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Facilitating a HOA Member’s Meeting

Last night, Local Innovations and CAP Management hosted a member’s meeting at Renaud Place, a 142 unit HOA in southeast Lakewood.

It was my first experience attending this type of meeting, and it was a great learning experience.

Renaud Place suffered several hail storms in the last 2 years, and their 2012 insurance premium was increased five-fold. Rather than simply raising the monthly assessments, the board took the initiative to work with Local Innovations Llc., a community planning firm, to involve the community in determining how they wanted to handle the situation.

Local Innovations worked with the homeowners and they came up with three options which Local Innovations presented to the members. About 40 people attended, and I assisted with signing them in, handling their proxy vote paperwork, and ensuring they received the correct number of ballots. Once the members were all seated, Adam Perkins and Andrew Iltis of Local Innovations began their presentation.

Option 1

The first option, titled Flexing to Maintain Services, kept the current maintenance, repairs, and services schedule as well as covering administrative costs and utilities. The community would pay an extra $60 per month via this plan in order to cover the insurance increase.

Option 2

The second option, titled Life Support, provided for only necessary maintenance such as snow removal and concrete work in order to keep assessments as low as possible, $218 or a $34 increase. The downside to this assessment is that it is likely that Special Assessments would have to be raised in the future to pay for maintenance and repairs not covered by the monthly assessments.

Option 3

The third option, titled Prioritize Community Values, kept monthly assessments low, $209 per month, with a Special Assessment to be voted on every year that would cover other costs. The first year’s assessment would be an additional $24 per month,
bringing the total to $233. This option allows for more flexibility, as the members can determine each year what items will be a priority and what they would like to pay.

Local Innovations presented these options in three different ways to show the whole picture from different perspectives. The options were displayed as posters in the room, they were told as “stories,” sharing a first person perspective of what a community member might experience after each option was passed, and a focused survey was taken in order to demonstrate which option best represented the community values.

In the end, the members overwhelmingly voted on Option 3, Prioritize Community Values. The bylaws require that 2/3 of the members be present to vote on a Special Assessment, a major component of Option 3. Since that number wasn’t present, another vote will be held next month.

Although Renaud Place was not able to definitively adopt a plan last night, Local Innovations and CAP Management facilitated a process by which the members could come together, examine their options, and decide on the best step forward.

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