A Homeowners’ Association is run by a board of directors that is elected by homeowners to oversee the common assets of a property/area, manage its finances, run business affairs, enforce and set rules, and see to the maintenance and upkeep of the area. It is for a given term, they can accept no pay and, volunteer their time and services.
At our annual meeting in February, a long time resident/owner complained that the monthly dues were too high. The Board responded that looking at all the condo communities in Pike Township, our dues were average. There were many more communities that had higher monthly dues.
One thing to consider is that the older the community, the more maintenance costs are going to be. Newer communities have less maintenance and repairs. Wildwood is approaching 50 years old.
One thing that the Board has had in the years past is that the lower bid was always taken for vendor work. That may help keep costs lower at the time BUT you get what you pay for. Lower bids usually mean lower quality work. That means that you will have more costs for maintenance and repairs in the future for the same maintenance and repairs that were done in the past.
Once a year, usually in September, the Board decides on which vendors we will use for the following year. The Property Manager gets bids from several companies and the Board decides which ones they want to contract to use. Good vendors will get their contract year after year as long as their prices are reasonable and the Board does not get legitimate homeowner complaints.
Unfortunately, the bids come in higher and higher every year. There is little the Board can do about that. What the Board can do is consider what can be done now to reduce costs in the future.
One example of that is closing and removing the pool. On average the pool costs the homeowners association about $15,000 a year to run and maintain. That comes out to about $8 in monthly dues for each homeowner. If we had kept the pool and maintained it, the costs would be higher and your dues to pay for it would be about $10 a month higher.
Another example is the fake rod iron fence that was on the property line between Wildwood Court condos and Coffman Road properties. It was constantly being destroyed by people that trespassed between properties. The rods were bent and broken, sections were bent and torn down and trees were growing through it. By replacing it with vinyl fencing, our repair and maintenance costs are much lower. Another factor is privacy. The vinyl fence provides privacy between Wildwood Court and Coffman Road properties which increase property values.
The Board recently had the cracks in the parking lots sealed at a cost of $2,500. This will increase the life of the blacktop.
The Board spends about $8,000 a year on gutter cleaning. We are currently looking at filtering systems that keep gutters clean.
In 2016, the city enhanced Georgetown Road with sidewalks. Because it was in the way, the old Wildwood signage was taken down and thrown away. The Board bought new signage in 2017 and had it installed. Shortly after that, property values in Wildwood started rising from 10 to 20 percent. In order to pay for that signage in one year we would have had to raise the dues $10 a month. That did not happen. The Board carefully watched its expenses and paid for it in other ways.
In 2015, the homeowner’s association receivables (money owed to the association by homeowners) was over $140,000. Today it is about $17,000. Because of this our association attorney costs are much lower. A savings of $1,000’s of dollars.
One cost that the Board has no control over is litterbug trash pickup. It costs the association about $1,200 a month. It seems that if we don’t have our independent trash man here 3 times a week that all the common areas would be filled with litterbug trash all the time. Also, the city will not pick up anything that is not inside the trash dumpsters. So our trash man hauls away things sitting around the dumpsters and charges the association extra. These costs have to get passed on to our homeowners in the dues. Although our video surveillance camera has helped, it has not solved all the problems. It is not always Wildwood residents. Sometimes people dump their trash around our dumpsters that don’t live in Wildwood. If you see this happen, please get a license number and type of vehicle and report it to Jeremy Madriz, Wildwood’s Safety Officer at http://livinginwildwood.com/security-non-emergency/ or his pager at 317-327-7676 ext. 4960. This expense is over $7 of your monthly dues.
The Board is constantly looking for ways to reduce association costs now and in the future. If you have any ideas, please let Julie Schaefer know or attend our association meetings. They usually occur on the third Wednesday of each month in the clubhouse at 6:30 PM.