Town Hall meeting Aug. 28
Published September 20, 2013
BALFOUR BEATTY TOWN HALL MEETING ON AUGUST 28, 2013
Question: In the 42 month Initial Development Phase, how are we prioritizing the work?
Question: My wife and I have been looking for a house to buy and waiting for the 12 month period on our current lease to end. Now our 12 month ends in September and we have to sign a new lease right off the bat which is going to lock us in for another year. But they say if I don't sign the lease I have to vacate by Sept. 30.
- I can only give you a basic idea, because everything is subject to whether we finish all these agreements on time. The 5000 sq. ft. community center will start in January, expected to be completed by May of 2015. In the meantime, we will start the neighborhood center in January of 2014 and it will be completed on July of 2016. So they're spread out. Enhancements will be done to a great majority of the 501 units. They are scheduled to start in December of this year, and all units won't be completed until roughly November of 2016.
- So that's how it will be done, because you just can't walk into folks homes. It's one of those situations where what you want to do is develop a relationship with your folks, and get it set up to meet everybody's schedules in order to make whatever the improvements are. Again the project is based on dollars so if there's more money, then of course more can be done. So that's why it's important. What we're shooting at is 95%. That's what we need in order to make this project effective for all of us, so that's what we're interested in. In regards to walkway lighting, we're going to put in approximately a mile of low-level lighting on some of the walkways. That is scheduled to begin July of 2014 and be completed by November.
- We're looking at roughly 90 days to do those types of things. So basically, it will be started in January and it will go for 42 months. Although the project itself is 48 months, that is what we call the initial development period. Hopefully that gives you an idea at least what we're looking at. We are working with a contractor right now. We sent off our request for proposals and they're due in tomorrow. So we don't have that specific number yet, because it's a percentage of what the contractor charges us. It's not the full rate. We don't charge the full rate of what the contractor charges us. We don't have that number because those bids have not been received by our office yet, but we will definitely let you know and put that information out. It's a great way of doing business.
Question: One of the issues we've had at another installation with on base housing was when our Airmen would vacate the home; they would be charged crazy amounts of money. So the price to vacate the home varied from $200 to $1000, and first sergeants would have to engage with not your company but set company to see how to defray those costs. Will we know, an itemized sheet, like if you stain your carpet this is how much we're going to charge you? Will we know that up front?
- Response: When is your home going to be done?
- Audience member's response: It is going to be done by Feb. 30.
- Response: I'm going to defer you to our policy. You know what I'm going to say right?
- Audience member's response: You break the lease, you pay $900.
- Response: I wish I had better news for you, but that's what the policy is for lease breaks. Unless its Permanent Change of Station orders or something driven by the government, we have to stick to that policy.
Question: I have two questions. If you live in Quail Hollow and you want to move on base, the policy before was that you have to move out of Quail Hollow, get an apartment, wait for your time, wait for another opening and then you can move on base. How is that transition going to go? Is that even possible?
- Answer: Yes. That is outlined in the resident guide there is a price sheet in there on what those damages cost.
Question: Say you sign a contract and your status changed from married to single, do you keep living there until your contract expires or are you disqualified from base housing?
- Okay, that was true. Being that we are family military housing on base, Quail Hollow was considered part of our inventory. The Air Force Instruction states that when you are adequately housed in the right category and bedroom entitlement, then the Air Force's intent is to keep you there for the duration of your tour. Unless something changes where you are authorized more bedrooms, you're promoted. With Balfour Beatty coming on board you may now apply for housing here at Balfour Beatty; however, you will not be able to break your lease at Quail Hollow. You'll have to complete it.
Question: Like the other gentlemen over there, I'm doing house hunting and all that and hopefully I'll be out of my base housing unit by Christmas. Anyway, my question is I've been in base housing for 9 years, and we're house hunting. Anyone who's bought a house knows the expense involved, especially the upfront money. Trying to pay the one month lease break with you all is going to be rather difficult with everything else going on. Will my time in housing, nine years as I mentioned, make any play on that? Would you guys give any forgiveness?
- Yes. Does that answer your question? If you're married and you become single, how long can you stay in that unit? Your status changes, so you're no longer married. I'm going to let my boss answer this.
