If you can tear your eyes away from the beautiful landscape of The Ridge at Highlands East, you’ll notice one of The Ridge’s most popular residents, Charlie, a well-fed Shih Tzu. When Charlie’s owner was injured in a fall, many neighbors volunteered to walk him, sometimes too many times a day! “We do look after each here” says Sue Ramsey, president of the Board of Directors of The Ridge at Highlands East Homeowners Association. “We are not intrusive but if you want to know people, they are there for you.”
The Ridge at Highlands East consists of 114 units in Snohomish, WA. It’s one of three sub-associations within the Highlands Master Association managed by Beth Zollar of Morris Management. Zollar has been with Highlands from its construction in 2002. Jim Talaga, president of Association Reserves (AR)- Washington describes Zollar as “a terrific portfolio manager who does everything by the book to ensure her clients are well prepared financially.” AR completed their first Reserve Study for the Ridge in 2003 and have provided annual Reserve Study updates for the past 10 years.
For over a decade, Ramsey and Zollar have made association’s financial planning look easy, but as Ramsey notes, “Budgeting is hard work.” Maintaining all the parks, walking trails and other amenities that make the Highlands so beautiful requires constant care. What was tasteful landscape 15 years ago has grown to become overcrowded and unhealthy. According to Zollar, “when we started with the developer, the landscape was handled through the Operations budget. Now, we have a line item in the Reserve Fund to cover the cost of the arborist and extensive tree trimming.”
Zollar brings her no nonsense pragmatic approach to all her associations. “I use the economies of scale for my communities. We have some big fencing costs so I review the Reserve Studies of all my properties to see if I can combine projects to get the best prices.” Zollar recommends AR Reserve Studies for all her clients. The consistency and clarity of the report allows Zollar to work efficiently and with confidence. In her words, “I never considered any other option.” In a career spanning 20 years, none of Zollar’s clients have ever had to pass a special assessment.