Welcome to the High Desert Residential Owners Association     Albuquerque, New Mexico

Bobcat on the Backyard Fence:  Roger Riggs, Canyons, took this photo of a relaxed bobcat soaking in the spring sun.

Community. It's not just where you live, it's how you interact.  Here at High Desert, we believe communication is the number one way to build our community: communication between neighbors, among homeowners and with management. 

This website is designed to keep every High Desert resident informed and up-to-date on the vital issues that affect us as homeowners. Here, you'll find quick access to our governing documents, policies and procedures,  calendars of upcoming community meetings, copies of our latest newsletter, links to community news and the e-mail addresses of your officers and directors. 

We hope this information will provide High Desert homeowners with what they need to know...and when they need to know it. 

For the latest news, scroll down. For more information on High Desert, see the menu items to the left, or the Notices and Reminders page or see Community News.


Volunteer Appreciation Event Is Saturday, April 29 at El Patron:
RSVPs Due to High Desert Office by Monday, April 24


The Board of Directors is holding  its annual Volunteer Appreciation Event on Saturday, April 29 from 1:30 to 4 p.m. at the El Patron Restaurant, 10551 Montgomery Blvd. NE.  The afternoon will feature a buffet with cash bar.  All High Desert volunteers, including Voting Members, Alternates, Committee members, project members and any other volunteers with High Desert are welcome to attend, along with one guest. Additional guests are $25 per person.  Volunteers should RSVP to Kathy Blythe at the High Desert office via phone: 505-314-5862 or by email: kblythe@hoamco.com.

Welcome Committee Salutes New Homeowners at Wine & Cheese Party

The Chaco Compound home of Amy and Tom Hudack was filled with new High Desert homeowners,  Welcome Committee members and Board directors Friday, April 21 as the Hudaks hosted their first Wine & Cheese party.  The Hudaks took over the chairmanship of the Welcome Committee earlier this year after  John and Maddy Shelton stepped down following more than two years leading the Committee. Click here to see more photos.

Annual Voting Members Meeting Set For April 27:
Four Board Members To Be Elected

By Dr. Janet Brierley, Director, HDROA Board of Directors
and Chair of the Nominating Committee

Voting Members will be holding their Annual Meeting on Thursday evening, April 27, 2017.  Voting Members will be electing four members to the High Desert Board of Directors. The Nominating Committee has been reviewing all Board applicants’ Statements of Interest and will recommend a slate to the Voting Members April 27.  Nominations can also be presented from the floor at the meeting.

The Board of Directors
The seven-member Board of Directors each serve two-year terms, which are staggered with positions opening every year in April.  Current directors whose terms will expire in April 2017 are Dr. Jim Cole, Brett Rayman, Nancy Winger and Clay Wright.
In order to apply for a Board of Director position, there are some general requirements. An applicant for a Board Director position:

• Must have lived in High Desert as a resident for at least six months prior to the election,
• Shall not have any hearings or appeals before the Board, the New Construction Committee, or Modification Committee, nor any legal actions pending against the Association or Association officers,
• Shall not be more than 60 days delinquent in the payment of any assessment or other charge due the Association,
• Shall not have been removed as a Director by the Voting Members or the Board within the prior two years.

The time commitment for a Board Director is also a consideration. The Board meets formally once a month and occasionally conducts supplemental meetings. Directors’ volunteer time averages between 10-30 hours a month depending on the level of involvement with the Board’s special projects, committee membership, and/or being an elected officer of the Board. The Board elects its own officers annually, shortly after the Voting Members’ April meeting.

End-Of-The-School-Year Concert in High Desert Park on May 19th Open to High Desert Residents

Georgia O’Keeffe Elementary school, in conjunction with the City of Albuquerque Parks and Recreation Department, are hosting an end-of-the-school- year concert in the High Desert Park on Friday, May 19th from 4 to 6 p.m. There will be live music and food trucks.  All High Desert residents are also welcome to attend. This event is hosted by the Tarvers (residents of Desert Highlands) as an end-of-school-year celebration for Georgia O'Keeffe Elementary School families.

