Contacting the TCOA
Greg Izler contact information for maintenance issues.
Rocky Mountain Townworks
Who is the TCOA?
The Town Center Owners Association (TCOA) was incorporated in 2001 and encompasses the entire 165-acre Big Sky Town Center project. Most property owners in the Town Center will be members of two owners associations; one will be the commercial building or residential owners association, and the second will be the TCOA. As such, property owners in the Town Center will be responsible for the dues assessed by each owners association.
The current directors of the TCOA are Bill, Tom, and Mitch Simkins. The reason that the Master Developer, Simkins Holdings, LLC, is vitally interested in the functions of the TCOA is to ensure that every development in the Town Center is constructed according to the Master Plan and to implement the overarching vision for the project.
What services are provided by the TCOA?
- Snowplowing and maintenance of all streets and sidewalks in the Town Center: Any questions or concerns about the snowplowing, signage, or maintenance should be directed to the TCOA 406-586-9629. Starting in the winter of 2010-2011, Ousel Falls Road will be plowed and maintained by the new Rural Improvement District 395 (RID) that was created by the Gallatin County Commission in 2009.
- Snowplowing and maintenance of all parking lots in the Commercial District. In an effort to reduce costs and maintain consistency in the quality and timing of the snowplowing in the Town Center Commercial District, the TCOA plows snow on the parking lots in the Commercial District. Both residential and commercial assessments will fund this work, regardless of whether the property owned is in the Commercial District. Although most of the costs associated with these parking lots will be paid by the commercial building owners, some of these costs will be paid by all of the owners in the Town Center due to the benefit that the Commercial District offers to all of the Town Center owners and residents.
- Landscaping maintenance, water, and electricity costs for irrigation and lighting of common and/or public open space areas and amenities. The entire cost of the design and installation of these features is provided by the Master Developer, Simkins Holdings, LLC. After construction of these amenities is complete, the TCOA is then responsible for the regular maintenance, irrigation, lighting and power costs, etc. The entry monument at the corner of Ousel Falls Road and Lone Mountain Trail, and the Fire Pit Park in front of Choppers are examples of these amenities. Another example is the maintenance of the street trees and landscaped boulevard strips in the road right-of-ways in the Town Center. In an effort to maintain the quality and consistent landscaping maintenance in the Commercial District, all landscaping will be maintained (pruned, trimmed, mowed, and replaced - as needed) by the TCOA. Additionally, the TCOA has a maintenance contract with Alpine Property Management for keeping the Town Center commercial district free of trash and looking good - this is no small task, especially in the spring when the snow melts daily!
- Street lighting. The TCOA has a lighting lease program with NorthWestern Energy which provides for the purchase, installation, maintenance, and daily electricity for the street lights in the entire Town Center project. This lease costs the TCOA about $45/month/light. It does not provide for the concrete light bases (upon which the lights are mounted) or the electrical conduits linking the lights with the electrical transformers. These two items are provided by the project developer of the adjoining development.
- Parking lot lighting in the Commercial District only. The TCOA has a lighting lease program with NorthWestern Energy which provides for the purchase, installation, maintenance, and daily electricity for the Commercial District parking lot lights in the Town Center project. The lease operates in the same manner as the street light lease.
- Covenant enforcement and TCOA administration. Currently, Simkins Holdings, LLC fully subsidizes the time that Town Center Project Manager Ryan Hamilton spends on TCOA administration, architectural review, fielding questions from members, working on assessments, etc. Simkins Holdings is subsidizing his time in order to provide the TCOA membership with the best value in the early stages of the project. The TCOA is not currently paying rent at their office space in the Simkins-Hallin Showroom (RJS Tower Building). However, as the Town Center continues to develop, it is likely that more part-time and then full-time staff will be needed to run the TCOA. The number of staff people will be minimized to maintain an efficient operation and to make the most of the TCOA dues. Covenant enforcement is very important to ensure that the Design Standards and restrictive covenants, signage plan, etc. are followed by the project developers and business owners.
- Events. The TCOA has an expanded events schedule to help attract more people to the commercial district, and to provide activities for the Town Center residents. Please see the events calendar on the website, and in Lifestyles newspaper. Events this year include a Farmers Market series, Festival of the Arts, Christmas Stroll, Big Air in Big Sky Freestyle motorcycle event, movies in the park, and a free summer music concert series presented by the Arts Council of Big Sky (new in 2010).
