Thursday, December 03, 2009


By Elaine Anghel

The holidays are quickly drawing near and it is a time when we spend joyous, spirited times with our loved ones. It is also a time when we appreciate being surrounded by the people who we care about, and realize that not everyone has that same ability.

The Tri-City team has partnered with two of the community association law firms who provide legal services to many of our clients, with a goal to help make a difference in providing to those in need.

Ekmark & Ekmark has partnered with a charity called “Project Christmas”. This charity will provide gifts to children and families who will be spending this holiday season at the Phoenix Children’s hospital. The vision of Project Christmas is to distribute gifts and toys to the families and children who will be spending this holiday season in the hospital. Their hope is that these children and families will know they are loved, thought of, and treasured during this difficult time.

If you would like to make a contribution, please provide your donation to Tri-City, who will be partnering with Ekmark & Ekmark in pursuit of the collection of toys and donations. Alternatively, you may drop your donation off directly to Ekmark’s offices. The deadline is December 11, 2009.

Gift ideas – gift cards, instrumental CD’s, light up/noisemaking toys, cars/trucks/ airplanes, baby dolls (hard dolls only), arts & crafts, Princess or Barbie toys, board games & card games, DVD movies (Disney releases, new releases, appropriate teen comedies), Legos, books, and playdough.

Please bring only new toys and gifts; no cloth items are accepted. Just remember, they are hoping most of this can be used in a hospital setting and they are for children of all ages.

Carpenter, Hazlewood, Delgado & Wood has organized a “Cancel out Hunger” Food Drive for St. Mary’s Food Bank.

Our management team has collected donations in excess of $1,600 from many of the vendors that service your communities. With those donations, hundreds of cans of food will be purchased and “can structures” will be built in a competitive team environment to display the efforts of all the collections that have been received. The law firm created a fun way to participate, encouraging donations, and all for an amazing cause! After the December 11, 2009 event, we will post photos of our team’s can structure to our website to display the results of their campaign to raise donations. If you would like to donate to this food drive, please talk to your association manager.


Vanessa Dwight – the epitome of a true Team Player…….
Vanessa began working at Tri-City in 1978, which makes her an authority in this industry and able to speak of the vast changes that have transpired in this industry. Throughout her career with Tri-City, Vanessa has worked in various positions, but may feel the most at home, in Accounting. Vanessa has an uncanny ability to remember specific details about owners, which is amazing considering the number of owners we have had in three and a half decades.  When she can remember that Mr. Wagner at Sands Scottsdale also owns a home in Villa San Marcos, and can properly apply his payments to his accounts, you just shake your head and wonder how she remembers that out of the 14,000+ payments she applies each month.
When we had to come to Vanessa a few years ago and ask her to help us again with the management of some communities, in addition to her accounting work, she said okay. Recently, when we were able to relieve her of that additional responsibility, she truly seemed to miss the extra contact with the board and community members. Vanessa always greets homeowners and her co-workers with a smile and her pleasant demeanor. Truly, her glass is always half “full”. We are happy to bestow this honor on Vanessa – a truly deserving member of our TEAM.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Tri-City Will Be Closed for the Thanksgiving Holiday Nov. 26th & 27th

Tri-City Property Management Services, Inc. will be closed Thursday & Friday, November 26th & 27th in observance of the Thanksgiving Holiday.

We would like to express our thanks and gratitude for our relationship with all our board members, homeowners, vendors and of course our hard working employees. We are truly blessed to have your business and friendship and we reflect on that during this Thanksgiving holiday. We would not be where we are without all of you.

We would like to wish you all many blessings on this Thanksgiving holiday.

God bless.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tri-City Will be Closed Wednesday, Nov 11, 2009 in Observance of Veterans Day

Tri-City Property Management Services, Inc. will be closed in observance of Veterans Day Wednesday, November 11, 2009.

Tri-City would like to thank those who have personally sacrificed to serve and defend the Constitution and people of these United States in both foreign and domestic service. A big salute to you!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Collection Seminar - Tri-City Property Management and Ekmark & Ekmark September 9th.

