By LYNETTE HAALAND, Four Points News
Safety, security, staffing transitions and landscaping were among the top topics discussed at the Steiner Ranch Master Association board meeting last week.
The March 27 board meeting had new Steiner HOA staff members in attendance. Scott Selman was announced as interim Steiner director on March 20. He previously served as director of the community from July 2007 through March 2015. Other new staffers include Melinda Schoch, new community manager, and Shannon Shapiro, new community enhancements project manager.
Steiner Ranch controller Andrew Mueller resigned about three weeks ago, and Selman said he is getting up to speed with Schoch on payroll, authorizations, financial transmissions, and other pieces of community business.
“We are working as a team and that is our goal,” said Schoch, after asked how things were going at the office after all of the staff turnover.
Smullen left following Randy Schmaltz, executive director, and Mackal Taylor, community manager, who both resigned in recent months. New manager, Heather Hood, also resigned effective March 23.
“We are functioning in limited capacity without a controller,” Selman said. “In the short term we’re okay, but don’t wait (to hire help) until the elections are over.”
The board discussed various options including bringing in an outside contractor, and/or possibly a previous contractor. The board agreed that this is an important function that needs attention by an expert.
During the homeowner forum portion of the meeting last week, a resident asked about the status of the idea to outsource HOA management. Members of the board said that that topic has been tabled and it is not up for discussion until the new board is seated in April, and then the board can consider it, make a decision and move on.
Homeowners should have their election notices by now and voting is going on. People vote more via online than anything, and if they lost their code, the HOA staff can give them another, Selman said.
The SRMA annual meeting and board elections will be April 17 at Towne Square at 6:30 p.m.
Safety and security
A burglary a few weeks ago in the University of Texas Golf Club community got the community involved, Selman said.
Some residents questioned the level of deterrence with the gatehouse and existing levels of security, Selman said.
“What prevents someone from getting in and if they do, how’s it handled,” Selman said. He’s working with the UT Golf Club committee on procedures, and they are looking into mid-term and long-term security equipment solutions.
There is a proposal for some better cameras at the gatehouse because it is difficult to pull info off of the current system, Selman said. Also better equipment can be tied to computer software where a gatekeeper can approve or deny guests.
Selman requested approval to upgrade the cameras, something that costs around $45,000, and it would come out the of the golf club’s budget.
Speed tables have been a topic of discussion at the UT Golf Club community also.
Clinton Brown, attorney who is at the SRMA board meetings, said there is a legal issue with speed tables. He recommended in December for an extra report on where to place them. “Litigation happens,” Brown said.
Some of the outgoing mailboxes throughout Steiner were not locked. During the transition of staff, some boxes had signs about that and some did not for a time. As of April 2, that issues have been resolved and outgoing mail boxes are now working properly.
Selman also recommended repairing four potholes and expecting to need around $4,000. Escrow funds have been set aside for this and will be used.
Selman updated the board on shading Canyon Glen’s pocket park with a $15,000 shade. They have been requesting shade for some 10 years, he said. “Getting this installed is fantastic,” he added.
But, Selman said, the playscape needs significant work and recommended that it be upgraded, partly because a child was hurt on it a couple of weeks ago.
There is $36,000 in a reserve budget per pocket park. So in the Canyon Glen case, Selman will look into replacing the playscape at the same times as the shade structure.
The Steiner Lake Club restaining was finished recently.
In the open forum section of the March board meeting, a homeowner asked about the irrigation system in Steiner saying there are brown patches of grass in places that are not getting water.
Selman is looking at the landscaping and irrigation recommendations and proposals and getting up to speed.
The HOA staff also is working on community amenities and landscape improvements. Shapiro has met with the landscape committee about making improvements and transitioning some of the flowers. She said there is huge collaboration.
“We’ve had one meeting and there’s lots of enthusiasm,” Shapiro said.
She plans to put information into three proposals for the board to vote on.
“It’s the face of Steiner Ranch and it’s critically important,” Shapiro said. “I’d love to fast-track this as soon as I can.”
There is erosion, grading that needs to be done, drip irrigation and lighting tweaks are needed. She expects there to be new plantings in the fall, past the summer heat. She and the committee would like to see more zero-scaping. Shapiro would like to see the community use the Lady Bird Wildflower Center as a resource on what to use at the main entrance on Quinlan Park Road and then on the Steiner Ranch Boulevard entrance.
“We’ll try to meld better and new ideas… And work with how things flow and age,” said Dottie Thoms, chairperson of landscape committee.
Other topics on the agenda included discussion of a dog park, adding more dog waste stations, and adding a new soccer field at Towne Square. But topics were tabled after some board members discussed needing more direction from the community. A survey was talked about previously to find out what are some of the amenities or wishes of the community but that has not been sent out yet.