New School Bonds: Yes or No!
Speakers : Dr. Alex Torrez, PISD Superintendent
Date: Monday, April 14, 2014
7:00 - 8:30 PM,
Location: Pflugerville Justice Center
1611 Pfennig Lane (turn at Wal-Mart Light)
Why Should Voters Pass the New School Bonds?" Superintendent Torrez will present why PISD needs $287 million in new school bonds. PfCONA encourages full discussion of issues, but does not endorse pro or con speaker viewspoints. Come and ask your questions. Vote in May! To vote, you must be a registered voter by April 10. Early voting runs April 28 – May 6 and election day will occur on Saturday, May 10, 2014, For more on what the bonds will pay for, visit the PISD official site http://www.pfisdbond.net/quick-facts.html
Dr. Alex Torrez was named Pflugerville ISD’s Superintendent of Schools on Sept. 30, 2013. Dr. Torrez began his educational career as a junior high and high school history teacher in Lubbock ISD from 1987 through 1992. He then served as an English as a Second Language and Spanish teacher at Denver City High School until 1995. He returned to Lubbock ISD in 1995 where he served as Associate Principal at Lubbock High School from 1995 through 1999 before being named principal at Cavazos Jr. High School. He then served as a high school principal at Marble Falls ISD through 2005. Dr. Torrez and his wife, Wresha, have three children: Braden, Max and Klaire.
NEXT MEETING: May 12, 2014. CapMetro Transportation Plans Impacting Pflugerville. John-Michael Cortez will explain Project Connect, North Corridor plans for better commuter transportatIon to Austin that are on the drawing boards. Your feedback and ideas help CapMetro to shape transit solutions for the entire Central Texas region. You can also take the survey about IH35 mobility. Study the proposed changes to iH35 for Grand Avenue and Wells Branch Parkway..
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PfCONA 2014 Schedule
PfCONA traditionally meets the 2nd Mondays at 7 PM at the Pflugerville Justice Center, 1611 Pfennig Lane. If you would like to present a topic to our members or announce your neighborhood events at future meetings, email PFCONA [at] gmail.com. PfCONA invites resource experts, city staff, and HOA professionals so you can ask questions you care about!
May 12, 2014: Cap Metro Transportation Planning
You can ensure a strong PfCONA by paying your 2014 membership dues at any meeting or mailing dues to PfCONA, Box 679, Pflugerville, Texas 78691. General Member dues for HOA's, neighborhood resident groups, and individual Associate Members are $12 annually. Download an application on our Join Page.
Welcome New & Renewing 2013 - 2014 Members!
2014 Meeting Summaries
March 10, 2014: Block Watch 101. Our presenter was Mary Rudig, from Gracywoods Neighborhood Association, who has been a Watch volunteer since 1998 and doing Watch training since 2008. Watch 101 presentation is based on the combined best practices of the Gracywoods and Allandale Watches. You can also check out all their resources for Watch in a Box page at lovenorthaustin.com. Meeting pictures are on PfCONA's Facebook page.
February 10, 2014: Water on the Home Front: Landscaping for Water Efficiency and Beauty. David Foster from Clean Water Fund,, a nonprofit organization focused on water conservation, spoke about how HOAs across Texas can improve outdoor residential water conservation. Texas law S.198 went into effect September 1, 2013 specifying that HOAs can no longer ban drought tolerant landscapes, but they can still set guidelines for xeriscape landscaping and can require prior approval for all changes to a property owner's yard. Other speakers included City of Pflugerville Water Dept. Patricia Rinehart, Darrell Winslett, Eddie Garcia; Avery Ranch HOA Robert Beyer, and CAI board member & Landscaper Debby Cole. Meeting pictures are on PfCONA's Facebook page.
January 13, 2014: Vision Meeting. We called our January meeting the Vision Meeting because together we discussed goals and activities for 2014. Twelve attendees brainstormed possible meeting topics including: proposed City bond projects, what does PCDC do to attract businesses, how HOAs can use social media for resident communication, HOA property manager relations, delinquent fee collections policy, home protection from wildfires, and City Planning Department growth projections. Only topics for June, July, and August are needed. New 2014 officers elected were Chairman Clay Leben, Vice-Chairman Ed Limbaugh, and Treasurer/Secretary Anthony Nguyen.
