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Tuesday, September 16 2014 @ 01:25 PM PMDT

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Local Property Owner vs. Absentee Property Owner Issue

This article is from the most recent POA Newsletter that should be hitting everyone's mailbox soon.

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The majority of your current Board has growing concerns about long-standing contentiousness with some local property owners who feel their interests are far more important and should carry more weight than the interests of other owners who do not live in the Baca, only live here part-time, or just own vacant land. 

These local owners feel they represent the Baca “community,” that they have more at stake and more of a commitment which should result in their votes carrying more weight than the votes of the rest of the POA property owners.  This would disenfranchise absentee members and deprive them of equal input about what goes on here. 

The best way to prevent this attitude towards absentee owners is for absentee property owners to get more involved in “their association.”  Everyone needs to participate in elections! Simply take the time to vote!  Don’t disregard the elections.  YOUR VOTE MATTERS A GREAT DEAL!

To give you a sense of what has been going on locally, on March 13, 2014 these members submitted a letter signed by about 90 property owners that included a list of “requests” to your new Board.  This letter is attached to the Board meeting minutes of 3-27-2014 and is available on the POA web site.  One section of this letter sums this issue up as follows:

          “The community perceives three levels of community investment, with the highest level being residence owners who also live here, secondly residence owners who rent to community members and thirdly, those who own undeveloped land. This is also validated by the state property tax valuation. Members who own homes and live here are most likely to be impacted the most heavily by wildfire and other natural and man-made disasters.

           The POA Property Owners who are more significantly committed to the community by full-time residence should be given greater consideration when there is physical risk to their homes and personal safety.

          Members request: The POA Board of Directors to form, support and empower a task-force of residential property owners to fully investigate a variable dues structure that will recognize varying levels of community investment.   Long-term planning should include a governing documents change to give weighted voting to local homeowners.”

 The Baca POA is an unusual type of homeowner association.   Most HOAs have the majority of members living in the development, so member participation in the affairs of the association is more easily accomplished.  As you know, it’s the exact opposite in our POA with the majority of members living outside of the Baca.

This situation creates problems when it comes to making any major changes to how the POA operates because it requires a simple or super majority of members to vote for changes.   

After reviewing past POA newsletters, it is clear that previous boards have routinely cut corners around these voting requirements in order to get what they wanted accomplished.  In other words, they didn’t meet the voting requirements they needed so they just said they did and proceeded to make the changes they wanted.     

The majority of your current Board doesn’t believe anything justifies violating our governing documents or state laws.  All property owners should be treated as fairly as possible and absentee owners’ concerns should be given equal weight to local members’ needs and concerns.  After all, this is the Baca Grande “Property Owners Association,” not the Baca Grande “Resident Owner Only Association.”

This local vs. absentee owner problem can be easily resolved if all members simply participate in your elections to make ALL your voices heard! 

As you will read in the next article, a few local members went through enormous effort, time and aggravation to secure a court order ensuring all members have fair and honest elections. (All told, it took them over two years and they did it without an attorney)  So please, don’t ever throw your ballots in the trash.  VOTE AND DO IT IN A TIMELY MANNER!  Your vote does matter and can make a huge difference in helping to keep things fair for ALL OWNERS!

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Water District Prepares For Boyce Battle

Center Post Dispatch, July 23, 2014, Page 1

    ALAMOSA  San Luis Valley water leaders are bracing themselves and enlisting the support of Colorado's congressional delegation against the latest water export proposal.

   Saguache County rancher Gary Boyce's proposal through Sustainable Water Resources to export water from the San Luis Valley to Front Range buyers has raised concern with the Rio Grande Water Conservation District (RGWCD), the organization that led the legal fight against previous water export proposals. During the water district's quarterly meeting last week. General Manager Steve Vandiver told the board that he and four other representatives from the water district went to Washington, D.C. last week to meet with congressmen or their staff to brief them on Boyce's proposal. One of the district's lobbyists, Christine Arbogast, accompanied Vandiver, RGWCD Board President Greg Higel and RGWCD Attorneys David Robbins and Peter Ampe to visit with congressmen such as U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, U.S. Representative Scott Tipton and U.S. Representative Cory Gardner over a two-day period.

   "They were very appreciative to understand what was going on," Vandiver told the RGWCD board on Tuesday.
   "The level of support and understanding of the impact is really extremely high," Arbogast added. "The congressional delegation with one exception is fully behind you on the proposal put forth by Mr. Boyce. If the time comes they have to weigh in, I am sure they would support you."