G4S Patrol Officer Charles Nichols
Presented With Certificate of Appreciation

Photo Above:  From left to right:  Office Manager James Gage, C.P.O. Charles Nichols, General Manager Jimmy Ramos. 
High Desert G4S Patrol Officer Charles Nichols was presented with an internal Certificate of Appreciation from G4S April 5th for “Outstanding Customer Service to the Residents of High Desert.”

“This award was given for his general ability on the job,” said James Gage, G4S Office Manager. “We’ve received multiple compliments on his customer service, particularly pertaining to assisting with open garage doors in the community.”

The award read: Charles Nichols is a dedicated officer who has been a driving force for the safety of the residents and shows great concern for the homeowners. His level of awareness, job performance and dedication to providing excellent customer service to the residents of High Desert and maintaining G4S values along with his attention to detail has prevented numerous possible thefts and vandalism in the High Desert communities.

Officer Nichols has been assigned to High Desert since joining G4S in October 2013.  He works the midnight to 8 a.m. patrol shift Monday through Friday. He is originally from Mesa, Arizona and joined the U.S. Air Force in 1972, retiring in 1995. During his time in the Air Force, Officer Nichols received more than 18 medals and commendations. He lives in Rio Rancho. 

“I love working here in High Desert,” Officer Nichols said. “I enjoy doing my best to make the residents feel safe and secure.”


Heads Up, High Desert's Landscape Contractor, is Recipient of 2017 NM Ethics in Business Award

Heads Up Landscape Contractors was one of two winners of the Jack & Donna Rust Award for Excellence in Ethical Business Practice by a for-profit business. Heads Up has been High Desert's contracted vendor for landscape maintenance for many years. Samaritan Counseling Center of Albuquerque announced the recipients of its 2017 New Mexico Ethics in Business Awards in late February. There were 28 nominees for the Awards this year. The selection committee is made up of community and business leader volunteers.  The announcement was also made in the Albuquerque Journal.   Click here to read the article in full.

"Our relationship with Heads Up has always been based on ethical principles and we are very pleased to see the company recognized for their excellent business practices," said Tom Murdock, President of the High Desert Board of Directors.


Voting Members Shown New Portal Software

High Desert homeowners may soon have access to a new online portal through its management company HOAMCO.  The new portal was introduced to Voting Members at their quarterly meeting Wednesday, January 25th with a screen presentation by Tom Murdock, Board President.  The portal, which uses homeowner association Caliber Software, is designed to enable owners to access all their association bills, see past payments and view any compliance issues.  Quarterly association payments will continue to be made at the separate online website at https://hoamco.com/.
“This provides real-time information on your account,” said Tom. “We are hoping to be able to use the document feature in this program to allow Voting Members and other committee members to access documents normally stored in Dropbox.”  He said the Caliber software program will become the “backbone” of HOAMCO and will provide homeowners with as much pertinent information on their accounts as possible.  Tom added that he hoped the portal would also eventually reflect any individual Modification Committee requests.
The program will undergo tests this spring and if all goes well, notices will be mailed to homeowners and the site will go live. 

The portal is strictly an optional site for homeowners, Tom said.  “If you don’t want to log in, you don’t have to,” he said.  One Voting Member asked if the portal could be used as a way to gather email addresses of other homeowners in his village.  “We must be careful about disclosing email addresses,” Tom replied.  “We’ve always operated here on an opt-in basis without requiring that homeowners give out their addresses.”

Upcoming Elections in April
Dr. Janet Brierley, Board member and Chair of the 2017 Nominating Committee, spoke to Voting Members and encouraged them to run for office in the upcoming Board of Directors elections in April. “I urge you and your neighbors to run for office,” she said.  Four positions will be open in April as Directors’ terms expire (see election story babove). 

Contract Committee
Homeowner Lynn Claffy, Chair of the Contracts Committee, told Voting Members that the Committee is now reviewing the security contract currently held by G4S.  High Desert contracted with G4s four years ago with a three-year contract and one-year automatic renewal.  The Contracts Committee drafted a Request For Proposal in December and sent it to several potential vendors with a January 31 response deadline.  A potential finalist will be selected, and a contract negotiated in late winter.  By spring, the Committee will make a final recommendation to the Board for its approval.  The new contract will have a three-year term and will be effective July 1, 2017.

