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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. 

April 2013
eNews Monthly
Legislation Update
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The Texas legislature meets every two years and convened its 83rd session on January 8th and will be in session for 140 days until May 27th. Senators and representatives were able to start filing bills for consideration on November 12th. Bills must be filed by March 8th unless they are deemed to be an emergency bill.

The last session in 2011 was extremely active for property owners associations with many significant bills that affected how associations operate.  So far with the bill filing deadline passed, the 83rd legislature has been mild.  Here is a summary of the filed bills being considered.

  • HB 1858 (Workman - Austin) protects the right of an owner to remove trees or vegetation from their property which they reasonably believe poses a fire risk.
  • HB 2338 (Parker - Flower Mound)) amends the 2011 law protecting an owners right to install solar energy devices.  This bill allows a POA to prohibit roof panels visible from the front, large panels that generate more electricity than is needed for the home and a few other items.
  • HB 2524 (Oliveira - Brownsville) protects an owners right to install a standby electricity generator.  A POA may require advance approval and adopt reasonable guidelines.
  • HB 3176 (Bohac - Houston) attempts to correct an issue from the 82nd session.  The prior law indicated that a board may only fill a vacancy "caused by a resignation, death or disability".  This bill indicates the board may fill any vacancy.  This bill still needs work.  If a vacancy is created by removal by the members (i.e. impeachment), in our opinion, only the members should be able to fill that vacancy.  A common cause of vacancy is when an expiring term is not filled at an annual meeting.  Another section of the Texas Property Code requires a special election to fill that position - it would be very helpful to allow a board to fill that vacancy without the cost of a special election.
  • HB 3780 (Isaac - Dripping Springs) protects an owners right to install a reasonably sized, above-ground liquid propane gas tank but allows a POA to require it be screened from view.
  • HB 3800 (Coleman - Houston) requires that a Management Certificate be identified as a "Property Owners’ Association Management Certificate".
  • HB 3803 (McClendon - San Antonio) provides ability for cities and counties to require POAs to "register" with them.  The bill would also require multiple "trust" accounts to be opened at financial institutions with limitations on a POAs use of its assessments.  The bill would also require surety bonds on every board member, employee, agent and contractor of the POA and that the bonds be filed with the Texas Secretary of State. The bill provides substantial civil penalties for any violation.  This is a very difficult bill as written.
  • SB 198 (Watson - Austin) protects an owners right to install drought resistant landscaping.

Texas has a great website for viewing legislation and tracking its progress during the session. Visit http://www.legis.state.tx.us/. The site has easy to understand descriptions of the legislative process and provides information about your own elected officials. You can look up any of these bills by typing in the bill number.

Rampage Battle on Hockey Night
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It was a fun-filled afternoon watching the San Antonio Rampage battle the Abbotsford Heat on St. Patrick’s Day.  This was our 5th Annual Hockey Night with the San Antonio Rampage and we had a big contingent of enthusiastic fans behind the Heat’s goal.

Our guests were treated to lunch and lots of door prizes including our 5th edition of our collectible cowbells and green shirts with Rampage mascot T-Bone wearing a leprechaun’s hat.

The action was exciting with lots of shots, fancy moves and hard banging.  Things got a bit heated when one of the Heat took a cheap shot on one of our little guys.  That led to the first of three fights during the game.

The Rampage came out on the short end losing 5-4 in a shoot-out.  The Heat took an early 2-0 lead in the 1st period.  Things went back and forth until late in the 3rd period when the Rampage scored two goals 14 seconds apart to take the lead.  With less than a minute left, the Heat pulled their goalie battled in a scrum in front of our net and popped the puck through with 10 seconds left to tie the game.  Nobody scored in overtime so it came down to a shoot-out.  Two of the Heat’s skaters scored in the one-on-one shoot-out on our goalie to win the game.

The Rampage hasn’t had much luck on C.I.A. Services Hockey Night.  They have managed 1 win, 2 losses and 2 shoot-out losses.  For the last two years, we held Hockey Night on St. Patrick’s Day.  Since the luck of the Irish hasn’t helped, we’ll try a different strategy next year!

Click here to see photos of the fun from our 2013 C.I.A. Services Hockey Night with the San Antonio Rampage.

Volunteer Spotlight
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Cypresswood Green POA - Inez DiBari
by Annette Escarenio

The success of any community lies with the volunteers who give their time freely.  It goes without words that Cypresswood Green Property Owners Association has an outstanding volunteer in Inez DiBari.  She is married to Peter DiBari and on June 4, 2013 they will celebrate their 37 wedding anniversary.  They moved into their home on June 1, 2002.  Together they have five wonderful and beautiful children and are blessed with six granddaughters and one grandson.   She strongly believes in volunteering no matter where you live.    She has volunteered at her children and grandchildren’s schools since her first child started school.    She is currently coaching a girl’s softball team.

She retired from the City of Houston in 2001 after 25 years of service.  She has volunteered her time for community events such as the Easter egg hunts, hot chocolate with Santa and swimming parties for the first opening day of the pool season.  Residents remember when she would plant flowers at the entrance to the community.    When the Association has community events she personally walks house to house passing out the flyers. 

As a Director and Board President for Cypresswood Green POA she has assisted in several community projects.  The Director position she currently holds is up for re-election this year and she plans to run for another three year term.   

It’s volunteers like Inez that make a neighborhood a community.  Thanks Inez!

Seminar Series

2013 Seminar Series

We are pleased 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.

