Welcome, and thank you for taking the time to view our presentation. What started as random discussions among property owners here at Hilltop Lakes has evolved into the ideas and concepts that follow. This presentation represents our general consensus concerning the problems Hilltop Lakes faces. It lays out what we feel is a new mindset, a new direction to take us into what we foresee as a better future.
Here are some general questions we all found ourselves asking and trying to answer. Maybe some will sound familiar.Some you might have asked yourself.
Here on some ideas on improving our governing body to make all of this work, in a way all Hilltop property owners feel comfortable with.
So let’s start with a tour of Hilltop Lakes as it was originally established. As Hilltop Lakes Resort City. The following pictures and text were found in an early advertising insert marketing Hilltop Lakes through several large metropolitan newspapers, including Houston and Dallas/Ft. Worth.
Here are some of the amenities that were part of the original development.
Notice the old lodge and two diving boards.
And other attractions.
Interesting they don’t mention the dogwoods, but there was a Zoo.
This is a pretty good example of an amenity on its way out.
Tonkawa Lake now.
What do most of our amenities have in common now?
Here’s a little fun with this.
But it needs to be done right, and flexibility is key while retaining some continuity.
Here are some random ideas we might can implement fairly soon and inexpensively.
Are we at a turning point? Many feel we are. There is nothing to say we have to continue down the path that has brought us to where we are.
Here are a few ways you can help.
Property Owners for the Advancement of Hilltop Lakes Our group is comprised of property owners of Hilltop Lakes that have become increasingly concerned with the future of Hilltop Lakes. What started as separate clusters of property owners discussing trends affecting Hilltop has grown to an organized group effort to develop a set of concepts, ideals, goals and plans for the future of Hilltop.
Property Owners for the Advancement of Hilltop Lakes We do not wish to spend time criticizing those who are serving as POA board members. However, through conversations with many property owners, it became obvious there is considerable concern with the direction we are going. Likewise, many felt the governance system we are currently under should be seriously studied for improvement.
What is Hilltop Lakes’ Destiny? Ask this question of Hilltop Lakes Property Owners and you are most likely going to get various responses. For this reason, we feel the foremost need our community has is a definition of itself, what it is, how it wants to be and where it wants to go. In short we need a Mission Statement to consolidate our efforts, provide continuity and give interested prospective property owners a clearer idea of the community.
Mission Statement Following is an example Mission Statement that would be put to all Property Owners of Hilltop Lakes for approval. Hilltop Lakes is dedicated to establishing a culture that respects resident property owners, welcomes non-resident property owners and guests, expects effective and efficient governance and operations, and can manage improvement and growth, both physical and fiscal, in a strategic, financially sound manner.
To Support the Mission Statement we need to establish and maintain the following: Improved Governance A strong General Manager position Amenities Improvement and Maintenance Program Development of a Long Range Planning Process
Improved Governance It’s time to mature in how we go about our business as a community and expect better of those we elect. We need to focus on: Integrity Transparency Accountability Fair Representation Sustainability (build a Hilltop that can financially endure and grow in a reasonable manner.)
Integrity From the biographical sketch requested of all POA board nominees as printed in the July 2011 newsletter: “Are you a self starter who can articulate your thoughts? Are you a good listener? Are you respectful of others, even under pressure? Can you work with and respect others even when your ideas are criticized? Can you offer helpful criticism without sarcasm? Can you accept responsibility for your actions and decisions……Can you set aside your personal goals for the good of the Hilltop Lakes Community?” Improved Governance
Integrity From the biographical sketch requested of all POA board nominees as printed in the July 2011 newsletter: “Are you a self starter who can articulate your thoughts? Are you a good listener? Are you respectful of others, even under pressure? Can you work with and respect others even when your ideas are criticized? Can you offer helpful criticism without sarcasm? Can you accept responsibility for your actions and decisions……Can you set aside your personal goals for the good of the Hilltop Lakes Community?” Improved Governance While the words are nice, some actual standards of conduct that board members and employees work under would be better.
The timely generation of plans, reports and supporting documentation that is accurate, all inclusive and understandable. Holding all POA board meetings in a manner that allows for public input and questions in an orderly productive fashion. Sessions or other vehicles geared toward education and explanation of monthly reports, special reports, and established programs or procedures, for those who wish to understand better. Improved Governance TRANSPARENCY
Make Hilltop Lakes a place where all factions of property owners have an equal voice and are represented accordingly. Study different approaches to implement such a step. Improved Governance Fair Representation
Develop the overall long range plan to take advantage of all the potential Hilltop Lakes has to offer. Strengthen, expand and vary our amenities and incentives towards the constant increase in value of Hilltop Lakes both as a community/business and at the individual property owner level. Improved Governance sustainability
General Manager Position A general manager should, given the authority, be able to assemble and maintain a team of employees or contracted entities to perform tasks necessary to complete plans that meet the objectives of the community. These objectives shall be set by the overseeing board with the input of the general manager as to the feasibility and timeliness of meeting the objectives.
Family Fun This was the hilltop Lakes many invested in
Apparently Hilltop Lakes was founded as a Resort Community. Centrally located between four large metropolitan areas, original intent was to provide families an escape from the day to day rat race for a weekend or vacation.
Apparently Hilltop Lakes was founded as a Resort Community. Investors bought lots, and houses were available for purchase, many of them duplexes. Investors could use one half as a retreat/second home, and allow the one or both sides to be rented out to families.
