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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. 

June 2013
eNews Monthly
Giving Back
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Relay for Life
by Rosanne Ashe

This year marked the 3rd year that our Bandera Office along with family and friends participated in the Relay for Life.  The event took place on May 18, 2013 at the Bandera High School Stadium.  The theme for our tent was Cupcakes for a Cure, we sold many cupcakes and our main attraction was the handmade quilt.  The entire Bandera Office had a hand in making this quilt, from tracing the pattern to the fabric, to cutting, to sewing the quilt squares and quilting.  We were very excited, as this was a first for our office! 

The event begins with an introduction of all cancer survivors and recent cancer victims in our community.  It is very emotional, as living in a small community, we may know them personally.  After the introductions, all the Relay teams line up, we introduce ourselves and walk one lap around the track.  Then they have the cancer survivors/victims and their caregivers take a victory walk.  They start their walk in opposite directions then meet at the other end of the track face to face. 

Every team has a member walking the track at all times.  We scheduled our relayers in 1 hour increments.  The meaning behind this is that Cancer Never Sleeps.

Once the sun goes down, they ask for silence, the stadium lights are turned off and the volunteers light all the luminarias on the field and the stadium.  The luminarias on the stands, spell out “HOPE” then they transform it to spell out “CURE”.  The luminarias that line the track are for cancer survivors, cancer victims and “in memory of”. 

This year we had 3 fundraisers: a yard sale, quilt raffle and cupcake sales at our Cupcakes for a Cure Tent.  We raised $1,202.00, which is double of what was raised last year! We are already having meetings for quilt ideas for next year and may do more than 1 quilt!

Accomplishments
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Two C.I.A. Services Managers Earn Top Industry Professional Designation

Kim Moore and Amanda Jensen, Community Managers at our Southwest office, recently joined the elite group of community association managers who have earned the Professional Community Association Manager (PCAM®) designation from Community Associations Institute (CAI). Mrs. Moore and Ms. Jensen are two of less than 1,700 managers nationwide who have earned the highest level of professional recognition in the community association field.

Kim Moore, Vice President of C.I.A. Services, also serves in the capacity of Community Manager for several clients as well as Branch Manager of the Southwest office. Kim has been managing communities with C.I.A. Services for fifteen (15) years.

Amanda Jensen serves in the capacity of Community Manager for several clients as well as Office Manager of the Southwest office. Amanda has been managing communities in the Houston area for ten (10) years.

CAI is a national organization dedicated to fostering vibrant, responsive, competent community associations. Some 50 million Americans live in the nation’s estimated 250,000 association-governed communities.

To apply for the PCAM designation, managers must have five years of community association management experience and completed more than 100 hours of course work. To earn the PCAM designation a manager must participate in a case study of a real community association and compile a thesis style paper about their experience in that community while addressing certain questions posed by their instructor. This process takes about one month to complete. In addition, PCAM designees must fulfill continuing education and service requirements and adhere to a code of ethics. Both ladies will be recognized next spring at the CAI National Conference for their wonderful accomplishment.

C.I.A. Services is proud to add Kim and Amanda to our list of PCAM’s working diligently for our company and our clients. Congratulations to them both!

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Better Business Bureau Announces Winners

 Better Business Bureau Recognizes

C.I.A. Services, Inc. with Winner of Distinction Award 

C.I.A. Services, Inc. received the Winner of Distinction at the Better Business Bureau Awards for Excellence luncheon held Wednesday, May 8 at the Westin Galleria.  This was C.I.A. Services, Inc.’s second time to be recognized by the BBB for service excellence.

The BBB Awards for Excellence recognizes businesses and non-profits for their achievements and commitment to overall excellence and quality in the workplace.  Proceeds from the event help fund the BBB Education Foundation which educates consumers about scams and fraudulent business practices in the Greater Houston area.

When asked what it means to C.I.A. Services, Inc. to receive this recognition, Laura Tate, Executive Vice President states “We work hard to provide top notch service to our customers and clients and it is an honor to be recognized for our efforts.”

C.I.A. Services, Inc. has proudly maintained an A+ rating with the BBB for many years.  Our clients can rest easy knowing that we take great pride in our relationship with the BBB.  We are committed to excellent, ethical, and respectable business practices.  Homeowners can also be assured that any disputes or complaints filed with the BBB will be handled in a timely, professional and courteous manner. By being a longtime member in good standing of the Better Business Bureau, both our company and our clients benefit, and that, is something we can all be proud of.

Legislation Update
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The 83rd Regular Session Comes to a Close

The Texas legislature meets every two years and convened its 83rd session on January 8th and finished its regular session on May 27th. The governor has called a special session but no issues affecting property owners associations are expected to be included.  For property owners association, in contrast to the 82nd session, this was a low-key session with no major changes.

Here is a summary of the bills that passed and have been sent to the governor for signature which amend the Texas Property Code (TPC).  Click on the bill number to read the final text the bill.

