When we moved to the Cloister 9 years ago the Cloister Home Owner Association had over $1 million in the HOA reserve account. Within several years this was spent down to a $96,000 balance.
During that time:
- all the roofs were replaced
- the streets were repaved
- underground ground water drainage was installed
- a number of large walls were rebuilt
- A few homeowners decided to upgrade basements constructed of breeko brick walls and concrete floors to living room condition at considerable expense. Although these basements were the responsibility of the homeowner, the HOA paid to replace water-damaged finished basements at no cost to the individual homeowner.
A great deal of money was wasted on projects.
- The Arms Chairman and HOA Board insisted that roof shingles be hand nailed instead of using air nailers resulting in twice the cost for each roof.
- Underground drains are being clogged with leaves for years because the board failed to install rain gutter leaf guards where trees overhung the roofs.
- A contractor failed to rebuild a major 12 foot wall according to specifications resulting in a wall with only 60% retaining strength. The HOA Board did not force the contractor to build according to the specifications or reduce the invoice amount but simply paid the invoice in full.
- Many projects have not been put out for competitive bids, the board simply used a sole contractor and paid whatever the contractor decided to charge.
Now this recently elected HOA Board has decided to raise association fees without any effort to control and reduce costs. There is one item of expense that should be cut before any increase in HOA monthly fee.
The greatest single expense we pay every month is for Basic Comcast Cable for every Cloister unit. We even pay for cable service to units that have been vacant for years. Cancelling cable service would save enough that an increase in HOA Monthly fee would not be necessary and represents a saving of over $100,000 per year based on the 2013 HOA Budget.
Good management requires that all cost control efforts should be made before any increase in association fees.
Can we residents ask any less then that our elected Board practice good management through cost control before increasing HOA monthly fees?
We homeowners should insist that the HOA Board cancel Comcast service and allow homeowners to negotiate for the cable, internet or phone services they desire. Times change and keeping a 30 year old agreement with Comcast is simply stupid and wasteful and prevents us from negotiating the best price for services when prices for have declined significantly for cable, phone and internet services over the last 30 years while we have paid increasing amounts over and over and over for decades. And we pay for unused cable services for some home units that have been vacant for years.
It is time for the HOA Board to become responsible and take smart financial decisions