Thursday, September 3, 2015

Home Owners Association - HOA Madnesss

I'm preparing to attend a meeting of our HOA this evening.  The topic is voting to raise the amount we dedicate each month to the reserve fund.  We paid some $3,000 to $4,000 to have a consultant analyze the needs of the community and provide proposed recommendations to the Board.  Our HOA Board had the consultant walk through about 10 Powerpoint slides last month giving us a broad overview of how much money would be needed to replace or repair major components.

After the briefing there were several questions from owners.  Then there was a push by the HOA president to have us vote the following week to approve the proposed increase in funds we pay to the reserve fund.  The actual report was not made available to owners.  I asked to review the report and had to travel to our property managers office to do so.  Within the report was a section with a proposed expenditure schedule.  It outlined when and how much would be spent each year for various repair or replacement of components.  I pointed out to all the owners that this document existed and wondered out loud why voters were not given the information, especially at our meeting?

No response from the Board.  Then today I noticed the minutes from a July HOA Board meeting had a discussion about the Board not agreeing with all of the findings of the consultant.  The Board mentioned in the minutes developing a two year maintenance plan that would be used to decide what to spend reserve fund monies on.  None of this was mentioned at our meeting.

So now in about an hour and a half we will meet, without all the information we need and possibly vote on funding our reserve fund.  Why would the Board not share with us all the information?  Maybe we'll find out but I doubt it.  I've heard about HOA communities being confrontational and at times a nightmare to deal with.  I think I'm seeing some of those concerns in action.

One thing our Board has done is establish a policy where owners are allowed to propose changes to common areas e.g., planting trees or in our case building  a fence to keep trespassers out.  But, our Board has gone the extra mile and now says once owners pay for the changes the HOA will then pay for the maintenance of those items.  What the maintenance costs are is something unknown at this point.  I wondered if someone damages the fence the owner has put up is the repair called maintenance?

I had an idea that additional security lighting should be installed along a dark area of our community. The idea fell flat with some owners embracing the darkness.  So, I backed off and will just do what I can to ensure the area near my condo is illuminated enough for safety.

One thing I've noticed is that the lack of communication and sharing of facts leads to emotions being on edge.  Tones of voices get very unfriendly.  Hopefully this evening calm and reason will prevail.

Next Day.  Well, the meeting was calm and to the point.  Our HOA Board presented a 2 year maintenance plan that was approved by a vote of 51 to 13.  Why the Board did not present the 2 year plan at the original meeting is puzzling.  Streets being fixed and buildings being painted was the emphasis of the 2 year plan.  The $50 monthly increase in what we pay into the reserve fund wasn't a welcome added expense, but to keep the community looking good it was a necessary expense. Next up  in October, discussion and approval of our yearly budget for 2016.

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