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xybrad commented on
Posted by
1 point · 5 hours ago

Construction contractors used the existing copper line as a pull string to pull the new fiber drop to my house. They asked me beforehand if it was OK as reusing the underground conduit made their job much easier. Nobody had used the copper in 20 years so I was fine with it being removed.

Rolling a truck is expensive so unlikely Ziply would pay someone to come out just to remove the old line. It's your house, if you want to remove the demarc box, just do it.

xybrad commented on
Posted by
1 point · 2 days ago

The cost is documented on the website so it's not like it's a hidden/surprise fee.

You're assuming there is no reason for a visit, but even if no equipment at your house needs upgrading, there may still be work that will occur on your line, like switching your port at the pedestal to one dedicated to multi-gig. A standardized install fee covers the cost of the truck roll, any changes needed, and most importantly, verification that you're receiving the services you signed up for.

xybrad commented on
Posted by
3 points · 4 days ago

How many adults are eating? Panera Bread does catering orders. You can do a bulk order (variety of sandwiches individually wrapped) or multiple box lunches (sandwich, chips & cookie).

xybrad commented on
Posted by
192 points · 4 days ago

a HOA will want to have some reserves on hand in case of emergency

they have such a large surplus

This misunderstanding of a HOA reserve fund is where your confusion originates. A HOA reserve account is not surplus, and it's not for emergencies. It doesn't just contain a random amount of money that's leftover after the monthly expenses are paid. A HOA reserve fund is for known, planned maintenance and replacements. A HOA must anticipate future expenses in perpetuity, and plan to pay for all those expenses over time. This means saving money from dues you pay now. The owners you bought from paid into that reserve fund as well, even though some of those funds weren't spent during their period of ownership. They did so not because they were foolish or enjoyed overpaying their dues, but because they recognized the importance of saving for known future expenses.

The right way to understand if $300K is the right amount of money is to ask for the most recent reserve study. This analysis is a customized report for your HOA that details all the property the HOA is responsible for, how much it costs to repair/replace, and how long it will be before each of those repair & replacement expenses arrive. Every single improvement, even the ones you don't know about and the ones you expect to last "forever", has a limited lifetime and will eventually need maintenance and/or replacement, often at great expense. The well, the retention pond, the drainage channels, the streets and sidewalks, the fencing, the signage, everything within your HOA's jurisdiction that's not just bare dirt must be considered.

Asking questions is a great way to get started. I wouldn't assume that $300K is too much without much more understanding of your HOA's maintenance responsibilities. Request a copy of the most recent reserve study (it's normal for a reserve study to be conducted or updated every 1-3 years) and read it carefully. You might be surprised how much future maintenance the HOA must plan for.

xybrad commented on
Posted by
1 point · 5 days ago

One thing that got me caught up on Mikrotik firewall rules is that when you change firewall rules, it doesn't affect connections that already exist. If you're testing, changing firewall rules and testing again right away, you're likely seeing existing connections being reused rather than the new firewall rules being evaluated. Think of the Mikrotik firewall like the door badge reader at work. It only has a chance to work when someone enters the building - it doesn't boot out someone who came in this morning, even if you fire them & block their card at noon.

You can see (and even remove) existing connections in IP -> Firewall -> Connections, but the easiest thing to do is to reboot the router after changing firewall rules. This assures that your new rules are all fully evaluated for testing just as they will function in the future, without being tainted by any existing connections.

xybrad commented on
Posted by
6 points · 5 days ago

The answer to this is delegation. The board can (and should) delegate certain discretionary authority to committees, individual board members, vendors, or even volunteer homeowners. Every operational decision is not a board decision.

The key to utilizing delegation is to recognize that the board already does this today - this is expanding an already utilized technique, not introducing a new concept. Does the board decide which lawn mower the landscapers should use, or what height to mow at? Of course not. The board delegates the task to the landscapers, and the landscapers determine how best to carry out their duties. Nearly every other board task should be handled like this. Announcement to the owners? Secretary, please draft the verbiage and add it to the next newsletter. Done. Welcome basket is budgeted at $25 each. Welcoming committee, select and purchase items at your discretion. Done.

A couple of other tips:

  • Board decisions can be made once with lasting authority. Board authorizes each monthly treasurer's report and minutes to be posted to the website. Vote occurs once and webmaster uses continuing authority to do this every month. No need for board to consider this issue again.

  • Board decisions should be focused on meaningful and substantive items - this usually means money being spent. Board should authorize an annual budget and let committees spend within budgets. Board shouldn't need to be involved further unless a decision impacts the annual budget.

  • Do not fall into the trap that board member volunteer time is free. A HOA's mission is to maintain the property with lowest possible resource consumption. Money is a resource to be conserved, but so is board member time. Wasting board member time is no less acceptable than wasting HOA funds.

xybrad commented on
Posted by
4 points · 7 days ago

Note, this is for an apartment-style condo unit in a VHCOLA that is densely urban:

  • No short-term rentals (e.g. AirBNB).

  • No storing property in common areas (e.g. walkways, parking garage, etc.).

  • Guest parking is exclusively for guests.

  • No signs or window displays; for-sale signs in a designated area only.

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0 points · 7 days ago

No short-term rentals (e.g. AirBNB).

Then everyone who wants to AirBnB their unit signs just makes their lease a "12-month lease" and every AirBnB'er just happens to terminate the lease after 1 weekend of occupancy. Or they argue about the definition of short-term. Instead, we just put in a registration fee for a new non-owner occupant. Owner pays a fee for every new tenant that moves in, regardless of duration. It's a reasonable amount for a yearly tenant, but infeasible to pay every weekend.

Guest parking is exclusively for guests.

Super difficult to enforce, there's never enough guest parking for all the 'guests'. "My brother-in-law who's been living here for 4 years isn't on the title so he's a guest." "My son's girlfriend only stays over 6 nights a week and doesn't pay rent so she's a guest." Blah blah blah. We issue parking permit hang tags to limit excessive use of visitor spaces. No tag = immediate tow. Tag showing up too often = we can identify the owner and have a discussion about usage or fine if necessary.

xybrad commented on
Posted by
2 points · 10 days ago

Vancouver Carpenter is a perfectionist carpenter that makes excellent tutorial videos for how to get things just right. His whole channel is great but this video will show you all need to know for closing up those miters:

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