Q&A to Cover Rising Annual Dues & Stepped Up Covenant Enforcement
By Susan Stern, ECC HOA Communications
The ECC HOA Board of Directors meets Thursday February 7, 2019 for a 7 p.m. public meeting at Ragazzi’s Pizza 15475 Ruggles Street (north of 156th and West Maple Road) to cast a vote on the 2019 proposed budget, share the state of finances, and elaborate on stepped up enforcement of Elk Creek Crossing’s CC&R: Covenants, Conditions, Restrictions, and Bylaws.
Why Annuals Dues Rose
For starters, the board intends to elaborate why annual dues rose to $60 for the current fiscal year. The $35 yearly fee has remained the same since the subdivision was established in the late 90s.
Higher Operating Costs
The higher assessment shall cover the costs of rising utility rates, increased management fees, removal/replacement of insect-infested ash trees near the entrance, and other standard HOA operating expenses. For aesthetics, the Board proposes buying or renting holiday lights.
What Emergency Fund?
Elk Creek Crossing has none. ECC’s certificate of deposit no longer exists. Otto said CD dollars were transferred to the operating budget for mailbox repairs and landscaping costs from 2015-2017.
Financial Fortitude Goal
Otto suggests shifting a portion of the $60 / per property fee into a reserve account, set aside for unforeseen purposes. We presently have – zero reserves.
“A reserve account would give peace of mind should unexpected expenses arise. We hope to set up an interest-bearing money market account,” said ECC property manager Elizabeth Otto of P.J. Morgan Real Estate.
Board’s Plan for Emergencies
For example, if a driver crashes and destroys the stone entrance sign and drives off, the HOA is legally responsible for replacement. Without reserve dollars, coupled with a tight budget, the association might seek to propose calling for a Special Assessment.
A Special assessment fees would require homeowners to pay a set dollar amount for an emergency or special project deemed community necessary:
Approval is required by two-thirds of members or their proxy who attend a meeting called for this specific purpose, notes Otto. This process takes extended time for approval, leaving the entrance an eyesore. Raising HOA dues via policy expedites the process.
Financials, Bank Account Low
At December’s end, the neighborhood’s operating account was a mere $1,992.21, Otto said. The fund typically ascends starting around February 15 – the date member association fees become due.
2018 Dues Didn’t Cover Expenses
Last year, ECC was in the red. The $14,600 homeowners paid in annual dues declined to cover $16,949.90 of actual operating expenses. Fact is. Non-payers are partly to blame for the budget shortfall.
Delinquent Homeowners Strain Budget
Regular payers may wince. A whopping 61 of 426 property owners remain delinquent on their annual HOA payments. Noncompliance tops 14 percent, amounting to $7,106.28 in accrued unpaid fees. The amount owed is problematic, Otto emphasizes.
Non-payers thwart the HOA’s financial well-being and solvency – including its ability to cover scheduled and unscheduled expenses.
Late Payers Face Interest Charges + 4-Step Process
Effective January 1, 2019, the Board has agreed to Otto’s recommendation to charge a 12 percent late fee at 90 days. An unpaid balance accrues interest every month, until paid in full.
Homeowners Bound to HOA Rules
A condition of owning a property in Elk Creek Crossing requires the buyer to pay annual HOA dues, and follow the rules of the legally-binding covenants, conditions, and restrictions. Fees help maintain common areas and cover community services. Rules are designed to protect property values, and avert blight.
HOA Steps Up Enforcement
The board, in response to an uptick in Covenant violation complaints, like homeowners who store boats and campers in driveways, has implemented a 4-step rule in place since January 1, 2019:
Monthly Curbside Assessments
Beginning January 1, the Board’s stepped up covenant policy also gave the green light for monthly neighborhood visual checks. The property manager will be on the look out for covenant violations.
4-Step Process Applies to Delinquent HOA Dues
In addition to the interest rate charged to members delinquent on HOA due payments, as above outlined, outstanding balances are also subject to the 4-step process.
Pink Proxy Ballot Mailed – PRINT COPY
Exercise your right to vote on the 2019 proposed budget. Homeowners can attend the February 7, 2019 7 pm meeting or send a representative.
Complete the pink colored proxy ballot dated January 1. Email it to EOtto@pjmorgan.com by 4 pm Thursday, January 7. P.J. Morgan Real Estate also accepts faxes. Fax# 402-397-6065. Inquiries? Call Office# 402-397-7775
Proxy ballots may also be delivered in person at the meeting.
Of course. We encourage all homeowners to attend the 7 pm, February 7, 2019 “Annual ECC HOA Meeting” to be held in a private room at Ragazzi’s Pizza, located a tad north of 154th and West Maple Road.
Take the opportunity to let your voice be heard. Hear about the previous year’s accomplishments. Like the always popular Easter Egg Hunt and our participation in Omaha Spring Cleanup.
Ask questions. Get answers. Get to know members of your community.
Elk Creek Crossing. A Great Place to Live!
We hope to see you there!
Sincerely, Susan Stern
About the ECC Board
The ECC Board of Directors consist of Brenda Jennings (Interim President), Ann Smith (Secretary) and Elizabeth Otto, property manager
Anyone interesting in joining the board, please contact P.J. Morgan Real Estate’s Liz Otto for more info. EOtto@pjmorgan.com
Official Documents :
New Covenant Violation Policy – PDF
ECC HOA AGENDA – PDF
2019 Proposed Budget –PDF
ECC HOA Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&R) – Website
Notice of Meeting /Proxy Ballot – PDF
Ragazzi’s Pizza – Google Maps
Source citations :
Real Estate Law – Define Covenants
The 411 on HOAs – Website
P.J. Morgan Real Estate – Website
UNL/Nebraska Forest Service – Identifying ash trees PDF
UNL/Nebraska Forest Service – Identifying emerald ash borer insect PDF