Landscape Committee
Margo Murdock, Interim Landscape Advisory Committee (LAC) Chair, reported to Voting Members that the LAC has completed a survey of three sections of common area landscape.  Members are reviewing the data to see what areas need work.  Streetscapes will undergo review next.  Meanwhile, all pinon trees will be checked for egg masses in February.

Tom reported there has been no further vandalism to irrigation lines after the initial incidents last fall.  He told Voting Members that police had made arrests of persons who had vandalized the Pino Pond tunnel.

Welcome Committee
Homeowners Amy and Tom Hudak have agreed to become the new Chairs of the High Desert Welcome Committee and are seeking another couple to become Co-Chairs.  Interested residents should contact Christopher Lopez, Community Association Manager, at highdesertmanager@hoamco.com . The Welcome Committee holds two Wine & Cheese parties each year to welcome new homeowners to the community.  

Guest Speaker Talks on Panhandling and Homeless
Caroline Enos, Chair of the Voting Members, introduced guest speaker Tatiana Percival, Crisis Specialist for the City. Tatiana works with Albuquerque Police Department with a focus on accessing the homeless.  She told Voting Members that “the worst thing you can do for a panhandler is to give them money.”  She said cash is too often used to obtain drugs and alcohol and that most panhandlers, despite what their signs read, work their corners regularly, some making up to $200 a day. 
“If you must give them something, give them hygiene kits that include wipes, a toothbrush, a comb, toothpaste—but not hand sanitizer,” she said.  “Some of them will drink it.”

The City operates a van through its “There’s A Better Way” program that picks up 10 homeless people per day and provides work (at $10 per hour) weeding street medians.  The city will also transport homeless men and woman to the shelters.  . 
Tatiana said there is a homeless camp near Central and Tramway which is often broken up by the city but quickly is re-established.  She said there is no area in the city of Albuquerque that is not owned by someone. “If they are camping somewhere, it’s illegal,” she said. If homeless campers are spotted, she asked homeowners to call her at (505) 924-6000.

It is not illegal to panhandle, however.  Tatiana said a recent three-day count in the city showed a total of nine panhandlers in the northeast quadrant.  A panhandler can stand in the median or on the sidewalk legally but it is illegal to step into the street to solicit drivers, she said.  “Most of the panhandlers are near the freeways,” she said.  “One of them told me he didn’t want to a job because he can’t work and be high.  He said he and his girlfriend can make up to $400 together in a good day and not pay taxes.”
She noted that there are a number of resources for the homeless in Albuquerque, including Joy Junction, Goodwill, St. Martin’s.  The city also provides free bus passes, pet care, free mental health and dental evaluations. 


Don’t Be a Victim of Mail Theft
Cluster mailbox break-ins have increased in Albuquerque with two break-ins recently reported in High Desert.  Clay Wright, Secretary of the High Desert Board of Directors, said the U.S. Postal Service is aware of the issue and is considering replacing the cluster boxes with stronger units.  However, Clay noted, the process of replacement is time-consuming and expensive and residents should take precautions meanwhile to protect their mail.

Those precautions include putting your mail out as late as possible before pick-up by USPS mail carriers and picking it up as soon as possible after delivery.  Other alternatives include choosing to have your mail delivered directly to the Steve Schiff  Post Office at 9719 Candelaria Rd NE, Albuquerque, NM 87111; (505) 346-0985. 
Albuquerque Police Department’s Crime Prevention Specialist Jill Garcia issued two documents to neighborhoods concerned with mail theft.  One of the documents deals with mail theft of tax documents as people begin filing tax returns and anticipating refunds through the mail.  She advises filing taxes online, dropping off documents at a secure receptacle or site, and picking up mail daily as early as possible at a cluster box.

Jill also advises residents to advise their mail carrier if they plan to be out of town so that mail can be held. Or, alternatively, have a trusted neighbor pick up your mail daily.
Click below to see both mail documents issued by the police department concerning mail.

Protecting Your Mail

Mail Theft

High Desert Doesn't Run Without Volunteers-- We Need Your Help!
Four High Desert Committees and nine Villages are actively seeking volunteers this month.  Homeowners interested in serving their community should  fill out a  Volunteer Opportunities Statement of Interest.

