Where Does it All Go?

The most common question we get this time of year is “Where does my assessment money go?” Like any other business, household, or organization that has overhead, Desert Ridge has a budget to operate and maintain the community. Two of the principle functions of the Desert Ridge Community Association Board of Directors are to make sure the community is being properly managed and that the governing documents (CC&R’s) are being enforced. Our goal is to ensure that property values remain as high as possible by properly maintaining the common components of the community. We do this with the aid of arborists, reserve analysts, AAA Landscaping and other professionals. Whereas the budget for the community association is found on the community website and printed in the magazine annually, most folks want a simpler overview than that. I’ve broken down some of the major expense categories to make it easy to see where our assessments go.

RESERVES 
The DRCA board oversees the finances of the community. Just as a household sets money aside each month (or at least should) for things that need to be repaired or replaced over time, the DRCA puts money aside for:
•  Replenishment of common area decomposed granite and wash erosion remediation
•  Maintenance and repair of irrigation controllers and related system aging components
•  Maintenance, repair and/or replacement of light bollards, mailboxes, pet stations, flagstone and concrete walkways
•  Painting the light poles, common area walls, railings, view fences, bridges, utility boxes, monuments and fire hydrants
•  Restore and/or replace historic trail plaques, trail and neighborhood block watch signs
We base the amounts of money reserved on a regularly scheduled analysis done by a professional firm selected by the board. Sometimes one or more components will last longer than previously predicted. Other times there are unforeseen circumstances, such as vandalism, which may cause repair or early replacement of a component.
Outside of the components we reserve for, we also have operating expenses such as landscaping and community management costs.

LANDSCAPING 
Landscaping costs of the common areas account for approximately half the expenses of the annual budget. Some of the costs associated with landscaping are:
•  Irrigating plants and trees and perform periodic storm damage clean-up
•  Remove and/or replace plants and trees and perform annual backflow meter inspections required by City of Phoenix
•  Weed control, raking, blowing debris and detailing the common areas
•  Maintenance and repair of the irrigation systems throughout the community
•  Trimming/Pruning of plants and trees in accordance with horticultural and arborists industry standards
•  Common area light maintenance, pest control (bees) and vandalism removal

COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT
From time to time, you may see a member of the management team driving through the community, making sure the homeowners and members of the association are maintaining their properties to the standards of the CC&R’s. We rely on the management team to:
•  Perform and provide all the administrative, financial, operations, member support services, etc. on behalf of the association.
•  Make sure streets aren’t cluttered with trailers, dumpsters, and work vehicles.
•  Make sure homeowners are keeping up their yards and not letting them get overgrown.
•  Make sure the houses are painted in a timely manner using colors that fall within a specific color palette and guidelines.
•  Assist the Design Review Committee with submissions and appeals from homeowners and builders
Besides helping with enforcement of the CC&R’s, the management team also helps to plan, organize and execute community events like the Easter Egg Scramble, Movies in the Park, Snow Blast, and the Holiday trolley tours just to name a few. Expenditures for some of these events come from the Lifestyles Committee budget. By bringing the community together we also help to make it more secure.

COMMUNITY PATROL
A staple to increasing and maintaining property values in any community is the reduction and prevention of crime. Our programs here in Desert Ridge are doing just that.
In 2019, we continued to support the Block Watches in Desert Ridge through the DRCA Block Watch Grant Program. We renewed our matching grant with Silent Witness, and continued to fund our off-duty Phoenix Police Patrol. As a result, the crime statistics for Desert Ridge are still below most areas of the valley. To compliment those patrols, our parking enforcement provider, Urban Tactical Security gives us even more sets of eyes patrolling the community.
The DRCA Board of Directors is a volunteer board whose members put in anywhere from 20 to 60 hours per month making sure that Desert Ridge remains not only one of the best places to live in the valley, but in the entire country. The DRCA board, management team, and the professionals we engage, will continue to be fiscally responsible with your assessments and strive to keep property values up in Desert Ridge.

YOU CAN PLAY A ROLE 
We have fantastic anti-crime programs in Desert Ridge with our off-duty City of Phoenix Police Patrols, our Silent Witness matching grant program, and even our Urban Tactical security patrols. But we need your help too. Communicate with your neighbors and keep looking for things that are out of place in your neighborhood. If you see something, say something. Report suspicious activity to Crime Stop at 602-262-6151.
If you’re interested in learning how to start a neighborhood block watch program, please contact the Desert Ridge Community Association Community Action Officer, Tim Mitten tim.mitten@phoenix.gov.