To All Lot Owners:
Due to unforeseen circumstances, the HOA has incurred more expenses than was anticipated when the budget was adopted at the Annual Meeting last November. Mike Feldblum noted in his letter of May 21, 2008 that due to the requirement to make certain common area repairs, a Special Assessment might be needed. This letter addresses that need and additional costs as described below.
Part of the walking trail has been destroyed due to the heavy rains received in the spring time. With the recommendation of the Town Home Advisory committee, the Executive board has been actively pursuing a solution to repair the walking trail. It is the responsibility of the Executive Board to maintain these areas. Maintenance of the common area, including the walking trail, is required by Dover Township.
Over the past several months, two different lot owners began challenging the Executive Board on a variety of issues. These challenges have been to such an extent that it has affected the operation and maintenance of the HOA in which the Executive Board is responsible to oversee. Lacking a management company* to intervene and answer many of these legal concerns and the allegations expressed, your Executive Board, with majority vote had no other option but to refer these concerns/challenges/allegations to the HOA lawyer to research and respond. The majority of the correspondence was generated by these two lot owners. Coincidentally, at least three other lot owners generated some correspondence requiring attention by the legal team but at a very minimum level. Even though the lawyer answered all of their concerns, these two lot owners kept pushing, wouldn’t stop, and generated approximately 150 emails over a period of several weeks. The lawyer for the HOA recommended the residents seek their own legal council. They refused and continued sending correspondence. Excerpts from their emails included such issues as stating that they would call the Attorney General’s office to complain about what they considered to be improper spending by the board, demanding to see the HOA’s financial records within 24 hours as opposed to allowing reasonable time to schedule, demanding to attend (or have their representative attend) the counting of the ballots for the recent Executive Board election, contesting the recent Executive Board election several times, complaints about mowing, wanting to dissolve the HOA, disputing facts with the attorney for the HOA, complaints about the non-compliance committee, accusations - without providing any valid proof when asked several times by Attorney Stone - of illegal and dishonest activity of some board members, and etc. The legal team accumulated over 80 hours of research to respond to these allegations and did so in a very professional and timely manner.
The unfortunate part is that the legal service accumulated to $12,418 however our legal team only billed us for $11,418. In order to keep all lot owners in the stream of things, the Board is including a copy of the bill received from our HOA lawyer. To respect the confidentiality of lot owners, names have been blacked out. Our hourly rate is, and has been, discounted since the Law Offices of Duane P. Stone, Inc. was hired in 2004.
Thus, in accordance with article VIII of the By Laws, The Executive Board has no other choice but to institute a special assessment (article VIII, section 2) to cover the legal fees and to cover the required maintenance expense of the walking trail. We regret having to do this; however, the Executive Board is required to keep the HOA common grounds in proper condition.
Each lot owner will be assessed $200.00 ($100 for legal fees and $100 for maintenance). Monies will be due upon receipt of this notice.
If for any reason there are extenuating circumstances (other than the attached payment plan options) to prevent you from paying this special assessment in full by the due date of August 15, 2008, please immediately contact the Executive Board [within five (5) days of receipt of this letter or by August 5, 2008]. You may contact the Executive Board through the HOA Drop Box or by email at AshcombeFarmsHOA@yahoo.com. A copy of terms for an extended payment plan is included and each lot owner who has financial difficulties is asked to fill out the appropriate plan and forward to the board.
The Executive Board regrets having to take this step, but both the legal costs and the cost for the walking trail required maintenance have far exceeded what had been budgeted. Please choose one of the attached payment plans and include this with your payment by August 15, 2008.
The Executive Board for Ashcombe Farms Dover HOA
If a management company had been in place the cost for current legal fees probably would have been between two and three thousand dollars at the very most.