"It takes more than one hundred volunteers to keep High Desert functioning,"  Tom Murdock, President of the High Desert Board of Directors, told new homeowners recently at a Welcome Committee Wine and Cheese party.  He urged each newcomer to consider representing their village as a Voting Member of Alternate Member and to consider serving on one of the numerous High Desert Committees. (To see a list of Volunteer Opportunities, click here.)

The Financial Oversight Committee (FOG) is seeking one new member.  This committee reviews all expenditures by the association and recommends ways to cut costs.  The Committee meets once monthly and is currently chaired by Dr. Jim Cole, Treasurer of the Board of Directors.  FOG was formed two years ago and has saved the association thousands of dollars through its recommendations.

Also seeking one addtional member is the High Desert Modifications Committee under the chairmanship of Fred Gorenz.   The Modifications Committee consists of three to five members appointed by the Board of Directors and is responsible for ensuring that all modifications to existing structures in High Desert conform to the standards and guidelines set forth in the CC&Rs and Guidelines for Sustainability. To indicate your interest in serving on the Modifications Committee, please complete the “Statement of Interest Form for the Modifications Committee” found on the Official Forms page.

The Contracts Committee is seeking one new member as well.   The Contracts Committee works on behalf of the Board of Directors to conduct competitive procurements for the major contracts of the Association, such as landscaping, security and property management. Recommendations for award of contracts are made to the Board of Directors. Click to see a pdf of the
Contracts Committee Charter. 

The Welcome Committee is seeking to replace its co-chairs Maddy and John Shelton who have served for several years. The High Desert Welcome Committee works to develop and implement a process to welcome all new High Desert residents to our community. The group periodically holds a wine and cheese party for new residents. Click to see a pdf of the
Welcome Committee Charter document.  

Voting Members and Alternates Needed!
There are a number of Villages that currently do not have the full quota of Voting Members and Alternate Members representing them.  Voting Members are elected by the members of each Village in alternating years to represent the interests of their Village and to cast votes on its behalf for the annual election of Directors and other important matters that come before the Association. To see if your village needs Voting Members of Alternates,  click here to go to a list of Voting Members for each village. To indicate your interest in becoming a Voting Member, please complete the “Statement of Interest Form."  For information about the duties of Voting Members, go to the Policies page and the first item on the page "Voting Member Information."  

Barking Dogs Disturb the Peace of High Desert Neighborhoods....Please Take Responsibility for Your Pet
Pets are a part of life here in High Desert. For some homeowners, a pet is as much a member of the family as any human. For others, pets are an important tool in deterring crime. Owning a pet carries serious responsibility. Maintaining their health and wellness is one example. Cleaning up after them is another important obligation.One very important aspect of owning a pet is ensuring that they exist harmoniously within our community. Allowing a pet to bark incessantly destroys the tranquility we work so hard to achieve in our community. Sound carries. One barking dog can disturb literally dozens of households. 
City law is clear on the topic:
 § 9-2-3-7 Animals Disturbing the Peace.
No person shall allow an animal in his possession or control to persistently or continuously bark, howl or make noise common to its species, or otherwise to disturb the peace and quiet of the inhabitants of the city or keep or maintain an animal in a manner which produces noxious or offensive odors or otherwise endangers the health and welfare of the inhabitants of the city. 
('74 Code, § 6-2-6G) (Ord. 40-1987; Am. Ord. 71-1989; Am. Ord. 33-1992)
Pet owners can keep the peace and avoid hefty fines by taking measures to control their pets. Those affected by barking dogs have options as well. Concerned homeowners can visit the City of Albuquerque website and fill out a complaint form. Click on the link to file a complaint:  http://www.cabq.gov/pets/programs-services/animal-noise-complaint/ 
The city will want a written log and/or a statement with dates and times of disturbances. Animal Control may then investigate. An Animal Control officer will want to know if you are willing to file criminal charges against your neighbor. The officer will also want to know if you have exhausted all means of dealing with the problem, such as talking with your neighbor or contacting the city's Alternative Dispute Resolution office for help through a mediation process. If there is sufficient evidence, charges may be filed and you may need to testify in a criminal trial. It is not a quick process. It can be several months before a trial date is even set.
The High Desert ROA and G4S security patrol cannot investigate or file complaints on behalf of residents. The city indicates that it must be done by the affected resident. 