- Many of you who have lived at other privatized installations know that there is something called the waterfall, which means that if occupancy is below 95% there are other people who qualify to live in housing -primarily retirees and then also single soldiers at that point in time. If we're 95% occupied and above we're still family housing, and our prime purpose in being is to house military families. So the easy answer is if we're above 95%, you have to give notice and move. If we're below 95% and we're in that waterfall then you would need to talk to us and we can accommodate you.
Question: I have a few questions here from wives off of our Facebook page. If you don't like the housing that you are in now, can you move to another type of unit or do you have to add to the family or something like that? Can you apply for a bigger house or a smaller house?
- Unfortunately, I don't have good news for you. Again, deferring back to the policy, when you sign that lease it's for a one year period, and unless you receive orders, that's pretty much the standard policy in the industry. When you sign a lease, you have to serve that time in the unit, unless you fall within a clause in your lease or unless you break that lease at no cost. Unfortunately, sir, the answer is it would cost you to break that lease.
Question: Also another question. How will maintenance calls be handled? Do we have to pay for any of it? There are rumors of paying maintenance by the hour. What kind of adjustments to the house paint, etc., can we do to the houses?
- If you don't like what you're in, can you move to a different house at lease signing? The answer at this point is no. If your family status changes, for instance if you have another child, the answer is yes, you can move to a bigger house. You can select that house provided it falls in the neighborhood of pay grade entitlement that your pay grade allows and there's availability in that particular neighborhood. For example, I know there are designated areas, designated neighborhoods for different ranks and we will maintain that integrity. So as long as you stay or select an available unit per your pay grade, yes you can work with Karrie Rasor, our community manager, to select that home.
Question: And the last question I received is will you be putting up a fence in front of the bush stuff on Washington Loop to keep kids from entering it?
- There's no cost to the maintenance provided if it's maintenance that's required due to wear and tear; however, if it's purposely damaged or due to neglect, yes there will be a charge for that. Your day to day maintenance such as plumbing, electrical and things that break day-to-day there's no cost, such as your A/C unit, water heater, appliances, etc.; however, like I said, if its determined that its due to someone standing on a glass stove top to hang something on a ceiling and it cracks that could be determined as possible neglect and you will be charged for that. Your second question was can you alter the interior of your home. All those alteration requests you will see in your Resident Guide and you'll see and lease, that all has to be run through Community Manager Karrie Rasor for approval. We have many folks that we do approve to repaint their house a different color, but it's at their cost. Also in that alteration request, it states upon approval that when you move out it has to be put back to its original condition. So if you paint all of the walls red, at move out time you have to paint it back to the original color, cream or white or whatever that color was. I believe that is the current policy, the same policy that is in effect today.
Question: So plans are in the works to possibly switch the houses around to maybe put a fence on the other side if funding is available?
- At this time, there is no plan in place to build a fence around the perimeter on what would be the front side of Mesa homes.
- If I may, we have discussed and Dyess folks asked us to consider that. What we're going to do is make what's currently the back of the house where the fence is the entrance, and then put the fence on what's currently the front of the house and we said that we would look at that. Currently, I can tell you that they have looked into it. I don't believe the funding is available, but that doesn't mean in the future that's not a possibility.
Question: How about spraying for pests or bugs or anything like that?
- Well the problem you've got there is that it's easy to put a fence, but it's a different situation to make them look like it's the back yard and the other side is the front yard. There's a lot more that goes into it than simply moving a fence. I can tell you now that was part of the conversation, but it's not something we currently have the dollars for nor is there the intent to do it, but that doesn't mean that in the future it will not be done. That is a thought that came from the Dyess folks. In the current approved scope of work, it is not in the plan.
Question: I realize it's a few years down the road. You said initially that the rent would include the utilities, and when the day comes that you have all the meters and everything you said we are on our own for utilities. Will the rent change since we will pay our own utilities?
- Our policy on that is we have a pest control contractor and you have to submit a work order, and then we'll send the pest control representatives out there. It's a very similar policy as to what's in place today. If there's a pest infestation in your home, yes. For day to day pest control, you can get a can of Raid and spray and take care of it through the cleanliness of your home, trash, food and things of that nature, but if there is a pest infestation in your home we will call our pest control folks to come out there and treat it.
