If you live at The Villages at Huntington, you should have received an important email blast on Friday, July 13, 2018. Below is the content of that email:
To: The Residents of the Villages of Huntington.
From: Brad Kule, President of the Board of the Villages HOA.
Dear Fellow Residents,
Here is some information regarding several community-wide issues. This is not correspondence from the complete board. This is strictly from me.
I have spent the last few weeks meeting with, talking to and communicating with several residents, vendors and management employees. This includes supervisors of our security company, our swimming pool management company, our landscaping company, our snow removal company, all four members of our property management company, our sprinkler company as well as the head of our Security Committee, our Landscaping Committee and our former Board president. I have also had a chat with a few lifeguards and security guards. I have attended the Annual Meeting and one Board meeting. I have chaired another. Phone calls, text messages and e-mails come to me several times a day. I respond to each as quickly and completely as possible.
As a result of information gathering, here are some early thoughts and opinions:
Security: Our new company, U.S. Security is getting to know our priorities slower than necessary. It has been clearly conveyed to their supervisor that we expect nothing short of respectful and professional entrance guards. They are now providing us with better screened and trained guards. There are exceptions. They have been receptive to our complaints. We, as a community need to allow them the time needed to satisfy our needs. They are a national company whose local supervisor is a highly respected NYC retired homicide detective. In addition to fair complaints, the guards, supervisor and our management agent have unfortunately been subjected to very harsh criticism from a small handful of homeowners whose behavior has included vile language, threats and bullying which I find reprehensible. Many episodes of this nature led to the parting of ways with our former security company. Even a well- liked guard refused to stay on with us after the transition because he could not handle the abuse by certain residents. Again, this is a small cadre and not indicative of us in general. But, a few rotten apples have spoiled the crop for us in the past.
As a reminder, please contact the police department immediately if you are subject to or witness a crime taking place. You can inform the guardhouse afterwards. We have been fortunate that we have not been subject to serious crimes in the last several years. Most of the security related complaints are of a vandalism nature often being perpetuated by our own teenage residents. Our camera system has helped reduce this. We have a serious, involved and highly intelligent security committee whose vigilance and practical suggestions continue to keep our community safe. I applaud and appreciate their hard and time consuming work.
Recreation: We replaced our former pool maintenance company this season. Our pool is now maintained by and our lifeguards are supplied by Aquatech. While we had a maintenance issue with our pool heater when the pool was opened, it is now running smoothly. We are looking to recover our costs for fixing our heater by legal means. Worst case scenario, our insurance will cover a substantial portion of the repair. Next year, according to our new contract, Aquatech will open the pool two weeks before the season starts to insure proper operation on time. The sports court requires some sprucing up which will include new basketball nets, some pole padding and replacement of some surface tiles. This will not be expensive. I hope to get Board approval this month.
I am hoping to form a Recreation Committee who can make recommendations to the Board about sprucing up the playground area. It is used regularly and our children need the quality playground they deserve.
Grounds/Landscaping: We live in a beautifully landscaped community. The common property has never been so lush and weed free. To maintain its beauty is a large job and requires a serious financial commitment. There are sore spots for sure, which require cleaning out. These areas will be addressed. We have an abundance of large invasive shrubs called Russian Olives. They are overwhelming certain areas throughout the community and killing many valuable trees and shrubs adjacent to them. They are such a nuisance that the County has prohibited the sale of these plants. We have begun eradicating them. We need to do a better job filling the spaces left behind with new planting material. The Board has approved funding this. You will see appropriately planted beds shortly. We have also approved removing and replacing dead trees in our neighborhood. This too will happen soon. As a reminder, while street trees are technically on common property, our by-laws require homeowners to maintain those in front of their homes. The HOA can only remove dead trees. Live trees on common property can only be taken down with Board approval under special circumstances. Sidewalks that are damaged by bulging tree roots will continue to be replaced. The more mature the tree the more space it needs to stay alive. The cost of maintenance increases with age. We are prepared for this ongoing expense.
Townhouse Roof Issues: As townhouse owners are aware, part of their maintenance covers the cost of roof replacement. This, along with when to begin replacing, any additional financing requirements by townhouse owners and a schedule of replacement will come under the auspices of a new townhouse committee. We already have a couple of volunteers.
Capital Improvements/ Long Term Financing: I’ve initiated, with Board approval, another new committee. The responsibility of this group is to identify large maintenance projects, new construction projects and the replacement of old and decaying items on our common grounds. They will present the board with a list of needed improvements as well as a financing plan going forward. Some of the items that will require the committee’s attention are; replacing our inconsistent road signs, repairing the interior of the guardhouse, installing an equipment shed and most importantly, replacing our road surface. This group is being asked to do an enormous job. We have a couple of commitments but can use another couple of people to join this committee. Please let NAI know if you have interest in joining this or any of the other committee.
Thoughts: I volunteered for this job because I genuinely enjoy living in the Villages. I recognize the importance of maintaining our community to the highest possible standards not only to keep our home values up, but also to give ourselves a safe, financially sound and enjoyable place to live. I am wide open to any constructive criticisms. Even though I have spent many years as president of an HOA in Westchester County, I do not have all the answers. I have received some incredibly important advice from both Board members and residents. Feedback is the only way that I can get a sense of if I’m getting things right or wrong. The positive feedback I’ve received so far encourages me to keep going and getting things done. We live in a diverse neighborhood. Every topic has people for and against it. I work for all of you. I cannot satisfy everyone. I can guarantee that all will be heard and the majority opinion is what will be carried out.
If folks like this kind of communication, I will do it regularly.
One last request: My small block, like so many others has a plethora of children and pets living and playing on it. Over a dozen of each are active on most weekends in just seven houses. Please drive carefully and come to a complete stop at the stop signs. Whatever you are rushing to is not worth the possibility of the accident you can cause.
Enough out of me. Thank you for reading this. Please keep the feedback coming.