February 13, 2023


Brush Update 2/13/23 - Pickups beginning tomorrow most likely

Hello Neighbors -

After literally dozens of phone calls, meetings in the park and around the neighborhood, and quotes we’ve landed on a solution for brush. A HUGE thanks to Waste Connections who will begin picking up all brush in the neighborhood - (we believe) starting tomorrow (Tuesday 2/14) - we had a call late today (Monday) so they are working fast to position the resources to start asap. This includes all brush placed out by the street, all brush in cul de sacs, and of course the big job - the park. They are doing so for a flat rate of $8K all-in - just an enormous benefit for us. Not to sour the great news, but keep in mind that even this very reasonable number is $8K we did not have in the budget this year, (our reserve addition in 2023 was to be ~$8K and is intended for the roads which still need treatment), so plan for a one-time assessment estimated at ~$50/home in order to keep us on budget. Given we collect cash up front each year for dues, we can delay this assessment several months to give time for everyone to plan ahead. You should plan for end of May timeframe.

We did consider several other options - many for just the park:

  • High school AG guys (6 guys) with (4) trailers: Declined to proceed after seeing the sheer size.
  • A few various hauling companies ($15K-$30K - the higher one really being that they did not want to deal with it)
  • Burning in the park using a guy referred by the Hays County Fire chief, a 3 weekend bobcat rental with grabber, and a water truck hooked up to a meter on the fire hydrant for safety. ($10K for all but three weekends of smoke to deal with and the forecast is high winds for the next couple of weeks). This was our solution until Waste Connections came through today.
  • A wood chipper (6 weeks more delay, $380 per day ($5,320), labor to run the chipper (not yet identified) ~2-3 weeks straight of chipping, and mounds of mulch to deal with. It is still unclear when we would get this chipper or who would run it for that length of time.

We are aware that several homes already paid to have brush hauled off while many others still have it by the street. This begs the question of course of a potential “uneven benefit” from this situation. The short answer is we are doing the very best we can and we have been spending hours upon hours trying to solve even the community brush alone - this is the best option for the community brush and as a benefit they will grab all the rest as well. Every solution for just community brush is well over $8K and this one solution will solve it all with no extra haggling, estimating, and collections. If it helps, consider that the next best option is more than $8K for just the community brush so the outcome would be the same and we can prevent fire danger more quickly.

You should see large containers at the park tomorrow and around the community over the coming days. We will follow up on the assessment details, a budget update (we’re on track YTD), and a road update shortly as we get through this effort. Many thanks to Mark and Steve for organizing volunteers, calling countless vendors, and negotiating for options to get through this.

Small side note: We are aware of the entrance gate issue which seems to have been caused by freezing temps. We’ve tried resetting it, power cycling etc but nothing so Gate Doctor’s will be out on the 22nd of not before.

As always, any questions please email Board@saratogahillsaustin.com [Corrected]


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