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Welcome to CAI’s new e-newsletter, created just for you. Each colorful, easy-to-navigate issue will arrive every month in your inbox containing the most up-to-date news, data, and calendar items created specifically for CAI informed members—and those who want to be. Everything you need to know about communities, courses, webinars, meetings—and especially about other CAI members—is now at your fingertips. And each new issue will be customized to include the articles you want to read most.


DON'T LET IT BUG YOU

The number of people in the U.S. infected with insect-borne diseases has more than tripled since 2005, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). 

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West Nile Virus, which is the most common infection transmitted by mosquitoes, became evident in the U.S. 1999. Mosquitoes also carry other seri​​ous viruses, such as Zika—which is still a threat in some areas of the U.S.—and dengue fever.

Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and several other serious infections that are on the rise— including Heartland disease, which has been identified in the last few years in Midwestern and Southern states—are caused by tick bites.

“The numbers on some of these diseases have gone to astronomical levels," said Dr. Lyle Petersen of the CDC's National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases in a recent New York Times article. And while malaria and yellow fever are no longer transmitted in the United States, there is potential for these infections to be rein­troduced, Dr. Peterson says.

The National Association of County and City Health Officials says that while state and local pest control programs are at least 70 percent effective, “pest prevention education is falling short."

During summer months, when mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas thrive, the CDC encourages communities to take steps to control these pests by ensuring that window and door screens are in good repair, air conditioners are working, and standing water in flower pots, wading pools, birdbaths, and trash containers is eliminated. Mosquitoes can breed in as little as a teaspoon of water.

Managers and boards also can help by informing residents to take the following steps:

  • Use an EPA-registered insect repellent.
  • Wear long-sleeve shirts and long pants, even in warm weather.
  • Treat items, such as boots, pants, socks, and tents, with permethrin or use permethrin-treated clothing and gear.
  • Control ticks and fleas on pets.

>>For more information, visit www.cdc.gov/zika/prevention/prevent-mosquito-bites.html.

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POWER PERFECTED

An energy audit can reveal some of the best ways a community can save money. 

02CAIAtHome_WatchTheBoom.jpgBy Ben Rosenzweig

Energy management has changed a lot in U.S. communities over the past few years. From large-scale renewable energy projects like solar installations to smaller—but equally as effective—endeavors like LED lighting upgrades, the lifecycle costs of energy-reduction projects have gone down dramatically. Consequently, investing in energy upgrades is much more attractive to managers and boards, and payback periods are considerably shorter for community associations, even those with very tight budgets. Federal, state and municipal incentives for energy-reduction projects—which can lower costs even more—also are readily available.

First, the Audit
The best first step for any community that wants to save money on energy is to hire a reputable consultant to perform an energy audit. An in-depth energy audit can reveal your community's Energy Usage Index (EUI) and—in turn—the magnitude of available energy savings through a wide range of available energy conservation measures (ECM).

Although a lot of companies tout energy-audit services, managers and boards should seek companies that adhere to standards set by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). Community associations will get the most value from companies that are proficient in this organization's Levels 1, 2 and 3 energy audits (see sidebar below/at right/at left).

Other Important Steps
Once you've identified attractive ECMs and appropriate incentive programs (see listings at the end of the article), it's crucial to commit the association's capital and other resources wisely. You may need to submit detailed plans and specifications—and get approval—for some energy-saving initiatives to ensure compliance with regulatory codes. And state and federal incentive programs may require that only individuals with specific credentials or certifications oversee the application process.

Before beginning any energy conservation project, plan each phase from concept to final punch list—and everything in between—very carefully. Missteps can be costly and lead to diminished returns.

One of the most important aspects in implementing a successful energy-saving project is the ability to bid out contractor and equipment provider services. There's significant value in selecting a qualified engineering firm to compile the bid packages and oversee the request-for-proposal and procurement process. Depending on the size of the project, doing so can save the association thousands of dollars and greatly increase the project's returns.

Projects should culminate in a final report that highlights the ultimate return on investment, and a firm that has experience in energy audits can help with that as well as with documenting post-installation data, which many incentive programs require.