2013 Meeting Summaries
November 11, 2013. State of Pflugerville Message Mayor Jeff Coleman, just re-elected without opposition for his second term, and City Manager Brandon Wade reported on Pflugerville's achievements and their hopes for 2014.
October 14, 2013. Candidate Forum for District 50 Candidates. There are three Democrat and one Republican candidates running to fill Texas Representative Mark Strama's vacant seat in the Texas Legislature. All candidates were invited. Celia Israel (D), Rico Reyes (D), and Jade Chang Sheppard (D) participated, but Mike VanDeWalle (R) had another engagement. PfCONA is a non-partisan, community group and does not endorse candidates for election.
WATCH THE CANDIDATE FORUM on PfCONA's video channel on Vimeo.com.
The results are in from Election Day November 5th. Because no candidate received more than 50% of the votes, there will be a run-off election between Celia Israel(D) (31.86%) and Mike VanDeWalle(R) (39.16%) sometime in January. For more information visit Travis County Clerk or http://www.votetexas.gov/.
September 9, 2013. Best Practices for NNO and Block Watch. Pflugerville's National Night Out isTuesday October 1st! We heard from an expert panel including Rod Reyna, Dwight Bertram, and Steve Gore from Prct. 2 Constable, Cpl. Dan Griffith from Pflugerville Police Community Services, Judy Key, Royal Point HOA, and Stan Smith and Perry Langham, Greenridge HOA. Both HOAs described in detail how they organize their successful NNO including agenda, budget, and publicity methods in printed handouts. The Prct. 2 Constable alsoprovided guides for starting a Block Watch program and protecting your home.
All of the 11 valuable resource handouts (Word, PDF, PPT) are combined in one ZIP file that you may download 2013_NNO_advice_dos.zip (4.7 MB)
August 12, 2013 - CPR Lesson and Fire Prevention Programs: Lt. Tim Wallace, Fire Investigator and Prevention Officer, led the group in a complete Take10 style compression-only CPR lesson. He also described the Fire Department's many fire prevention and safety training programs available to HOAs and neighborhood groups. In addition to Take10 CPR, programs cover smoke alarm checkups, fire extinguisher usage, Vial of Life kits, disaster readiness, and more. For more information, call 251-2801 or email twallace [at] pflugervillefire.com. Read more Safety Preparedness Resource articles here.
July 8, 2013. Finding & Hiring Quality Vendors: Best Bid and Contract Procedures. One of the biggest responsibilities of an HOA board is hiring vendors like landscapping, common area repairs, management services, or legal advice.To answer questions, we invited a panel of experts including property managers Rick Zilem from PS Property Management, Ashlynn Wells, Senior VP, FirstService Residential, and Gregory Cagle, attorney and author of Texas Homeowners Association Law.and a summary of 2013 Texas HOA legislation passed in June.
Help us make a directory of vendors commonly used by HOA boards. Click here to complete the survey. Your answers will be reported anonymously and we only want to know vendors you had a satisfactory experience with.
June 10, 2013. Best Practices for a Great Pool. Who could resist the lure of cool, sparking water on a hot Texas summer day? However, the life guarding, safety codes, water quality, and maintenance expenses to operate a resident pool is the source of major HOA board headaches. Our speakers Kerry Evans and Rick Hill of Lifeline Aquatics presented best practices in pool management and safety requirements. Pool Drownings: An average of 390 children per year drown in the USA. Texas was 2nd in the nation with 41 deaths in 2011. Find out what you can do to prevent this. The City of Pflugerville has home pool inspection requirements (read the PDF) and rules about properly draining pools so they don't pollute creeks or kill wildlife (read the PDF).