We had a nice turn out and actually had to turn reservations down for our first, in a series of seminars, on Collections. Penny Koepke, a partner with Ekmark & Ekmark met with various board members of our client communities to discuss the reality of collecting assessments in this down economy, the laws that we are governed by and the need to use good business judgment.

Our next seminar, with Carpenter, Hazlewood, Delgado & Wood is scheduled for Thursday, September 24th at 6:00 p.m. at their offices in Tempe. Please call Jean-Marie Bellington at (480) 844-2224, Ext. 131 or email at to reserve your seat.

On Wednesday, October 14th at 10:00 a.m. and again at 6:00 p.m., at our office in Mesa, we will have a third seminar on Collections. The focus of this seminar is on alternatives to traditional legal means, when to use a law firm, when and how to choose the account to work on next and help your board make a more informed decision on methods of collections to be more successful. Again, to reserve your seat, please call Jean-Marie.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Board Meetings – the “Hot Topic” in our office!

By Elaine Anghel

As we converse over our office lunches, and share our stories about our board meetings from the evening prior, we all learn from each other through our experiences and how we deal with them as your community managers…..

One common comment for sure is, that oftentimes board meetings can run entirely too long without getting any real business at hand accomplished!

How do we run effective board meetings? How do we keep them in order? How does one community get everything they need done and resolved within an hour when another takes three hours and gets almost nothing accomplished?

The answers to all of the above questions lie directly in the team efforts of the board and the manager, working together to run your community like a business. Your manager works hard to compile a thorough, detailed management report that gives you the status of all of your association issues. This report is then sent to each of you one week in advance of your board meeting, to fully prepare you for the meeting before you even arrive!

So, the key is preparation on both the part of the manager and the board, and also to maintaining order. This can be accomplished by adhering to the agenda items and limiting homeowner comments to a minimum!

This is a huge leap towards gaining control, maintaining respect, and achieving positive results – which relates to, in simple terms, getting things done and done quickly!

Here are some helpful hints in running effective board meetings:

Planning: as indicated above, planning is key! Being well prepared plays an important role in how your meeting is run.

Provide Notice of Meetings: pursuant to law, you must give at least 48 hours advance notice of a meeting. This pertains to not only notice of open meetings, but notice of executive meetings as well.

Establish a Homeowner Forum: set this time period at the beginning of a meeting and place time limits for the owners that wish to speak and adhere to those time limits. If you provide the owners with an agenda at the open forum and if the board follows the agenda items, you can close homeowner comments during the meeting, at the end of the open forum.

Utilize your Agenda: in doing so, you will train your homeowners in attendance that if their issues are not on the agenda, they will not be discussed. This will eventually accomplish one very key goal – the board will be aware of all issues in advance and will utilize the meeting time to discuss only those items on the agenda.

Open Meeting versus Executive Meeting Topics: hold your executive meeting just prior to the open meeting, so that those homeowners attending the executive meeting do not have to wait through the entire meeting to be heard. Below are the only items, pursuant to law, that can be discussed in an executive session. Do remember, that the board has the right, not the obligation, to go into executive session for the below items:
  1. legal advice from an attorney for the board or the association;

  2. pending or contemplated litigation;

  3. personal, health and financial information about an individual member of the association, an individual employee of the association or an individual employee of a contractor for the association; and/or matters relating to job performance of, compensation of, health records or specific complaints against an individual employee of the association or an individual employee of a contractor for the association who works under the direction of the association.

Proper Recording of Minutes: taking a proper set of minutes is very important! Oftentimes, there is too much information contained in minutes that is truly unnecessary. The minutes are the only official record of the actions or decisions of the board, committee or membership.

Tips on taking a proper set of minutes; they should reflect:

  1. Heading: note the type of meeting (regular, special, executive)

  2. Heading: association name

  3. Heading: date, time, and location

  4. Attendants Names (names of board members present, names of board members absent, the secretary or minute recorder, management representative, and any guest present).

  5. Call to Order

  6. Approval of prior Minutes (note whether they are approved as presented, or as amended, and note the date of the prior meeting minutes being approved).