Board Adopts New Enforcement Policy
trailA new enforcement policy adopted by the High Desert Board of Directors in January includes stiffer fines and penalties for violations to the rules and regulations of the community.

Homeowners who ignore violation letters, neglect to pay their association dues, rent their houses without notifying the association, or fail to comply with New Construction Committee directives will be subject to a series of escalating penalties. These fines will increase with time and then lead to the following: a property lien; a legal suit and trial with attendant costs, fees, and post-judgment enforcement; possession and sale of the homeowner’s non-exempt property by the Bernalillo County Sheriff; writs of garnishment of bank accounts et al.; and eventual foreclosure.

The Board of Directors contracted with an Albuquerque lawyer last fall for a trial period to address the escalating problems with homeowners who are delinquent in paying fines and assessments. Using this service has already resulted in successful collection of approximately $25,000 owed to the HDROA. His work is paid through inclusion in the legal procedures noted above.

For example, a homeowner who does not pay the association’s assessment in a timely manner will now face a series of actions beginning with a fine of $100 for the first quarter of delinquency followed by fines of $200 for subsequent quarters. Accruing interest will also be added. The homeowner will have the option of a hearing before the Board of Directors. Failure to reach an agreement at this hearing will lead to a property lien, intervention by the attorney, and a legal suit.

Speaking for the Board of Directors, Vice President Dave Bentley noted that a small number of homeowners in High Desert have simply ignored paying their assessments. "This is totally unfair to those many residents who do pay their assessments on time," he said. "Our enforcement policies did not have sufficient teeth in them to provide the necessary incentive for every resident to comply. As a result, residents who did pay their assessments were subsidizing the costs of all the features and advantages associated with living in High Desert for those people who did not pay."

The newly adopted enforcement policy has four sections: Assessment Delinquency Policy, Non-Monetary Violation of Governing Documents Policy, Rental Agreement Violation Policy, and New Construction Committee Directive Violations Policy.

For non-monetary violations, no fine occurs until 10 days after the third notice when the fine will be $100. The fines for continued noncompliance will then increase to $250 after 10 more days and increase to $500 after an additional 10 days.

Residents can view the new policy on the Policies page (or click here to see the Enforcement Policy). The new policy replaces the previous Enforcement Policy, New Construction Committee Enforcement Policy, and the Billing & Delinquency Policy. The 11-page pdf document is fully searchable.

"This new policy provides for a hearing where the homeowner can appear before the Board of Directors to discuss any problem," said Dave. "Our Board of Directors understands that circumstances happen, and we are available to work with residents who experience such situations. We do, however, have a responsibility to ensure enforcement of all the rules and regulations that apply to living in High Desert. Adoption of the new policy and the engagement of an attorney who specializes in this area provide a fair and expeditious process for such enforcement. Please refer to the document on the website for specific information."

New Rental Policy in Effect

Are you already renting your High Desert house to tenants, or plan to rent it soon? If so, you are now required to notify the association and provide tenant names and contact information— and you may not rent your property for less than six months at a time. Short term rentals, such as those done on vacation rental online sites, are now prohibited in High Desert. Information on tenants must be provided to the association. Continued failure to comply will result in a series of escalating fines, possible court action, liens and even foreclosure.

The new High Desert Rental Policy was approved by the Board of Directors December 15, 2015 after Voting Members acted last autumn to amend the Use Restrictions of the CC&Rs. The amendment added a new subsection prohibiting rentals of less than six months unless approved in advance by the Board. The new Rental Policy spells out the procedure for renting homes in a four-page document that includes a "Tenant Information Sheet" to be completed by the homeowner with contact information on all tenants.

Failure to comply with the new policy will result in a $200 fine after 10 days following the second notice, and a $500 fine 10 days after the third notice, along with a series of actions outlined in the new Enforcement Policy adopted in January. The Rental Policy can be viewed as a pdf on the Policies page. All homeowners were recently notified of the new policy by mail.


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