And if that is not enough, our seminars are free!  Add a New Year’s resolution to your list to attend these seminars.  This resolution will be much easier to keep than that losing weight thing!

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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

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Practical Deed Restriction Management

Deed restriction management is one of the most difficult tasks handled by homeowners associations because it involves subjective decisions, homeowner’s property and emotions. This seminar covers the steps in deed restriction management and how a process can contain “intelligence” and common sense. We discuss the relation between deed restrictions and architectural guidelines and give you examples of well-crafted guidelines. Practical deed restriction management requires clear communications and reasonable requirements.

05/15/13 - Wednedsay

6 – 8 pm

Bandera

05/22/13 - Wednesday

6 – 8 pm

North

05/23/13 - Thursday

6 – 8 pm

Southwest

Customer Care Corner
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Customer Service Initiative
by Megan Bennett, Community Specialist

In 2007, we introduced our dedicated Customer Service department. What started out as 2 – 3 employees has expanded to the group of 9 Community Specialists that we highlighted in our last issue. Together, they make up our Customer Care Team and play an integral part of building relationships with our community members.

Our Community Specialists handle about 95% of all incoming phone calls. The Community Specialist answering the phone is able to handle most requests without transferring the call to another person or to voice mail. They act as advocates for our residents and help them with solutions to their concerns or questions.

Each member of the Customer Care Team has received in-depth training in community management and customer service. We regularly provide recurring training on customer service and community issues.

With the introduction of our new website at the end of 2011, we expanded the responsibility of our Customer Care Team. As you may be aware, our website has many simple options for contacting us via email. We have seen a large increase in electronic communications as a result of the ease of our site. With that growth, the Customer Service Email Team was established to assist with electronic communications. The Customer Service Email Team is responsible for quickly replying to all emails sent via our website or to CustomerCare@ciaservices.com.

In addition to providing a better experience for our residents, the Customer Care Team generates other benefits. Our administrative assistants were spending nearly 50% of their time assisting callers and 20% of their time responding to emails while still carrying out many other necessary tasks. By having most phone calls and emails handled by the Community Specialists, our administrative assistants have more time to help their community managers on more challenging tasks. This frees our managers to better focus on their communities.

We are very proud of the success of our Customer Care team and look forward to its continued expansion.

Did you Know?
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Earth Day 2013
by Angela Douglas

Earth Day is officially observed on April 22 every year.  Each year communities across the country and the world host various activities to support the movement to a greener earth.

The first Earth Day was observed in 1970 by 20 million Americans. This modern environmental movement is widely credited with the passage of landmark legislation in the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act and many other pieces of key laws.  Today the Earth Day Network boasts participation with over 22,000 partners in 192 countries with over 1 billion people each year, making it the largest civic observance in the world.

The Earth Day Network participates in many activities to enhance and broaden public knowledge on environmental issues such as helping to create green schools and communities to promoting economic policies in the US and abroad. They achieve these education activities through festivals, events and presentations throughout the country. 

Check out your local Earth Day Network, by visiting one of the websites below to see what’s happening in your area to celebrate Earth Day!

 Houston:

http://earthdayhouston.org/

http://www.runningintheusa.com/race/View.aspx?RaceID=23580

 

San Antonio:

https://my.seashepherd.org/NetCommunity/sslpage.aspx?pid=203&cid=1&ceid=548&cerid=0&cdt=4%2F21%2F2013

http://www.alamoforestpartnership.org/AFPEvents.htm

http://www.walkjogrun.net/events/running/Earth-Day-Fiesta-5k/2008672

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 April.

  • Parkway Forest Property Owners Association — 27 years
  • Ridgepoint Community Improvement Association — 23 years
  • Pine Forest Village Community Association — 20 years
  • Marina Bay Park Community Association — 10 years
  • Sonoma Ranch Homeowners Association — 10 years
  • Telfair Commercial Association — 7 years
  • Glenn Haven Homeowners Association — 2 years
Community of the Month
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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:

    • April - Community Association of the Highlands
      Southwest Office - Amanda Jensen, Community Manager
    • March - Cinco Ranch Southwest Community Council
      Southwest Office - Candace Look, Community Manager
    • February - Copper Creek Civic Improvement Association
      North Office - Brenda Ellington, Community Manager
    • January - Marina Bay Park
      Southwest Office - Deneice Reyes, Community Manager

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

Employee Corner
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Welcome!

We are pleased to have two new employees join our team.  Stephanie Reyes joins us on our Home Improvement Request Team at our Southwest Office. Tracey Lehr and Kody Moran are  joining us as Support Staff at our North Office.  It’s great to have you on board.

Career opportunities are always posted on our website (About Us > Careers).  We are currently looking for our next great Community Manager for our Bandera Office, a Maintenance Coordinator for our Southwest Office and a Community Specialist at our North Office. 

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Anniversaries

Congratulations to Rhonda Culbreth, a multi-faceted, support staff member at our North Office who is celebrating her 23rd anniversary with C.I.A. Services. Rhonda is a valuable employee who worked at all of our Houston area offices in a variety of positions.

Congratulations to Nancy McGinnis on her 8th anniversary with C.I.A. Services.  Nancy serves as the Office Manager in our North Office as well as our Customer Care Manager.  Nancy has been instrumental in creating our customer service initiative.

Congratulations to Angela Douglas on her 6th year anniversary with C.I.A. Services.  Angela has been an onsite staff member for the Summerwood Community Association and has recently transitioned to a corporate support position within our North Office.

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.