United SaddleBrooke

Not a Boring Meeting!

Andrea Molberg

No doubt you’ve been to many boring meetings, but United SaddleBrooke’s (US) June community information meeting certainly wasn’t one. Snowbirds may have flown, but a standing-room-only crowd (62 attendees!) and three US board members met to talk about United SaddleBrooke’s efforts to encourage cooperation between the two homeowners associations.

President Bill Bengen kicked things off by honoring the 18 volunteers who recently distributed a newsletter describing US’s mission. The hardworking residents put flyers in the mail tubes of 5,157 homes. The top “stuffers” each filled more than 400, 600, and 800 tubes, with Bengen stuffing close to 1,100 in 10 units.

That US informational flyer reminded residents of the April 2022 joint statement issued by the SaddleBrooke One and SaddleBrooke TWO boards: “Both boards are committed to meet periodically to continue to find ways in which to work together for the benefit of the whole.” Have they?

US reached out to the busy HOAs to check on collaborative efforts, but those attending this June US meeting learned that no progress was reported.

An open, respectful Q&A discussion followed. Comments centered on the need for the HOAs to work together to save money, maintain our home values, and ensure renewal of the Reciprocal Use Agreement, which provides everyone with access to SB’s amenities. The public versus private golf/cultural differences were mentioned, as were the opportunities to cooperate on patrol, marketing, F&B, and use of outside professional management. US believes we can take baby steps and be united in many ways.

The final meeting topic was the report from the United SaddleBrooke task force, which spent more than 60 hours studying the confusing differences between the rules and regulations of the two HOAs. They planned to request that the two HOAs post a combined list on their websites. Someone piped up, “Good. The disparity drives me crazy.”

Led by Bob Bulakowski, task force members Fran Berman (HOA1) and Eileen Depka (HOA2) identified 121 similar and 180 dissimilar rules/regulations, such as dogs walking/in carts on golf courses, fishing in ponds, and rules about flags. Differences between the HOAs in degree of rule detail or focus on punishment was also noted. For a comparison of the Rules & Regulations, visit unitedsaddlebrooke.org.

One of the final and surprising remarks came from an audience member, the head of the Rules and Regulations Committee for one of the HOAs. He spoke about meeting with his counterpart from the other HOA to compare and consolidate rules. That’s worth celebrating! But what an example of how time and effort could have been saved by more communication. Rather than working separately, if they’d known, US could have been at the table “co-laboring.” Throughout SaddleBrooke, let’s cooperate not duplicate.

During 60 lively minutes, attendees were heard and treated to useful information, Twinkies, and magnetic United SaddleBrooke buttons. We were asked to spread the word, volunteer, and vote for board members eager to work together.

See you at the next United SaddleBrooke meeting!

United SaddleBrooke is an organization devoted to good governance in SaddleBrooke, particularly through a closer working relationship between the two HOA boards. Visit our website www.saddlebrooke.org or email us at [email protected].