Important Announcements – Dues Increases and Property Management

25 Jun

On May 28th, the Franklin-Palmer HOA board hosted their annual member’s meeting at the Canton Twp Administrative Building.  There were many topics discussed, but some important items were left unresolved.  Some of those items can be found, below, along with some updated information.

Please take a moment to click this link and read through it, as it involves an increase in our annual dues, and the transition to a full-time Property Management company.

HOA Board Participation

During the annual meeting it was announced that Brian Pratt will be stepping down from the role of President, due to lack of availability in the coming months.  In addition to the Presidency, there are additional Officer roles that need to be filled; the HOA board does not have enough members to run effectively.

This issue was punctuated by the fact that only 7 home-owners (out of 337) were in attendance at the annual meeting.  When posed with the question of joining the board, all attendees expressed a desire to help with various specific tasks, but none were able to step in officially, to fill the vacant board positions.

These vacancies are still unresolved.

Transitioning to a Management Company

Our community is full of families that lead busy lives.  The current board members are no exception.  This board, and all previous incarnations of the HOA board, have historically struggled to recruit volunteers to help run our association.

With some of the current board members preparing to step down and move on to new chapters in their lives, we appear to have reached the point where a Management Company is needed, to handle maintenance and financial matters.  The board has been soliciting bids from various management companies, and consulting with legal representation to ensure all necessary bases are covered.

Please prepare for a transition to a full-time management company in the coming months.

HOA Budgetary Troubles

Since its establishment in 1975, the annual HOA dues have not increased in such a way as to keep up with inflation and rising maintenance costs.  Because of this, when the current board took over for the previous staff, an analysis of our budget determined that our annual expenses significantly outweigh our annual income.  Continuing on this path, the board will be solvent (out of money) within 2 more years.  A significant increase in our annual dues is long overdue.

In addition, the costs of the new management company will need to be included with the needed increase.  Homeowners should expect dues to increase by an additional $60-$70, annually, starting in January 2015.  To clarify, this amount is in addition to our current $50 yearly dues amount; an estimated total of roughly $120/year.  Without this increase, the Home-Owner’s Association cannot continue to exist.  If the association dissolves, the common areas will go unmaintained, and the community roads will quickly become entrenched in snow, in the winter months.

This increase is currently just an estimate; we will provide additional details and specific numbers, as soon as have them.

Liens for Unpaid Dues

In the past, previous incarnations of the board have been lenient with outstanding and unpaid dues.  This has resulted in an unprecedented number of delinquent accounts.  The current count stands at 50 unpaid homes, for the 2014 fiscal year and beyond.  Considering the current financial situation, the board has all agreed that any outstanding balances with 2 or more years of delinquency will have liens filed against them this Fall.

Additional Notes

Secretary Nancy Polderdyke kept meeting minutes, and additional items can be found in the following document, if you are interested in other topics which were discussed during the meeting.

Download 2014 Annual Meeting Minutes

If you are interested in viewing a copy of the financial breakdown (last updated August 2014) please visit the following link:

View/Download Budget Analysis 2013 & (August) 2014

9 Replies to “Important Announcements – Dues Increases and Property Management

  1. “……dues to increase by an additional $60 – $70 annually . . . ”

    Does that statement mean the dues will become $50 (current) PLUS $60 or $70, i.e., $110 or $120/year? The word “additional” confused me.

    Thanks for a reply.

    • Hi Don,
      You are correct; the $60-70 estimated amount is in addition to our current dues, which would bring the total yearly dues to roughly $120. I will amend the article, above to clarify this point.

  2. I moved from Chicago. Our dues were $520.00 a year. This increase is not the end of the world, but, it seems that the outside company is driving up the cost. The previous regime, when they deciced to burden the load of responsibility worked wihin the budget. A new group took over and the first thing they want is less work. The easy sollution, pay someone else to do the work and increase the dues to accomplish it. If you cant handle the heat why did you run for the job? Why don’t you step down and let someone else take over that wants more than bragging rights. Any comments?

    • Hi Ken, thanks for your comment.

      I think you have a fundamental misunderstanding of the situation, as well as a misunderstanding of the association’s history.

      Apathy has been a constant adversary for our homeowners association. The current members are volunteering to serve, not because they’re looking for glory or recognition, but because nobody else was willing to step in when the previous board became overwhelmed and quit. Over the years, numerous incarnations of the board have sent out entreaties to homeowners, asking for volunteers to sit on the board, and receiving no willing participants. If you are ready to join the board, please get in touch using the “Contact Us” link, above.

      For the last year, most of the job of the current board has been to correct many long-standing shortcomings. Most of these changes were behind the scenes; the ledger wasn’t accurate, costs had risen without an increase in dues, mailings require hours of preparation, the bylaws are outdated and restrictive, there were no templates for any official documents, and no instructions on how to respond to various situations that can arise within a subdivision. There was no website, nor any easy means to contact the board. Lastly, a significant chunk of homeowners were delinquent with payments, requiring legal intervention. We’ve worked to streamline a lot of processes to make overall management easier, but it has become clear that 337 homes is too many for 3 volunteers to manage.

      All of this information was shared with attendees of the annual meeting; at that meeting, we had a grand total of 5 attendees. None of the attendees were willing to join the board. It was that response, as well as advice from experienced legal counsel, which resulted in the decision to move to a management company.

      I hope this helps to provide a clearer picture of the situation.

  3. First, a correction to the first paragraph on the HOA Budgetary Troubles section of your article. Solvent means: having assets in excess of liabilities; able to pay one’s debts. If the dues are not increased, the Home Owners Association will be insolvent: not having assets in excess of liabilities; unable to pay one’s debts.
    Second, you ask for volunteers for an unnamed number of positions on the board with duties that you do not specify. Are you surprised that you get no volunteers for a job without a job description and an estimate of the number of hours that job entails? Perhaps you would better motivate volunteers if they were given more complete information. I won’t sign up to buy a “pig in a poke” and I don’t know anyone who will.
    I completely agree that a dues increase is necessary and the increase you have proposed is reasonable. With more information, I will consider volunteering.

    • Hi Vicki,

      Thank you for the perspective. You bring up excellent points, and you’re completely right.

      I’ve been meaning to post an article describing our needs and responsibilities in further detail. I guess I’d better get to work on it…

  4. Hello everyone, I have lived in this subdivision my whole life (all of my 34 years). When it came time for me to purchase a home, I also bought in this subdivision. Association dues have always been set at 50.00 and I agree that they have needed to be increased, but there has also been no improvements to this subdivision over these 34 years that I can see -Nothing that gives kids and families something to do in the park, yes I understand the liability of swings and or a jungle gym, but like always… Your kids should be supervised. When I was younger, there were 5 picnic tables located throughout the park area, now there is nothing but grass and wet spots. I can see that an initial increase is required, but it instead of another full increase the following year, the dues should continue to increase by $5.00 to $10.00 for all years to follow. This would be more beneficial instead of reaching this same predicament in another 15-20 years. Please let me know your thoughts on this… Thanks.

  5. It is my hope that with the increase in dues we can include cleaning out the drainage ditch at the southwest corner of Morton Taylor and Proctor in the Fall after the leaves have fallen. The landscaping company mows this area but they do not do leaf collection. There is a big sewer pipe here and it gets very badly clogged. i have in past years cleaned this myself, fearful of getting water in my basement. We are moving and this needs to be addressed by the board.

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