  7. Officer and Committee Reports (reports made by management, committees, officers and board precede the regular business and are usually for informational purposes only – just stating the report was made is all that needs to be stated in the minutes, unless there are decisions being noted/ratified).

  8. Old/New Business (these items should follow the agenda).

  9. Adjournment

  10. Secretary’s Signature (recording secretary must sign the minutes, whether it is a board member or management representative).

Tips on Minutes:

  1. It is not necessary to list the names of homeowners present within the minutes.

  2. Minutes reflect board decisions, not what people say.

  3. Be brief and concise!

  4. Minutes are not official until they are approved at the subsequent meeting.

  5. Changes to the minutes are reflected in the actual minutes of the meeting, so that the final version reflects the correction (not simply noted in the subsequent meeting minutes where they were corrected and voted on).

  6. Executive session minutes are kept separately from open meeting minutes and are not made available to homeowners for review.

Monday, September 07, 2009


By Jean-Marie Bellington

We hope that you or a member of your Association Board will be able to attend one of the seminars we are offering in September. In October, we will also be holding an additional seminar at our office to discuss alternatives for Collections, aside from the use of attorneys, when it just doesn’t make sense to spend GOOD money after BAD.

It really wasn’t that long ago when we were shocked to have one or two delinquent members. We certainly miss those days and know that you too are struggling with the lack of response to collection efforts that are being made.

Arizona’s unemployment rate for July rose to 9.2%. Homes are worth less than their mortgage and the members can’t get their homes refinanced. Then you throw in the investors who wanted to capitalize on the housing boom that has now gone bust.

If you were faced with paying your mortgage, car payment, electricity or your assessments and you don’t have enough money to pay them all, what are your options? Typically, the mortgage, if you are trying to keep your home, has a high late payment and the impact on a late payment can be severe. You need your car to get to work or to look for employment and it too has a high late payment penalty. Of course, you don’t want to have your utilities shut off.

Your assessments have a relatively low late fee; the failure to pay the assessment on time won’t result in a negative report on your credit and won’t have as much impact. Now, add to that the owner who is being foreclosed upon and may not even live in the house.

Now, also consider the person who has been foreclosed upon and owes a personal debt to the Association. The Association should be content with getting a new member into the home that will make their assessment payments, write down the debt and park the debt with an attorney (personal judgment) or a collection agency and get the debt reported to the national credit bureaus and just wait.

In a year or two, or maybe even three, when the world settles back down and your prior owners want to try to get their lives back on track, that old debt will still be outstanding and the Association may find itself as the beneficiary of that old member wanting to clear up their credit rating.

Yes, it is an UGLY outlook, but it is reality and for those smaller debts, it may be the only way to go.


Wednesday, September 9th
Collections – Legal Options for Associations
6:00 p.m.
Ekmark & Ekmark
Penny Koepke
6720 N Scottsdale Rd.
Suite 261
Scottsdale, AZ

Thursday, September 24th
Collections – Legal Options for Associations
6:00 p.m.
Carpenter, Hazelwood, Delgado & Wood
Javier Delgado
1400 E Southern Ave
Suite 400
Tempe, AZ

Wednesday, October 14th
Alternatives to Help Save Legal Expenses
An Open Discussion
10:00 a.m.
6:00 p.m.
Tri-City Property Management Services
Tri-City Prop. Mgmt. Staff
760 S. Stapley Dr.
Mesa, AZ

Space is Limited
RSVP to Jean-Marie Bellington
(480) 844-2224, Ext. 131 or by email at

Saturday, September 05, 2009

New Legislation 2009

By Elaine Anghel

During this past legislative session, only one law passed affecting homeowner associations, which will become effective on September 30, 2009. This law is an extension of the already-existing law on “for sale” signs. It simply expands to properties with deed restrictions other than planned communities and condominiums.

You have already been provided the details and if you would like to have a copy of prior years’ laws for reference, please feel free to ask your manager. We have a library of reference materials that you may have access to!

Friday, September 04, 2009


By Jean-Marie Bellington

Recently your Community Manager provided you with information on changes in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac lending requirements. You may have thought, “What difference does this make to our Association”. The reality is that it can make a difference in the long term stability of your Association and the members it is able to attract and maintain. We all know that the mortgage companies messed up. They were greedy and so was the consumer. The banks didn’t actually qualify the buyer or the property, they disregarded their own lending requirements, and everyone thought the bubble was never going to burst in the housing market.

