Looking Back in Time at Edgewood Townehouses
The Edgewood Townehouse Association is celebrating fifty years of serving homeowners in a safe, park-like environment. The facilities were well designed and constructed with a timeless inherent beauty. For many of the early years, our facilities, by their design, weathered very well with little or no need for expensive investments in upkeep but like all things built with wood, steel, and concrete, the inescapable passing of time had its effect.
During the last years of the twentieth century, though, minimal investment was applied to the upkeep of our facilities. As the new millennium ensued, key leaders in the community began to identify needs to ensure the longevity of these elegant unique townhomes. As the first decade came to a close, with the leadership of a long-term resident, Board President Robert “Bruce” Trafton, and with the Board of Directors, they began a decade-long investment in maintenance and repair. A program to improve overhead garage doors, driveway repaving, safety fencing along Brae Burn, concrete walkways, wall siding, patio party walls, groundwater drainage, irrigation upgrade, large tree maintenance, outdoor lighting, security, safety and a myriad of facility and grounds details began to be addressed.
In the meantime, funding these repairs over that decade relied on an unsustainable model that nearly exhausted the Association’s reserves but did address the most serious maintenance deferments. A series of meetings and brain-storming sessions among homeowners gave rise to a new model of facility management. Under the leadership of Board President Christine Donahue, the Board redesigned the Association’s funding into two discreet budgets to track and account for expenses: first, an Operations Budget, and second a Special Assessment Budget for Planned Projects.
The purpose of the Operations Budget was to ensure that the day-to-day bills and obligations would be met. The Operations Budget typically paid for insurance, vendors, contractors, employees, postage, utilities, waste removal, etc. The purpose of the Special Assessment Budget for Planned Projects was to fund major repairs and upgrades to all common property. Special Assessment Budgets for Planned Projects included sidewalk replacement, roadway and driveway maintenance, groundwater drainage upgrades, flat and gable roof replacements, bridge and boardwalk replacements, exterior chimney improvements, foundation repair projects, exterior painting, and similar common property improvements. The Special Assessment Budget for Planned Projects required the identification of prioritized projects that are reviewed and then approved annually by a super majority of the membership consenting to those special assessment projects and funding.
The Association managed and funded major repairs and restorations under this paradigm for the past two years. A Five Year Facility Maintenance Plan was the basis for the Special Assessment for Planned Projects Budget. A Five-Year Facility Maintenance Plan was reviewed, updated, and prioritized each year to identify projects to be completed in the upcoming year.
This funding model is now proving to be precarious and uncertain in meeting the needs of the future. The Special Assessment model to fund next year’s capital improvement projects is an exhausting annual exercise for the Board and homeowners alike. It is a time-consuming effort that monopolizes the Board’s and homeowners’ participation to pass special funding for projects that need to be addressed – and the anticipated outcome is very, very uncertain. It may pass, or it may be defeated – not a very reliable way to manage a not-for-profit business.
Currently, the Board is pursuing a different way to assure funding facility and grounds capital improvements to our grounds and facilities. Our budget model now categorizes maintenance routine cyclical events that reoccur annually, and improvements that last long that two years as capital improvement projects. We will use our Reserve Study to determine our capital maintenance needs. Out Reserve Study is underway and we will be well served as it is completed.
For the past fifty one years and into the future, our Association is just a great place to live. Your support is what makes this investment a great opportunity!