CHANGES I AM MAKING IN THE CONTENTS OF MY EMAILS
WOW! February starts my 16th year of sending out my emails. I think before I discuss how my emailing will change I will give a little background as to what started me to do emailing and what emails included at the beginning and how it carried on until now.
When Greta and I moved to Regency we were home #32 to move in. The first thing that happened was in the summer my AC would run 24/7 and never get below 75 degrees on the thermostat. I spoke with a few neighbors and they had the same problem. Then I started to collect email addresses to see if others had the same problem. Well, 28 homes had the problem and Toll did fix it.
Then residents were writing me about the slopes on their driveways. Even my driveway was sloped. So letting Toll know how many driveways had slopes greater than 12 degrees (this was the code), Toll either fixed the problem or the homeowner was given $4000 to accept what was done.
Then there were specific styles of homes that had leaks in their homes and all the homes had the leaks in the same place. Again, this was pointed out to Toll and the problem(s) were fixed
Remember back in the early days we didn’t have residents on the HOA. We had to get things done and the best way to do it was as a group. I have to admit, Toll fixed all of the problems and it was easier for them to do it once they knew which homes had problems.
As time went on Regency was challenged with many other issues. For example, in those days Toll gave us Advanced Broadband as our cable/internet provider. We all had problems and at that time I decided, along with others to go to DirecTV. Eventually Toll heard enough about the problems so they closed down Advanced Broadband and went to Comcast. Myself and others switched to Comcast rather than pay the HOA a monthly fee and pay DirecTV.
Issues outside of the community came about. The Township was going to decide whether or not they would put age restrictions on children living with parents in adult communities. There was an incident at another adult community where many young kids were living that prompted the Township to get involved with this issue. When this happened I sent an email out to the community asking what they wanted to do. Yes, back in those days, my personal views were noted and so were those views of others, both pro and con. It was more than unanimous. Only two homes indicated they didn’t want children living in Regency. The Town Council was having a meeting dealing with this issue. I asked residents to attend. I could not believe the turnout back in those days. It was standing room only and in attendance from Regency was well over 125 residents. So I prepared my notes by researching this issue and what I found was amazing. It turns out that the Federal Government clearly indicated that adult communities are permitted to have CAREGIVERS and these CAREGIVERS can be of any age or even family members. So, I told a friend to give my report to Mayor Pucci. After talking for about 1 minute, the Mayor interrupted me and said, “Ron, you and your community can decide what they want to do. The Township will do as you want”. So it was at this time that I realized that getting involved in political actions which may negatively affect our residents was something that I would engage in.
Other issues came up. For example a builder wanted to build a small shopping center on 522 and Schoolhouse Road. I wrote the community and asked for feedback. I got plenty of emails and in those days, it was written into my emails. It seemed that one resident and I had opposite views. My emails became very lengthy and residents basically asked for me to stop. So I stopped putting pros and cons in my emails but what I did was to answer EVERY SINGLE EMAIL WHETHER IT WAS WHAT I PERSONALLY FELT OR WHAT SOMEONE FELT DIFFERENTLY ABOUT. It was a lot of work back then when we had a few hundred homes. It became geometrically out of control with our now having 1000 homes because from maybe 15/20 emails I can now get 50/100 emails depending upon the subject.
Eventually we got 2 residents to be on the Board. I thought for sure that with resident members, this would end my dealing with issues, whether here at Regency or outside of Regency. I have to say that for the most part, it did but there were issues that residents brought up that weren’t addressed to what the majority of residents wanted done. For example, I think was the biggest gathering of any meetings we had and well over 600 residents attended. The meeting was to discuss the REFURBISHING OF OUR CLUBHOUSE AT A COST OF $500,000. I was truly happy that our Board was holding this meeting because I knew that many residents didn’t want to spend this amount of money on a Clubhouse that basically they felt didn’t need refurbishing. From all the residents who spoke, our two Board members clearly heard residents say, we don’t want to spend $500,000. Yet, we spent $500,000. It is hard to understand why residents gave me their feedback when the feedback should be directed to Board members. This will now be part of my decision as to what changes I will make with emailing.
The following are things that keep popping up all the time:
- Each of you have an email address book with personal friends, family, neighbors, etc. You may write to them as a group. My address book has 1400 email addresses and yes, many from Regency but also from other communities and friends living outside of Regency who might benefit from my cost savings. Am I not allowed to write what I want since I represent ME and only ME and NOT THE HOA. As an individual you have the right to UNSUBSCRIBE if you find my emails not to your liking.
- Another claim is that my emailing is part of the HOA. It should be noted that the HOA DOESN’T PAY ME for doing the emailing. For 16 years I have paid for doing my emailing. The discussion once happened at a meeting I had with the HOA but the final decision was that I will NOT take a penny in order for me to be totally independent.
- Many residents feel I should include in my emails opinions from other residents. As I mentioned, many of you haven’t lived here as long as I have. This WAS DONE. However, residents said, STOP because it was a back and forth debate and my emails were getting longer and longer. So instead, I write my response to ALL RESIDENTS whether they agree or disagree. Is this wrong? I guess times have changed but this will also enter in my decision about Emailing.
- Supporting political candidates. Again, this goes back to the early days of Regency. Mayor Pucci, would work with our residents in providing us with things we wanted and needed. Those water areas in Regency were part of our and his recommendations to Toll for making sure we don’t run out of water for our sprinkler system. In those days it was a major plus for our community. Should I not thank him and support him for what he had done for us? Yet this has become another issue which I will, in this email, address.
- Supporting Regency residents who are running for some position outside of the community. Well, this too will be addressed since there are residents who might feel that this support shouldn’t be done since they don’t feel the same way as I do.
- What is an HOA issue and what isn’t an HOA issue? Sometimes I find it hard to differentiate what issues will be addressed by our Board vs what issues cannot be addressed by our Board. In particular, what political issues should be addressed by our Board and should this be a decision the Board makes or should the community make?
It should be noted that my intentions in most of what I write about involves keeping our costs down. Residents would be amazed how many emails I receive dealing with issues like this. Many friends and neighbors have left Regency and have written me that they had no choice. Taxes were getting out of control as we know from the news media, here in NJ.
Finally, now that you have a little background of the Emailer, here is what Emailing will NO LONGER get involved with.
- Political statements will no longer be part of my email
- Any issues dealing with what the Board should be handling, you would have to contact the Board
- Any resident running for an outside position, I will no longer include this in my emails.This also includes any politician running for any office, my views will remain my views.
- I am going to stop being part of outside groups that deal with issues related to getting our costs down As you may remember we started the CCMT (Concerned Citizens For Monroe Twp) and John Keane, (resident who passed away) through a court decision, gave back over $1000 to each home as part of tax relief
- I have been asked, but I want to make this perfectly clear, I will not include any residents information when running for a Board position. This may include me personally since I am thinking about running for the Board when the time is right.
- To clarify that my emails aren’t part of the HOA, my emails will have the subject line as EMAILER MESSAGES – vs REGENCY AT MONROE. My website will also be changed (as soon as I can to EMAILER MESSAGES vs REGENCY AT MONROE.
The above points will relieve me of a lot of time I am involved with in Emailing. I want everyone to understand one thing. I truly appreciate, your comments, your diversity in respect to voicing your opinions and this will never change my feelings for all of you.
Regency is a great community and I hope it stays this way.