The schedule for board meetings was discussed in the first members meeting earlier this year. Board meeting have been at the end of each quarter (3/27, 6/26, next 9/25) and the details are published on the website https://orangecommons.com/meetings/ – all are welcome to join and observe the board meetings, but outside of publishing the details months in advance on the website and (usually) mentioning them in update emails like this, no special notices are sent out about them. We make time for people to speak as well should they wish to. Otherwise, the next members meeting will be in December. The members meeting is the one you’ll receive notices about and will (hopefully) join to vote on the next board election, review the budget with us for 2024, etc.
(Note – there is one board seat that will be up for voting at the December members meeting. If you are interested in being on the ballot you have plenty of time to think about it and reach out, but please do so in the next 3 or so months. You can add your name at the meeting itself, but that would be at a disadvantage versus being on the proxy ballots that will be sent out prior to the meeting date).
The minutes from the last meeting on 6/26 have been added to the updates on the website. Primary items discussed include the unpaid assessments and plan for how to address them (more below), where we are with the town on the Parcel H driveway item (the town has advised us to work with their attorney regarding potential liability), and landscaping items (more below). The agenda and other relevant docs are linked on the website.
As of today, 91 of 113 homes have paid the 2023 assessments. Unpaid homes will be mailed an additional invoice soon. Due to the circumstances of this being the first year collecting assessments the board voted on a plan to ease into the standard fees in the bylaws. The plan is to credit back the first month’s $20 late fee (paid by 6/26) then phase it in over the following months for those who do not pay on time. Second month late (paid by 7/26) would be $5, third month (paid by 8/26) $10, fourth month (paid by 9/26) $15, fifth month and all after $20. Note that these are per-month and add to one another. For 2023 we are also deferring any collections/lien filings and they will not be on the table until after the 2024 assessments in January. As was indicated on the initial invoice, if you need to make alternate arrangements for the payments or a different plan for timing, please do reach out.
We engaged Hummer Lawn & Snow for the common area mowing and sign area cleanup. They were far and away the most reasonably priced option and if we can get them into a rhythm hitting all the areas every other week as contracted we will be in a great place to lower the budget for 2024. We have had a bit of a learning curve with them as the HOA parcels that need mowing are all a bit spread out and some in odd places, but this last week it appears that they got them all. Hopefully this rhythm continues.
For the sign area they specified trimming the bushes as well as edging and mulching the beds. They did that, but we are now very aware that the weeds/grass growing in the bed has poked through the mulch and is unsightly. We have a plan to kill off those unwanted items once we get a few days without rain. Additionally, we plan to hire out a more thorough rework of the bed to pull up unwanted material and put down weed-blocking material and permanent stone rather than needing to budget for mulching every year.
The taxes for all common area plots are paid in full. The next round of taxes begins in September (already in the budget).
Liability insurance, officers insurance and the financial bond are in place with State Farm. A copy of the policy will be placed into the resource page discussed below once it becomes available. They approved the policy quickly but have a backlog in getting official copies of these HOA policies out.
A resource links page https://orangecommons.com/resource-links/ was added to the website. This links to the financial ledger, budgets, the mowing map, and a repository of receipts and such for spent money as well. This page is part of the Orange Commons website menu and may eventually be password protected to ensure the community’s information is not available to the general public. We will discuss solutions to ensuring the information is available to residents but also not broadcast to the world at an upcoming board meeting.
The 2024 budget is not ready to be confirmed (and will not be until December). Some additional changes will affect this number in either direction but our efforts are focused on decreasing it.
Over the last couple days we received a number of requests to hide various personally identifying information from the website (including the shared drive, videos, etc). This has been done. All of the members in this community are, however, owners of this organization by nature of owning their home. The members may request any and all documentation the organization has and should do so by emailing email@example.com – requests can also be mailed, but expect a more delayed response as we do not check the PO box daily.
Questions we received from members:
(do feel free to email us anytime firstname.lastname@example.org)
-Consider changing the fiscal year to end March 31?
Changing the operating year would create some additional work in changing various filing dates and would put us a bit off from being able to reference the tax database for current ownership information. If there is a desire by the membership to make this change please do express that. Note that this change likely could not occur until after the 10-year lockout on changes indicated in the HOA document.
-Any in-person meetings coming up?
We did not plan one, but if people are interested we can do so. So far this has only been requested by one member. Are more members interested in doing so? The annual members meetings where all members are requested to attend (not yet scheduled) is planned to be online unless we want to use additional budgeted funds for a facility rental.
-Will quarterly financial updates be provided including receipts?
The intention was to have these be available live and on-demand. Currently the ledger is posted on the website where you can view funds in and out. There is not a plan to generate a quarterly publication, only the annual financial statement that would be included along with the mailing for the annual members meeting. If you have any questions about the cash flow on the site, please reach out.