Steiner ED led the transition from developer to homeowner community

Randy Schmaltz, executive director of Steiner Ranch, shares about accomplishments and challenges over the past couple of years.

Four  Points News

Randy Schmaltz has been the executive director of Steiner Ranch since 2015 and has led the community through the transition of the developer-run community to a resident-run community.

There have been many areas to address during this transition from Taylor Morrison to the homeowners, and Schmaltz has overseen several initiatives including: expanded insurance coverage, upgraded pool maintenance, two in-depth audit reviews, updated website, obtaining tax exempt status for the association, a new performance-based landscape contract, and the addition of family-friendly events.

Schmaltz came to Steiner in March of 2015. In April of 2016, the Steiner Ranch Master Association board was completely filled by homeowners for the first time. In December 2016, Taylor Morrison transferred assets from the developer to the homeowners.

“We are not a for-profit association. The staff is hired by the board and we report to the board,” Schmaltz said. “The board sets the policies and establishes direction for the association. The manager sees that the policies are implemented.”  

Why sharing now?

“We found out through a resident Facebook posting, and confirmed by a video posted on Facebook by a (SRMA) board member on the day of Concert in the Park (Aug. 19), that the board was looking into third party management,” Schmaltz said.

The video suggested that the accounting would be outsourced and other functions of the association management would be changed if the association moved to a third party, for-profit management company.

Members of the SRMA board have not talked to the existing management team to find out how things are being done and what services are currently being provided so that board members can make an informed decision about possibly moving to a third party, for-profit management company.

Schmaltz wants to take the opportunity to share how the community is run. He has made a difference in the short time he has been leading the community, and he inherited some challenges that he has been able to fix.


Schmaltz found early on that there were shortfalls with the insurance coverage for amenities and board members.

Schmaltz made a recommendation to the board to review the insurance so that the community could be properly covered. It was significant and that got taken care of, he said.


In 2015, Schmaltz led the effort to obtain sales tax exemption status. In December of 2015, the SRMA was granted 501 (c) (4) tax exemption status.

“Savings from the exemption was used to offset some of the increase in the 2016 budget,” he said. “The accounting department has continued to work in identifying vendors who the SRMA paid sales tax and have identified 33 vendors we paid $115,000 in sales tax that members of the accounting team are attempting to recover.”

“In February of 2016, while reviewing information in the 2015 financial audit, errors were discovered,” Schmaltz said.

In April 2015, a new controller was hired as well as a new independent auditor to complete a review of the accounting records for 2015, and to incorporate general accounting principles into the association’s accounting policy. The review also identified that there was an insufficient number of staff members in accounting to support accounting policy procedures so an additional two staff accountants were hired.

“They worked very hard to get this (the audits) finalized,” Schmaltz said.

The 2015 audit was accepted in April of 2017 at the April SRMA Board meeting and the 2016 audit was accepted in August meeting.  


The community has needed a new management software program. A management program is used for everything from accounting to code and architectural compliance. The system was inherited from Taylor Morrison. It is outdated but was state-of-the-art when it was purchased, Schmaltz said.

“We first discussed changing the software program back in April of 2016, however we decided we needed to get the accounting review completed first,” Schmaltz said.

So updating the program has been postponed but now Schmaltz is ready to move forward with that information.

The management presented the request for more up-to-date software in the 2018 proposed budget.


Another large change Schmaltz led has been the pool management.

The pools are open throughout the year. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, lifeguards counted over 50,000 residents and guests in the three Steiner pools, not including the 490 members of the Steiner Stars Swim Team.

“When I came here, (the community) subcontracted the pool maintenance to an outside company. There were quality issues in the water management and overall maintenance of the pools. Their contract was not renewed and maintenance was brought in-house so that we could  have quicker response in resolving water quality issues, clean-ups and equipment malfunctions,” Schmaltz said.

Existing maintenance personnel attended certified pool operator (CPO) classes and now Steiner Ranch has two full time CPO maintenance team members that maintain the pools seven days a week. In addition to that, they perform other maintenance duties around Steiner.

Since the shift in pool maintenance, Schmaltz and team have gotten numerous compliments from residents and the swim programs that use the pools.

Office hours

Some members in the community have brought up extending office hours recently, and that is an easy fix that the board has to approve and mandate.

“Residents never come in to complain about the hours. If someone calls saying they cannot make it in in time, we stay here until they can get here,” Schmaltz said.  

