Message From Corporal Sunny Allen of New Castle County Police Dept:
There is a rising crime trend in Delaware and across the country involving residential burglaries of Asian business owners. Suspects working in groups are conducting surveillance on Asian-owned businesses to pick up on patterns and schedules.
It is common for the suspects to enter the business or watch the outside from the parking lot to determine when the victim(s) is not home. Suspects will also follow victims from their businesses to identify their homes and vehicles. In most cases, the suspects may be from out of state or from a different country.
Suspects will also move from state to state conducting burglaries. Unfortunately, victims are sometimes selected, in part, due to stereotypes that business owners have items of high value in their homes.
The New Castle County Division of Police is sharing several tips to prevent these incidents from occurring: Some of them may not apply to the current trend but are still good habits for people to follow.
Be mindful of your surroundings when coming or going from your residence or place of work.
Look for anyone that may be sitting in a vehicle when leaving places and watch to see if they leave when you leave.
Make a note of the color, make, model of the vehicle. Write down the tag number or take a picture of the vehicle if possible and safe to do so.
Do not drive the same route home every day. Change the routes often.
Establish a friendly relationship with your neighbors. Good communication between neighbors can keep everyone vigilant for suspicious activity.
Make sure all of your doors and windows are locked.
Get an Alarm system that is monitored. Do not disregard the alarm when you get the notification unless you're certain it was an accidental activation. The faster the police can be notified and can get there, the better.
Get a quality video surveillance system with good night vision. Video coverage around the entire exterior of the residence and hidden (or not as noticeable) interior cameras are preferable.
If the cameras are motion activated, do not set the sensitivity so low that it does not pick anything up. While it is sometimes a pain to get alerted to every car that drives down the street, these videos can be extremely useful in identifying suspect vehicles and/or suspects walking down the street. A lot of systems have an option to silence the notifications without changing the sensitivity.
Do not keep large amounts of cash or jewelry in the residence. If either one of these is necessary, invest in an extremely durable and heavy safe that is bolted or affixed to the structure of the house somehow. Also, hide the safe in a place in the house that would not be easily found. In most cases, the suspects are going directly to the bedrooms. These locations are too common so keep the safe in a place that would not be a normal place.
Shatterproof film coverings on glass doors and windows can prevent easy access into a home. Suspects can eventually still get through however it takes a lot more effort and suspects have to make a lot more noise in order to do it thus drawing more attention from surrounding neighbors.
Get a big dog. A little dog is not going to be a good deterrent but we have not currently handled any burglaries during this type of crime trend where a big dog was present.
Never hesitate to call 911 to report any suspicious subjects or vehicles. Trust your gut. If something seems out of place or not right, it usually is not. Write it down if you have to but try to get a good description of the person (gender, race, clothing, direction of travel, unusual characteristics, actions) or vehicle (color, make, model, anything specific to that vehicle like tint, rims, bumper stickers, damage). Remember to get the date and time you saw the person/vehicle and the last location they were seen.
CEO-2022-11-15: Annual Report
Dear Greenville Overlook Neighbors,
As the current HOA Board completes its year of service and prepares to pass the baton to the newly-elected HOA Board, we present this Annual Report outlining key accomplishments over the past year. This serves as the final communication of the current HOA Board.
Vice President Chuck Xu, Treasurer Bing Zhang, Karin Thomas, Chairperson of the ARC Committee, and I, as President, are all retiring from the HOA Board. As many of you may know, these members established the HOA in 2018 and returned this past year to help get the HOA back on track after the previous Board resigned. The community came together on October 26, 2022, and elected a new HOA Board: Alvenia Scarborough, Danielle Quercetti, Hugh Wang, Jodie Pezzner, Harish Mital Anne North, and Marco Strukelj. Alvenia Scarborough, Danielle Quercetti, and Hugh Wang served on the previous Board. Jodie Pezzner, Harish Mital Anne North, and Marco Strukelj participated in and supported previous Board activities. This new Board will serve the community well and continue the transparency and harmony that has been established.
