Dollars and Sense

By far, the biggest benefit of our new Street Captain initiative is having the opportunity for one-on-one conversations with residents. Your feedback is so important to helping us move forward. Thankfully, most of the feedback has been very overwhelmingly positive.

On occasion, we encounter someone who has specific concerns. We continue to attempt to address every concern publicly so all residents can make an educated decision informed by absolute transparency.

Today’s topics largely center on feedback regarding dues.

When I moved into the neighborhood in 1990, the dues were $35 and now they’re $75. I don’t think that’s right.
Our dues can only increase when residents vote in favor of that increase, and that’s only happened twice since 1985. We must attempt to keep up with inflation. Gas prices, electricity, insurance and basically everything has obviously gotten more expensive. Today, it would take $78.38 to buy you what $35 bought you in 1985.

At $75, our dues have raised at a lower rate than inflation. And they are still lower than most other subdivisions in our area, none of which offers a central park or playground.

I don’t have any kids and I don’t use the park or any common areas. I take care of my property, pay high taxes and I shouldn’t have to pay any more than that.
Dues and our By-Laws and Restrictions are designed to ensure the entire neighborhood remains safe, clean and attractive for residents and prospective buyers. If we work together, we can maintain property values throughout. The bottom line is that if we don’t work together, everyone’s property values will suffer. Marketability is important in real estate, and the park and other assets you refuse to support help ensure we have homes populated with homeowners.

Besides, everyone in our neighborhood uses a common entrance and no one wants that entrance to be overgrown with weeds. And it costs money to light our entrance monuments.  

Where does all the money go? I don’t see many improvements in Glenwood Estates.
You can see a 6-year financial breakdown at glenwoodestates.org/vote.  There, you’ll see that the money goes to trying to keep up with rising costs while attempting to put money away for improvements and unforeseen needs in the future like our basketball court that is cracked and a handful of other items including neighborhood events each year.

Utilities for the park, lawn care, insurance and maintaining assets like the playground and said basketball court all cost money and in an average year, we only collect about $1,640 more than our expenses for a neighborhood of 272 homes. It’s simply not a safe margin.

Your letter said that people who have not paid dues get a clean slate. Why should I vote yes or pay dues when repeat offenders get a pass? This is unfair.
In a perfect world, all homeowners would gladly take care of their homes and pay their dues every year. In a less perfect world, we would have the legal authority and financial stability to pursue proper recourse for those who do not. In our highly imperfect situation, the very reason that we can’t legally enforce our challenges (the lack of a restrictive covenant) is what prevents us from collecting back dues.

Ultimately, as I’ve said in earlier communications, we have to make a choice. Do we vote NO or abstain simply to prove a point or out of spite over what we feel are past injustices? Or do we take a stand as a community of neighbors right now to say enough is enough?  It’s 100% in our hands to do the mature thing that will help us proceed in a proper manner, but unless we vote YES together, we will never be able to take even the first step to setting things right and holding everyone equally accountable.

We have a number of residents who are willing to pay dues, but would like for their voice to be heard when voting for new rules. However, many are unable to attend special meetings. Can we look into proxy voting?
If these three Revisions pass, all homeowners will have the legal authority and the flexibility needed to discuss, frame out and formalize any number of options. We want everyone to have a voice and would prefer in-person attendance at meetings so that we can have meaningful discussions and debates. However, we recognize that this is not always possible and will work with residents to explore options moving forward.

The goal is to make things much simpler for everyone to become involved without undue burden on anyone.

I don’t like that dues are helping pay for social events in the park that I am not attending. 
You make a fair point and one that we should discuss as part of a neighborhood vote should these Revisions pass. Generally, the Association asks residents to bring food and drinks to social events to help minimize costs. And these events are a great opportunity to communicate, create a sense of community and make connections that we would otherwise never make. Social events also present a marketable aspect of our subdivision that many new families find attractive as they integrate into the neighborhood.  There are many benefits, but we hear your concerns.

This is just one more example of a situation that could be formalized if all homeowners were HOA members who could more easily vote in favor of or against specific measures at a special meeting.

I’m not interested in being a part of the HOA but I am willing to pay dues and vote for the 2/3 majority of a special meeting. Am I forced to participate in the HOA if Revision 1 passes?
If Revision 1 passes, all homeowners will automatically be made members of the Association. However, members may choose to be as involved as they would like and will not be required to attend meetings or do anything they do not wish to do. Think of it almost like owning stock in a corporation. A successful Revision 1 basically gives each homeowner one “share” in the “corporation” and members may do as much or as little with that as they like.