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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. 

February 2013
eNews Monthly
Collections Policy
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Standard Collections Process

For the majority of associations, assessments are due by January 1st and overdue after January 31st of each year. Although most owners pay on time, the delinquent collections process begins for the rest in February. So now is a good time to review our standard collection procedures.

Annual Statements.  The process begins when the annual statements are mailed to all owners. This is done soon after the annual budget is adopted by the Board of Directors. Draft budgets are reviewed as early as August and approved as late as November. The annual statement mailout includes a cover letter summarizing how the assessment will be used, a copy of the operating budget and a statement with coupon and return envelope. We also include our popular "multi-payment option" which has coupons and return envelopes which allow the owners to make 2, 3 or 4 payments by January 31st without the need to formally setup a payment plan.

February.  In February, a late fee and interest is added to each account not on a formal payment plan. A past due notice is mailed with a statement. The owner is asked to contact our office to setup a payment plan if needed. The notice notes the next step that will be taken if necessary. Setting up a payment plan is easy. We work with the owner to establish a manageable monthly payment. We document the plan in a letter which the owner signs and returns with their first payment. All plans are monitored for compliance and we follow-up with a reminder if needed.

March.  If there is still no payment or payment plan, another late fee is added and a statement and notice is sent by certified mail in March as required by the Texas Property Code. The owner is again encouraged to contact our office for a payment plan if needed. The letter notes the next step that will be taken if necessary.

April.  If there is still no payment or payment plan, a lien is filed by an attorney in April and a fee is added to the account for the legal cost of preparing the lien and the subsequent release along with the county filing fees. Once we receive the recorded lien back from the county, we mail it to the owner with another letter offering a payment plan and noting the next step, if needed. Since the lien is filed in the public records, this debt is picked up by the credit reporting agencies.

May/June.  In May or June, accounts are presented to the Board of Directors for approval to send to an attorney for a demand letter. Once approved, a current title search is performed to verify ownership and a fee is added to the owner’s account. The cost of the attorney demand letter is also added to the owner’s account.

Next.  While this procedure is highly effective, there are situations that will require additional legal action.  For a comprehensive discussion of the steps described here and what comes next, please attend our upcoming seminars on Understanding Collections and Financial Reports seminar and Advanced Topics for Board Members.

Volunteer Spotlight
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Summerwood Crime Watch Committee

In 2005, the Summerwood Community Association Board of Directors and a group of concerned residents decided to form the Summerwood Crime Watch Committee.  David Myrick was elected as the chairman and has held that position for seven years; stepping down after seeing the 2012 National Night Out to completion. 

In the early days of the committee, there were just a few dedicated individuals, but how that has changed over the past six years!  As the community has grown, so has the committee.  During the first few years, the focus was on group and meeting awareness and finding people willing to become block captains, the most critical people in a neighborhood watch program.  These ideas continue today.  It is the goal of the Summerwood Crime Watch Committee to have all of their neighbors covered by a block captain.  The watch program David helped develop is centered on communication between neighbors and police authorities.  One of the greatest achievements of the CWC is the partnership between the HOA, local MUD boards and their partnership with the Harris County Sherriff’s office.  Through this partnership, Summerwood participates in the contract deputy program which consists of three officers who patrol the neighborhood.  This program helps not only the community , but also all of Harris County as it helps to offset the cost of three shifts of deputy coverage.

As the community continues to grow, the need for involved residents will increase.  David has tried to involve as many residents as possible during the years he has served as the chairman of the CWC.  The annual event of the CWC is National Night Out, held the first Tuesday in October.  This event began in Summerwood as a small, street based event where residents were encouraged to host their own “block party”.  It has grown into one of the largest events in the community where attendance has risen each year with nearly 1,000 attendees in 2012.  The event has become so well known in Harris County, that they regularly attract local dignitaries such as Harris County Sherriff Adrian Garcia, Congressman Ted Poe, City Councilman Mike Sullivan, Harris County Commissioner El Franco Lee, as well as many other chiefs, captains and assistant captains from Houston Police Department, Harris County Sherriff’s Office, Houston Fire Department and others.