May 13, 2013: HOA Legislative Update. There were over 50 bills filed in the 2013 Texas Legislative session directly affecting HOAs and their rights and administration. Connie Heyer with Niemann & Heyer LLP, HOA law specialists, provided a bill summary (March PDF and May PDF and June PDF) and answered questions about the more important HOA bills and how they might affect HOAs and their members. For example, the Texas Legislature may pass restrictions on HOA's ability to control xeriscape landscaping.
April 22, 2013: PISD Board Candidates Forum. All five candidates running in the May 11, 2013 Pflugerville ISD Board of Trustees election participated in a public forum on April 22 sponsored by PfCONA. Candidates are Tony Hanson vs Mario Acosta (winner) in Place 3, Lance Sandlin vs Carol Fletcher (winner) in Place 5, and Vernagene Mott (unopposed) in Place 4. The complete forum included: 1)Opening candidate introductions, 2)Question and answers to 7 questions, several asked by the moderator and several by the audience. and 3)Closing statements. After the event, candidates wrote answers to 10 questions that can be read here (view PDF). Candidate statements were included in the event Program (pdf). Watch PISD Board Candidate Forum Video or Vimeo.com/channels/pfconatv.
Early voting runs April 29 thru May 7 and polling locations can be found on the PISD web site at http://cms.pflugervilleisd.net/Page/3377.
April 8, 2013: Save Water; Save Money! Public Works Department water experts Darrell Winslett, Patricia Rinehart and Eddie Garcia explained City programs like Drop-by-Drop and discounts on rain barrels to help us conserve and use water efficiently. The department also goes to schools and printed an award-winning childrens activity book about water conservation. According to NOAA computer projections we should expect a hotter and dryer than average summer.
March 11, 2013: Solving IH-35 Traffic Congestion. http://mobility35.org/ and TxDOT project engineer Steve Miller explained the IH-35 alternatives being considered to improve traffice flow like reconfigured entrance/exit lanes, car pool lanes, and new intersection designs for overpasses. Other transportation-related planning web sites include: project connect north corridor, movabilityaustin.org, imagine austin plan, and envision central texas.
February 11, 2013: Pflugerville Schools: Plans for the Future. Dr. Kenneth Adix, CFO of Pflugerville ISD, spoke to us about PISD's student enrollment growth(PDF), school construction, debt finance, uncertain state funding levels and PISD budget planning. With a total 2012-2013 budget of nearly $210 million and a monthly payroll cost over $11 million, the PISD financial facts make it clear that educating about 24,000 students is a BIG enterprise! With the 83rd Texas Legislature currently in session, school finance policy is a major debat topic.
January 14, 2013: New Year Vision Meeting: Members looked back at 2012 for what worked well. (read the agenda) We discussed poll results (read the PDF) from 35 persons, both infrequent and frequent attendees, showing that the topics with the stongest interest included the fire department tax overlay proposal, property tax rate setting, state of the city message, candidates forum, home crime prevention, Texas HOA legislative update, water conservation, HOA board effectiveness, city planning/zoning process, fire prevention, and selecting HOA vendors, The members present also elected new 2013 PfCONA officers as Chairman Clay Leben, Vice Chairman John Grasshoff, and Treasurer/Secretary Melody Ryan. Mr. J was appointed to the Safety Committee and Carl Wasmuth was reappointed to the Communications Committee. The group expressed its apprection to Randy Reese for being the 2012 Vice Chairman.
2012 Meeting Summaries!
November 12, 2012:State of the City Message for Pflugerville by Mr. Brandon Wade, City Manager who is the administrative executive hired by the City Council and Mayor Jeff Coleman, who serves as elected leader until 11/2013, spoke generally on How is our City progressing? What challenges lie ahead in 2013?
