but the other Boards would not support the idea. Please continue to watch out for strangers on the property. If you see UPS packages at your neighbors door try and pick them up for them.
In the coming year we hope to sponsor some social functions on the property so that we can all get to know our neighbors.
Special Assessment & Dues Increase
No one was happy to hear we needed a special assessment and an HOA dues increase for next year. The Board believes these steps were necessary to keep the Association in a sound financial position. Going forward we believe the projects we have implemented will help keep down the necessity for large unplanned expenses in electrical repairs, plumbing and painting.
2017 Projects and Goals
The Board will be working on our goals and projects for next year and we hope to get your input.
The Board would like to thank the homeowners and renters for your support during the past year. As you noticed as you read our year-end recap many of our project ideas and new contractors were ideas we picked up from the other area HOA Boards. We want to thank everyone from around the block who helped us with their many years of experience.
We would also like to thank Carol and her Team at our Property Management Company for their continued support and advice. As a new Board we relied heavily on Carol and Al Masters to keep us moving forward in the right direction.
The Board wishes everyone a healthy and happy new year!
The Toluca Townhouse No. 3 Board
Wilson Roth – President 818-846-3882
Dan Garay – Vice President 818-720-7213
Julie Cooke – Treasurer 818-843-5006
Hopi Marcum – Secretary 310-488-5842
Dave Phillips – Member at Large 818-919-5014
Management contact info:
Carol Stein, CMCA®
CONDOMINIUM & COMMUNITY SPECIALISTS, INC.
1023 N. HOLLYWOOD WAY, SUITE 102
BURBANK, CA 91505
818-566-1700 FAX: 818-566-1799