Important Homeowners updates and 2020 in review

Happy Holidays to the Harbor Lights 1 Community.

2020 has been a very challenging year for everyone but we look forward to hopefully getting back to a sense of normalcy in 2021.The Board wanted to take this time to reflect upon 2020 and also talk about upcoming changes in 2021.

The pandemic was something that no one could have expected but the impact has touched all of us. To avoid financial impact to homeowners, the Board made a decision to not raise dues for another year. While we felt this was the best decision for the community, it does not come without certain consequences. In this message we will outline some of the consequences of that decision.

Community Safety

This year in 2020 we have a higher than usual amount of car break-ins. To date we have had 9 break-ins of cars to be more specific. On most of those cases, there was no glass broken and the opportunistic thieves gained access through unlocked doors or open windows.

This may not surprise any of you but for the one person that was caught, belonged to this community.

We have only one known incident where someone came from outside the community to walk around check cars to see if they are unlocked.

The most common question we have when one of these issues happens is why do we have security? The answer is Pre-Harbor Lights days before we had a guard or guard shack, we would have more than 20 break-in a year.

Over the last 7 years we have had only single digit amounts of break ins, that includes when kids in this community going around ringing people’s doorbell and running.

Security personnel cannot be in all places at all times and we urge everyone to please add cameras or some type surveillance to your home.

The more people that have them, the more we can share data in the case there is an issue.

Landscaping

In this community our largest cost is Landscaping.

As Board members and Homeowners, we walk this community bi-weekly and we see where our current landscaping vendor is lacking as well as the feedback from all of you. We have been interviewing new landscaping companies to come into our community in 2021.

Here is the honest truth, none of the new companies that we have interviewed are close to the same price that we pay today.  We thought in the middle of a pandemic we might see comparable cost for maintaining this community but that was not true. If we just went with the cheapest bid that we have , there would be about a five thousand dollar a month increase over what we pay today . Over a year that is 60 thousand dollars. To give you more insight, when landscapers bid on communities, you get an estimate just for mowing and clean up. The below items are additional items that cost us money that are standard with any landscaping vendor:

  1. Irrigation repair
  1. Bush or Plant replacement, etc.
  1. Tree services ie. Cutting down a tree, cutting back the limbs on a tree, stump removal, etc.

While we would love to have a combo deal when it comes to landscaping, it just does not happen that way. For 2020, we keep our current vendor as to not raise cost for homeowners during this pandemic but as mentioned above we will have to change landscaping vendors for 2021.

Sometimes people ask what can we do to help mitigate some of these costs and one of the biggest things you can do is report things that you see that don’t seem right.

  • If you see a leak or sprinklers running longer than normal, please give a call or send an email to let us know.
  • If you see folks parked on the grass, possibly impacting sprinklers, let us know

While we are on the subject of landscaping, let me give you another example of a large cost to this community.

Last year most of you got a notification from the City of Pittsburg that the price of water would increase.

We went from paying about 5 thousand dollars a month in water to almost 13 thousand dollars a month for water. While some of this increase can be attributed to the increase in water prices, we have also uncovered several other issues that are affecting our bottom line.

  1. Cars parking on the grass and breaking sprinklers.
  1. Homeowners tapping into association sprinklers lines to water their own backyards.
  1. Tree roots that have interrupted water lines
  1. Irrigations control boxes broken into and vandalized

Again, we ask for your support when you see things that don’t seem right to please reach out and let us know.

Fencing and miscellaneous repairs

On a positive note, we had Board members and their families volunteer to help with the labor of fixing a lot of the fences throughout the community where fence post were broken do to wear and tear and recent winds.

Over 90% of the community has been completed and this was done with a 75% saving from our previous vendor. I would like to thank all who helped us and volunteered your time (free of cost) to do this as a cost saving initiative for this community.

Road Maintenance

We as homeowners are responsible for the maintenance of our Roads. Most people feel the CC&R’s are overdoing by the type or vehicles allowed in community. The reason that is done is to reduce the wear and tear of the streets. We have a counter on our gate to the number of times our gate opens and closes. We have 253 homes in here with most home having an average of 3.5 cars. Add in things like deliveries, school buses and commercial vehicles, Homeowner guest, etc and we have more than a million times a year that vehicles enter and exit this community.

The roads and curbs take a beating here and that is before people do doughnuts, etc further causing damage.

We may be able to put this off for 2021 but we will need to review this again in 2022.

These are some of the things we need to upgrade for the esthetics of this community.

None of this can happen unless we increase our monthly dues 2022 as well as also trying to be more vigilant about community inspections and trying to be pro -active to avoid big cost issues instead of being reactive.

Also, while we are talking about esthetics, please reach out to your guest and kids about trash thrown around the community.

We added garbage cans to our park, but I can’t tell you the countless times, people throw their food or beer on our streets.

Lastly, there is a new issue that has cropped up and it has homeowners almost at the point of throwing blows. If you have a dog, please carry a bag to pick up your dog waste.

As a board we don’t want to fine you for this but we will because it is a cost plus inconsiderate to let your dog poop all over the community.

If any of you have more questions, concerns, or ideas, please reach out to our Management company and they will forward your concern to the Board.

From the Harbor Lights#1 Board of Directors, we would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

 

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