Budget process ‘missteps’ add to confusion

Budget process ‘missteps’ add to confusion

A letter sent to all 237 homes in Summer Trees West and an attached 2017 budget marked “adopted” confused many Association members, who wondered whatever happened to the Dec. 27 meeting where the board was supposed to discuss and approve the final spending plan.

Well, as it turns out, the document distributed this week may be a done deal, but it’s by no means final as the mailing suggests. The board will discuss the document at a meeting of the Association on Dec. 27, take comments and then vote, HOA Secretary Bill Roberts confirmed in email to me late Thursday.

“This secretary will assume responsibility for any errors and/or unintended missteps,” Roberts wrote.

Apparently, the board felt caught in a Catch-22. The rules require that the annual budget be approved by Dec. 10 each year, but that did not occur because the board held a special meeting on the budget Nov. 23 and agreed to revise it and present it to the Association Dec. 27. Based on a consensus that the amount budgeted for legal fees next year was way too low considering the Association got ensnarled in litigation with the owners of 107 CPR and a couple living in 26STR without being on any deed or lease, the board is raising the amount to $18,000 in 2017. This and other circumstances will cause the project assessment hike to rise from $3 per month as originally planned to $7 per month per unit – or $85 per month.

“Currently at issue is the 2017 budget and the necessary increase required to meet the obligations of running this HOA,” HOA board member Kelly Nixon said in an email to homeowners. “Our savings (your association acquired from the sale of [HOA] property in [2006]) has been subsidizing our HOA dues for the past ten years and has run its course. The reality of paying the entire operating expenses of this business solely from your HOA dues is now coming into focus.”

Although the projected $85 per month assessment that was prematurely announced apparently will become reality, the official budget vote will be next week and could still be amended. Under the rules, any Association member has a right to speak on any matter before the board votes.

The Dec. 27 meeting begins at 6 p.m. at the VFW Hall on S. Williamson Boulevard.