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WCA Board Approves 8.8 Percent Decrease in HOA Assessment

At their Aug. 13 meeting, the WCA Board of Directors voted unanimously to approve their 2016 association budget, including a significant decrease in homeowners’ assessments.

If VMs take no action to reject the budget within 10 days of the Aug. 13 board meeting, the new homeowners’ assessment for 2016 will be $291.

Click here to view the approved budget.

While the Aug. 11 WCA Budget Workshop had produced a draft with an assessment of $298, Community Association Manager Debbie Sainz stated that after the workshop, a number of errors were discovered on the table delineating reserves for large assets. Correcting them lowered the line originally budgeted for reserves by $28,000 to $139,327, dropping the budget’s assessment an additional $7.

The 2016 assessment of $291 represents a $28 decrease from the 2105 assessment of $319 – a decline of 8.8 percent.

Board President Joaquin Arrillaga said that even with the decrease in fees, the association would still have a nice reserve. Director Brian Ross suggested that the reserved money be divided into categories and labeled appropriately. He said there needed to be documentation stating why the reserve was set aside and noting that the association’s accountant had suggested the reserve. 

All voted in favor of Treasurer Dyan Pithers' motion to create an allocation of the budget to include six months of contingency funds and to have the board’s accountants determine an appropriate name for the line item.

All board members voted to approve the Glencliff budget with Vice President Ken Blair abstaining since he is a resident of the neighborhood.

All voted in favor of Nancy Sells appointment to the Covenants Committee.

Directors heard from homeowners who had replaced the flag on their mailbox with one that was the wrong color of gold. The residents said they had replaced the flag in 2013 but did not receive notice that it was the wrong color until 2015. They said they asked for clarification on the color but did not receive the information they needed to purchase the correct one until they visited the WCA office. Ross said that he was inclined to rescind the fine since it appeared that the residents had attempted to correct the violation throughout the process. Directors voted 5-2 in favor of his motion with Blair and Arrillaga casting the dissenting votes.

Government Affairs Committee Chair Joe Odda reported that it was important that residents attend the Hillsborough County Transportation for Economic Development meetings so county commissioners will know the priorities of Westchase residents. Blair pointed out that the county had added two more meetings to their schedule, which can be found online at http://gohillsborough.com

Arrillaga reported that the Swim and Tennis Center Committee was polling the community on WOW Online (http://www.WestchaseWOW.com) to gather information on how to use land near the Westchase Swim and Tennis Center on Countryway Boulevard.

Ross said that he had concerns that there had been a suggestion to install a chain link fence around the area. He felt that when the association did improvements, it should hold itself to the same standards as it holds homeowners, and that a chain link fence was not up to standard.

Pithers added that she didn’t think anything should be done hastily and that the area should be developed thoughtfully. Arrillaga said that was the intention of having the committee gather information.

Odda asked if it would make sense to create a study group to brainstorm ideas and come up with ideas based on community support. Pithers said that community participation was minimal when the Master Plan Committee was looking for input. Arrillaga restated that the Swim and Tennis Center Committee was just gathering information and coming up with ideas to present to the board.

Community Association Manager Debbie Sainz reported that lightning had hit a palm tree near the West Park Village tennis courts, killing the tree, frying the palm scanners, and damaging some computer functions in the office. She said that most issues had been resolved. She added that the tennis cabana building at the Westchase Swim and Tennis Center should be completed by the end of August; once finished, work to resurface the tennis courts would begin.

Because the association has begun keeping participants’ program waivers on file, electronically and physically, directors have been exploring options for privacy liability insurance. Directors had asked Sainz to gather information about how their management company, Greenacre Properties, Inc. (GPI), handles the filing and protection of personal information. Sainz reported that GPI does not typically keep sensitive information on file and that therefore they do not have liability insurance. Ross said that in theory GPI should make sure everything is in place on site so their employees know what to do. Arrillaga pointed out that the association had set its own protocols. He added that directors should not be making policy concerning cybersercurity and privacy. Ross said the association needed a third party professional to give them advice about how to handle cybersecurity and that GPI should begin to incorporate training and procedures into their management. Arrillaga said it was a legitimate request and he would ask them. The discussion was tabled until next month.

Directors also tabled approval of a proposed employee handbook until next month to give legal counsel time to review a section about concealed handguns. Director Ruben Collazo said that several parts of the section concerning concealed handguns in the proposed employee handbook were out of line with Chapter 790 of Florida statutes. Ross asked that the WCA attorney offer an opinion regarding whether the association has the right to ban guns on its premises.

Odda said he thought the employee handbook’s section concerning review of performance issues needed to be more defined. Arrillaga said they did not want to tie the association’s hands with extra steps that the law does not require. Arrillaga, however, committed to having the attorney double check to make sure the section adheres to Florida law.

Due to a change in Florida law, the board of directors will now levy fines for homeowners’ rules violations instead of the Covenants Committee. Residents will still get two notifications that they have a violation that needs to be corrected. If the violation is not corrected in a timely manner, however, the board will levy the fine and hear appeals at their public monthly meetings. Residents could then appeal the fines before the Covenants Committee; if there was still need for further review, the board would consider the matter again. Because the process changed, all voted in favor of Ross’ motion to table all impending fines to allow time to send homeowners a new letter outlining the new process. Directors also voted 6-1, with Blair dissenting, to approve a new letter recommended by legal counsel with additional language noting that the board meeting is public. Blair did not think that the addition was necessary since the general board meetings have always been so.

Directors tabled discussion about lighting for the new QuickStart courts at the Westchase Swim and Tennis Center until they could get more information and a recommendation from the tennis pro.

All voted in favor of Pithers motion to use Ajax Paving to resurface the parking lot at the association’s office. They, however, tabled the paving of the parking lot at the Westchase Swim and Tennis Center until more is known about the master design for the area and current construction at the center is complete.

Arrillaga noted that this was the last meeting for Pithers and Blair since neither is running for reelection in September. He thanked them both for their years of service.

The next board meeting is scheduled for Sept. 10, at 7 p.m., at the WCA Offices at 10049 Parley Dr.

By Marcy Sanford

Posted 14 August 2015

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