Question: But you said initially it would be included in the rent.
- For here we'll take full Basic Housing Allowance for all utilities and you will be responsible if you go over the allotment for that difference.
Question: In the beginning of the slide show you talked about a personal property deductible we'd have to pay. Is that mandatory or if you already have USAA renter's insurance can you be grandfathered?
- The basic utility allowance will still always be included. The only thing that would change is once the meters are on, it is if you are using far and above what your neighbors are using, above 110% of that, then you'd be responsible. On the flip side of that, if you use less than what your neighbors are using, you get a check.
Question: Due to the current lease we have, are you guys going to like go down the current lease and note all the problems we already have for our homes and then transcribe all of the issues we have to the new lease and then get those problems fixed?
- You only pay that deductible if you have something bad happen to you. It's a deductible. Usually if you have United Services Automobile Association or some other carrier, then there's usually no out of pocket for you because that's what they would usually pick up. So then you have dual coverage and they pay the deductible.
- Response: The first answer is no. We have a grandfather addendum that will be part of the lease signing, because we didn't do the property condition report at move-in. If you have some things that are broken or that need fixing or repair than contact our maintenance folks and we'll have them take care of those items. The next question is, if I'm reading into it, if there are things that are broken or damaged that can't be fixed are we going to charge you for that. Are you asking that question?
- Audience member's response: Yes, sir. There are things that are wrong with our homes right now, that I guess they have contracts out to fix, that are currently not fixed. So will we be charged to get those items fixed even though we signed a current lease for some of the stuff wasn't done?
- Response: I think that may be very specific, maybe to several folks in several units. We can certainly talk in more detail afterwards, but I think that the first response is no. We want to obviously get with you and identify what those items are. It might be part of the backlog maintenance and repair that Bill talked about. Some homes have backlog maintenance and repair things that have been identified that need to be fixed that we have funding already for. It may fall into that category.
Question: I think the main things that a lot of people are concerned with are that they don't want to have to be liable for things that are already wrong with the home when they get ready to terminate.
Question: I understand things that are currently on it and things that are in the process of getting fixed, but what if they're not fixed by the time you get ready to leave?
- The response from the Housing Management Office is that they have the documented move-in inspection reports that will be provided to Balfour Beatty, which will be part of your file. Obviously we'll take a look at that at move-out to identify if those things were identified at move-in inspection when you first moved into the home.
- Have work orders been submitted for that? If so, that would be part of the package. If work orders have been documented and submitted, then we'll have those records.
But some of these things they already said were things that were not going to be fixed, like siding on the house. It's just certain things throughout the neighborhood that they didn't have the money for and now you guys are picking up a contract. Basically, are you going to be able to fix some of these things that weren't getting fixed?
Question: Sir when do all the leases have to be signed? Is it before Oct. 1? The reason I ask is for the deployed members that need power of attorneys. We have some people that are going to take some time. I assume you are going to need the original power of attorney and not a copy? It's going to take some time to get in and we were told to hold off on power of attorneys for a while for our deployed members. So now we have to get our deployed members to go get power of attorneys at their sites and some of them might have some problems with that.
- If it's normal routine maintenance, yes. Call it in. We'll take care of it.
Question: For those of us that live in the Washington Loop and the Hunter's Mesa area where you were talking about us going to be getting more extensive improvements in the bathroom areas and stuff like that. Once they start on a house, how long is that process going to take? Is it going to be an inconvenience to the family? I'm assuming it's going to be more like construction type stuff in those houses. What's it going to be like for those of us who are living in those houses when it happens?
- I understand that the delay can be there. It's something that needs to be addressed immediately with all the deployed folks. They need to move pretty quickly and get those power of attorneys in place for their spouses so they can sign that lease.
- Absolutely, we should have good communication back and forth. If you've got a problem one you need to let us know and we'll work through it as a team.
Question: I just want to make sure, if you're coming in and you have something that's kind of extensive that the family is not going to be displaced.
