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C.I.A Services, Inc.
Systems. Structure. Stewards.
Professional Community Association Management Since 1984
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Archived Newsletters

Every month, we issue an electronic newsletter, eNews Monthly, to keep clients informed about Association items, spotlight clients, and answer frequently asked questions and let you know what is happening with the company.  Old issues of eNews Monthly are available on our Library page. 

January 2016
eNews Monthly
Year in Review
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2015 By the Numbers

2015 is now behind us and it was another busy year at C.I.A. Services. Great management flows from a foundation of doing all the small things well. Our dedicated staff members kept up with the thousands of daily details associated with managing communities. Here are a few statistics from the past year.

  • Our maintenance coordinators issued and tracked 4,778 work orders and projects for our communities. That is an average of 19 per workday. A work order can be anything from having a sign fabricated & installed to developing specifications & soliciting bids for a contract to having a new roof installed on a clubhouse.  Each work order includes a large amount of communication with contractors in advance and as follow-up.  That is an impressive amount of work.
  • Home improvement coordinators processed 7,140 home improvement and new construction requests for our communities. That is an average of 29 per workday.  Many requests entail multiple communications with the homeowner to ensure that the request is complete before passing on to the committee for a decision.  Each request finishes with a letter to the homeowner documenting the decision. That number includes 2,285 online submissions through our new online home improvement application system that was released in early 2014.  This is a 225% increase over last year’s online submissions. 
  • Our accounting department prepared 16,691 checks and coordinated 28,788 bank drafts for our communities. That is an average of 165 per workday. Even more impressive is that those disbursements covered 38,478 separate vendor invoices. That is an average of 154 per workday.  It takes great organization skills to coordinate that many bills, obtaining reviews and approvals while meeting the due dates.  All that while keeping impeccable records that CPA auditors love to see.
  • Our customer service staff helped 1,962 owners set up payment plans for their delinquent assessments. Throughout the year, our accounting staff monitored each payment plan and issued 1,403 follow-up letters to owners.
  • Our community managers, administrative assistants and inspectors tracked and resolved 93,387 deed restriction violations by issuing 109,085 letters. Our deed restriction management efforts continued to be successful with 90% of all violations getting resolved before a certified letter was needed. 
  • In December alone, our accounting and administrative staff received and deposited $10,962,444 in assessments in 21,916 individual payments. January is projected to be another big receivables month with 11,337 payments processed during the three business days on either side of December 31st.
  • Over the course of the year, we received 219,903 incoming phone calls!  Although we get calls 7 days a week, the majority come in on business days. Based on our total, the average number of incoming calls each work day was 879.  This is an increase of 40,947 calls over 2014.   

All of these little details and small things equal up to great management.  We pride ourselves in providing excellent service at every level.  We look forward to another successful year in 2016.

Legislative News
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Texas Open Carry Handgun Law In Effect January 1st

On January 1, 2016, Texas became the 45th state to allow the open carry of handguns. Since 1995, Texas has allowed concealed carry of handguns to those who obtained a Concealed Handgun License (CHL) from the State. Now residents of the Lone Star State who want to renew or apply to carry a weapon will be issued a License to Carry (LTC) for either concealed or open carry of a handgun. There are several steps to obtaining a license.

Businesses, including community associations, have a right to prohibit concealed and/or open carry handguns from its property. If an Association* has the ability in its governing documents to create rules and regulations, it can establish a rule to prevent concealed or open carry on Association common property such as clubhouses, tennis courts, pools, parks and other such amenities.

The Association would need to install signage compliant with Texas Penal Code 30.06 (concealed carry) or 30.07 (open carry) advising the public that they may not enter the premises with a concealed or openly carried handgun. With the signage, the prohibition would be enforceable by law enforcement as a trespass. The smallest sign which will accommodate the required information is approximately 18”x24”.

  • Two signs are required if both options are prohibited.
  • Signs must be placed at all public entrances to the facility.
  • Signs must contain the Penal Code wording in both English and Spanish.
  • Block letters at least 1” in height must be used.
  • Letters must be a contrasting color from the sign background.

If your Association is interested in establishing handgun carry rules for the common areas, it is important that you involve the Association’s attorney. 

* Note that condominiums cannot use the law to prohibit carrying because the common areas are owned by the members and not the Association – a rule can be created but enforcement is more complicated. The Association’s attorney can review the limited options.

Awards
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C.I.A. Services, Inc. Nominated for Management Company of the Year
by Kim Moore, Vice President

C.I.A. Services had the distinct honor of being nominated for 2015’s “Management Company of the Year”; an award given through Community Association’s Institute’s (CAI) Houston Chapter.  CAI is a national organization dedicated to building better communities through information, education and resources to the homeowner volunteers who govern communities and the professionals who support them.  

An invitation to recognize leaders in the industry was open to all CAI members in November.  All nominations then went before a panel of esteemed judges.  The Management Company of the Year nominees are companies that exhibit excellence in customer service, management, governance, and finance as well as show dedication to the industry, clients, and CAI.  We are proud to be identified as a part of that distinguished group.

