Thursday, May 31, 2012

Healthy Maryland Week 2012

It's not too late to participate in Healthy Maryland Week 2012, from May 29, 2012 to June 3, 2012. Governor Martin O'Malley and his Administration partnered with the Coalition for a Healthy Maryland to hold events throughout the week promoting the importance of health and wellness. The goal of Healthy Maryland Week is to help Marylanders lead a healthier lifestyle through physical fitness, healthy food choices and preventative care.

To learn more about Healthy Maryland Week 2012, visit http://www.governor.maryland.gov/health.asp.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

New Employee Spotlight: Kelly Wingate


ACM would like to welcome Kelly Wingate, joining ACM as a Community Association Manager. Kelly is from Maryland and has two daughters. She has past experience working as a Community Association Manager and earned her Associate's Degree from Prince George's County Community College. In her spare time, Kelly enjoys movies, reading, family gatherings, going to the beach and hosting and planning parties and events.

ACM extends a warm welcome to Kelly!

Friday, May 25, 2012

ACM Offices Closed -- Monday, May 28, 2012


ACM offices will be closed Monday, May 28, 2012 for Memorial Day. Should you have an emergency, please call our Columbia office at (410) 997-7767 and follow the prompts for emergency services. We wish everyone a safe and happy holiday weekend!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Baltimore City: Household Hazardous Waste Drop-Off Days are Back!

Baltimore City Public Works Press  Release:

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Public Works Director Alfred H. Foxx remind citizens that Baltimore City’s Household Hazardous Waste monthly collection events will start this month at the Northwest Citizen Convenience Center located at 2840 Sisson Street.

These events provide an opportunity for Baltimore City residents ONLY to dispose of hazardous household materials such as oil-based paints, pesticides, herbicides, car and household batteries, drain cleaners, gasoline, pool chemicals and many other items. (Latex paint is NOT hazardous waste; it can be dried up and the cans put out for regular trash collection.) Businesses and private haulers must contract with a certified vendor to dispose of hazardous waste.

Residents must show proof of city residency, e.g. a driver's license, telephone bill or tax bill, before they can drop off any hazardous items. Residents must also be able to identify the material. Materials that will not be collected as household hazardous waste include trash, asbestos, ammunition, fire extinguishers, industrial and medical wastes, and radioactive materials, including smoke alarms with a radioactive symbol.

Residents can take these items to the Northwest Citizen Convenience Center on the last Friday and Saturday of every month from April through November.
  • April 27 & 28 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • May 25 & 26 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • June 29 & 30 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • July 27 & 28 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • August 24 & 25 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • September 28 & 29 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • October 26 & 27 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • November 23 & 24 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Friday, May 18, 2012

ACM Begins Using Tablets in the Field





ACM Community Manager, Sheri Courtock, started out her bi-weekly property visit like any other, except today she came prepared with her ACM iPad! ACM is beginning to provide staff members with tablet devices to be used while on association property to make the community management process even more efficient. While visiting associations, Community or Property Managers are able to have access to ACM's online management system, take photographs, update violations, enter new requests, attach pictures and send notices directly to homeowners all while on property! This innovative use of technology allows for a more streamlined management process. Rather than taking notes and going back to the office, Community and Property Managers are able to address a situation immediately by documenting necessary information and processing updates directly online while still being present in the community.

The use of tablets in the field is one of ACM's many advancements that will enhance the services we currently provide to our clients.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Administrator of the Month: March and April 2012


Congratulations to Chris Carden for being voted Administrator of the Month for March! Thank you for all of your hard work and dedication.


Congratulations to Carol Bruce for being voted Administrator of the Month for April! Thank you for always going above and beyond.

Thank you both for all that you do!

Happy Mother's Day!


ACM wishes all the Moms out there a Happy Mother's Day! We hope you enjoy your weekend!