Every one of our client communities are plagued with owners that are upside down on their mortgages and are letting homes go back to the bank and/or filing bankruptcy. There is currently no end in sight and we need to focus on “letting go” of the things we cannot change. We need to focus on new members that can pay their mortgages and assessments.

A buyer is going to be attracted to a community where a lower interest rate loan can be obtained. If your community can meet the stringent Fannie Mae and/or Freddie Mac criteria, then the buyers won’t have to resort to a conventional mortgage with higher interest rates. Conventional mortgages require a higher FICO score from the borrower, but a better qualified buyer is likely to balk at those higher rates and turn to another community in the area to buy into.

These new requirements also affect your current owners, who want to refinance. They too will find it difficult to get the more favorable funding.
Many of the items listed in the prior handout are not difficult to obtain.
  • Items such as higher fidelity bond coverage to match your documents or if they are silent, the general rule of thumb is 3 months assessments and your reserve balance. Verify your building coverage, if your association carries the individual units/lots in the Association’s controlled policy. You can lower your premiums by raising the deductible and maintaining adequate building coverage for those really big catastrophes, like a fire.

  • Current Reserve Study AND funding your Reserves. This is actually a great recommendation and one that we include in our annual recommendations to all Associations.

  • Owner occupancy vs. rental occupancy rates. We just provided you with several options on how to determine your disclosed number of renters. Using a government website is certainly a safe way to provide the number of renters.

  • Writing down all personal debts of previous owners will help reduce the amount of reportable assessments due to the association. Technically those assessments have been written off to bad debts and are now a personal debt of a previous owner.
If you look at the requirements, it is obvious that the mortgage company is protecting the investment in the home, and wants to insure that the association is solvent and being run in a businesslike manner.
We hope that you had a chance to look at the handout and will take steps to meet these new requirements.


Each quarter, an employee is selected to be the recipient of this recognition.

Brenda Campbell, Administrative Assistant, has been chosen as “Employee of the Quarter”…..AGAIN!!!

Brenda was awarded the Employee of the Quarter recognition in June 2008 and continues to excel time and time again. There is no challenge too great, nor is one ever tackled without a bright, rewarding smile. Along with that comes her attitude of enthusiasm and confidence. She deserves a tremendous “thank you” for all of her efforts.

Congratulations, Brenda!!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009


We at Tri-City Property Management Services, Inc. would like to express our gratitude to all who helped to feed the hungry by donating items for the Feed the Multitudes Food Drive. Many of you contributed generously and it is with great joy I express my thanks. Even the smallest contributions make a big impact in the big picture. Feeding the hungry is a cause that is dear to my heart personally. Now more than ever with the jobless rates increasing, this type of generous effort is needed to keep Arizona resident who need assistance supplied with daily nutrition. Our combined effort yielded a grand total of 528 lbs. of food and $400 in check donations. This will provide 2091 meals for those Arizona residents who need assistance supplying food to their families!

I also would like to announce the winner of our MP3 player drawing. Kathy Dragan of Cimarron Towne Square was our winner. Congratulations Kathy!

Keep in mind you can always donate to the United Food Bank directly or through their Virtual Food Drive on their web site any time. There are also several other Food Banks in Arizona that can use your generous support. Again I would like to express my thanks on behalf of Tri-City Property Management Services. Inc. for your help to Feed the Multitudes!

Richard Saathoff
Executive Vice-President
Tri-City Property Management Services, Inc.

Monday, June 08, 2009


Each quarter, an employee is selected to be the recipient of this recognition.

Jenny Montoya, Accounting Dept. / Accounts Payable, has been chosen as our Summer 2009 “Employee of the Quarter”.

Jenny joined us in the Summer of 2008 as an assistant in the Accounting Dept. She consistently shows us her “can do” attitude each and every day. She has a passion for exploring new ways to complete tasks and improving on our operating procedures.