During the past twelve months, the past HOA Board spent significant time rebuilding the HOA. One of the priorities of the HOA Board was to re-establish a strong roster of vendors needed to perform the five critical services the community requires. And frankly, our vendor list was in chaos as two Greenville Overlook HOA vendors resigned last year due to resident interference. We also chose not to renew two other vendor contracts due to poor performance. In addition, the HOA assumed the maintenance of roads when Toll Brothers transferred them to the HOA this past summer, requiring us to hire a vendor for snow removal for the first time.
The Board dedicated significant time to soliciting, interviewing, and vetting vendors and negotiating service contracts and reasonable costs. We considered 45 vendors for management services, snow removal, lawn and landscaping, SWMS maintenance, auditing service contracts, and tree removal. The HOA Board's primary responsibility is to provide these critical services for the community. To ensure diligence in selecting new vendors, the Board established a policy to receive at least three vendor proposals for each service contract. Here below are specific details of some of the major contracts awarded:
New HOA Management Company. As previously communicated, we ended our contract with Aspen Property Management and have since secured managing services from Brandywine Valley Properties. We sent out nine RFPs for management services, and six companies responded with proposals. The Board created a comprehensive requirements checklist to help evaluate the bids. We conducted interviews and afterward awarded Brandywine Valley Properties a contract for $14,400.
Lawn Service & Landscaping. A contract for $20,520 was awarded to Mike Mitsdarfer Lawn Service.
Snow Removal. A contract for $15,500 was awarded to Mike Mitsdarfer Lawn Service.
Storm Water Maintenance. $11,500 was awarded to McDonald Lawn & Landscape as a special project contract.
Storm Water Management System Clean Up. A contract was awarded to McDonald Lawn & Landscape Contractors for $5,600 + Dump Fees ($360 estimated). New Castle County Government cited violations of our SWMS. This contract was for the services required to remedy the infractions.
Storm Water Management System Clean Up - Part II. Awarded to McDonald Lawn & Landscape for $4800, this contract covers the significant cleanup required in the SWMS area that New Castle County does not control.
Dangerous Tree Removal. A contract for $1890 was awarded to Rickerman Tree Service to cut one potentially hazardous tree and one dead tree in the GVOL common area.
Budget Audit. A contract for $2000 was awarded to Robert C. Bezgin to audit our 2021 finances.
Tree Installation. The previous HOA Board entered a contract with Ace Property Solutions to install 125 trees in Fall of 2020. Forty-four (44) trees did not survive the winter, and the vendor had agreed to replace them per the guarantees of the agreement. In addition, at the request of several residents to remove additional trees along the North Athena treeline, we signed an addendum contract of $2,844. The vendor moved the trees to another location in our Common Area but eventually reneged on most of their guarantees. After more significant vendor delays, the Board terminated the agreement in the summer of 2022. The Board prepared comprehensive documentation of the incident and decided not to pursue the matter and additional expenses any further.
A complete list of all contracts is available on the community website GVOL.net.
Financial Report and Budget
Over the past five years, the HOA Board has accumulated an Operating Budget surplus of $90,000 plus a Reserve Fund surplus of over $100,000. We project that the current 2022 Operating Budget will also have a surplus due to continued prudent fiscal management over the past year. The Board voted to retain the excess funds to offset any future resident fee increases that may be needed to cover unexpected expenses. The Board also voted to move $75,000 from the operating surplus to the Reserve Fund. The bottom line is this: the community funds are in great shape. We are proud that the HOA Board has not needed to raise any homeowner fees over the past five years, thanks to the substantial surplus and the reserve funds we have in place. If you wish to review all the financial reports, please visit GVOL.net.
Law Enforcement and Community Safety
The HOA continues to work with the New Castle County Police to keep our community safe. We are happy to share that no additional criminal incidents have been reported since the Fall. As you know, the community suffered four burglaries this past year. But with the incredible help and attention of our police, our community has been safe for over nine months. Please remain diligent by locking your doors, arming your security systems when away, keeping your garage doors closed, and keeping adequate lighting. These steps all help to deter bad actors from targeting your home.