SenEarthCo: New Homeowner Page View

SenEarthCo, ACM's online management software system, has updated the homeowner page view. Below is a sample of the updated look:


Homeowners access SenEarthCo through ACM's client portal website, www.acmhome.com. Homeowners are able to view their personal accounts and submit architectural and maintenance requests directly online with this system. The new page view will help with the navigation of SenEarthCo so residents are able to access all of the features provided. If you haven't already done so, register for www.acmhome.com to learn more about The Website for Your Home!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

ACM Participates in Howard County Business Appreciation Week






On Tuesday, May 8, 2012, American Community Management (ACM) participated in Howard County Business Appreciation Week. Three (3) county Ambassadors: Ms. Anita Jackson, Mr. Kevin Enright, and Mr. Stephen Rice, visited our office and met with the ACM Senior Staff to learn about our business, discuss issues that are important to us, and find out what the county can do to help ACM grow.

The Ambassadors began the meeting by asking questions about ACM and learning more about the services we provide to community associations. They asked about our goals for the future and ways the county would be able to continue ACM's success in the area. County benefits such as the ICBN (Inter-County Broadband Network), connections with Howard County Community College for developing educational programs for both Board members and Community Managers, and county recruitment and hiring services were also discussed.

ACM would like to thank the Ambassadors for taking the time to come meet with the Senior Staff to review ways the county can assist our company's growth.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Howard County News: Council passes bill aimed at helping condo buyers

"The County Council Monday unanimously passed a bill that will prohibit a property owner from obtaining a county rental license if they are more than 30 days behind on their condominium association or homeowner association fees.

"The key is that we want to ensure that those who are renting out continue to meet their obligation to their neighbors," said Columbia Democrat Calvin Ball, the bill's lead sponsor.

He added: "I'm pleased that we've empowered communities to protect one of the most important investments someone can make, the investment in their home."

The bill, which was co-sponsored by the council's other three Democrats, also allows the county to suspend or revoke a license if a condo association or homeowner association proves the license holder is behind on his or her fees..."

Click the following link to continue reading "Council passes bill aimed at helping condo buyers":

http://www.baltimoresun.com/explore/howard/news/ph-ho-cf-council-0510-20120507,0,5558948.story

Monday, May 7, 2012

ACM New Employee Spotlight: John McElderry




ACM would like to welcome John McElderry, joining ACM's Community Association Management Department. John is originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and moved to Maryland in 2001. He has earned both his BS in Marketing and MBA in Finance from LaSalle University as well as the designations of Project Management Professional (PMP) and Certified Manager of Community Associations (CMCA).

ACM extends a warm welcome to John!


Friday, May 4, 2012

Howard County: With Warmer Weather Here, Ulman Warns Residents to Watch Out for Driveway Paving Scams

News Release from the Howard County Government:

ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Ken Ulman warns Howard County residents to be alert for solicitors coming door-to-door and offering to repair driveways or to perform other home improvement or handyman services.  

“The County’s Office of Consumer Affairs and Police Department have recently received reports of unlicensed contractors selling driveway paving services without having the proper State or County licenses,” said County Executive Ulman.  “By hiring unlicensed contractors, especially those who offer their services door-to-door, residents take a huge risk of receiving inferior repairs, paying higher prices or losing their money entirely.”

“County residents have reported that contractors start by quoting them a low estimate for the work but later demand a higher price claiming that the job was bigger than anticipated,” said Rebecca Bowman, Administrator of the Office of Consumer Affairs.  “Once the work has been completed, residents often feel that there is no alternative but to pay the higher price, or may even be concerned about retribution by the contractor.”

Before hiring or paying anyone to perform home repairs, such as paving or gutter repair, homeowners should contact the Maryland Home Improvement Commission (MHIC) to check the license status of the individual and company.  To verify a home improvement contractor’s license, consumers can call the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing at 410-230-6309 or visit them online at www.dllr.maryland.gov/license/.  Companies and individuals who perform tree trimming or removal services need to be licensed by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR); to verify their license, call 410-260-3233 or visit DNR’s website at www.dnr.state.md.us/forests/tree_expert_search.asp.

In addition, anyone offering goods or services door-to-door in Howard County must have a Solicitor’s Permit issued by the Office of Consumer Affairs.  If approached, consumers should always ask to see the solicitor’s registration card and refuse to do business with anyone who does not have one.  Howard County consumers can verify whether door-to-door solicitors are properly licensed and/or report unlicensed solicitors to the Office by calling 410-313-6420 or e-mailing consumer@howardcountymd.gov.
  
