There were only three homeowners present for this portion of the meeting during which only one spoke, and that homeowner directed her comments/questions at me. She was particularly concerned with some of the comments I made in regard to a parking permit that was pending issue. Here is some background:
Prior to the August meeting I met with a homeowner to verify his information in connection with issuing a parking permit. During the course of the visit, the homeowner suggested that the association consider issuing a second parking permit to homes in the community. At first I was reticent since parking is always such a touchy subject. However, the homeowner suggested that the cost of the second permit be much higher than the first, something on the order of 3 to 5 times as high. This would discourage people from buying a second permit just because they could afford it (alleviating my concerns about over-parking) and also provide some much needed revenue to the association. I told the homeowner that the idea sounded good to me and that I would take it up with the rest of the board.Now, back to September's meeting. The homeowner at the meeting had several concerns about this, but they all seemed to revolve around 2 points:
At the August meeting, I raised the idea of issuing a second permit to people who were willing to pay $500 or even $1,000 for a yearly permit. I said that because the association had only issued approximately half of it's allotment of 25 permits, the issuance of (what I expected to be) one or two "secondary" permits was something that should be considered in light of the extra money that could be brought in with minimal impact to the parking situation. The idea was quickly rejected by the remaining board members.
- That when I spoke to the homeowner again after the board meeting, I would portray the remaining board members in a bad light, e.g. "I really wanted to do this thing, but those mean, old board members just wouldn't go for it."
- How could I think that this was a good idea? And more to the point, what qualifies me, as a non-resident member of the association and board, to proclaim this a good idea, e.g. why would I care if parking goes to hell in a hand basket subsequent to the adoption of such a policy.
(I should add, at this point, that the remaining board members came to my defense, explaining that they would have acted similarly when talking with the homeowner who suggested the idea of issuing a second permit. That is, they, too, would have politely listened to the homeowner and brought the issue to the board, i.e. it is generally the M.O. of board members in such situations not to argue with a homeowner. I thanked them for speaking up but made clear to the homeowner at the meeting that I did think that the idea had merit.)
To the second point, I explained that I do not make decisions for the association; the board does. The very reason that five people sit on the board and not one is to prevent one person from instituting whatever policy he or she deems to be a good idea. Sometimes the members of the board agree; sometimes they don't. There is nothing wrong with that disagreement, though. That is just the way things work. I thought issuing a second permit was a good idea; the rest of the board disagreed; and the issue was dropped. (I wish that I had specifically addressed the canard that being a non-resident member somehow diminishes me or the work I do as a board member, but it didn't seem the place, nor does this. I will likely address it in a future post, though.)
Open Board Meeting
The highlights of the meeting are covered in the bullet points that follow. Some points require further explanation/analysis which I will get into in later posts.
- Minutes from the 19 August 2010 meeting were unanimously approved with one change: the approval of the architectural change requested by a homeowner was unanimously carried. (I do not intend to obtain a new copy of the minutes to reflect this change, so the "draft" minutes posted will have to suffice unless someone else obtains the final minutes and provides them.)
- A number of landscaping proposals totaling $563.00 were approved.
- The issue of the rabbit fencing in the tot lot was raised. During the summer there hadn't been any problems, but now apparently kids are using it to give themselves a boost to jump over the fence. The board is looking into adding curved extensions to the top of the fence that would prevent climbing over the fence.
- The board approved the purchase of a temporary speed bump to be placed just inside the Belflora entrance gate as well as two stop signs to be added at two points within the community. If the temporary speed bump alleviates the speeding at the entrance, it will likely be made permanent.
- The board reviewed the association's financial statements and noted that the association is currently running almost $26,000 under budget. This is still less than the amount of outstanding debt that the association is owed by delinquent homeowners, though. Statements for the month of August were approved.
- The board reviewed the delinquency report and found that a number of homeowners have not yet paid the special assessment that was due 1 September. There is optimism that most will pay, though, based on the fact that regular assessments due 1 September were paid.
- The board approved the 2010 reserve study and the budget for 2011. The budget included an increase in the regular assessment of $11 per month. (I will write more about these soon.)
- The board discussed the proposed bylaws amendments. I spoke up saying that I was in favor of all but the change to eliminate cumulative voting. I felt that there is a minority of homeowners who have the best interests of the association in mind but who for one reason or another are unwilling or unable to attend the meetings. I said that I was aware of the possible dangers of cumulative voting but that I felt the probability of those occurring was low. The board president felt that the elimination of cumulative voting would bring us in line with most corporations and every governmental process of holding elections. I reiterated that I understood the rationale, but that I was still not in favor of the amendment.
It was at this point that a "sort of" vote was held. Of the four members present, two voted "aye", I voted "no", and one abstained (admitting to not having read the changes). This should mean that the measure was defeated, having failed to garner a majority of votes. However, at this point, the property manager suggested that the issue be tabled until all five members are present, and the board president agreed to table the issue. I'm not sure of the legality of these actions, but I was not inclined to make a federal case out of it (I expected to be the sole "no" vote against four "ayes").