A wonderful gala entitled “A Night to Remember” was held in Houston on January 9th to recognize all honorees and announce the 2015 winners. There was music, dinner, and dancing to compliment the awards.  As an added bonus, Executive Vice President Laura Tate’s daughter, Melody along with three other Atascocita High School orchestra students entertained attendees with beautiful music from their string quartette during the reception.

Although we did not win the award this year, it was a privilege to be nominated for such a high honor by our peers.  

Seminar Series
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We are pleased to present the C.I.A. Services Seminar Series.  During our series, we present seven classroom seminars and one webinar throughout the year - each at multiple locations for a total of 28 training sessions. Click here to read the full seminar descriptions and see the schedule.  

Each seminar concentrates on the practical aspects of the topic and provides board members with background knowledge to help them in their decision making. We consistently receive positive feedback on the content and presentation.

  • Board Member Orientation
  • Advanced Topics for Board Members
  • Meeting & Records - The Legal Requirements
  • Understanding Collections & Financial Reports
  • The Super Budgeting Process
  • Practical Deed Restriction Management
  • Essentials of Architectural Control
  • Community Website Administrator (Webinar)

Each two-hour seminar begins at 6:00 pm and we provide deli sandwiches in case you come straight from work.  You’ll leave with a wealth of practical information and a notebook for future reference.

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Meetings & Records - The Legal Requirements

This is a critical seminar for understanding the legal responsibilities of board members and their associations under the laws enacted in the 82nd legislative session. This seminar deals with board and members meetings and how those meetings must be announced, conducted and documented. We’ll review what can be done in board executive sessions and unannounced meetings. We’ll cover elections and voting. And finally, we’ll explain members’ access to Association records. This is an extremely important seminar for all board members.

Space is limited and advance registration is required.  To register, please send an email to seminars@ciaservices.com.

02/10/16 - Wednesday

6 – 8 pm

San Antonio

02/16/16 - Tuesday

6 – 8 pm

Humble

02/18/16 - Thursday

6 – 8 pm

Southwest Houston

 

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Community Website Administrator Training

This is the required training course for certification as a Community Website Administrator (CWSA) on the C.I.A Services web site (www.ciaservices.com). As a CWSA you’ll be able to maintain the pages for your community. You’ll be able to create news and events, update key personnel, add community information, display photos, conduct surveys and much more. Being a website administrator is very easy on www.ciaservices.com and you can do it from anywhere you have an Internet connection. All CWSA training is done by webinar in the comfort of your home.

Space is limited and advance registration is required.  To register, please send an email to seminars@ciaservices.com.

02/25/16 – Thursday

6 – 7 pm

Webinar

 

New Communities
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Welcome!

We are very pleased to announce that our first new community of 2016 joined our San Antonio Office on January 1st. The Harper Oaks Homeowners Association is new, small 53 home community on the north side of San Antonio.  

Welcome to C.I.A. Services!

Community of the Month
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New Forest Homeowners Association

We are proud of every one of our communities so it is always hard to find just one to highlight. We start by having each of our Community Managers write a nomination for one of their communities. We then read them and take a vote. Here are our most recent selections:

  • January - New Forest Homeowners Association - North Office - Valerie Lehr
  • December - River Park on the Brazos Property Owners Association - Southwest Office - Kim Moore
  • November - Community Association of the Highlands - Southwest Office - Candace Look
  • October - Cedar Springs - San Antonio Office - Tina Jameson
  • September - Eldridge Park Village - Southwest Office - Susan Bratton
  • August - Cinco Ranch Residential Association II - North Office - Laura Tate
  • July - Cypresswood Green Property Owners Association - North Office - Brenda Ellington
  • June - Fairway Pointe Community Association - Southwest Office - Libby Hodges
  • May - Eilan Condominium Association, Inc. - San Antonio Office - Ralph Troiano
  • April - Summerwood Community Association - North Office - Jennifer Northington
  • March - Diamond Ridge Property Owners Association - San Antonio Office - Rosie Saenz
  • February - Riverwalk Propery Owners Association - North Office - Linda Morris

To see the full story on these communities and to see the past winners, visit the Community of the Month page on our site.

Community Anniversaries
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Every month we appreciate the communities that are celebrating their anniversaries with us. Here are the clients that started with us in January.

  • Hunterwood Village II Association — 30 years
  • Homeowners Association of Timber Forest — 19 years
  • Cumberland Community Association — 8 years
  • Eastpoint Section 4 Homeowners Association — 5 years
  • Subdivision of Spring Crossing Community Association — 4 years
  • River Park Ranch Property Owners Association - 3 years
  • Reserve at Clear Lake Community Association - 1 year

Our goal has always been to create a positive, long term relationship with all of our client communities. We are very proud to be managing all of these communities.