David has worked hard to bring the CWC to where it stands today, but all of his effort would be nothing if it weren’t for the countless volunteers who work to make Summerwood the great place it is.  When David thinks back to that first meeting, he is reminded of the intent: to continue to create positive change and to make Summerwood a great place to live and raise a family.  David considers it to be a great success thus far.  He loves Summerwood and his neighbors.  He encourages everyone to get involved with the CWC if you haven’t already.

We would like to thank David for his hard work over the years.  Volunteers like David and the other CWC members define the word community.

Seminar Series
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2013 Seminar Series

Our 2013 schedule for the C.I.A. Services Seminar Series has been finalized.  We are please to again present seven seminars throughout the year - each at three locations for a total of 21 training sessions. Click here to read the seminar descriptions and see the schedule.

Our core group of seminars are all back and updated with additional information. Even if you have attended any of these before, you will find the updated versions informative.

  • 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

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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Community Website Administrator Training

This is the required training to be a Community Website Administrator (CWSA) on the C.I.A Services web site. 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 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.  We’ll hold webinars periodically throughout the year to train CWSAs as needed.

02/07/13 - Thursday

6 – 7 pm

Webinar

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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.

02/25/13 - Monday

6 – 8 pm

Bandera

02/26/13 - Tuesday

6 – 8 pm

North

02/28/13 - Thursday

6 – 8 pm

Southwest

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Understanding Collections & Financial Reports

The first half of this seminar will cover all the steps involved in successful assessment collections.  Since not everyone pays on time, we’ll get into late fees, liens, payment plans, bankruptcy and all the legal remedies.  The second half of the seminar deals with reading and understanding your financial reports.  We’ll trace the flow of money throughout the reports so you’ll never be in the dark when staring at all those numbers.

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

03/06/13 - Wednesday

6 – 8 pm

Bandera

03/13/13 - Wednesday

6 – 8 pm

North

03/14/13 - Thursday

6 – 8 pm

Southwest

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Board Member Orientation

This seminar is a must for all new Board members and a great refresher for seasoned veterans.  It will help you get up to speed quickly by understanding your responsibilities and authorities.  We’ll review the documents and laws that govern the way you do business.  We’ll give you an overview of the governing documents, basis of authority, organizational roles, responsibilities & authorities, conduct of meetings, and we’ll cover insurance and taxes.

04/10/13 - Wednesday

6 – 8 pm

Bandera

04/15/13 - Monday

6 – 8 pm

North

04/18/13 - Thursday

6 – 8 pm

Southwest

Hockey Night
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Houston Aeros

Our 15th Hockey Night with the Houston Aeros will be held on Saturday, February 23rd when the Aeros take on the powerhouse, Oklahoma City Barons. The Aeros have opened the season strong and are sitting three points in front of the Barons. So far, Houston has been emphasizing a disciplined, high skill game as the least penalized team in the whole AHL. Oklahoma City has been relying on one high powered offensive line with the top NHL draft picks over the last two drafts. This will be a great game but the advantage will go to Houston because the Aeros will have our fans cheering behind the Barons’ netminder.

Click below to see photos of the fun from the last four years.

2012    2011     2010     2009

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San Antonio Rampage

Our 5th Hockey Night with the San Antonio Rampage will be held on Sunday, March 17th when they battle the Abbotsford Heat. We’re not sure how a team from Canada can come into Texas with a straight face and a name like "the Heat". But they sure know how to play hockey. San Antonio is having a rough season so far but they always return from their February "rodeo road trip" energized to be back on home ice. So we’ll see who brings the real "heat" in March.

Click below to see photos of the fun from the last four years.

2012     2011     2010     2009 

 

Did You Know?
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What is CAI?