Apparently Hilltop Lakes was NOT founded as a Residential Growth Community. While some investors chose to make Hilltop Lakes their main residence, most didn’t. Even today, Hilltop Lakes only has 12% of its available lots developed. Hilltop was never intended to grow as a residential subdivision would grow, due mainly to its location. In fact, that location played a major part in the “getaway” marketing approach.
How does that apply to today? For clarification, let’s call those who own lots and pay the $35/month maintenance fee Non Resident Property Owners, or NRPOs for short. Likewise let’s abbreviate the term Resident Property Owners, or RPOs. This refers to those who pay the $65/month maintenance fee.
How does that apply to today? 57% of our average total monthly income stream is NRPO maintenance fees. 17% of our average total monthly income stream is RPO maintenance fees.
How does that apply to today? There are just over 600 residences at Hilltop Lakes There are over 3,800 lots paying maintenance fees.
So, apparently it does still apply. If we do not keep up the Hilltop Lakes they invested in, how long can we expect their financial support? How many new investors can we gain by bringing our amenities up to standard? Would you invest in what we have now? How do our amenities look today? Let’s take a quick tour.
Larger Amenities The motel, villas, restaurant, swimming pool, teen center, and campground have only received nominal funding over the past decade to stay operational, with little to no true upgrades. The amenities that have shown any significant improvements owe those improvements to funding from individuals or groups, not the POA budget.
Commonalities among most amenities. Antiquated Poorly maintained Unlit No shade Dry and weedy Unused means gone.
How many of us still watch TV on one of these?
This represents the majority of Hilltop amenities. Except this one still has all its knobs and legs.
If the current NRPOs making monthly payments are satisfied with what we are doing, then why worry about the amenities? Are there enough non-paying lots left to make a difference?
How Many Lots are Not Producing Income? Total Hilltop Lakes lots 9,983 Lots assigned to houses 1,200 Lots covered by $35 fees 4,322 Subtotal paying lots 5,522 5,522 Lots that could be paying 4,461 Approximately 4,400
Realistic Potential Of the 4,400, if we could get 10% (440) of those adding to the maintenance fee pool, that would mean an extra $184,800 in NRPO income every year. 20% (880) would mean an additional $369,600 annually, at the increase load of an additional 880 NRPOs.
Realistic Potential It would take nearly 237 new homes built to equal a 10% increase in NRPO income. At our current growth rate that would take at least 15 years. Can our infrastructure handle an additional 38% in residents that 237 new houses would bring?
Will these streets carry an additional 38% traffic, not to mention the construction traffic needed to build 200+ more homes?
The majority of our income is due to Non Resident Property Owners. We should do everything in our power to not only maintain the base we have now, but to increase NRPO inflow. Doing so only increases the value of Hilltop Lakes and our own investment in it.
The Strengthening cycle Invest in strengthening amenities
The Strengthening cycle Invest in strengthening amenities Collect increased outside income
The Strengthening cycle Invest in strengthening amenities Collect increased outside income Income reinvested in Hilltop
The Strengthening cycle Invest in strengthening amenities Collect increased outside income Income reinvested in Hilltop Reinforce Infrastructure Operations and Maintenance
The Strengthening cycle Invest in strengthening amenities Collect increased outside income Long Range Plan Income reinvested in Hilltop Reinforce Infrastructure Operations and Maintenance
Not to mention If even a portion of the non resident property owners begin to come and use Hilltop more, how much could our outside sales income grow due to reunions, weddings, conferences, etc? Our best marketing is POSITIVE experiences and word of mouth. Imagine what Resident maintenance fees would be if Hilltop lost a substantial amount of NRPO income.
One other point: The Housing Market of Hilltop Lakes The housing market is tight everywhere, due in part to the economy, increased restrictions on credit, and other factors. Houses are selling at the rate of $50 to $80 a square foot. Increasing the overall value of Hilltop Lakes increases the values of the homes already here.
Recap Better Governance a General Manager a Amenitiesa Long Range Plan
Develop a long range plan The Plan should: Give the community common goals Utilize Hilltop Lakes resources fully Recognize what investors expect and work to fulfill those expectations Represent to all a commitment to the future by the property owners of Hilltop Lakes
And we need: A way to develop and administer that plan with continuity, for the benefit of the bulk of property owners.
Governing the Plan Plan should be reviewed and adjusted in open hearings on a regular basis. Candidates run to support and advance the plan, or state publicly before the election what they oppose or would work to change. The POA board works with General Manager and staff to develop obtainable objectives. The GM and staff then are tasked with developing and implementing plans to meet those objectives.
Some Proposed Goals Determine what property owners want and expect from Hilltop Lakes. Reinvigorate the Non resident property owner (NRPO) base by restoring Hilltop Lakes, rebuilding, updating, strengthening and adding new amenities. Plan amenities according to the responses of NRPOs, RPOs, while at the same time looking towards future trends, or emphasizing past trends.
Some Proposed Goals Increase marketing to bring more current NRPOs who might be delinquent back into good standing and attract new NRPOs. Study how lots that are in arrears are handled and consider if we can profit there. Market for more reunions, retreats, small camps, weddings, or other functions.
NONE of these ideas presented are written in stone. They are merely suggestions that have been raised. Simply potential concepts to be researched.