More money needed in Homestead
Recently, some of my neighbors have sent letters to the editor expressing their opposition to Homestead’s proposed transfer assessment. I must humbly, but absolutely disagree with them. I believe that passing the transfer assessment is one of the most important things that members of the Homestead community could do.
Currently the Homestead Board of Directors has two mechanisms to raise funds. The primary one is our monthly dues, the other is a special assessment. Every property in Homestead pays $90/month to maintain and operate our common property. Included in this is the Court Club, parks, open space and trail system.
The $875,000 that is raised annually through the monthly dues falls short by about $827,000.The shortfall is made up by fees that are charged to outside members, and revenue generated from activities at the Court Club.
I served on the Homestead Board of Directors from February 2005 to February 2008. One of the reasons I wanted to serve on the board was to have some influence on the transfer assessment. I was adamantly opposed to it when I first started serving. It seemed like another opportunity for the board to impose itself upon the community and I would have none of that.
Then reality set in. The board has a fiduciary responsibility to the community. It costs a certain amount of money to run the facilities and we cannot incur debt, simple as that. Funds have to be raised to pay the bills, so every year the monthly dues increase.
A comprehensive reserve study was completed in 2007. The study determined that to maintain the common properties, the board would have to raise the monthly dues to $150 per month by 2015. That is just to maintain what we currently have, not to build anything new or to improve anything already existing. Homestead’s reserve fund can only be spent to repair or replace existing assets. Even with raising the dues to $150 per month, the reserve fund will be depleted and we will have a shortfall by 2015.
Our friends in Eagle-Vail have recently discovered what years of neglect do to a community. They made the tough choice of raising their mill levy to generate more revenue to fix some of their problems. They still have some tough choices to make. It would seem more prudent to be proactive and be ready for the unforeseen than to have to react because we did not properly prepare ourselves.
The board has set August 31 as the date at which they will tally the number of consent forms sent in. In a perfect world they would have received 540 or more, representing two-thirds of all the homeowners. I know we all are busy with our daily lives, but please take a moment to consider this vote and return the form. The board made it easy for us, they even included a self-addressed stamped envelope.
I can’t tell you what the board’s actions will be if they don’t receive the necessary votes, but I do believe this: if the funding mechanisms available to the board do not change we can look forward to an increase of $150 per month in homeowners dues in the future.
Homestead is a vibrant community. If we do what is necessary to maintain that vibrancy, we can assure ourselves a community that many want to be a part of.