By LYNETTE HAALAND
Four Points News
The Steiner Ranch Master Association board of directors has scheduled two town hall meetings to update residents on their progress regarding Steiner Ranch community management transformation options.
Leading up to these two meetings, information was posted on social media in late August about the possibilities of outsourcing community management and the potential of hiring and firing of community staffers.
At the Aug. 29 board meeting, the board vaguely discussed some of these concerns, saying that some of the information was confidential and too premature to disclose.
Last week, the Steiner Ranch HOA board made the decision to host two town hall meetings to address questions and concerns from the community. The meetings will be Thursday, Sept. 14 and Tuesday, Sept. 19 starting at 6 p.m. at Towne Square Community Center. Both meetings will cover the same material.
“We are using our experience to analyse and see how this $4 million-plus, not-for-profit business can run more efficiently so the residents can get the best possible experience,” said Naren Chilukuri, who was elected to the board in April 2016 and became president in April 2017.
Chilukuri said the objective of the town hall meetings are for the community to share any questions on the evaluation of the transformation of community management services.
The HOA board is scheduled to have the report from the consulting firm that it hired to evaluate the community management.
“Our motivation is to improve service levels in Steiner Ranch and leverage cloud based, integrated software technologies to improve efficiencies, and to make things more automated than manual,” Chilukuri said.
“If there are any cost savings of these efficiencies, they will be funneled to improve amenities and enhance improvements,” he said.
Steiner Ranch has roughly 4,200 homes and approximately 16,000 residents. The community has been transitioning to manage itself for the last couple years. Resident directors started on the board in 2014 along with directors from the community developer Taylor Morrison Co. The legal transition of the community was complete in December 2016, and as of April this year, the board is 100 percent resident directors.
The HOA board’s responsibilities are multi-layered, it makes policies, creates an annual budget, signs contracts for such things as landscaping, which is up for renewal in the fall.
In May, the board held work sessions to develop its mission, vision and core values. One of the main goals for the HOA board is how to manage long-term vision, he said.
After that, the board started this process of evaluating the community and its services. The review process started in executive session to analyze things because “like with any evaluation, we wouldn’t want to reveal things prematurely and per advice by our counsel,” Chilukuri said.
But some board members challenged some elements of the process at the Aug. 29 board meeting. They expressed that the process seems to be going too fast, and that it takes time to communicate these ideas to the community.
There were also concerns of official business being conducted through emails and that seemed to be rushing the process as well. At the board meeting, it was made clear that action being taken needed to be spoken and have a period of discussion.
Concerns have been stated that the community has not been given the opportunity to hear what the board is proposing, especially the proposal of this magnitude.
But Chilukuri views it differently and said that it is time to do this evaluation.
This is a step by step methodology, he said. First, the community is evaluated on how it is being run, then it is compared to other large communities like Avery Ranch, Brushy Creek, and Tierra Vista, and finally the latest and greatest technologies are considered, he added.
A consultant was hired and has worked with large scale communities for some 30 years.
“We’re leveraging a management consultant with an in-depth analysis of our existing management structure to see what can be done to improve (the community),” said Chilukuri. “We are leveraging the management consultant expertise and recommendations.”
He said that so many questions have come out because of the social media postings. There is some concern that the community will lose staff but there will have to be an on-site staff to continue to manage the community, Chilukuri said.
These two town hall meetings are for the community to ask questions and to hear comments and concerns but Chilukuri said that the residents have voted on the board members and put their trust in the board “to make the right decision. At the end of the day, it’s the board’s decision on what is best for the community,” he said.
Residents who cannot attend, can email the board at: email@example.com