Her team effort is contagious and she has become an important spoke in the wheel that is our Accounting Dept.

In April, Jenny was promoted to take over the Accounts Payable position for Debbie Harper who had been with us for 19 years. Jenny has adapted beautifully and has been instrumental in automating much of the A/P processes for our firm.

Congrats, Jenny, you deserve this recognition.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

New drain-safety law may close some pools

Many say cost of repairs prohibitive

by Edythe Jensen - May. 4, 2009 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic

A new federal pool-safety law has cash-strapped Valley homeowners' associations and apartment managers scrambling to finish costly drain modifications so they won't have to close pools this summer.

Some have already locked gates and posted signs; a few are mulling permanent closure to avoid renovation costs or stiff penalties and legal liabilities if they fail to comply.

The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act went into effect in December and requires that all outlet fittings and drain systems in public and semi-public pools meet new safety standards that prevent drain suction from holding swimmers under water. Backyard pools at single-family residences are exempt.

The law was named after the 7-year-old granddaughter of former Secretary of State James A. Baker III who died in 2002 in a spa after the powerful suction of a drain held her underwater. Supporters of the act have said that in the past 20 years, at least 36 children have died and 147 others were injured after becoming trapped underwater by the suction of a pool or hot-tub drain.

The cost to retrofit older pools and spas can run into the thousands of dollars and requires a Maricopa County pool-remodeling permit that costs an additional $165 to $250, said Kevin Chadwick of the county's water and waste-management division. About 9,000 Valley pools are affected by the new law; most are semi-public facilities in neighborhoods, condominiums or apartments, he said. All that aren't already in compliance will have to be modified.

Scott Wolfson, spokesman for the Consumer Product Safety Commission in Bethesda, Md., said the agency is serious about enforcement and is talking to state attorneys general and health officials about inspections and complaint procedures. The federal agency is prepared to respond to Arizonans' tips about pools that may be violating the act but will give priority to spas, kiddie pools and wading areas frequented by children, he said.

Since the law took effect, the county has seen pool-remodeling permit applications skyrocket from an average 58 per month last year to 190 per month since December. Chadwick's small office has only two employees to review the permits.

Property managers and contractors say that even if associations have the money to modify their pools, parts are sometimes hard to find and permit delays could keep neighborhood pools closed for the summer.

"The act is a good idea but implementation of it has been horrible," said Gilbert property manager Dave Heywood. Two condominiums that he manages, Ville Monaco in Tempe and Marlborough Mesa Villas in Mesa, have closed pools that aren't in compliance with the federal law.

"We know people have been dealing with backlogs in parts, labor and permits," Wolfson said. "But our advice to owners of public and semi-public pools is clear: you should not be open unless you are in compliance with the law."

"One of our big concerns is cost," said Cynthia Dunham, executive director of the Chandler-based Leadership Centre, a non-profit neighborhood resource that works with homeowners' associations. "This comes at a time when HOAs are struggling financially," she said.

Jim Welch, director of the Mountain Park Ranch Homeowners' Association in Phoenix, said that because his community maintains several pools and spas, the retrofitting cost more than $10,000.

"I don't think anyone had it in their budgets, but we did what we had to do," he said.
Fred Wagner, president of Poolman, a pool-service company in Phoenix, said several of his clients including Vogel Place Condominiums in north Phoenix are closing their pool "because they don't have the money to bring them up to standards." Others are ignoring the law and taking serious liability risks, he said.

Barbara Dummitt, spokeswoman for City Property Management, said her firm has advised its more than 250 clients to get the work done or close pools. Most have already made the changes, which she said cost up to $3,000 per pool.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


With the state of the American economy, more than ever people are experiencing shortfalls of adequate nutrition. In the state of Arizona alone more than 857,300 live in poverty. That is roughly 14% of Arizona population. In addition to that 1,876,000 or 31% are “working poor” who do not receive assistance with food stamps. [1] In light of these statistics and an inflationary economy these statistics in the near future are expected to grow. This is the reason Tri-City has decided to do what it can to provide some assistance to relieve these statistics.

