By Antonio Sanchez, A Moors Master Board Director & Patio Homes Board President
Dear board members, friends, and neighbors at large,
Every few years, depending on the expiration of contracts, we the Master Board of Directors make one of the most important decisions of the year:
What to do with the portion that traditionally we call entertainment, cable programming, etc.? This contract up to now has always been awarded to Comcast. The community buys this service in bulk for all 1612 units and in exchange, we benefit with a rate that we could usually calculate at 65/75% discount of what a resident would pay for at “retail price”.
The last time the Board of Directors went through this exercise must have been the summer of 2018, we had a tumultuous meeting at the Moors Club Center. There was a good turnout of the community.
There was also a variety of opinions: very passionate and some vociferous. It was difficult to keep the meeting on track, to do some findings, as to what would be the best course of action for the community at large. To renew… or not renew, that was the main question. At that time, we already had other players, offering cable programming (we will call it “Content”) delivered thru a fiber optics platform. After a few hours of quasi finds, opinions, and deliberations, we adjourned.
The opinions varied, from the ones that did not want to change or use any of this service; to the very dissatisfied customers with an abysmal record of outages, to the ones praising the service; and also, the pragmatic ones appreciating receiving the service at a great discount. In other words, there was no apparent majority except for the ones who were in favor of keeping the current provider. At the next meeting of the board, it was decided to keep the service, with a lot promises from Comcast (i.e., Community Channel which was never provided) as well as improvements to the plant (also, never materialized).
The mentioned contract will expire in November of 2023.
I have always advocated for a strong community, financially solid, and capable to attain our objectives and desires of quality services, and good planning for the future.
A notice of the discussion for this new contract was sent with the budget information and approval notice as mandated by law (budget discussion needs to be disclosed and announced). With this notice we had roughly 30 people in attendance at our October meeting. Again, there were different opinions from the several neighbors that work from home and will use the service and save a bundle from the retail rate if, we acquire this service separately. We also had the very vocal person advocating the non-usage or viewing or content and the lack of need for internet. We certainly believe this position is not realistic in today’s environment.
Well, my friends and colleagues, I must disagree with that. Now, I’m going to elaborate my thoughts and views on this subject.
I have always advocated for a strong community, financially solid, and capable to attain our objectives and desires of quality services, and good planning for the future. Also, all of this must include good infrastructure features, entry systems, landscape, general maintenance, good clean and safe roads, a good tree canopy, the best possible amenities, entertainment, gymnasium, common areas etc. etc. All of this, is included in something that, can be a bit “intangible” sometimes,
I call it, in all my meetings, “QUALITY OF LIFE”. When we achieve all of this at a reasonable cost, and I think we do, we obtain not only this “Quality of Life” but the assurance of a good return on what is possibly the biggest investment of our lives: our homes. I have always proposed that it is not a good practice to skim 2/3/5 dollars saved from a budget; after all these are monthly figures equivalent to a “latte coffee at “Starbucks”.
Would you buy, or invest in a property or area where there are flaws in maintenance, safety, cleanliness, or any other type of neglect????
With this said, every time that we short cut our budget, our planning, our reserve collection on the different items, or every time we save a mere dollar from our budget in order to make or maintenance fees more palatable; will be a disservice to the community, our neighbors and our own economic interests. Every time we do this, and postpone the building or, maintenance of a feature, or miss a reserve target on the budget., we will be shortchanging all of our interests.
Now I want to further enhance this concept to the largest and most complex issue on our agenda: The change, or renewal of the television package with Comcast; this contract is due to expire in December 2023. Originally just for content, or entertainment.
Since the last contract in 2018, and this is not new, society and all of us are more and more dependent on reliable flows of communication over fast and reliable internet. You need internet for everything, to access a bank, make a doctor’s appointment, even see your doctor, order food, take a college course or test, etc. etc. I believe that today, having fast and reliable internet, is as valuable as having an efficient car, or driving on a modern highway.
We, at the Moors Master Association, believe, and I made the motion to that effect, that a group with so much in common as being in a “restricted access” (or almost private community), where we share a common geographical space delimited by walls, roads, and landscapes, club center, pools, etc., in other words, “The Moors” will benefit by obtaining a good package, at a competitive price, not only of entertainment or “content”, but also offer a platform of internet use to develop all of our neighbors potentials. And truly being included in today’s trends and needs, of society at large.
This package will be delivered by a well-respected company, Hotwire Communications, based on a new, dedicated fiber optics platform, and protected by a contract that, as usual, is reviewed by our lawyers and contains elements of performance and service protections for our community. This package will include basic television, or “content” and 400/400 MB of internet service coming to an ONT to the side of the house and fiber links thru the house. All of this included at the contracted price.
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This change will be implemented after the infrastructure is placed in the community and will be live upon the expiration of our current Comcast agreement. The cost per unit to each household will impact the budget with an increase of about 11/15$ a unit per unit applicable to the 2024 budget. Again, on the “Starbucks” analogy, this will be the equivalent of TWO “lattes”.
This package will be delivered by a well-respected company, Hotwire Communications, based on a new, dedicated fiber optics platform, and protected by a contract that, as usual, is reviewed by our lawyers and contains elements of performance and service protections for our community.
With this said, we believe that, once this is running and operational, a lot of neighbors, potentially, “could” save money, by cancelling subscriptions to similar services and save much more than the mentioned increase (that is a rough but realistic estimate, for this budget item only).
I, particularly, am looking to save from my AT&T bill, about 35$+ a month of what I now pay for a much lower speed, even accounting of an advantage company retiree rate. Make your calculations and please, let us know, and how much will you save with these tentative figures. We would like to know.
Thank you for your attention.
Best regards to all,
Antonio Sanchez, The Moors Master Director, Patio Homes President