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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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!
Hedgerow HOA President