As mentioned last time, there was a board meeting on 9/25. A good amount of that meeting was spent discussing drainage and landscaping (more below). Beyond the other regular agenda items we also spent some time working out the plan for the December all-members meeting. That meeting will be on Sunday, December 10 at 2:00pm. It will again be virtual. Mailed notices went out yesterday and will likely arrive to you tomorrow. The members meeting will be followed by a board meeting wherein the primary item will be the 2024 budget approval so that we can have the assessments ready to mail out for the new year. Meeting details can always be found on the website: https://orangecommons.com/meetings/
We have not yet heard from any candidates for the upcoming open board seat. If you are interested in participating please contact the board immediately (respond to this email) to ensure your name is on the proxy ballot that will begin arriving in mailboxes tomorrow, Tuesday Nov. 28th, for the December annual members meeting. If you are on the fence, please reach out and ask any questions you might have. Currently, only Erica Scott (the incumbent) has volunteered to be on the ballot for the seat. A completed vote is still required even if there is only one person on the ballot.
Please submit a proxy vote if you are able to do so (you will need a unique code arriving on the mailed meeting notice this week). Having proxy votes ahead of the meeting will both allow us to meet the quorum threshold of 58 voting households and also allow for a more streamlined meeting. If we do not meet the quorum threshold on December 10 there will be an additional meeting in January 2024 to finish the board election. An additional meeting would create additional monetary expenses for the association and would also require additional time and effort from the board. Please vote to help us with that process. Note that the board election will not affect the timeline for the 2024 budget. The 2024 budget will be finalized on December 10 with a 4-member board if no 5th person is elected in the preceding members meeting.
Out of 113 homes in the development, only 13 remain unpaid for the 2023 assessments. Hopefully we can get those 13 caught up. The phased-in late fees are adding up quickly and now represent an almost 50% increase over the initial total. We are still in good shape as a delay in the first year was expected. The 13 unpaid will not cause us to be late on any outflows.
Many have requested that we incorporate paid receipts for 2024 and we plan to do that. More information will be included with the 2024 mailings.
The school property taxes for the 6 HOA-owned parcels were paid on 9/25/23 in person. Steve Brown’s efforts petitioning the town regarding these school taxes were successful and we ended up saving over $900 from the expected amount. Thanks Steve!
The 2022 income tax filings, which were on extension while we got our feet under us, were also completed on time. For our tax prep purposes we are now working with D’Arcangelo & Co., LLP.
The sign area changeover to stone with thick weed blocking fabric underneath and edging material on the perimeter was completed on Thursday October 5, 2023. This should save us money on future upkeep. On the same date some stones were removed from the tiny arm of the HOA parcel that goes from the larger retention pond up to Duany to allow for better drainage and cleaner mowing of that area.
Based on the meeting, we reached out to Julian Clark at Plumley Engineering. Julian was the PE who stamped most of the drainage and grading plans for the development and worked on the project starting with its inception in 2003. He turned out to be helpful, giving us a crash-course on some recommended upkeep items to add to our routine for 2024 and a breakdown of responsibilities involved in the drainage systems surrounding our homes.
Each resident, as well as the HOA through its six parcels, pay into the local drainage district as part of the annual property taxes. This drainage district (via the town) is responsible for the operational side of our drainage systems and would be who we called for any malfunctions, backups, major erosion, etc. This was welcomed information as we were previously misinformed by the developer regarding our ongoing responsibilities here. We remain responsible for cosmetic/regular upkeep, but should not have any major repair bills popping up if things were to fail and need repair.
After the first month or two it seems that Hummer Lawn & Snow was able to get a good handle on the mowing of the HOA parcels. There are a variety of spots where residents have continued to mow themselves. To the best of our knowledge all of these residents have told either a board member or Hummer directly that they wish to continue their routines.
For one parcel there was a bit of a miscommunication that we wanted to clarify: Hummer will not double-mow an area if it was already recently mowed as it ends up below their trigger height (and they assume it is otherwise being taken care of). The answer to that scenario is for the residents to discontinue mowing that HOA parcel and Hummer will get it on their next visit when it is grown in again and back in sync with the rest of the lots. If there are concerns or missed areas outside of this, please do reach out directly to firstname.lastname@example.org. It is important that you identify the area of concern and send it to this email address so that we have a reference.
The draft 2024 budget was discussed at the last board meeting and should be ready for approval at the December 10th meeting. Currently the budget represents about a 12% drop in assessments for 2024. Nothing to date has indicated that there would need to be any increases above that draft amount and we are committed to keeping costs under control.