October 15, 2012: Candidate Forum: We heard from candidates running for Place 3, Place 5 Pflugerville City Council and Precinct 2 Constable. More Election Information: Candidate Q & A, Interactive Voting Map, Travis County Clerk Elections. Meet The Candidates: Place 3 Pflugerville City Council, Tom Anker (no web site), Omar Peña (website), David Prout (no website.) Place 5 Pflugerville City Council, Victor Gonzales (biography). Precinct 2 Constable: Adan Ballesteros (website), Raul 'Roy' Camacho (website), Toby J. Miller (website). View the Election Day ALL RACES BALLOT
Council Candidates: Anker, Peña, and Prout
Prct 2 Constable Candidates: Ballesteros, Camacho, and Miller
Congratulations! Peña & Ballesteros
View City Council Candidates
View Prct 2 Constable Candidates
Forum Questions: Candidate Written Answers
After the Forum, we gave all candidates the opportunity to submit written answers to the audience questions to allow them more time for reflection. Compare their answers below in a table format. Click on PDF to download the file or view in your browser..
Constable Candidate Answers (PDF)
Council Candidate Answers (PDF) (Peña & Prout)
September 10, 2012: Ready for National Night Out? We learned how to prevent crimes in our neighborhoods. Our speakers were Officer Dan Griffith of Pflugerville Police who explained NNO and Block Watch programs and Officer Rod Reyna Precinct 2 Constable who presented effective crime fighting tips (below see handouts he gave us plus view two more here.) Several HOA's described their plans for October 2nd National Night Out and what residents enjoyed most.
Neighborhood Crime Fighting Advice
August 13, 2012 - You're On the HOA Board: Now What? Jake Christenson,CMCA®, AMS®, Vice President at Alliance Association Management, gave an overview of Board best practices and member roles and responsibilities. Mr. Christenson has over 9 years experience in property management with responsibility for supervision, training, and continuing excellence of managers and board members.
July 9, 2012 - Successful Social Events 101 Panel. Falcon Pointe HOA Resident's Club hosted the July PfCONA meeting featuring a panel of social committee representatives from Royal Pointe, Greenridge and Falcon Pointe who shared their tips about successful social events in neighborhoods of various sizes. Nineteen attended representing 8 Pflugerville neighborhoods.
Publicity Is Key To Event Success
The most important element to a successful social event is resident communication and publicity in multiple sources – newsletters, websites, Facebook, e-mail invites, fliers, and outdoor “bandit” signs.
Evite and Facebook can be used to personalize invitations and encourage advance registration for the events to improve planning. Some neighborhoods require an email address on the pool key application to develop their neighborhood contact list. Information can also be sent to residents registered on the HOA website.
Newsletters - Examples were provided of weekly, monthly and bi-monthly newsletters. Including a picture of the author of articles as well as links to contact information can help to personalize the boards and committees. Newsletters can be sent electronically as well as printed format. Some neighborhoods will hand deliver newsletters or put newsletters in a realtor-type flier box near each mailbox.
Clubhouses - Larger neighborhoods with clubhouses can utilize them to host larger community events as well as smaller clubs that meet on a regular basis. Smaller neighborhoods can utilize their common areas, park, and neighbor’s homes or yards.
Event Themes Build Interest
Event ideas described by participants included Spring Fling, Daddy/Daughter Dance, BBQ Cook-off, Movie in the Park, Watermelons & Water balloons, Pool parties, Cheeseburgers in Paradise, Casino Night, National Night Out, Chili Cook Off, Fall Festival, Haunted House, Santa photos, and Winter Wonderland.
Examples of food or goodies served included smoothies, margaritas, hot dogs, hamburgers, popcorn, cotton candy, and hot cocoa.
Childrens games and small prizes included tossing quarters/toys in the pool, races, inflatable bounce house, gift cards, and small toys or candy from Dollar Tree.
Examples of resident groups included Poker, Coupon, Health/Fitness, Craft, Wine, and Bunco.
