Monday, March 30, 2009

Kings Forest Board Presents Five-Year Plan at Annual Meeting

At the Kings Forest annual meeting held on March 24, Board President Kevin Morley presented a comprehensive five-year plan to address the renewal of the infrastructure of Kings Forest.

Starting with a review of the board’s goals and accomplishments in 2008, Morley went on to thank the many volunteers who have contributed to the successes we’ve seen in the last year.

The main focus of the presentation was a first ever (for Kings Forest) presentation of a five-year plan of action for capital infrastructure renewal through 2013.

Morley emphasized that this plan is a template for decisionmaking. Only the projects listed for 2009 have been reviewed and approved by the current board. The timing and scope of future projects, and the annual assessments necessary to pay for them, would have to be reviewed and approved by future boards following appropriate input from the residents.

Morley explained that the financial basis for the plan takes current-year operating expenses and projects them forward, increasing appropriately for inflation.Capital projects, such as revitalization of the entrances, fence replacement, and pool resurfacing/renewal, are then added in. This allows a calculation of the level of assessments necessary to pay for the plan each year, while maintaining a prudent cash fund for unforeseen contingencies.

While current-year stewardship focuses on the annual budget, future-year planning focuses on the amount of cash held in savings. Morley pointed out that if certain projects are completed according to normal replacement schedules (i.e., fifteen years for the fence), the cash fund drops to a level that may be too low. For this reason, the board must carefully consider even small projects that may reduce funds available for the capital projects, and is considering options for moving some projects.

To this end, the board has signed a contract to begin an effort to life-extend the fence (replace rotting boards and trim away vegetation) in the hopes of postponing its replacement by a year or more.

Results of Section One Elections Are In

The Kings Forest Board of Trustees issued the following message to residents on March 30, 2009.

Dear Neighbors,

As many of you know, the election results for the Kings Forest, Section 1, Board positions were collected and counted at the annual dinner. At that time, the validity of some ballots and the election process came into question. Specifically, there were: 1) multiple ballots from the same households, 2) ballots on different card stock, 3) photocopied ballots, 4) altered ballots, 5) additional ballots distributed through Kingwood Association Management, 6) ballots received from households who were delinquent on homeowner dues, and 7) a candidate who was delinquent on homeowner dues. Unfortunately, our limited by-laws did not provide specific rules or guidance for this situation. In the best interest of the candidates and the community as a whole, every effort was made to authenticate the ballots and election results.

After independent review of the by-laws, ballots and process, it was determined all ballots and all candidates would be accepted and counted. In spite of the irregularities listed above, the following candidates have been elected:

• Ginny Eckley
• Mike Woehst

We would like to thank all the candidates for their interest in serving our community. Additionally, we thank everyone for their patience and understanding regarding this very important matter.


The Kings Forest Community Association Board

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Kings Forest Resident Luis Ortiz Provides His Crew to Plant 50 Donated Trees; Plans to Donate 50 More

Luis Ortiz, Kings Forest Section 2, is an inspiring model of genuine civic spirit and generosity.

Out of a desire to contribute to neighborhood revitalization efforts, Ortiz volunteered to pick up the 50 trees that had been donated to Kings Forest by Tree Town USA at the request of City Councilman Mike Sullivan. Jan Mohr, Chair of our HS Construction Committee, worked out the details with Ortiz on timing.

Not only did Ortiz arrange to transport the trees from Richmond, he donated the landscaping crew, the auger to drill the holes, and mulch. All 50 trees were planted yesterday.

KFCA President Kevin Morley explains. “During Hurricane Ike, Luis used his crews to remove debris from his neighbor’s yard. When I heard about his great attitude, I thought: ‘no good deed goes unpunished.’ I approached him about picking up the donated trees for the high school parking lot. Luis responded, ‘not only will I pick them up, I will plant them.’”

“We were excited, but considering how the economy has impacted many of our businesses, we could only wait and hope,” said Morley. “He came through for us beyond our expectations.”

Ortiz also has reiterated his commitment to buy an additional 50 trees to donate to Kings Forest.

“The board and Maintenance Committee have talked about placing some of these trees at Woods Estates (when Bear Branch Trails Association completes its vine removal later this year) and some at Shady Run,” said Morley. “Because these areas don’t have irrigation, the best time to plant will be in the fall. We’ll continue to work with Luis, and before we make final decisions, propose a few alternatives and survey residents on their preferences.”

Residents will recall that the donated trees for the high school area were to supplant those installed by the school district along the perimeter of the Kingwood High School parking lot (for background, see earlier story). Councilman Sullivan approached Tree Town USA, which responded with a generous donation of 50 trees. All KFCA had to do was transport the trees from Richmond, dig the holes, and get them planted.

Jan Mohr soon discovered that 50 trees require a big flatbed trailer and truck, lots of manpower, an auger to dig the holes in the hard ground, and more manpower to plant and mulch. And Jan’s budget to get this done – zero!

“Given our budget constraints, Luis’s gift to our community is a godsend,” said Morley. “When I asked him why he was doing this, he replied: ‘I’m grateful to this country for the wonderful life I’ve been able to create for my family. I wanted to give something back.’”

Morley also expressed the board’s gratitude to Jan Mohr and Vicki and Dick Stewart.

“Jan didn’t give up,” he said. “She’s been quietly working on a solution for several months.

“And when I went by the high school after the trees were planted, there was Vicki, covered in mud, dragging around a hose to water the newly planted trees,” said Morley.

“This is the best of Kings Forest – neighbors with a positive, can-do attitude who quietly pitch in and get things done.”

Voluntary Donation Fund Approaches $3,000

The board is delighted to report that as of March 1, $2,895 has been contributed by Kings Forest residents to the Voluntary Donation fund.

Residents will recall that in the annual assessment letter, the Kings Forest board asked if they’d like to contribute an additional voluntary amount to help accelerate the completion of the remaining two major entrances at Valley Manor and Woodland Hills.

Because of the number of infrastructure projects coming in the next few years -- such as replacement of the fence along Kingwood Drive -- the board has explored other ways to raise money, such as voluntary donations. Feedback from residents at board meetings and neighborhood events indicated many were willing to contribute.

“The board thanks all of our neighbors who have made donations,” said Morley. “The Fund will remain open to contributions until we have enough to complete the remaining entrances.

“With the many generous residents and hard-working volunteers, we may get there sooner than we think.”

Plans for infrastructure improvements will be presented to residents at the 2009 Annual Meeting on March 24. A recap will appear here after the board meeting for those unable to attend.

Renee Hewett, Maintenance Committee Chair, Helps Raise Money for the Voluntary Donation Fund

Renee Hewett, chair of the Maintenance Committee, had been thinking about ways in which she could help raise money for the Voluntary Donation Fund. She decided to host a social event that would provide an opportunity for Kings Forest neighbors to socialize and have a little fun while doing something good for the community.

So Renee organized a Southern Living event in her home on February 15, and extended invitations to every home in Kings Forest. Renee donated all of the profits above direct costs to the Fund, for a total of $500. In addition to those who attended the event, there were several residents who were unable to stop by, but asked if they could donate to the Fund anyway.

“There’s a lot of work involved in hosting an event like this,” said Kevin Morley, KFCA president. “It took weeks for Renee to pull this all together. We are very appreciative of her efforts.

“The board also wants to thank the residents who took time out of their afternoon to attend, as well as those who donated,” He added. “The ongoing support we get from our neighbors really energizes the board and committees to do our best.”