Contracting with an experienced consultant that can steward the process from energy audit through installation— including design, bidding and construction administration—is central to successfully implementing any energy reduction project.

>>For more information about how to save money on energy in communities, the following CAI publications can help:

>>The following websites provide listings and information about utility and government-based incentive programs and available tax credits:

Ben Rosenzweig is vice president of operations at Energy Squared, a Princeton, N. J.-based consulting company that designs cost-effective energy solutions for a wide range of commercial and residential customers. Mitch Frumkin, a CAI past president, is a principal at Energy Squared.
 

ASHRAE's three levels of energy audits:

Level 1

  • Analyze building energy systems
  • Summarize energy system optimization opportunities (high-level)
  • Identify appropriate incentive programs

Level 2

  • Conduct a detailed survey of building energy systems and operating modes
  • Breakdown energy consumption by source and end-use
  • Prepare a detailed report of energy conservation measures (ECMs) appropriate for the community
  • Recommend operational changes leading to energy savings

Level 3

  • Collect and analyze community energy consumption data
  • Validate community energy modeling and simulation with real world data
  • Simulate ECM as built into the community model
  • Estimate ECM cost and calculate return on investment

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Gotta have it

Weather-related disasters happen every summer. Can your community’s disaster plan protect residents and minimize property damage if the unimaginable occurs?

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Natural and accidental disasters abound every season of every year for communities across the country. California wildfires devastated communities last year, as hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, landslides, and other natural disasters have destroyed homes and threatened lives in other regions. Even accidental disasters, like chemical spills, gas leaks, groundwater contamination, power outages, and residential fires can happen with little or no warning.

To protect residents' lives and minimize property damage in case the unexpected and the unimaginable occurs, every community should have a plan of action ready to implement when an emergency arises. But what should an emergency plan include? And how do you make sure all stakeholders know how to implement it?

CAI's Disaster Resources page has a wealth of information that managers can reference to help communities develop and implement an emergency preparedness plan. Other resources are available at www.caionline.org/shop, including Natural Disasters: How Community Associations Protect Themselves (member price $15) and Before and After Disaster Strikes: Developing an Emergency Procedures Manual (member price $39.95).

Also consider subscribing to “Best Practices for Worst Cases: Emergency Planning and Recovery," a 60-minute, on-demand webinar available at www.caionline.org/webinars. A 120-day subscription is $69 for members.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency's website (www.fema.gov) provides lots of general information on disaster planning and recommends that communities as well as individuals take the following steps:

  • Be aware of the natural risks in your area. Is your community in a region that experiences tornadoes or on a coast that could be threatened by tsunamis or hurricanes?

  • In addition to maintaining an up-to-date contact list, establish alternative methods of communicating with residents in case traditional means aren't available.

  • Encourage residents to develop—and rehearse—individual and family preparedness plans. What is the safest and fastest way out of a home or building, and where will everyone in the household—or community—meet after evacuating?

  • Encourage residents to assemble an emergency kit for each person in their household. Kits should include bottled water, nonperishable food items and any prescription medications to last for at least three days. Remind residents to have an evacuation plan, as well as emergency kits, for their pets too.

Last but certainly not least, if a community you manage has ever had to implement an emergency plan, how well did it work? Discuss with the board and association residents how their plan can be improved and revise it accordingly. Then make sure everyone in the association—residents, staff and board members—know what to do if the need arises again.

>>CAI has numerous resources available at www.caionline.org/DisasterResources to help you development and implement an emergency preparedness plan.​

​​This article originally appeared in the July/August 2016 issue of Community Manager.

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HOW TO DRAFT A BUDGET: A GUIDE FOR COMMUNITY ASSOCIATIONS

Well-prepared budgets are important to homeowners who do not like financial surprises, undertainty, andworse​special assessments. 

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Anyone looking for budget basics—how to set association financial goals, develop a new budget or revise an existing one, determine a financial schedule, specify what funds to earmark for operating expenses, what to set aside for future expenses, and much more—should look no further than How to Draft a Budget: A Guide for Community Associations.