Committee Organization Makes the Work Easier
Face-to-face social committee meetings help but it depends on the number of events. Committees can meet monthly, quarterly or annually. It is best to keep meetings focused on tasks to be done and divvy up responsibilities so everyone helps. Its a good idea to communicate more as the event gets closer. Keep a 3-ring binder for forms that log information on activities, sponsors, donors, budget, actual expenditures, volunteers, supplies and ideas. This will help in planning future events and for future social committee members so that there is no need to “reinvent the wheel”. -- By Melody Ryan, Secretary/Treasurer
June 11, 2012: To learn about "Saving Money with Low Water Landscaping," we met at local plant nursery Green & Growing. Owner Tim Pfluger generously shared his knowledge of which plants do best in dry, hot weather and still look beautiful. We also had guests Eddie Garcia who told us about the City's Drop-by-Drop Landscaping Rebate Program and Richard Moline who volunteers at the Travis County Master Gardeners help desk (512-854-9600 M-F 8am-5pm except holidays). Sara from Project Connect North Corridor also explained the purpose of their June 19 public meeting. Twenty plus persons from 11 neighborhoods attended.
May 14, 2012: Chief Ron Moellenberg presented how demands for service and costs have continued to rise. To save property and human life, the Department's goal is for fire/EMT crews to arrive within six minutes. Current response time is about 8 minutes. He explained why new funding sources for Pflugerville's fire/emergency services are needed . Because Texas emergency services districts are limited by law to a 10-cent tax levy, the Department will ask Pflugerville citizens to vote on a new overlay ESD district to fund medical emergency services.
April 9, 2012: A planning disucssuon was held with 10 persons representing 7 neighborhoods. The following monthly meeting topics were decided upon: Xeriscape Landscaping (June), Board Orientation 101 (July), Super Social Events 101 (August), Safety/NNO Readiness (Sept), Candidates Forum (October), City Message (November), and Membership Meeting (January 2013). No meeting in December. We hope that summer meetings could be held at an HOA club house or City Park, so subscribe to our email list or Facebook page to be notified of updates. Nominations were made to elect Clay Leben for 2012 Chairman and Melody Ryan for 2012 Treasurer/Secretary. Members present passed the motion by acclamation. The Vice Chairman position remains open.
March 12, 2012: Lt. Tim Wallace, Fire Investigator and Prevention, discussed with us how HOAs and NAs can educate homeowners on preventing fires. The Fire Department has free community outreach programs on fire extinguishers, smoke/CO2 alarms, home and business code inspections, fire station tours, fire truck drive-by, Vial of Life medication kits, family and school safety programs, and much more. CPR classes will be starting again soon (4 hours) and cost only $30. Programs require at least two weeks lead time to come to your HOA. Contact Lt. Wallace for more information at 251-2801 or twallace [at] pflugervillefire.com. Read all the Safety Preparedness Resource articles here. One important tip was everyone in your family should know how to open the garage door if the electricity is off and the automatic opener doesn't work! (Pull the release cord and lift it.) Nominations for PfCONA Executive Committee may be made by contacting pfcona [at] gmail.com.
February 13, 2012: Water Conservation Saves Money. Our speaker David Foster reminded us that we are still experiencing bad drought conditions and LCRA could restrict Pflugerville's water supply 20% if it worsens this summer! David explained HOAs can conserve water and save money. Clean Water Fund experts will work with HOAs to adopt homeowner rules that encourage appropriate landscapping for drought. Download David Foster's slide presentation (PDF, 13.6MB) Download the free Clean Water Fund brochure. (PDF) Have question for Clean Water Fund? Please contact Alejandro Savransky, CWF Outreach Coordinator, at 512-474-2046 or email@example.com.) We also had an update from Discover Green Young Environmental Leaders, a nonprofit that trains youth for eco-inspiration projects. Darrell Winslett, Pflugerville's City Water Conservation Manager, (512-251-9935) also told us how residents can sign up for city programs that provide rebates on plants, yard signs, rain barrels, and choosing low-flow appliances. We appreciate that Darrell and Tracy Hibbs, who oversees water billing, both came tonight.
January 9, 2012: Some active members discussed PfCONA's strengths, weakness, opportunites, and threats (SWOT). We concluded that PfCONA can play a valuable role in Pflugerville's future, but that our members need to network more and build relationships to every Pflugerville HOA. Several people said they would help search for contact information. We also brainstormed speakers and topics for upcoming meetings that will attract HOA board members.