A proposal to create a new OVA position at a cost of $200,000 to help Oakmont’s ailing sub-associations was roundly criticized at a sparsely -attended Oakmont Village Association meeting Oct. 15 at Berger Center.
Even before residents had a chance to voice their opinion, board president Steve Spanier called a resolution to move forward with a plan to create the new position “somewhat premature” and recommended deferring it to a future board meeting. After hearing repeated criticism of the proposal, Spanier added: “It may end up nothing gets done.”
The proposal grew out of a report by the Oakmont Aid for Sub-Associations Committee, which recommended creating a new position of Sub-Association Board Advocate who could be “an expert bridge” between the associations and their property management companies. It suggested that the OVA fund the position at a cost of $200,000, including $184,950 for a senior property manager and an assistant, plus benefits and other costs.
Director Noel Lyons wondered if the money might be spent on other OVA positions such as a paid treasurer or a volunteer coordinator. Director Marianne Neufeld asked if the sub-association would help pay the cost.
Linda Oneto said she is a member of a strong homeowner association and strongly objects to creating a position to help out weaker HOAs. She called the idea “totally inappropriate.” Joining the chorus of opposition were Karen Oswald and Harriet Palk.
Wally Schilpp suggested it might be cheaper in the long run to spend $200,000 to help struggling sub-associations now rather than face the costs of failing HOAs in the future.
The board’s Aid for Sub-Associations Committee has described some of Oakmont’s sub-associations as “on the brink of failure” and some others facing “critical” and “distressing” problems. It added that many smaller sub-associations struggle to find board members and enough resources to properly manage their communities.
Spanier, in his President’s Report, said OVA is looking into powering at least one central building during future power outages so neighbors can gather to get the latest information, charge their devices, access working refrigerators and just relax and visit with friends. He said a team is working to put a temporary solution in place very soon.
The OVA is also creating a list of residents who have some alternative power and are willing to share their homes during outages. He added that ongoing conversations with PG&E will determine whether Oakmont may receive special treatment because it is a vulnerable community. “Oakmont is served by four PG&E substations,” Spanier said. “If the one that powers our central area facilities can stay active, that would be the simplest and most effective solution of all.”
Iris Harrell, chair of the Building Construction Committee, said the committee is looking into getting a generator with enough capacity to keep the Central Activities Center open during a power shutdown.
The board voted to explore the opportunity to enter an agreement with Comcast to provide Oakmont residents with internet at a bulk rate of $25 a month per home, with cable TV for $25 a month and $50 a month for an internet/video combination. Comcast would require that OVA pay up front for the villages 3,200 homes and then collect from homeowners.
A survey of those receiving Oakmont’s E-Blast indicated overwhelming approval of the weekly service which updates residents on activities both inside and outside Oakmont. A total of 477 of 576 respondents gave the service either five or four stars. Only seven rated it below three stars. Asked about the length of the E-Blast, 548 said it’s just right. A total of 561 receive the blast by email.
The board approved a Revised Sign Policy for all Oakmont homes. It specifically prohibits any contractor or commercial signs. The general conditions for all permitted signs require that they be in good condition and not adversely affect traffic or public safety. No signs, banners, flags or posters are allowed in the common area unless they are pre-approved by the appropriate homeowners association or the OVA. All signs must conform to local and state laws.