Employee Corner
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Time Flies!
by Nancy McGinnis

Nineteen years ago a young lady walked into our North office location in the Lake Houston Church of the Nazarene building to apply for a job.  She did not really want this job, what she wanted was to stay home with her two small children, but she decided to try so she could say she did.  She told the Office manager her terms for employment, knowing that the terms were out of the ordinary and would not be met. The problem was that she did not know that the Office Manager at that time, Renea Victorino Miksch, and her company, C.I.A. Services, Inc., were also out of the ordinary. Renea agreed to her terms of employment, offered her the job and Mrs. Liz Holliday went home to call her dad to say “I got the job”.

Over the 19 years as our Home Improvement Coordinator, Liz has proven her loyalty, professionalism, faith, and love to all of us here in the office and to our clients.   Personally, I could not have survived my life if not for Liz and her undying devotion, prayers, and patience to listen and just let me talk for hours and hours. Not only is she a valued co-worker but a dear friend. Her family (Tim, Erin, and Sam) became our family. We have shared so many moments of extreme laughter and tears. I am not the only one to feel this way about Liz. I asked for comments from some of her co-workers and would like to share these with you all.

Anna Quiroga: Liz Holliday has a light in her eyes and I remember thinking I want that light too. I didn’t know that I too would depend on her kind words and encouragement to get me through the next few years of my life. She embraced my children and me and became a second mother to us. I will never forget her sincerity and genuine concern. She has made such a difference in our lives and I will miss her at work. Thank you Lizzy pooh for guiding me! I love you Lizzy pooh!

Renea V Miksch: Lizard, my favorite name for Liz, is a bright smile and a friendly face as well as a dedicated and loyal employee, the kind of employee that every employer wants on their team. Liz was always the first to mentor our young and our young at heart employees, not only in their jobs but in life in general. Thank you for your friendship and your 19 years of dedication. I wish you and Tim years of happy retirement and playful days with your grandchildren! 

Gloria Bell: Liz and I fell in love with each other through Jesus Christ and the word of God. We would always encourage each other through tough times. She has only broken one promise to me. We promised each other that she would not leave until I retire. I am still here and she is retiring without me. Even so, I wish her and Tim all the best.

Laura Tate: Nineteen years is a long time to work with someone and there are lots of treasured moments shared with Liz.  I am going to say goodbye with one of my favorite memories.  At one time, the north office shared a building with a church. One evening I had cause to go upstairs and was waiting for the elevator. When it opened, I found several of my coworkers, including Liz, inside crying.  I immediately panicked and started asking what was wrong.  The group went on to explain that everything was okay, but they had just wrapped up a ladies bible study and they talked a lot about their feelings. I suppose at the time, I was "tough" and was not someone who would easily cry (unless I was watching Steel Magnolias). So, I started laughing.  This forever became a favorite story to retell and tease Liz with. But in truth, it is an example of how truly loving and caring she is.  She cares about everyone in her life and has always been one of the most supportive women I have known.  She has been there for me for the highs and the lows and I am happy to call her a friend. 

Kim Moore: I have had the privilege to know Liz Holliday for well over 19 years through work and the local Church prior to that. Lizzy, as I call her, invited me to my first Christian music concert some 20 years ago and I have been in love with Christian music ever since. I will always remember that night as it was very special to me. I have enjoyed many years of working with Liz. In the “old days” we (the Assistants) used to dread when she would be gone from her ACC processing duties on vacation as we would have to fill in for her. We sure had big shoes to fill as she was always meticulously organized and had a great process in place that we strived very hard to uphold and make her proud while away. Liz, I will miss your being a part of our work family but am so happy for you and Tim’s retirement and more time to devote to grandchildren. May God bless you always.

So here we are 19 years later and Liz is retiring from C.I.A. Services, Inc. As typical of Liz, she has ensured that her knowledge and experience has been shared with Cherylyn Gatlin and the home improvement processing team here. She turns over her reigns with confidence and with an assurance that she leaves us in good hands.

We all would like to wish Liz and Tim a fond farewell as they begin a new chapter in their life. May your retirement lead you to wonderful adventures.

To paraphrase the works of the beloved Dr. Seuss:

Congratulations!
Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!

So….

Be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea, 

You’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.

So… get on your way!”

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Anniversaries

We are pleased to recognize several employees as they celebrate their anniversaries with C.I.A. Services!

Charlotte Bulcken is celebrating 20 years with the company!  Charlotte works out of our north office handling multiple special projects and is our go to person working with governmental agencies.

After 19 years with us this month, Liz Holliday, senior team member in our home improvement processing department, retired.  This month we not only celebrate her anniversary but also her retirement.  We will miss her smiling face!

Lauren Hopkins, who also works in our north office as our Facilities Coordinator is also celebrating 1 year with us.

Lindsey Hopkins, works in our north office as an Administrative Assistant is celebrating 1 year with us.

Congratulations ladies on your anniversaries!

Read Past Issues of eNews Monthly

Every month, we issue an electronic newsletter, eNews Monthly, to keep clients informed about Association items, spotlight clients, answer frequently asked questions and let you know what is happening with the company. Old issues of eNews Monthly are available on our Library page.