The Steiner office can be open on Saturdays but the board has to approve that. At one point, the office was open on Saturdays with two staffers working for safety reasons. Not only was that costly but very few residents came to need assistance, he said.

It seems there is misinformation circulating about a lack of after-hours emergency service in Steiner. But association management is in fact available 24 hours a day seven days a week including holidays. Residents can reach a member of the management team to report an emergency by calling the office number, which is forwarded to an answering service. Operators contact the manager on call and relay the emergency message.


Schmaltz looked at staffing and compensation when he arrived and made some changes.  

There was a bonus plan in place where all staff members were given bonuses based in-part on the savings gained in the budget.

“It didn’t seem like we needed to have that in place so we removed that,” Schmaltz said.

All staff members have more than one role in the association. For example the amenities coordinator not only helps residents reserve one of the community centers for an event, she also prepares all of the resale certificates for the SRMA, and the Steiner Ranch Residential Association (the other, smaller HOA board that serves Steiner). In the past year, she worked on an estimated 388 certificates. The association receives $250 for each resale.

There has been a discussion on automating the amenity reservations process. Some automation can be accomplished with a new management software program.  However some of the functions of the reservations will have to be done in person so that key fobs allowing access to the reserved amenity can be activated, Schmaltz said.

The same goes for software that can take credit cards, reservations and streamline the community processes. All of which requires approval from the board and funding to carry it out.

Looking back several years, Sharon Adams worked for the community for a dozen years and she was responsible for many things including communications and events. She resigned within the first month of Schmaltz becoming the executive director.

Instead of replacing Adams, Schmaltz divided the responsibilities and decided to look to hire from within Steiner, a “great resource with a great talent pool of highly educated residents who have a stake in the community.”  

He hired two part-time staffers who live in Steiner and do the majority of their work at their home offices. One position is communications and the other is events or lifestyles coordinator.

Not only was that a good fit from a cost perspective but also Schmaltz thought that was a good fix for the limited office space.


The lifestyles coordinator has expanded the number of family oriented community events to include a father-daughter dance, a mother-son event, Turkey Trot, Breakfast with Santa, children’s concerts and clean-up events. These have been added to the already popular Concert in the Park, Camping on the Ranch, Easter Egg Hunt, and the Fourth of July parade, which now features a carnival and patriotic music from the Austin Wind Ensemble.

“Our events coordinator leads the events planning committee and finds which types of events are most appealing to our target demographics,” Schmaltz said. “It became less about casino night (type events) and more family related.”


Communications have been improved through the updated website, emails and the Steiner Ranch HOA Events page on Facebook.

In 2016 the HOA obtained proposals to overhaul and update the website. However the HOA board elected not to proceed with the project. So Schmaltz’s team redesigned and updated the website in February 2017 without spending additional funds and they worked within the existing platform.

Oak wilt policy

Schmaltz implemented the oak wilt policy. The board agreed on education and communication on when residents are allowed to trim trees and when they cannot. The staff communicates the time periods to the residents through the Ranch Record, HOA website, email blasts, Four Points News and signage throughout the neighborhoods.  

Staff challenges

Since a third party management system has been considered by the SRMA board, two key association staff members have resigned. One of which was the community assets manager, Luke Spoontz, who resigned in July. He was responsible for determining what maintenance efforts would be required to keep Steiner maintained, and he also was tasked with looking at ways to improve common areas and amenities for the future.

“Before he left, Luke prepared the proposal for a new three-year landscape contract. The proposal was unique because part of the payment to the contractors is based on their performance in completing the work as described in the proposals scope of work,” Schmaltz said.

Association  management presented Spoontz’s proposal and vendor bids to the SRMA board, which approved the new contracts in September.

“The benefit of this new way of doing business is two-fold because we will have a reduction in cost, and secondly we will obtain greater quality in the finished product,” Schmaltz said.

Several weeks ago, the front desk coordinator also resigned. Her responsibilities were many, she worked with events, welcomed residents, coordinated the schedules for pool programs, maintained gate access codes, issued key fobs to residents, and more.

Schmaltz stated that all members of the association’s staff are professionals and will continue to act as professionals during this time of uncertainty.

“It is duty of the board of directors to set the policy that will best benefit Steiner Ranch homeowners,” Schmaltz said. “It is the duty of the management staff to insure those policies are implemented.”