Thursday, February 17, 2011

Community Manager Project: We sent our plan to Startup America

Community Manager Project: We sent our plan to Startup America: "So Friday Feb 11th we where able to pitch our idea to several officials while attending a Tech@State event at the State Departme..."

Thursday, February 10, 2011

DC Electric: District Public Service Commission Pepco hearing T...

DC Electric: District Public Service Commission Pepco hearing T...: "We have to start with the fact that Pepco doesn’t recognize homeowner & townhouse associations as a Party of Rights*. This is evident by loo..."

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Storm Water Ponds are back! Everyone run it's an unfunded mandate.

This caught our eye and we know what has to be done and why is it won't be solved in Maryland or any other State anytime soon.   In the 1999 Clean Water Act there was a provision for Storm Water Management Pond testing and standard levels that must be maintained.    The only problem is that no one ask or even thought for one minute about who owns the majority of them.

Did you guess?  If your read our blog you sure would know the answer.   Common Interest Communities are the owners of these in most cases.  The Congress that decided to establish the testing and maintaining of these ponds~ don't have to pay the bills in these communities.  We're pretty sure that most CIC have no idea about this, most Counties are scrambling to comply with the State's demand, and the FEDs are fining everyone.

Here is the major issue. Almost no one has put all the pieces to the problem together into workable solution.  If the Associations don't have the funds and most will not even have a clue about this issue how are they going to fix them. Another Special Assessment because the Congress stuck them with an UNFUNDED MANDATE

BTW all to often these ponds where already environmental hazards created by the developers. Which once they reach the magic number of units sold leave they get to turnover the community, aka they bugged out. Leaving a new group of homeowners with a lot responsibility including these ponds. The cycle just gones on because of the nature of board turn over,  new local officials and a lack of any communication plan.

BTW the Gov response is to fine them except in the case of Montgomery County and we believe a possible solution.

Way back in 2001 then Montgomery County Chairman Ike Leggett had the vision to put together legislation that allowed the County to fund a program in which the County could enter into an agreements with these communities to take over roles mandated by the Clean Water Act. We recommend that anyone that is serious about cleaning these ponds take a look at it. BTW all new CICs in Montgomery County are required to have this agreement in place.

We think the hallmark of this was a parthership with Community Paperworks and the Department of Environmental Resources. It was established to help with the assembling of the land records, communication to the associations, running meetings to approve the agreements. In some cases extra work is required because the developer many not have deeded the land over to the community or the records where never filed in the first place.

This is something that clearly is still vexing Maryland and every other state and it is time to look into this solution that what  established in Montgomery County and both the International Community Association and Community Paperworks look forward to working with all officials and CICs;  So that Clean Water is not an unfunded mandate and a working solution is co-created.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Maryland’s Montgomery Council hearing on Pepco 2/7/2077

Considering 3 out of 4 homes in Maryland fall within a Common Interest Communities “CIC” (aka Condominium, Cooperative Single Family Homeowner & Townhouse Associations.)  and utilities specifically electricity is one of the largest budget item all CIC’s face. This is a huge issues to these communities and considering the cost bore by them as rate payers and the treatment they presently receive, or lack of it, from Pepco we need to get them some help.

Our partner, Community PaperWorks, Inc. “CPWI” has been working with Montgomery’s CICs  since CPWI opened it’s doors in 1989. Through this long history we have seen whether this is by design or neglect that Pepco doesn’t recognize CIC’s as a Party of Rights.  Where are the representatives to speak on behalf of these Communities?

We at the ICA are specifically interested in plans by Maryland’s public officials with regards to Pepco’s restitution of funds to be paid back to customers and how it will be administered.  In-light of the fact that Pepco treats most of the CIC’s as a hodgepodge of different baskets:
  1. Consumer accounts for the owners units,
  2. Business accounts for common electrical utilities
  3. Street lights are in yet another account  

We worry that Pepco and public officials will by this confusion be prevented for analysing the true cost to the CIC. ERGO, the CIC’s will not get the correct restitution of funds.   

An ongoing tangential issues is that this present system prevents these CIC’s from gaining discounts that energy users of similar aggregation profiles have been getting for years like AOBA, local & federal governments, and of course big business which we believe would improve if Pepco faced a real Distribution competitor in this marketplace while not being discussed today it is an issue and need to be addressed sooner then later.

Until these issues are resolved the Condominium, Cooperative, Single Family & Townhouse Associations will continue to receive a very bad deal. For the amount of money these owners & their CIC’s pay in Pepco bills it would behove both business and community leaders to start working with CICs.  If left in the dark owners will be compelled to vote politicians out for not being “Community Candidates.” As we already saw in Maryland’s last election this is on the ballots even if Pepco is not the politician.

We know that the issues of the day and tomorrow will not resolved until the inequities are identified and made to reflect the highest Marginal Utility of Public Good.   The International Community Association and our partners like CPWI stand ready to work with CIC Boards, Community Leaders, Pepco and Maryland’s Public Service Commission.