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Is it time to find a new HOA for Mueller?
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tinochrista
Mueller Community

Posts: 51
Joined on January 30th, 2009
Is it time to find a new HOA for Mueller?
by tinochrista on April 28th, 2012

1. Our TWC bills will inflate at least 50%, and possibly up to 100% if not more.

2. The majority of Mueller residents were put through this ordeal.

3. How inept or dysfunctional does the HOA look now in that they could not work out a deal or protect Mueller residents from going through this debacle with TWC (obviously we don't know all the behind-closed-doors details between the HOA and TWC, but I'm certain neither party wishes that be made public either)?

4. This isn't the only complaints incurred by the HOA over the past few years. Is it time to find a new HOA for Mueller?

5. If so, how and what do we do now?
 
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Brandon Kraft
Mueller Community

Posts: 126
Joined on May 9th, 2010
Is it time to find a new HOA for Mueller?
by Brandon Kraft on April 29th, 2012

Overall, I have no opinion on a new management company. Working with three companies, they all seem to have pros/cons.

I will say though that I think there is plenty of blame for TWC to take. My home was one that got screwed up by TWC through this deal. We moved to Mueller via resell. The previous owner had the deal. He canceled when he left—all parties agree on this. TWC claimed I (rather my "tenet") called to add their service back. They started billing the HOA for my address, so the HOA billed us.

When I protested, the HOA responded quickly to determined what happened. The HOA contacted TWC, who insisted we were currently a customer, even though the cable was dead (tried it to be sure). TWC wouldn't talk to me, telling me that it wasn't their fault that "someone must have called to start your service".

The HOA ended up, on my end, removing the ever-growing TWC charges and was going to fight TWC on their own (taking me out of the loop). I don't know if the HOA ever got their money credited back to them (thus us all).

I know a number of residents had similar billing problems.

I heard a long time ago that the deal was ending, but it has taken, apparently a long time, for TWC to prepare a transition. Even then, we were told a special number was setup for Mueller residents, which has been reported on here to be staffed by people unaware of our situation. I have no idea how many people were impacted, but this could possibly be in, the long-term, a good thing for the HOA (depending on how much labor has been expended and how much the HOA wrote off due to TWC's improper billing

The HOA may need to be replaced for other issues, but my experience with TWC being impossible leads me to not hold this one against the HOA overall.
 
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Q Public
Mueller Community

Posts: 13
Joined on April 26th, 2012
Is it time to find a new HOA for Mueller?
by Q Public on April 29th, 2012

Mueller does not have an HOA. We have a POA, property owners association. The POA is composed of representatives of the the current property owners. Since Catellus still owns the lion's share of Mueller property, they have the controlling majority vote on POA matters. Alliance is the property manager. They don't make policy decisions as to whether or not there will be community landscaping, telecommunications service, pool service, security patrols, or any other contracted service. The POA (Catellus) pulls those strings. Alliance takes care of the accounting and oversight.

It is the POA (Catellus) that originally made a deal with TWC that worked as a marketing tool for those parties. More affordable telecommunications service was a nice incentive for home buyers, and TWC got first dibs on those customers with a ready made list for increased charges once the contract expired, as is happening now. The only incentive for the POA to look for a new contract would be if there was a demand. The homes sell well without the additional TWC gimmick, so Catellus doesn't need TWC any more. TWC already has profited greatly and can more than make back any losses from cut services by sticking it to those who continue using them as a provider. Just having a slate of customers ready to gouge without doing any marketing or sales effort saves them a huge sum.

Now, we do have a small voice on the POA, the homeowner representative(s), but I'm not sure if that is even a voting position yet. We can also attend meetings on a limited basis. Evidently, our minority homeowner representative(s) on the POA don't have much interest in this issue, or they would be speaking out here on the forum and would have contacted us all well ahead of time to push for a stronger community plea. Of course, you can't force the telecommunications companies into a contract,so it probably would have done much good. However, at the very least, it might be nice for the POA to have written an explanatory letter such as this one. Even if it were only done in hindsight. Perhaps we need better representation.

With respect to the property manager, Alliance, they seem to do their job well enough. Part of that job in this case, the part that is unspoken, is to serve as a punching bag for community outrage that would be better directed at the POA (Catellus) for not being more involved and vocal on this issue and ourselves for not being more engaged and educated.
 
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Brandon Kraft
Mueller Community

Posts: 126
Joined on May 9th, 2010
Is it time to find a new HOA for Mueller?
by Brandon Kraft on April 29th, 2012

Good point - bigger picture than us with Alliance and TWC.

It's called a POA vs a HOA moreso because businesses are also part of the organizations--not just homes. Catellus doesn't have control because of ownership, but because of the covenants themselves. The City retains ownership of all land until Catellus is ready to develop it, e.g. the new Section VI tract should have been the city's until just recently.

There are three governing bodies for Mueller. The Master Association (over everyone), the EC/TC Association (roughly covering all of the retail, the apartment, etc area near Dell Children's, including where Austin Children's Museum, the playhouse, etc will be and the Market District) and the Mixed-Use Association (roughly everything else, including all free-standing homes, it appears all row houses, the Tower District, the senior community, etc).

The Board of the Master Association is made up of members elected by the boards of the other two (half and half with one odd position elected in alternating years by each sub-association board).

Of the Mixed-Use board, which represents everyone living in Mueller currently (except Mosaic and the condos by Seton & the NW Greenway), the make-up is determined by the covenants until the development is fully complete. I've attached the chart from the covenants. Until 25% of all planned units for the entire Mixed-Use area have been issued occupancy certificates, we have no representation with Catellus naming two positions outright and a third by Catellus with city approval.

At 25%, the owner's get one vote, with Catellus getting 4 (1 needing City's approval). At 50%, we get two, Catellus gets 3 (no city approval). At 75%, Catellus gets 4 (no city), we get 3. At 90%, we get 6, Catellus gets 1. End of development, we get all 7.

I honestly don't know where we stand on occupancy. Seeing the area that the mixed-use is to cover, I could see us not being at 25% yet.
 
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Q Public
Mueller Community

Posts: 13
Joined on April 26th, 2012
Is it time to find a new HOA for Mueller?
by Q Public on April 29th, 2012

Thank you for the further clarification, Brandon.

I'm thinking now that the only angle to get a cable package deal for the larger community would have been to hold that as a requirement for access to Mosaic and the other condo/apartment complexes, but I know that things aren't that simple.
 
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