Architectural Control Committee
Other Ad Hoc Committees can be formed by the Board to address POA needs. The Board will provide these committees with a description of their role and responsibilities.
BOD Advisory Committee
Purpose – Provide an advisory group to assure the current BOD knows and understands how similar issues were resolved on previous boards.
Team – Three residents who have served as officers in the BOD in the past will be asked to perform as standing members of this team, which will meet once each quarter with the BOD to learn what problems the BOD is currently working on. This team may then call upon any other past BOD members. As issues become public, any past board members should consider it a responsibility to contact any of the three standing members so that their historical perspective is passed on to the current BOD. If the information is time-critical, the team lead should directly contact the BOD.
The team leader will solicit volunteers for this committee and provide for volunteer succession.
Responsibilities – This is an advisory committee only. The BOD has no authority to assign actions or activities to this team, and the BOD is under no obligation to accept recommendations from this committee. However, the BOD is obligated to include in their meeting minutes any recommendations and historical information provided.
Since previous BOD members would not always handle situations the same way, it is the Team's responsibility to solicit alternative ways that different boards handled similar situations.
Common Areas Management Committee
Purpose – Provide consistent year-to-year management of the common areas in La Reata Ranch, i.e., Front Entrance and Walking Trail.
Team – The team leader will have experience in botany, biology or lawn care, and grounds maintenance. The Team Lead should select a second volunteer team member in time to provide reasonable succession planning.
This team will develop an annual budget that considers all purchases of plants, seeds, fertilizer, weed control, tools, and other materials and services. The budget will also include the lawn maintenance contract as well as the lighting and water fees. (This makes up the largest percentage of the annual POA budget,)
This team will work with the board to decide when to go out for bid for the maintenance contract and evaluate and manage the contractor's performance and take corrective actions when necessary.
This team should consider any improvements in the front entrance's appearance and submit cost estimates for approval.
All standing committees will develop a document or flow chart of their steps to perform each function. (Example – Each step needed to go out for bids for a new Lawn Maintenance Contractor.)( So that future volunteers will know the responsibilities and exact instructions for at least one way to perform them.)
All standing committees will be required to document the amount of time they spend executing their duties and then should try to optimize and minimize the amount of time. (So that future volunteers will know the time commitment)
Purpose – Utilize all systems, electronic, internet, and US Postal Service, to assure effective communications between the POA Board of Directors, all committees, all POA members, and the general public and maintain the POA business records.
The team leader shall pick one or two other volunteers to share responsibilities, assure availability and provide for succession.
A representative of this team will participate in BOD meetings in order to ensure that memos created by the board as a result of the meeting contain all pertinent information discussed. (This is not a secretarial or note-taking assignment but should be considered a quality control for BOD communications.)
The Communications Committee shall maintain an accurate and up-to-date list of the POA membership contact information. (Currently maintained by the Contract Accountant)
This committee will develop, with the BOD, a file nomenclature or numbering system, and a file hierarchy that makes file retrieval intuitive (Documents should be retrievable by combinations of the lot number, year, committee, main subject, and if possible, by “word search.”)
This committee will ensure that communications and documents are properly formatted, posted to the proper system, and filed in a retrievable system.
This committee will propose to the BOD options and opportunities to make communications and documentation, filing, and retrieval easy for volunteer POA committee members and should consider:
This committee will help the BOD develop and manage a communications budget and will manage the actions and costs of any non-resident paid resources required to fulfill these responsibilities.
All standing committees will develop a document or flow chart of the steps they take to perform each function. (Example – Each step needed to add a new owner to the Owners list, or how to add a new resident to the Communications system, so that potential future volunteers will be able to review the responsibilities as well as the exact instructions for at least one way to perform them.)
All standing committees will document the amount of time they spend executing their duties and then should try to optimize and minimize the amount of time. (So that future volunteers will know the time commitment)
This committee has the authority to make expenditures to utilize US Postal Services for POA meeting announcements and other mailings as required by the BOD.
Guidance Document: How to Update and Maintain the La Reata Ranch Website
Election Committee Charter
Purpose – To develop a guidance document to manage the process of voting in the La Reata Ranch Property Owners Association that is in compliance with the Texas State Property code 209, and to execute the provisions of that guidance document during elections of members to the Board of Directors, vote to change the CCR’s, vote to increase the annual assessment, or vote to remove a Board member.