   She said the congressional folks the group met with were sympathetic to the San Luis Valley concerns about water exportation except for the staff of U.S. Representative Doug Lamborn, 5th District, who indicated if somebody came to Colorado Springs with a potentially new water supply they would welcome it with open arms.

   Robbins added that RGWCD is not demanding any course of action from state and federal officials at this time but simply wants them to be aware of what Boyce is proposing, to be aware that the Valley will strenuously resist his proposal and to not be surprised by anyone making claims to the contrary. "We are not making any statements about what is going to happen. We believe Mr. Boyce is entitled to state his position himself," Robbins said.

   The RGWCD board has made its position clear, however. "The Rio Grande Water Conservation District is not interested in accepting his $150 million offer to buy their cooperation and the Valley's cooperation in the 35,000-acre-foot export proposal ," Robbins said. "We will wait and see how it develops, and the board should expect to meet in special meetings if/ when an application is filed in water court."

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Baca Fire Department Update

The POA recently announced they had hired a new Fire Chief, Todd Ryker. "Chief Ryker comes to the Baca Fire Department with a great deal of experience and training including over 18 years of experience in fire operations and EMS work," a BGPOA press release said. "He is a combat medic, firefighter-EMT, and was the fire chief of Rio Rancho Fire/ Rescue Inc. in Arizona."

Ryker also is a certified Incident Command System member up to the 400 level, a IFSAC Firefighter I and a National Registered EMT who is certified in wildfires and Urban/Interface protection. He has over five years of incident commander experience in addition to training, recruitment, grant writing and mutual/auto aid contracts.

Additional qualifications in Ryker's portfolio include:

·     FireFighter I

·     Fire Instructor NFPA 1041 Level 1

·     IFSAC Fire Fighter II

·     Incident Command System Training including MAIS100, MAIS200, MAG300 and MAG400 • Wildland Fire Fighting Training including Basic and Advanced S-131

·     Fire Hydraulics

·     Urban Interface S-205

·     S-190 Intro to Fire Behavior and I-100 Orientation to ICS

·     EVOC - Emergency Vehicle Operator

·     Army National Guard Combat Medic

·     FireLearn Coursework in Fire Prevention, Public Education and Customer Service

·     Hazardous Material Operations – First Responder Operations

·     Passed the Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT)

Chief Ryker is also finishing his Fire Science Degree AA. According to the press release, he comes to the Crestone community "with high accolades as a person who served his former positions with honor, integrity and a high degree of professional ethics. Please welcome our new Chief and feel free to stop by the POA offices or the Fire House to say "Hello" in person."

Ryker began his duties on Monday. There will also be an open house June 21 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the BGPOA firehouse with speakers and demonstrations.

The POA offered a very heartfelt "thank you" and wishes for good health and safety goes to their outgoing Interim Fire Chief Jack Johnson who is currently fulfilling part of his bucket list fighting wildfires in Alaska.  

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BACA Mutual Aid In Place For Years! Letter to the Editor from Fire Chief, Northern Saguache District (includes Crestone Station)

Editor Note:  The following letter to the editor appears in the February Eagle Newspaper and substantiates what BGCAN told everyone about how they were lied to on the day of the election to dissolve the CrESD with sign after sign falsely claiming things such as we would lose mutual aid without the CrESD and that "only public districts can get mutual aid"  Every single sign was a flat out bold-faced LIE.   SEE ALL PHOTOS OF THESE SIGNS HERE.


Those pushing the CrESD knew the Baca had mutual aid in place and flat out lied to everyone in order to convince them to vote to save the CrESD.  You really want people that would do this in charge of essential emergency services?





P.O. Box 556

Saguache, CO. 81149

I would like to take this opportunity to provide some clarification with regard to fire protection in the Crestone / Baca Subdivision area. My hope is to alleviate some to the communities concerns during this transitional time while more permanent solution can be found.

While it is true that several members of the Baca Grande VFD have resigned recently, for a variety of reasons, many of those also serve as volunteer firefighters with the Crestone VFD, which is part of the Northern Saguache County Fire Protection District (NSCFPD). Most were members of both departments because of their desire to serve the entire community and to make fire responses as efficient as possible no matter where they happened within the community. They assure me that they will still respond to any emergency in the entire Crestone / Baca community when called.