  • HB 35 (Menedez - San Antonio) adds TPC 209.015 which deals with adjacent lots owned by the same owner.  It clarifies that an association may not prohibit an owner with a home from using their adjacent vacant lot for normal residential purposes.  If approved improvements are made (such as adding fencing or a gazebo) then the lot must be sold as part of the adjacent lot with the home or the improvements must be removed in order to sell the lot separately.  Effective 09/01/2013.
  • HB 503 (Hernandez Luna - Houston) adds TPC 209.0052 and deals with association contracts with a board member, a relative of a board member or a company in which the board member or relative has a majority interest.  The law permits such contracts as long as (1) at least two other bids are received, if reasonably available, (2) the board member discloses the relationship, (3) the board member does not have access to the other bids, participate in the discussion or vote on the contract and (4) a majority of the remaining board members vote for the contract and certify in the minutes that all requirements under the law have been met.  Effective 09/01/2013.
  • HB 680 (Burkett - Garland) clarifies TPC 202.011 passed in the 82nd session regarding the display of flags.  An Association may not prohibit a flagpole attached to the front of a house or in a free-standing flagpole in the front yard of a lot with at least a 15’ building setback line.  The Guidelines we proposed to our communities in 2011 are consistent with this new law.  Effective 09/01/2013.
  • HB 3176 (Bohac - Houston) corrects an issue in TPC 209.00593 from the 82nd session regarding board vacancies.  Under this bill, the board may fill any vacancy of a position with an unexpired term.  Any position where the term has expired must be filled by an election by the members.  So if an expiring position is not filled at an annual meeting, the position may only be filled by a special election.  Effective 09/01/2013.
  • HB 3800 (Coleman - Houston) amends TPC 209.004 to require county clerks to index Management Certificates under the category of "Property Owners’ Association Management Certificate".  When Management Certificates were first mandated in 2002, county clerks indexed them inconsistently as “Certificates”, “Affidavits”, “Notices” and other categories making it more difficult for owners and title companies to locate the documents.  There is no requirement that associations refile their Management Certificates.  Effective 09/01/2013.
  • SB 198 (Watson - Austin) amends TPC 202.007 to protect an owner’s right to install drought resistant landscaping.  An association may require that a landscaping plan be submitted in advance but may not unreasonably deny approval.  The use of artificial turf was discussed but not included in the final bill.  Effective 09/01/2013.

There were several bills which did not pass including HB 3803 (McClendon - San Antonio).  As originally introduced, it had several provisions and one of the most problematic was to 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’s Office.  It included substantial civil penalties for any violation which would have had a chilling effect on people willing to be volunteers or contractors for associations.

Other bills that did not make it through include 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) with additional solar panel protections, HB 2524 (Oliveira - Brownsville) protects an owner’s right to install a standby electricity generator and HB 3780 (Isaac - Dripping Springs) protects an owner’s right to install an above-ground liquid propane gas tank.

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.

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.

  • 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 dinner 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!  Make a point to attend these seminars.  You’re sure to have a fun evening of learning!

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Essentials of Architectural Control

Your governing documents provide authority to regulate design and appearance of any construction, improvements or alterations within the community. This is a powerful authority with an obligation that it be used sensibly. This seminar will explain the range and limits of this authority, demonstrate the role of architectural guidelines, describe the interplay between deed restrictions issues and architectural issues, and touch on handling the tough problems.

07/08/13 - Monday

6 – 8 pm

Bandera

07/15/13 - Monday

6 – 8 pm

North

07/18/13 - Thursday

6 – 8 pm

Southwest

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Advanced Topics for Board Members

After you’ve been on the Board a few months or a few years, you realize that some things are pretty complicated. This seminar has a heavy legal and legislative orientation. We’ll dissect the lawsuit process, review foreclosures and bankruptcies, and discuss significant portions of the Texas Property Code and federal law. After all the legal stuff, we’ll touch on aspects of “risk management” which includes insurance, reserves and budgeting concepts.

08/07/13 - Wednesday

6 – 8 pm

Bandera

08/14/13 - Wednesday

6 – 8 pm

North

08/15/13 - Thursday

6 – 8 pm

Southwest

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:

  • June - Woodforest North II Homeowners Association
    North Ofce Office - Sandy Castro, Community Manager
  • May - PostWood Civic Assocation
    North Office - Linda Morris, Community Manager
  • April - Community Association of the Highlands
    Southwest Office - Amanda Jensen, Community Manager
  • March - Cinco Ranch Southwest Community Council
    Southwest Office - Candace Look, 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.

New Communities
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Woodbend Pines

We are very pleased to announce that Woodbend Pines Homeowners Association has joined C.I.A. Services, Inc. Woodbend Pines community has 68 homes with a swimming pool. Woodbend Pines is being managed from our North Office with Laura Tate as the Community Manager, Jennifer Northington as the Administrative Assistant and Dawna Woods as the Maintenance Coordinator.

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 June.

  • Oak Cliff Place Homeowners Association— 21 years
  • Atascocita North Community Improvement Association— 19 years
  • Copper Creek Civic Improvement Association— 16 years
  • Telfair Community Association— 7 years
  • Kenswick Trace Homeowners Association — 5 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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Anniversaries

  • Congratulations to Gloria Bell on her 24th anniversary with C.I.A. Services. Gloria is a stockholder at our North Office providing a variety of staff support.  Gloria has been a mainstay we all depend on and has been helping us since before a few of our employees were born!
  • Congratulations to Patrick Sheffield on his 5th anniversary with the company. Patrick is a stockholder at our Southwest Office where he is a Maintenance Coordinator for several communities.
  • Also congratulations to Annette McConnell on her 5th anniversary with C.I.A. Servies. Annette is a stockholder at our Bandera Office, she is the Office Manager and also assists in the accounting department.
  • Congratulations to Roseann Ashe also on her 5th anniversary with the company. Roseanne is a stockholder who has served in our accountng department in the Bandera Office.
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Welcome!

We are pleased to have two new employees join our team.  Jaclyn Fholer joins us as an Administrative Assistant at our North Office. Koryssa Gatlin is joining us as a Community Specialist 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 and North Offices, an Administrative Assistant for our Southwest Office and a Community Specialist at 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.