How to Draft a Budget  defines what a budget is and—most important for managers and boards—why a budget is an essential tool for managing an association.

provides readers with straightforward but indispensable information that can help managers and boards demonstrate to homeowners how their money will be spent and on what. The book also details the most productive ways to involve homeowners in developing a community's budget and how to format and present a budget to an association. By providing criteria to gauge spending and identify financial inconsistencies and anomalies, How to Draft a Budget shows readers how they can better assess an association board's fiduciary effectiveness. Most important, the book emphasizes why and how budgets can help associations avoid special assessments.

Concise and expertly reviewed by longtime CAI volunteers, Gayle L. Cagianut, CPA, and Howard Goldklang, CPA, How to Draft a Budget carefully explains what conditions can change from year to year that are sure to impact an association's finances—the best reason why managers and boards should review and/or revise their association's budgets annually or even more frequently.

Many state statutes and most governing documents require boards to exercise their fiduciary responsibility to the association members. This imposes a legal obligation to develop as accurate a budget as possible and collect sufficient assessments to cover common expenses. How to Draft a Budget provides the guideposts for anyone who is responsible for an association's financial well-being —from experienced managers to novice board members—in accomplishing this.

>>How to Draft a Budget: A Guide for Community Associations is available at www.caionline.org/shop
Member price: $14.95.
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CAI LAUNCHES CHAPTER IN IDAHO

The new chapter will help increase quality of service and inform state legislators. 

CAI's Board of Trustees voted during its meeting at the 2018 Annual Conference and Exposition in May to establish a new CAI chapter in Idaho. Joye Jones, CMCA, of Sentry Management, will serve as president of the CAI Idaho Chapter board during its inaugural year. Ryan Martin, CMCA; Mike Madison; Alana Ashby; Patricia Liddell; Brindee Collins, Esq.; Burt Willey; and Sandy Poe—all of whom were members of the new chapter's organizing committee—will serve on the chapter board.

“Our expansion with CAI Idaho is reflective of the state's growing population and the need for builders to create more housing options for Idaho residents," says Crystal Wallace, CAE, CAI's vice president of membership and chapter relations. “As the number of community associations increases in Idaho, the chapter will be a valuable and trusted resource for homeowners living in these planned communities and the professional community managers who help lead these neighborhoods by offering invaluable access to the latest industry resources, training, and networking."

Recent legislative activity in the Idaho State Legislature, which has passed three bills related to community associations in the last five years, was a motivating factor in petitioning CAI to establish the new chapter. Members of the CAI Idaho Chapter's board will serve as a Legislative Action Committee right away. “But the real objective we have in establishing a chapter in this market is to increase the standards and quality of service that not only the managers and management companies are providing to homeowners, but also to help educate the boards around their obligations," says Martin, CEO of Boardwalk Association Management in Meridian, Idaho.

CAI members in Idaho previously were served by already-established chapters in Utah and Washington state.

>>For more information, visit www.caionline.org/Chapters.

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upcoming webinar

06CAIAtHome_HitTheRoad.jpg What's in Those Monthly Assessments:
Creating a Sustainable Budge

Wed., Aug. 8​ • 2 ̶ 3pm​

How an association’s board creates the community’s annual budget determines whether an association will thrive. In this live, one-hour webinar, Robert Nordlund, PE, RS, CEO of Association Reserves, will share the appropriate process for establishing a viable association budget that can improve the financial course of any struggling community. Nordlund will demonstrate how a well-planned budget can help maintain home values, minimize deferred maintenance, and—most important—eliminate special assessments. This webinar also will explain how boards can help homeowners understand why reserve contributions are not “optional.”

>>This webinar offers one hour of continuing education credit. Member price: $69 for a 120-day subscription. Details and registration are available at www.caionline.org/webinars.​

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UPCOMING EVENTS

07CAIAtHome_CEOEvent.jpg CEO-MC Retreat  
Oct. 10
 ̶ 13 • Boca Raton Resort • Boca Raton, Florida​

CAI's CEO-MC Retreat is the premier executive education program for CEOs and senior executives in community association management companies. As a decision-maker, your influence guides community association management, development and policy, and has a significant impact on the more than 63 million Americans who reside in the estimated 320,000 association-governed communities.  ​

>>Details and registration information are available at www.caionline.org/CEO18.​​
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