- Reserves. Reserves will be set aside for road, sidewalk, and Commercial District parking lot repair and landscape maintenance, street tree maintenance, etc. The TCOA is currently working with TD&H Engineering on an engineers estimate to determine the life expectancy and replacement costs of the infrastructure that the TCOA is responsible for. The TCOA will make every effort to keep the area looking beautiful and well-maintained over the years. The Town Center will have well-maintained streets, landscaping, lighting, etc., which will help maintain and enhance property values and will help keep the Town Center from looking dated (a common problem in resort areas).
- Trail maintenance. The TCOA will be responsible for maintaining trails as they are constructed in the Town Center.
- Weed control. The TCOA is responsible for weed control in the road right-of-ways and common/public open space areas. The TCOA sprays for weeds in May or June, with Master Developer Simkins Holdings paying for one-half of the bill for the undeveloped lands in the Town Center.
- TCOA insurance. The TCOA has obtained the insurance coverage necessary to provide adequate protection and insurance for the corporation, its membership, directors, and officers.
- Applicable office expenses such as printing and mailing costs, telephone, computers, etc.: The TCOA currently splits Town Center printing costs with Simkins Holdings. Currently, all mailing costs, telephone/internet, computer expenses, etc are paid by Simkins Holdings, LLC.
- Annual accounting and legal expenses. The TCOA’s accountant is Galusha, Higgins, and Galusha. GHG administers the TCOA accounting tasks - all assessment payment should be sent to the TCOA c/o Galusha Higgins and Galusha, 777 East Main, Suite 201, Bozeman, MT 59715. Contact info: Stacy Bateson (406) 586-2386 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
What services are NOT currently paid for by the TCOA?
Simkins Holdings, LLC, the master developer of the Town Center project, is currently subsidizing the payroll and administrative costs to the TCOA for the following work items:
- Office space, computer and internet costs, telephone costs
- All of the payroll costs associated with administering the TCOA, such as:
- Enforcing covenants by the Town Center project manager
- Bidding snowplowing and landscape maintenance contracts
- Detailed architectural review and approval (the TCOA pays for professional review of plans and elevations)
- Inquiries from TCOA members
- Time involved in mailing notices and holding special meetings o working with NorthWestern Energy to manage the lighting installation, administering annual dues, etc.
The TCOA Directors believe that the dues assessments are fair and equitable. Last year, the TCOA completed an engineers’ estimate for the maintenance and long-term replacement of roads, commercial district parking lots, curb and gutter, etc. Currently, the reserves that the TCOA is setting aside for these future maintenance is inadequate, so the cost estimate helped us determine how much capital reserve money will needed in the future cover these expenses. Additionally, other future expenses will be incurred when the TCOA grows to such a size that requires more part-time and then full-time staff. When this happens, the annual expenses will increase. Until that time, however, Simkins Holdings, LLC will continue to subsidize the TCOA by providing the services listed above.
How are assessments calculated?
All residential property (single-family and multi-family) is assessed on a per unit basis. The current assessment rate for residential property is $912 per unit per year. The commercial property is assessed based on the unit area. In the case of condominium commercial buildings, each unit owner (including the owner of any common building space - typically the building association) will receive a dues assessment. The current assessment rate for commercial property is $2.08/sf per unit per year. The TCOA is committed to maintaining affordable annual assessments. The operating budget and assessment rate will be reviewed annually, and adjusted as necessary to meet the financial obligations of the corporation. In 2009, the Board added a $25 annual fee to each lot/unit that will be contributed to the Big Sky Community Corportion for trail maintenance in the Big Sky area.
The TCOA assessments are administered by accounting firm Galusha, Higgins, and Galusha in Bozeman (406) 586-2386.
What is the Membership Fee?
The TCOA has a $1,000 Membership and Initiation Fee to be paid at closing by the purchaser of a unit or lot in the Town Center. This additional revenue source was selected in an effort to keep the annual dues as stable and affordable as possible. We expect that this membership fee will help offset inflation and the rising costs of maintaining the new infrastructure, landscaping, snowplowing, insurance, and other direct services and expenses.