It is also true that the Baca Grande VFD (POA) was not included in the San Luis Valley Intergovernmental Agreement for Mutual Aid between Fire Protection Districts and Municipalities. That said the NSCFPD did enter into an Interagency Agreement for Mutual Aid between Fire Departments and a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for Automatic Mutual Aid Response within the Crestone / Baca area. These agreements were signed and became effective March 1, 2012. These agreements are still valid as neither the NSCFPD or the Baca Grande POA boards have terminated the agreement. Both of these agreements will be used during this trying time. I also want to stress that other Fire Departments in the San Luis Valley assure us that they will respond to calls for mutual aid in the Baca Subdivision if Command has been passed or assumed by an Officer of the NSCFPD and that request came from them. In the event of a large emergency event (wildfire etc.) which cannot be suppressed by the resources of the Baca Grande VFD and NSCFPD personne, Command is passed to the County Sheriff whom can then use the County's Annual Operating Plan and subsequent agreements to coordinate and receive help from our State and Federal Partners.

With respect to response times to the Baca Grande area there should be no change as both Baca Grande VFD and NSCFPD dispatch centers already automatically notify the other dispatch center of the call per the above agreement. If there is a delay it should be limited to the time for dispatch centers to notify each other and the extra time it may take some firefighters to drive by one fire station to get to the other.

Please be assured that both the NSCFPD and Baca Grande POA are working diligently to assure that services are not negatively impacted by recent events and will continue to work with all involved agencies in order to find long term solutions to all issues currently being faced.

Please feel free to contact me with your questions at or by calling 719/539- 6516

Wesley Moores
District Chief

This Letter to the editor was reviewed and approved for publishing by the Northern Saguache County Fire Protection District - Board of Directors at their Regular Monthly Meeting on January 6, 2014


Rod Sawyer, President                                                         Gerald Gray, Board Member

David Stagner, Vice-President                                              Buck Moores, Board Member

Mary Nelson, Board Secretary

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Baca Water & San Across-the-Board Increases For All Customers

Baca Grande Water & Sanitation District 2014 Budget
Includes Across-the-Board Increases for All Customers

On November 15, 2013, the BGWSD Board voted to increase the mill levy from 46 to 48 mills, monthly water and sewer rates by $2 each per month, and Availability of Service (AOS) fees by $10 per year.

The mill levy increase will result in approximately $30,000 of property tax revenue.
The monthly increases in water and sewer rates are projected to add approximately $34,000 in revenue. The AOS increase will add $8,000 in revenue.

The justification presented by the Board and District Management for these increases is a loss of tax revenue due to a decrease in overall assessed valuation of property in the district of $1.3 Million.

According to the reports filed at the State Board of Equalization (Colorado Property Tax Division) in October 2013, there is no basis for the Net Assessed Valuation in the district to have dropped by $1.3 Million.

The October 2013 report shows a change in valuation from vacant land to improved property on about 35 properties – one-third the number of properties reported in a complaint by BGWSD filed with the State Board of Equalization in 2011. In the complaint filed in 2011 there were 108 properties identified by BGWSD staff as having improvements but still paying taxes on vacant land.

According to the October 2013 report, the 35 properties reclassified from residential to improved property resulted in a New Assessed Valuation of $619,726. This represents an increase of $363,317 in Assessed Valuation over the previously reported amount of $256,409 for these properties in 2011.  Presumably a similar amount could also be assessed for 2012.

The BGWSD Board and Management, as of the budget hearing on November 15, had not questioned the assertion of the overall decrease of $1.3 Million – accepting the county assessor’s rationale that the decrease must have been from changing the factor from 29% for vacant land to 7.9% for improved property. Clearly the report filed with the State Board of Equalization does not support this rationale, instead showing an overall increase of $619,726 in Net Assessed Valuation for 2011 and presumably for 2012.  The BGWSD Board and Management also had not questioned the inclusion of only one-third the properties (35) instead of the 108 reported in their 2011 complaint.

In addition, the new 2014 budget does not include the additional revenue the District can expect from 2011 and 2012 property taxes for the change in Net Assessed Valuation from $256,409 to $619,726. This change alone will result in an increase of property tax revenue of at least $30,000 in 2014, negating the need for the mill levy increase adopted for 2014 resulting in approximately $30,000 in revenue.

According to the Local Government Financial Management Manual for Special Districts: “If excess property tax is received, other than from uncollectibles from prior years, the law does not allow the local government to adopt a supplemental budget and appropriate the money for any purpose. The government must keep the property tax revenue for appropriation only in the following year.”  (Section
29-1-109(1)(b), Colorado Revised Statutes.) Yet, the District does not include this revenue in its 2014 budget.