America’s Advocate for Responsible Communities

CAI is a national membership association that provides information, education and resources to all those involved in community association governance and management. CAI’s 30,000-plus members include homeowner volunteer leaders, community managers, association management companies and other professional service providers. Working in partnership with almost 60 state and regional chapters, CAI also advocates on behalf of common-interest communities before legislatures, regulatory bodies and the courts.

CAI believes homeowner and condominium associations should strive to exceed the expectations of their residents. CAI works toward this objective by identifying and meeting the evolving needs of the homeowner leaders and professionals who serve associations and by helping our members learn, achieve and excel. Their mission is to inspire professionalism, effective leadership and responsible citizenship, ideals reflected in communities that are preferred places to call home.

Who are CAI Members?

CAI’s Center for Community Association Volunteers helps association board members and other homeowner leaders achieve the results, respect and recognition they deserve. Board service is a serious and demanding responsibility and sometimes a thankless job, but it also can be very rewarding. CAI helps these volunteer leaders succeed by saving them time, money and unnecessary aggravation.

CAI’s Association of Professional Community Managers inspires excellence in community management. Community managers are the professional backbone of the communities they serve. They provide knowledge and expertise essential to the successful management and operation of associations.  Community management is an increasingly complex and challenging profession. Managers are expected to be the experts in finance, contract management, governance, communications, conflict resolution, personnel and much more. CAI provides education, professional designations, resources and tools to help industry professionals serve their communities and achieve professional success.

CAI grants a number of professional designations, including Association Management Specialist (AMS), Professional Community Association Manager (PCAM), Accredited Association Management Company (AAMC), Reserve Specialists (RS), Large-Scale Manager (LSM), Community Insurance and Risk Management Specialist (CIRMS) and the College of Community Association Lawyers (CCAL). Designations give managers and other industry professional’s opportunities for greater respect and recognition, career advancement and increased salary potential. NBC-CAM: Formed in 1995, the National Board of Certification for Community Association Managers develops and administers a national certification program for community association managers, awarding the Certified Manager of Community Associations (CMCA) credential.

Business Partners go beyond management professionals. Thousands of companies and professionals—including accountants, attorneys, bankers, engineers, insurance professionals, landscapers, painters, reserve specialists, and website and software providers—support community associations.

Events - In addition to the educational courses, the local Greater Houston Chapter hosts several events throughout the year including Casino Night, a Tradeshow, golf and bowling.

To learn more about joining call 713-784-5462 or ask your manager.

Community of the Month
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Copper Creek Civic Improvement Association

The development of Copper Creek Civic Improvement Association began in 1985 with 331 homes at completion.

The Association has been struggling for several years with a very high delinquency rate. The community pool has been closed since 2008 and the patrol service within in the community had to be discontinued due to lack of funds to maintain lifeguards.

The Board of Directors made the very hard decision in 2012 which was to demolish the community pool. The Board was concerned the residents would be very upset with this decision; however, they sent out a survey and flyers trying to communicate to the residents on this issue and proceeded with the demolition. The location has now been converted to a beautiful park with a walking trail and is used often.

The Board is working towards the full financial health while still beautifying the community.

The Association just celebrated their 15 year anniversary with C.I.A. Services in June 2012. We salute the Board members past and present for their courage to make this community a success. Thank you Copper Creek for your dedication!

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 February.

  • Oyster Point Homeowners Association— 17 years
  • Oak Hollow Homeowners Association— 12 years
  • Eastpoint Subdivision Homeowners Association— 10 years
  • Silverglen North Homeowners Association— 10 years
  • Post Wood Civic Association— 9 years
  • Greensbrook Community Association— 7 years

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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Welcome to the Team

We are very pleased to have two new employees join our team.  Kimberly Terry joins our Bandera Office accounting team.  Vina Evans joins us as a Community Specialist in our North Office. Join us in welcoming them to the team

Career opportunities are always posted on our website (About Us > Careers).   

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.