Door-to-door sales people succeed in separating consumers from their money as they give consumers little time to consider the offer.  They also seldom offer written contracts and, when a consumer does request a contract, the sales person may either produce a form contract or write one up by hand on the spot.  When either of these situations occurs, the contact information listed for the sales person on the contract is usually bogus and the terms and conditions are usually vague.  Even if the terms of the agreement are specific, they are seldom met.


“These guarantees are worthless since these con artists do not hang around to hear or respond to consumer complaints,” said Bowman.  “Even worse, door-to-door sales people have also been known to engage in home burglary while the repair scam is in progress.”

Senior citizens are often targeted by door-to-door sales people, but nevertheless, all consumers should be wary of these home repair offers.  “My best advice is to decline all offers from door-to-door sales people, and report the solicitation immediately to the Office of Consumer Affairs,” added Bowman.

Consumers should also remember the following if they find a home-improvement contractor or handyman at their door:
• In Maryland, home improvement contractors may not require you to pay more than one-third of the contract price up front.  Do not be persuaded by hard luck stories.
• While all door-to-door solicitors are required to give you a 3-day right to cancel your contract in writing, remember that you won’t be able to exercise that right if you (or local or state authorities) cannot find the contractor.  Once you pay your money, it may be impossible to get it back.
• If you ever feel threatened or intimidated by door-to-door solicitors, call the police non-emergency phone number,
410-313-2200, immediately.

For more information and/or to report a potential scam, contact the Office of Consumer Affairs at 410-313-6420.

ACM Presents: Conflict Resolution Center of Baltimore County




The Conflict Resolution Center (CRC) of Baltimore County, a 501 c3 non-profit, provides conflict resolution services to individuals, communities, and organizations. This organization is the Baltimore County branch for Community Mediation Maryland. The services offered by the CRC include: community conferencing, community mediation, group facilitation, conflict resolution education events and workshops, daily rap training/support for schools, and dialogue circles. The CRC services are effective in a variety of situations, from resolving conflict between individuals to addressing harmful behaviors committed by youth. The CRC teamed up with American Community Management in an effort to train their employees to handle various disputes that occur on a daily basis. The non-profit has held multiple workshops for the administrative assistants and community managers at ACM which proved to be very informative and well received by the ACM staff. Community Mediation can be an effective tool to solve many of the disputes that arise in community associations.


Mediation provides a process and structure for people to resolve their conflicts for themselves rather than be told what to do by another person or institution. People reach agreements, make connections, rebuild relationships, and experience relief and optimism as a result. The CRC has dealt with disputes such as: neighborhood disputes, inter-personal, employment, business, family, landlord-tenant, roommate/housemate, school, neighborhood association, and land use disputes. Some of the past mediated issues regarded assault, noise, harassment/bullying, contracts, destruction of property, theft, senior care, property issues, teen/parent communication, and animal control. The non-profit has partnered with county and state organizations including Baltimore County Public Schools, Baltimore County Police Department, Department of Juvenile Services, Baltimore County State's Attorney's Office, and Baltimore County Juvenile Court, as well as local faith-based and community organizations.


Mediation is offered free of charge. All services are voluntary and confidential. Neutral mediators provide a structured space for people to speak to one another, to hear from one another, and to reach a resolution that meets the needs of all involved. Mediations are held at convenient locations throughout Baltimore County. In mediation, parties are able to speak for themselves and make their own decisions. The mediators listen as you explain the situation, promote communication between the participants, clarify topics for discussion, guide you through a process to develop solutions, and assist you in writing an agreement that works for everyone. The mediators never take sides or assess blame. The client controls the outcome and no one tells them what to do. The overall goal of mediation is to assist people to develop long-term resolutions that meet the needs of everyone involved.

With centers in seventeen of the twenty-four Maryland counties, Community Mediation Center services are readily available to Maryland residents. In order to see if mediation is an option in your situation, all you have to do is contact a center within your county or closest to. The Conflict Resolution Center of Baltimore County can be contacted by phone and/or email and are ready to put their services to work.


Conflict Resolution Center of Baltimore County:
Phone: 410-663-7070
Email: inquire@crcbaltimorecounty.org

Written By: Catherine Mann

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Local Event -- Howard County Camp Day 2012

For a family fun activity, click the link below to learn more about Howard County Camp Day 2012, taking place on May 5, 2012 at Centennial Park.

http://www.howardcountymd.gov/campday.htm