In short, if the District appropriated the revenue it will receive for 2011 and 2012 omitted property taxes, the resulting revenue  of $30,000+ would offset the need for a mill levy increase.

If the District investigated the reduction of Net Assessed Valuation and followed up on the remaining 73 properties that are still excluded, there would be no need for increases in any rates, fees, or mill levies.

Contact the BGWSD Board members and asked them to fulfill their fiduciary duty to the community and ensure that all property tax revenues due are collected, therefore reducing the burden on us BGWSD customers.

Vicki Matthews
President, 256-5165

Martin Macaulay
Vice President, 256-5364

Cindy Reinhardt
Treasurer 719-937-7801

Kyle Grote
Secretary 719-256-4102

Parvin J. Johnson, Sr.
Assistant Secretary, 256-5420

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Election and Annual Membership Meeting Update

The POA 2013 Annual Membership Meeting took place last Friday evening at the POA Hall.  The Board Election stats are as follows:

Total Members in Good Standing = 3,099
Required Quorum (20%) = 619
Total voted ballots = 801

Bruce McDonald  = 623
Nigel Fuller           = 652
Quorum only        = 119

Both Bruce and Nigel received more votes than the quorum.


2012 Board Election comparison:


Russell Schreiber = 531

Matie Belle Lakish = 497

Diana Moats =422


The Annual Meeting concluded with a lengthy Members’ Forum wherein some Fire Department volunteers complained about not having received new keys to the firehouse in a timely manner.  The Community Manager explained that there were over 80 keys floating around unaccounted for so the decision was made to change the locks at the firehouse but the communication and timing of the key exchange did not go smoothly.  The volunteers were blaming the Community Manager for the Fire Chief’s mishandling of the key exchange process.


Also a member of the CrESD Board announced that unless the floundering Fire District can secure a lease of the POA’s equipment in the next few months, it will have to fold next year and will not be pursuing another attempt at getting a mill levy if it doesn’t have the POA’s assets.  The CrESD Board had also considered reducing the Service Plan by dropping the Ambulance Department from the Plan thereby cutting the proposed mill levy in half in hopes of making a lower mill levy more attractive to voters; but without the POA’s assets, the District remains unviable.

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Brack Admits Budget Inflated $50,000 and More!

CLIP ONE:  This is just a few minutes from the July 11, 2013 CrESD Board Meeting where the POA Fire Chief Ben Brack (now suspended without pay by POA management) confesses the POA Fire Department budget has been inflated by $50,000 for the last five years.  We happen to know it's inflated in many other ways as well.  Everyone should know that despite Ben knowing the budget was already inflated, he routinely asked the POA Board to allocate more to the fire department, recently by another $50,000.  $25,000 for mitigation and $25,000 for an emergency fund.

In this short clip you can hear Brack also say the CrESD should eliminate the ambulance service and he admits their intention to take equipment out of the area to make money and essentially lie to the voters once again about pretty much everything just to get people to vote the way they want them to.  Their intention is to create a fictional budget so they can set a mil levy low enough to convince you to vote for it.  Are these the kind of people you really want in charge of your emergency services?

You will also hear Bill Sutherland stating that he is familiar with how to do these things (sell a budget to the voters), that you start out low an inch it up.  At 1:30 Brack begins confessing the inflated Fire Department budget.

So essentially, here we have the CrESD Board and Brack admitting they have no intention to provide the same level of service the Baca residents have had for forty years.  They are going to gut it in order to finagle a budget they think you will pay for in a mill levy.





If you'd like to download the audio to listen to on an MP3 player
you can download the MP3 file here.

CLIP TWO:  This short clip if from the same July 11, 2013 CrESD Board Meeting where the POA Fire Chief Ben Brack confesses that the POA membership has been paying WAY TOO MUCH for fire services when he admits that the Northern Saguache Fire Protection District runs FIVE FIRE DEPARTMENTS on what the POA spend to run just ONE.



If you'd like to download the audio to listen to on an MP3 player
you can download the MP3 file here.

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BGCAN Action Alert



BGCAN has learned that a few disgruntled members have illegally obtained a list of POA property owners’ email addresses and phone numbers and are contacting members claiming that the new Board intends to cut the POA Fire Department’s budget by 50%.  This is untrue and is a wrong-headed attempt to get members to not submit their ballots so a quorum for the Annual Membership Meeting cannot be achieved.