In May 2009 (May 1 – 31) Tri-City Property Management Services, Inc. will host its first “Feed the Multitudes” food drive to assist the United Food Bank in stamping out hunger. Tri-City will have food boxes in the lobby of our office for anyone who wishes to drop off any can goods to assist United Food Bank in stocking their food reserves to assist Arizona’s population who otherwise may go without. We would be most appreciative for anything you may be able to contribute.

To show our appreciation, anyone donating 5 items or more may enter a drawing for an MP3 player. The winner of the drawing will be announced when we get our results back from United Food Bank on the success of our food drive.

The United Food bank is in most need of the following:

Current Needs: Granola Bars, Nutrition Bars, Juice Boxes

Always in Need: Oatmeal, Enriched Pasta, Chicken, Tuna, Chili con Carne, Beef Stew, Apricots, Peaches, Peas, Asparagus, Kidney Beans, Blackeye Peas, Pinto Beans, Refried Beans, Peanut Butter, Tomatoes, Prunes, Nuts.

Some of the services that the United Food Bank offers to Arizona citizens are as follows:
If you, or anyone you know, needs assistance you can find further information regarding these services at the United Food Bank. You can call 480-926-4897 or visit their website at Thanks for your cooperation and help to stamp out hunger in Arizona.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Many of you have already taken advantage of our Board Orientation and Legislative Update seminars. Because of the popularity of these seminars, we felt it would be prudent to hold yet another educational seminar for our board clients.

This time, we are walking across the aisle and will discuss issues pertaining to; Financial Management & Budgeting, Capital Reserves & Long Range Forecasts, Financial Statements & Reports and Methods of Accounting and briefly about Audits, Reviews & Compilations and Income & Property Taxes. We will wrap up the evening with information on Collections and some exciting new ways we hope we can maximize your collection expense dollars.

Although our managers are continuously instructed on these topics, the benefit of talking with our Accounting Dept. first hand and the interaction with other Board Members, we believe this seminar would be of great interest and the chance to ask questions that you may or may not understand.

Of course those attending the meeting will have various levels of knowledge in financial affairs, so the course will be designed to cover information that may seem somewhat basic, to principles and methods that might be a little more advanced.

Over the past several years, I have instructed for the Arizona Association of Community Managers, both for the CAAM Certification Program and for CAAM Continuing Education Units primarily in areas of financial management.

I hope you will join me and Pat Morici, Accounting Manager, on Tuesday, April 14th at 7:00 p.m. at our office in Mesa. Please RSVP to Jean-Marie Bellington at (480) 844-2224, Ext. 131 or by email at:

This seminar is not just for the Treasurers on the Board, but open to all Board members.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Each quarter, an employee is selected to be the recipient of this recognition.

Rachel Kaplan, Community Manager, has been chosen as “Employee of the Quarter”!!!

Rachel joined our team a little over a year ago and has displayed an incredible level of enthusiasm. Rachel’s interest in learning is then transformed into her obvious drive to coach her board member clients in a professional and informative manner. Rachel has excelled in her communication skills and we’re very proud she has joined our team of professionals.

Congratulations, Rachel!!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Online HOA Dues Payment Email

Tri-City Property Management would like to address an email that was sent January 14, 2009 to all client residents from DuesPayments. Tri-City has contracted with DuesPayment and AtHomeNet, a community website solution service, for the processing of dues payment for residents who wish to do so.

DuesPayment issued a blanket email to residents using the payment data to all homeowners to remind them to make their dues payments via their system before the 15th of the month. The Executive staff at Tri-City was not aware that this email was being sent to all owners. Tri-City recieved the following statement from the DuePayment regarding this communiqué:

"We sincerely apologize for the miscommunication you received regarding
paying dues online through This email was unauthorized
and not in any way associated with Tri City Property Management."

Although Tri-City does use this company for credit card processing, we in now way authorized this email which led to such confusion. We have also asked that our company and client communities be opted out of this email type of notification in the future.

Tri-City Property Management wants to apologize for any inconvenience this has caused. We appreciate your business and we want to assure you that your personal information has not been compromised. We understand your concern regarding this information and want to let you know this information has not fallen into unauthorized hands.


Richard K Saathoff
Executive Vice President