I've been on the board for our homeowners' association for ten years now. A few weeks after I bought my house, a stranger came to my door to tell me that the annual meeting would be starting shortly. As a brand new resident, I wasn't even on anyone's mailing list yet, so I hadn't known about the meeting until that moment. I walked down the street to our little park, expecting a crowd. There are sixty homes in our community, but the meeting was attended by only about half-a-dozen of them. I was asked to fill a position on the board of directors. I explained that I didn't even know how to own a house, much less how to help run a community association. The existing board explained that if all positions weren't filled, another annual meeting would have to be called, at great expense. I caved in and was elected, the board having collected enough proxy votes to represent a quorum of homeowners. I served as a director that year, and was named vice-president the following year. During year three our president retired from the military and moved to the mainland. I was named president.
We've done some good things in the last ten years. No one had overseen maintenance fee collections for many years and a number of residents took advantage of that. Now we have only one or two who are allowing their neighbors to carry their financial burden for them, and we have a system in place to deal with them. We installed new streetlights throughout the community and repaved our streets. Our park has safe playground equipment with a protective fall surface underneath, and we have a gazebo with picnic tables and benches. Almost everyone in the neighborhood has been persuaded to maintain their homes and keep their properties clean, though there is one who seems to obsessively collect junk cars and rats. Almost everyone has replaced their old shake roof with something more fireproof. All homeowner have seen a significant rise in the value of their property.
I'm tired and I'm frustrated with the way things have gone for the last two years. The board has turned into a committee that talks about and studies many issues, but never accomplishes anything. We've been trying to get potholes filled and the pavement re-topped on our streets for almost a year. The rainy season is on top of us. The potholes will be beyond patching after a few months of monsoon-like rains & we'll face a cost of $50-80,000 to re-do the entire job. The fence that keeps kids in the playground from tumbling into the stream was supposed to be replaced this year, but the contract bids languish while board members bicker. The list goes on and on. Whenever the board does anything concerning house rule enforcement, my home is vandalized and I recieve threatening notes in my mail box. My dogs no longer have access to my front yard because strange foods were thrown over my front fence and I feared they would be poisoned. The board feels that these are "my" problems and has allowed it to continue and escalate.
So I'm tired and frustrated and buned out. I told our property manager today that I want to step down at our annual meeting next month. He was quite alarmed at this. "But you're the only one who does
anything." Um, yeah ... that's the problem. I'm done.
Labels: homeowners association, homes, just stuff