Quorums are for meetings not elections.  Lack of a quorum just means that we cannot have an Annual Membership Meeting, or that it will have to be postponed until enough ballots are returned to have the meeting but the election results will still stand.  The election is a done deal.  Thwarting the Annual Membership Meeting accomplishes nothing.

It is true that suspended POA Fire Chief Ben Brack did announce at a public meeting of the CrESD that in order to make the CrESD more attractive to voters, they could reduce the mill levy request on their next ballot attempt by cutting out the POA Ambulance Department, thereby reducing the mill levy by half.  Brack also said he could make up any budget they wanted because he always pads the POA Fire Department’s budget by $50,000 and they have a full-time paid position they don’t really need, so they could present a really low budget to the voters and then jack it up to whatever they want after they get the mill levy.  CLICK HERE TO LISTEN

Although a reduction in POA dues is anticipated from the new Board, the Board members-elect have no intention of cutting the Fire Department’s budget by 50%.  This is ridiculous and would constitute irresponsible action.




If you have not received your election materials, please contact the POA to get a ballot at 719-256-4171.

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Sound Familiar? Palomar Homeowner Association, Arazona, Fraudulent Board Election

July 30, 2013


Election of February 17, 2010 for three new HOA board members was unethically (illegally) presented!  Association CC&R's were not properly followed.

Therefor the three people elected to the board (Richard Soger, Joy Lilga and Thomas Haroldson) was 'null and void'. When this was disclosed to the members at the meeting and a new properly conducted election be held, the HOA board refused and let the election results stand.

Petition of March 18, 2010 to throw out the February 17 election was properly taken resulting in more then required signatures therefor a new fair election was held resulting in only one of the three (Thomas Haroldson) elected in the February 17 election properly elected. Richard Soger and Joy Lilga were NOT elected yet refused to vacate their ill conceived board seats!

The than illegal board refused to recognize the proper petition, new fair election and continued to operate as a legitimate HOA board. The HOA management people (PRM) chimed in with the illegal board, hiring an attorney (Paul Rubin of PRM stated, "I found them this attorney") to write an opinion which favored the flawed election of February 17 as legitimate and demonizing the members pursuing the new fair election. The illegitimate board spent hundreds if not thousands of association dollars justifying their actions. Facing enormous legal expense to expose dishonesty and present the truth, the members fighting for justice (unfortunately) disbanded, For two years Palomar HOA operated illegally. Decisions of spending HOA funds, hiring vendors etc. Unfortunately for PRM, their efforts to protect the illegitimate board went south as the illegitimate board fired PRM and hired PDS as management. Only then did Paul Rubin (PRM) state the truth, "you needed a new election" (February 17, 2010).

Then came the election (February 22, 2012) for three new board members. While unethical activity may have been practiced again in the voting process, the only unethical (dishonesty) proven was the statement of qualifications by candidate Doug Batey. Batey's statement read in part, " I have several years experience as a good board member for a neighborhood HOA. As a prior board member, I would support the following: Batey lists several issues of Palomar HOA he would continue supporting which could lead a voter to think he was a prior good Palomar HOA board member. When confronted Batey stated the statement was a "typo" made by the management people (PDS) and not he himself. Note: A typo usually is a misspelled word, not a misleading statement. When this and two other qualification statements by Batey were misleading and unethical, he was elected to the board, Not serious enough to pursue. After one year on the Palomar HOA board, Batey's use of the word good is now questionable.

Most recent election, February 20, 2013 for two new board members resulted in only the incumbents running unopposed. Finally, a fair election??

Had their been in law, provision for the Attorney General of Arizona to investigate and bring charges of voter fraud and financial fraud these inept violators may not have been so brazen with their actions. As a Palomar HOA board member (Blaine Connerly) has stated, "You can do pretty much what you want on an HOA board. People will complain but do nothing". This is true and why is this true? People will understandably NOT spend the money for legal expenses, laws being so lax in protecting homeowners basic human rights in HOA's..

This is the reason HOA ABUSE-CORRUPTION organization has been formed (August 2012). Our primary goal: Better laws to protect the vulnerable against ego-maniac control freaks on HOA boards. Please encourage others to visit the webiste to learn more and how they can help.

For additional information please contact;

"Justice will not be served until those unaffected are as outraged as those who are".  - Benjamin Franklin 


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Crestone CO 81131

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