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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. 

August 2013
eNews Monthly
Featured Department
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HIR Coordinators

It takes many people helping to make a company as great as ours run smoothly.  In previous months we have explored various departments and the talented people who make this company successful.  This month we explore the Home Improvement Coordinators.  The HIR Coordinators are tasked with processing every home improvement application that comes into our offices. In 2012, our home improvement coordinators processed 4,559 home improvement and new construction requests for our communities. That is an average of 18 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.

As you can see, that is a lot of details to keep contained! The HIR Coordinators are currently working hard behind the scenes assisting in the development of the online home improvement application process. It will be an exclusive intelligent process of submitting home improvement applications and uploading all supporting documents making the process streamlined and easier for our residents. 

Our HIR Coordinators are Liz Holliday, Kandis Romhill, Tina Tate and Stephanie Reyes.

Back to School
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Easing the Transition

Back to school time is upon us.  Lazy days in the sun are ready to give way to the hustle and bustle of bus schedules, homework and after school activities.  For many of us that means chaos and hectic schedules, but many experts say it doesn’t have to be that way. There are many things we can do to help ease the transition for ourselves and our kids.  Click here to review a list of articles,compliled by Marilyn Price-Mitchell PhD,  from many noted experts on back to school tips for everyone.

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Tax Free Weekend - August 9-11

Many of us look forward to this annual ’holiday’ to help cushion the cost of back to school shopping.  Senate Bill 485 (83rd Regular Legislative Session, 2013) set August 9-11 as the dates of this year’s annual Sales Tax Holiday. 

The State of Texas designates specific supplies and items that qualify for tax free shopping.

For more information, lists of qualified purchases and FAQs click here to visit the State’s Tax Holiday website.

Area Happenings
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CAI Trade Show

The Greater Houston Chapter of Community Associations Institute hosts a day of education and an opportunity to obtain information on products, services and solutions for board members, property managers and homeowners living in community associations.

The conference is open to the public and is free of charge.

Community Associations Institute
2013 Trade Show
Friday, September 13, 2013
Sam Houston Race Track
7575 North Sam Houston Parkway West
11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

In addition to various educational opportunities, business partners will offer their expertise on a wide range of products and services.  There are already one hundred exhibitors signed up for the event so there will be plenty to see.

For more information, please contact CAI at 713-784-5462.

Did you know?
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Educating Ourselves to Avoid a Depletion of Water Resource

Courtesy of WaterLogic

Can the climate change and the recent uptick in water-related activity be compared to a similar concentration on energy in the 1970s?

Property managers, facilities managers, and owners face a steep learning curve as they fight the never-ending battle of escalating costs while working to increase efficiency on their properties. Presently, facility managers work within the boundaries of a certified energy curriculum, but soon they will benefit from an educational certification program for water uses that is currently in development. This program will add water usage to real time metrics, which will allow for verification of savings and a better understanding of the true cost of water.

In 2010, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued specific guidelines outlining the types of climate change information companies should be providing to investors, including material water impacts. This served as a great first step, ushering in more policies in regard to performance targets and supply chain risks. Investors are now demanding more on physical water risks and water-related business impacts.

Current water prices are typically related to the capital required to supply the water, not reflective of the “real” value of the resource to society. The first chart by Trucost shows us what would happen to profits if water were priced correctly. Based upon current production locations, if water were to be priced according to its availability, 27% of the world’s largest companies’ profits would be at risk.

In a 2012 “Value of Water Opinion Poll” done by Xylem Inc., their finding included the following:

  • 80% of people polled recognize demands on water resources are growing and water is becoming increasingly scarce.
  • 88% believe the federal, state, and municipal government should be accountable for fixing the problem.
  • 69% of Americans generally take access to clean water for granted.
  • Despite a majority of Americans saying they are concerned about the state of the country’s infrastructure, a level of disconnect remains. Only 29% of people believe the water infrastructure problems would greatly affect them, compared to 41% in 2010.

