Happy New Year

Happy New Year from the HHOA Board!  We apologize for dropping off the map for the past couple of months, but in all honesty, the annual meeting, and all the work that went into it, just plain plum wore us out.  But we’re back and (I think) re-energized and ready to go in 2012.  As many of you have guessed, the initiative to pass a dues increase, as well as to take on financing to fund the capital improvement project proposed by the board at the annual meeting, did not pass.  While we were somewhat discouraged, one serious ray of shining light, or silver lining, or whatever catchphrase you prefer, was that the people in our community were coming together, and interested, and volunteering to help!  No seriously, that was the true highlight for me, the genuine interest that was out there to come together as a community and start making some improvements.  We weighed out some options fiscally, including coming back to the community with a slightly smaller dues increase, or potentially a small one-time assessment.  Because as you heard many MANY times at the annual meeting, there is a lot that needs to be done to our common areas that really cannot wait.  But we heard those of you who said, we support improvement, but we want a specific action plan before we vote to increase dues or the like.  So dues will remain at $565 per household for 2012.

Another key take-away that I want to emphasize from the meeting – the community does NOT vote on the annual budget.  The community only votes if the Board proposes to raise dues, or to levy an assessment in excess of $200, and on the slate of candidates for the Board.  A one-time assessment of less than $200 does not need homeowner approval.  Neither does the annual budget.

Now, while we did not come back to increase dues, and we chose not to levy a one-time small assessment, we did have some tough decisions to face.  We were notified by Southeastern Tennis that any patchwork job done on the tennis courts at HRI would not be guaranteed even for a day.  That given the seriousness of the damage to the courts, combined with unpredictable winter weather, they could patch the cracks, and they would likely crack again as soon as the next day.  So the Board opted to completely renovate the tennis courts, rather than throw another $3000 into the money pit, and not even receive a one-season guarantee for the expense.  This means the courts will be out of commission for winter, but thanks to the tireless negotiating by Joe Reardon, our Tennis Chair, Spring tennis will rock!  Yes, this takes a big chunk out of our reserves.  BUT, the Board viewed this as a necessary step that could not wait any longer.  And in all honesty, we hope this shiny, brand new piece of our common areas will inspire folks to come together and work towards improving the other areas within our community.

So this brings me to my last point.  Many of you volunteered to help both at, and following, the annual meeting.  If you’re still interested in the harsh light of dawn (aka, after giving it some thought), then please email us at contacthhoa@gmail.com.  We will start holding once-monthly meetings to create an action plan – hopefully one that will be voted on by the community at the annual meeting next October.  So…come one, come all…PLEASE volunteer if you have an idea, an opinion, anything.

Finally, we wish all of you and your families a very happy, healthy and safe 2012!

Katye Whalen

Hedgerow HOA  President

Annual Meeting

The Hedgerow HOA will have its Annual Meeting on Monday October 18 at 7:00pm at Christ United Methodist Church on Woodstock Road in Roswell.  Details/agenda items to follow.   Address is below:

Christ United Methodist Church
1340 Woodstock Road
Roswell, GA 30075

Community Management Associates

By now you have probably all received a letter in your mailbox from a company called CMA. Let me state first that this is not a “scam”, it is in fact true.  Let me also apologize for not notifying the HOA prior to receipt of that letter.  In all honesty, it didn’t occur to me that they would send something out to all of the homeowners so quickly.

Now for some background.  The board voted unanimously to bring onboard CMA to manage the financial aspects ONLY of the HOA at the May meeting (technically held the first week in June).  We are in no way handing over any control of the HOA to this company.  They will be responsible for invoicing, bill payment, budget preparation, and the assisting of contract negotiation in order to better improve our pricing for services such as landscaping and pool management. 

Regarding cost, because I know that is of concern, understandably, we will pay CMA $425/month for these services.  We received quotes from two other property management companies, and not only was CMA’s bid the most competitive by far, they are also the largest company providing these services in the Metro Atlanta area.  We discovered during the process we have been an anomaly amongst neighborhoods of our size.  We were met with shocked silence upon stating that we had 276 homes within our community.   It was the opinion of the board that their negotiations of contracts will mostly make up for the cost, while providing a level of financial streamlining that is difficult to achieve by an all-volunteer board.  The question was posed at the annual meeting last year, where Christian and I were volunteering (the lone volunteers, I might add) to step into these seats, “who will be handling the money?”, and when he replied, “that would be me”, the follow-up question was, “and who will be looking over your shoulder, and why should we trust you?”.  Those questions stuck with both of us this year, through the many, many countless hours of converting the books to a streamlined spreadsheet, and the many, many hours of stuffing bills, mailing, receiving, reconciling, setting up payment plans, etc. that we took on.  And this is just the dues process.  This company carries general liability insurance.  So, you should breathe a little easier that this company, as opposed to part-time volunteers, is handling the day-to-day finances of your very large HOA.

A point of clarification that I want to reiterate – we are in no way handing over control of the HOA.  The board (and the members of the HOA) are in complete control  of all decisions, policies, etc.  Because I know this post will get some serious readership, I’m going to go ahead and put in a plug for volunteers – we will have MANY positions open for the 2011 year.  We still have vacancies that we juggled throughout 2010.  If you want input into decisions that affect YOUR community, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE volunteer.  Don’t Monday morning quarterback, and pass judgments on decisions that you weren’t involved in because you didn’t volunteer.  We all live in these neighborhoods together.  We all have a vested interest in our community.  There should be no “us vs. them” mentality.

Obviously because this is change, there will be some transitions, some learning as we go.  Please be patient, and please feel free to reach out to the contact included on the letter.  And please make this a smooth process by completing the requested information.  Your participation is voluntary, but it is to your benefit to at least provide your contact information and an emergency contact, should there ever be an emergency at your home, they will be attempting to reach you.  If you have a major conflict in providing some of the information, then forego that specifically, but please complete and mail in the form.

Have a great Labor Day Weekend, and enjoy the last pool weekend of the season!