It has been a long week both personally and trying to track a number of things down regarding the HOA. Apologies for not being able to update sooner. And apologies again for another long post.
First, I want to mention that this update is also posted on OrangeCommons.com – there is now a link on the site called “Updates” and my intention is for us now and hopefully the elected board in the future to use this as a solid record of posts that will be accessible by all (even without social media accounts) permanently. Additionally, this post will be more useful on the site as it will have a bunch of links to help make more sense of various items.
Additionally on the site you’re going to find two links to check out. One is called “Contact Form” and will bring you to a page where we’re hoping everyone can hop in and provide us their best contact information and details to ensure the board has good information. You’ll also be receiving a postcard in the mail soon that David Porter put together with the same link. The second resource is a link to a shared Google Drive. Within this drive you’re going to find a collection of documents relevant to the HOA coming in to existence. More on that as this post continues.
Yesterday Ken Raymond appointed myself, Rochelle Jones and David Porter to the interim director roles that exist until the election is completed at the first meeting. You’ll find this document in the shared drive mentioned above. Erica Scott has also stepped up as a volunteer/candidate. Jon Knight is willing to participate if we need him. Otherwise we have not yet heard from anyone else that wants to volunteer. As a reminder, these are unpaid positions that come with duties that must be performed. Those of us who are working together on all of this absolutely welcome more volunteers and potential board members / officers into the fray.
Today (Friday) I spoke with Ron Detota directly. I was able to get additional clarification on the pumping station utility cost. This was a long process as I started with OCWA, got forwarded to Marty Hennessey with Onondaga Water Environment Protection, shuffled along to Mark Chambers with C&S Companies who works alongside Ron Detota and finally back to Ron himself. Getting Ron to hop on a call took 3 additional days, but it finally happened late this afternoon. The pumping station is not our utility responsibility and the back bills are not our responsibility. He laughed at the notion of even considering allowing us to be responsible for them, including holding the utility account, as that risks a big issue with the local sewer district if we did anything wrong. At the first town board meeting in December the operation of the pumping station will transition from KRDD (the developer) over to the consolidated sewer district that is already paid for as part of our taxes. He was not aware that KRDD had not kept the National Grid account current and was planning to act on this going in to next week. The town supervisor currently is out with COVID but will be brought in on it as well.
We don’t think we would be able to get out of the back taxes since they are in fact addressed to the HOA (bills in the shared drive), so it seems illogical to fight that. The only other item we are aware of that KRDD thinks we owe (and that we disagree with) is the landscapers they hired this year. The landscaping deal was with KRDD and the HOA was not party to their contract as far as we can tell. Due to this fact as well as having a mountain of information regarding services the landscaper billed for that they did not actually perform, we want the board to pursue notifying KRDD that this obligation belongs to them and them alone. The lawn invoice through September that they sent us is $4050. There may be further invoices for more but I have not received them. KRDD can pay this or they can deal with defaulting their account with JM Landscaping. Regardless of the fact that we did nothing wrong here this will likely hinder any relationship we might have had with JM Landscaping assuming KRDD does not make them whole, but there are other landscaping companies and we did nothing wrong here. Mike Raymond, as KRDD’s representative, clearly told us they were covering all of these costs until the board was elected – which hasn’t happened yet.
I worked with State Farm this week on an alternate insurance option. At first glance they appear to be significantly more affordable than other quotes but we won’t have a final proposal from them until the underwriter is back in the office Monday morning. This will likely be a savings of $2500-3000 per year versus the prior estimate but I don’t want to get everyone’s hopes up until we have that back for sure. That said, you’ll find a sample budget within the shared drive. I worked through a few similar de minimis HOAs I was able to find and put it together just to lay out a realistic expectation for people to look at. This is not a sure thing, this is just meant to be a resource in moving things forward and to try to provide clarity on what might be typical.
The sample budget here rounds out to $14/mo ($168/yr) per house. If the State Farm price is as good as it seems it’ll end up closer to $12/mo ($146/yr). This is a few dollars higher than previous estimates as those did not include legal fees, postage/supplies/PO Box costs, or any funds going into the reserve account in the event they become needed (for something like the $1000 deductible on an insurance claim, etc). The board and members will need to work to ensure these amounts are accurate and acceptable and my assumption would be that in the event the reserves were not used that year 2 contributions may be able to drop lower. Year 1 will also likely be higher to cover the currently unpaid 2022 school tax bills including interest and penalties. I do not have a final amount on this yet as we don’t know the date they’ll be paid, but likely in the $2000 range (~$18/member).
More to follow once we have a good quantity of responses back on the contact form and can begin looking at setting the meeting time. We also have not secured a location yet. If anyone has ideas for a free venue that has the capacity for the number of people who might attend please do make suggestions or help out with that piece of the puzzle. Finally, if a large group feels that a general discussion ahead of the official meeting is needed we can work out a digital meeting environment to make that happen in the coming weeks. Please advise if this is something you desire (and if it is something you are able to set up online or if you’d like one of the current volunteers to pursue it).
As always I am simply working with the knowledge we have been able to acquire as a group and I am not providing legal advice here. I believe the above to be accurate but am happy to be corrected if you find information or obtain official legal advice. There is so much going on with all of this that it is also likely that I may have missed some relevant information for this post. As time goes on and our note taking and such gets better this potential will diminish.