Team – This committee should include one Chairperson and 2 additional committee members.
Responsibilities – This committee will develop the guidance document that will assure elections and voting that requires the participation of the Association membership will comply with the Texas State Property Code. The guidance document should clarify that votes of board members, taken during the normal execution of their duties and in monthly board meetings are not covered by this guidance document.
The guidance document will define the process for written, absentee, and proxy ballots.
This committee will then be responsible for the management and execution of all such elections/voting. They will verify only one vote per lot is counted, collect and include all absentee, or proxy ballots, and assure that the vote counters for elections of officers are not related to any of the candidates.
All standing committees will be required to document the amount of time they spend executing their duties, and then should try to optimize and minimize the amount of time. (So that future volunteers will know the time commitment)
Except from Texas State Property Code 209 regarding HOA VOTING AND ELECTIONS: Applicable to HOAs only (not condos).
The new law makes several changes to the procedures and requirements for voting and elections. Some of the more important changes are:
*HOAs only need to provide one method of voting to owners, but must in all cases make voting available by either absentee or proxy ballot.
*Secret voting (unsigned ballots) is now allowed if and only if the HOA adopts rules addressing secret ballots, including rules to help ensure owners only cast the number of votes they are entitled to cast. Further, if secret voting is used for a board member election, each candidate must be allowed to name one person to observe ballot counting but that person is not allowed see the names on the ballots.
Action item: If your HOA is interested in secret (unsigned) ballots for enhanced privacy, talk to your HOA attorney about drafting rules regarding secret ballots. (But keep in mind that “regular” ballots are private – by law no one is legally entitled to see the ballots except the vote tabulators.)
Make sure you understand the law regarding election observers so that you can comply with this requirement at future elections.
*Floor nominations in election meetings do not invalidate previously-cast absentee or proxy ballots.
*Demands for recounts must follow a specific timeline. The new law provides very clear steps to follow.
*The tabulator of a vote or a recount cannot disclose how individual owners voted unless required to do so by Court order. (Ballots are secret – owners are not entitled to see them and the HOA is prohibited from allowing owners to see them).
*Unless required by the HOA’s deed restrictions, an association meeting is not necessary for a vote of owners but all owners must be given notice of a vote at least 20 days before the ballot is due.
*Written ballots (either signed or secret) are no longer required for every vote, but they are required for the following votes:
votes not taken at a meeting, votes in an election to fill a board position, votes for a proposed amendment of dedicatory instruments, votes for an increase in assessments or adoption of special assessments, and votes for the proposed removal of a board member.
*The new law clarifies that declaration amendments can only be voted on by those entitled to vote on the amendment. This means that only owners who are members of a sub-association, and not other members of the master associations who don’t live in that area, can vote on amendments to that sub association’s declaration.
*If an HOA has more than 100 lots, a notice must be sent to owners soliciting candidates for members of the board. The notice must contain certain statutory language and must be sent at least 10 days before ballots are sent or made available to owners for voting. All names of eligible owners who request to be on the ballot must be put on the ballot.
Action item: If your HOA is required to solicit candidates under the statute, be sure that a solicitation for candidates is sent at least 10 days prior to your next board member election. Your POA attorney can further explain the notice requirements including the required method of notice, and help prepare the notice to ensure compliance with the new law.
Government Relations Committee Charter
Purpose: To monitor and interact with governmental entities which serve or enact policies affecting the La Reata Ranch POA.
Responsibilities: The committee will monitor policies, current and proposed, and services of the following entities:
County Judge and Commissioners Court
Emergency Services District 1/Sheriff’s Office
Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District**
Smithville School District**
**No assigned representative, any action needed is at the discretion of the committee leader.
The committee will assemble information concerning proposed changes to the policies and legislation of each of these entities with an emphasis on how they may impact La Reata Ranch, the probable timing of these issues, and any proposed action that the Board of Directors of La Reata Ranch POA may consider in order to impact or prepare for the proposed changes.
No member of the committee will be allowed to lobby on any position on behalf of La Reata Ranch unless approved by the Board of Directors or a vote of the membership of the property owner’s association.
The team will consist of one chairman and up to three other members with responsibility for monitoring state, county, and other entities.