- Well I can assure you that we won't go in unless we have your approval. The period of time that it's going to take, I really can't speak to. You're going to find that regardless of what we do, whether it's a repair that's done through our community's office, everything is done with your approval. I believe we also can get an okay to enter where some people may not be home but they want it fixed. You'll be given an opportunity to sign an approval for authorization for maintenance technicians to go in and take care of what the problem is. Nobody goes in your house unless we get approval. We wouldn't start a project if we knew it was going to be an extensive project. We wouldn't start that project unless we had your approval. We're not just going to go in and say next week we're going to be in here, we're going to put new cabinets in your building.
Question: In facility maintenance, they have equipment there like lawn mowers, air blowers and other self- help supplies. Are those going to be available for us come Oct. 1 or no more?
- No, we don't. I think some of the general plan would be for the more extensive work to be done when a family moves out and the house is vacant. We get so many units in the pipeline that we do the work while the house is vacant, so our first priority would be to work in that manner. So the renovation will be done, complete. Another family comes on board looking for a home and we offer them that renovated home. We get down near the end of the Initial Development Phase and X amount of home haven't been renovated yet, then we'll come to work with you one-on-one to see what options work best for you and work best for us, but our first approach would be to attempt to tackle all that work when the home is vacant.
Question: Is the pay and go going to be rank based?
- Yes, we will have mowers and some supplies there. I don't know that we're going to have blowers there. Joel's working on the list, but we'll have some of your basic landscape gardening tools, other filters, light bulbs and some basic self-help type items.
Question: In regards to the pay and go, if you utilize that option and if whoever you guys contract out performs substandard work, what protects us from being charged again for what they didn't do?
- No, the pay and go is based on a percentage of what we pay our vendor. I believe the number is 75%, but it's not based on rank. It's based on what the vendor fee is to clean the home.
Question: What's the cost of pay and go?
- No, ma'am. If you opt to do the pay and go and that cleaner doesn't do a good job that's on me. You're cleared. Once you do the pay and go, you're free and clear.
Question: With the discussion of budget cuts to BAH being 10-15%, how is that going to impact the housing development plans that you discussed?
- We're working with our vendor on what the actual cost is. We're in the process of doing our bid walks and requests from proposals from our vendors. I can't even give you a number. I don't know.
Question: How about the shrubs, front yard areas, edging?
- That's a good question because the out year...the sustainability of the project is based on the current BAH rate +2% each year and yes, if it goes back the other way that's going to have a significant impact on future work for the project, so it will have an impact. I can't exactly tell you what it is, but it's got the potential to have an impact should the BAH rates for this geographical location go down as opposed to stay flat or grow 2% every year, which is the way everything was budgeted which is on a 2% per year increase.
Question: I have a question about trash services. Will they change or stay the same?
- Yes, sir. We're doing the edging on the common sidewalks, curbs, and the trimming of shrubs, bushes and trees, that's part of our maintenance contract.
Question: Will the recyclables change? Right now we only recycle cardboard and paper products.
- Sir, we're working on a vendor right now, and that vendor will be responsible for picking up recyclables, once a week. Also refuse, your regular solid waste, that will go twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays and also one monthly scheduled bulk pick up a month.
- We have also moved in within so many days after you move in we can do the bulk pick up as well. All those boxes and things you have when you PCS and you move all that stuff.
Question: Is there a charge for recycling?
- The recyclables will remain the same; it will be cardboard and paper products.
- I was surprised. Every geological location is different. I spent a lot of time in the southeastern region where they take tin cans, aluminum cans, the glass you throw it in there and they take it. I'm confident that it's something that Balfour Beatty will work on with local recycling companies to improve. I think there's a lot of room for improvement there.
Question: Just to go back on the landscaping. I know in my yard we have flowers and our own little bushes. Will they leave that alone if that wasn't already in place when we moved into the home?
- There is no charge to residents for those services.
- Yes. There's a policy in place that if you don't want our landscaper to cut your yard then you need to let us know that. We'll work together to make sure that the landscaper is aware of that, and we have to mark that yard with some kind of reflector, some marker that goes in your yard, you know that's aesthetically pleasing so that that landscaper when he comes along he knows leave my yard alone.