Community Bylaws Review Committee
The committee met this year to begin our review of the community Bylaws. A diverse group of several previous and current HOA Board Members, ARC Committees members, and residents led this work (including Ann North, who graciously volunteered her time). I am sure the new Board will continue to review our bylaws to keep them updated and relevant.
Resident Complaints and Violations
The Board has received numerous complaints from neighbors ranging from poor property conditions to owners keeping wild animals as pets, unapproved fixtures in front yards to residents running commercial businesses out of their homes. Our community documents specifically state that these complaints (and others we have not included here) represent violations of our Bylaws. We sent certified letters to homeowners violating Bylaws directing violators to correct the situation. It is our, and the newly elected Board's position, that all residents must maintain their property according to our Bylaws and Architectural Regulations. Work to strengthen compliance and enforcement of our Bylaws is ongoing by the Community Bylaws Review Committee.
The HOA Activities Committee hosted several community events in our common area field at Odyssey Drive and Athena Court. A big thank you to Danielle Quercetti and the many volunteers who worked tirelessly to make these events a success. And a big shout out to the many residents throughout the community who attended. We welcome events in our community, and please remember all events and costs must be pre-approved by the HOA Board. After the event, a Reimbursement Form must be submitted to the President and reviewed by the Board for reimbursement of all approved expenses. The form is available on GVOL.net
We launched a new Greenville Overlook HOA website to provide easy access to materials such as bylaws, meeting minutes, ARC Request forms, events calendar, financial reports, contracts, newsletters, and other important information. Our vision is to make this website the most reliable destination for community information, online dialogue, and service requests. The website is a critical tool we will invest in to improve access to information, transparency, and responsiveness. I want to thank Lon Chen for all his work on the new website. Over 75 residents have already accessed the website and I encourage anyone who has not to visit and become familiar with this community resource.
Robert C. Bezgin, CPA, conducted an audit of our finances. The Financial Audit Report is available on our website at GVOL.net. The report concluded that the finances are in compliance with accepted accounting procedures, and there are no discrepancies or problems.
The ARC Committee reviewed numerous requests from residents who planned to change, add, or modify their structures or land. I want to thank Karin Thomas, Jodie Pezzner, and Harish Mital for their quick response to resident requests. The regulations governing the ARC Committee and the forms are on the website.
Board Management Structure and Policies and Procedures
The Board's mission is to provide quality services, transparency, fiscal accountability, enhanced communication, code enforcement, community harmony, and an effective HOA Management Structure. Our goal is to carry out this mission efficiently and effectively without raising HOA unnecessary fees. The HOA Board implemented several enhancements to the management structure that governed the Board, including new policies and procedures to improve financial accountability and enhanced operations.
Board Code of Conduct
We established an HOA Board Code of Conduct as part of our management reorganization. The code captures the spirit of a united team committed to working decisively and respectfully for the good of the community. At its core, the code of conduct encourages productive dialogue. We want every Board member to bring their best thinking and differing perspectives to our discussions to ensure we reach the best decisions possible and always put community interests first.
The purpose of this annual report is to document key accomplishments from the past year and to give the newly-elected Board a foundation for future work and a smooth transition. I am proud of our progress this past year. I thank the HOA Board members, Vice President Chuck Xu, Treasurer Bing Zhang, Karin Thomas Alvenia Scarborough, Danielle Quercetti, and Hugh Wang, for help in getting things done. I also recognize the hard work of David Sibert and his staff, who are our assigned Management Company representatives. On a personal note, I cannot say enough great things about all of them, and I appreciate their help and professionalism.
In closing, I wish the new Board continued success. I am sure they will continue building upon our many improvements. Please congratulate them on being Greenville Overlook HOA's new Board.
With gratitude and best wishes to our community,
HOA Board President