This disconnect continues to be seen across the cities of Texas today. While some cities are acting responsibly, others are falling behind. As noted by the rating services of Standard & Poor’s, San Antonio is an example of a city that has tackled water conservation head on with strong efficiency programs. During the recent drought, San Antonio’s water supplies and revenue remained relatively stable. In contrast, Midland had virtually no conservation programs in place and saw two of their three reservoirs decline to below 1% capacity. Ratings agency Moody’s has downgraded the city’s water enterprise to Aa2, citing reduced revenue from water sales and uncertain supply recovery. The cost of future plants and development in Midland will only rise due to a diminished credit rating. Unfortunately, this trend will continue across America, as more cities resemble Midland rather than San Antonio. The American Society of Civil Engineers awarded America’s water and wastewater infrastructure a grade of D in their 2013 report, a grade lower than that of older bridges, roads, and the power grid. The EPA estimates this water infrastructure funding gap to be $500 billion dollars.

However, education and information around the world on the state of the fresh water supply is growing. Whether at the certification level in office buildings or at the investment level through disclosures, the level of awareness is rising and people are starting to do their part.

Water is a human right, but as the second chart illustrates, it is not getting any cheaper. Since 1982, water’s percent increase has risen by 410%, outpacing oil’s percent increase by almost 19%. Educating ourselves allows us to think beyond the short-term in order to avoid a depletion of shared resources on the supply side of water.                                               

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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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.

08/21/13 - Wednesday

6 – 8 pm

Bandera

08/14/13 - Wednesday

6 – 8 pm

North

08/15/13 - Thursday

6 – 8 pm

Southwest

 


 

*Please note that the date for the Bandera training has been changed.*

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The Super-Budgeting Process

"Super-Budgeting" is our term for preparing a comprehensive long term budget and business plan. This isn’t something you do on the back of an envelope an hour before the budget meeting. We’ll break the process down into understandable components and show you how assets and reserves fit into the picture. We’ll start with a simple question that very few people can answer correctly: "How much money should our Association have in the bank?" By the end of the seminar, you’ll know the correct answer for your Association. This is a critical seminar to take before you start looking at budgets.

09/18/13 - Wednesday

6 – 8 pm

Bandera

09/17/13 - Tuesday

6 – 8 pm

North

09/19/13 - Thursday

6 – 8 pm

Southwest

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 August.

  • Country Colony Community Improvement Association — 18 years
  • Telfair Community Council — 7 years
  • Atascocita Trails Homeowners Association — 1 year
  • Lincoln Green East Community Improvement 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.

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:

  • August - Eastpoint Community Association
    North Office - Brenda Ellington, Community Manager
  • July - Kings Lake Forest Homeowners Association
    North Office - Annette Escarenio, Community Manager
  • June - Woodforest North II Homeowners Association
    North Office - Sandy Castro, Community Manager
  • May - PostWood Civic Assocation
    North Office - Linda Morris, 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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Welcome to our Newest Community!

We are pleased to have Inwood North Homeowners Association join us as our newest client out of our North Office.  Inwood North is in Houston at West Mount Houston Road and Antione Drive.  The community has 1,948 homes.

Employee Corner
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Anniversaries

Congratulations to Kim Moore on reaching her benchmark 15th anniversary with C.I.A. Services. Kim is a loyal employee stockholder that demonstrates her leadership skills daily serving as a Vice President, the Southwest Office Branch Manager, and a Community Manager. 

Congratulations to Annette Escarenio on her 11th anniversary. Annette is a Community Manager in the North Office with several communities in her porfolio that she manages with pride.

Congratulations also to Frances McIntyre on her 8th anniversary with the company.  She is one of our most experienced administrative assistants and does a great job working with several of our clients out of the north office.  

Another special benchmark was met this month by Daniel HarrisCongratulations on his 5th anniversary and on becoming our newest stockholder.  Daniel is a Maintenance Coordinator for our Southwest Office and has worked with the Telfair community since he started with the company.

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Welcome!

Welcome to our newest employee, Megan Lamb who started with us in July.  Megan joins our Bandera office as a Community Manager. 

Welcome Megan, we look forward to having you on our team!

Career opportunities are always posted on our website (About Us > Careers).  We are currently looking for our next great 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.