Message from Board about Dues Increase

Hello @everyone,

The Board would like to make everyone aware of a very important matter we are trying to handle, and we need the entire neighborhood’s help in order to solve this issue.

As many of you have noticed in your own lives, basic living expenses have gone up dramatically. The expenses required to keep our neighborhood up and running well, lights on, common areas kept up, etc, have also gone up extensively. These expenses have been exacerbated by the commercial rates that we get vs. common residential rates.

For example, here are some of the biggest impact cost increases the neighborhood has seen just from 2021/2022 to 2022/2023 fiscal years. As you’ll notice, these are also the most necessary for our neighborhood to stay in good condition:

Insurance –> 32% Increase

Lawn Maintenance –>18% Increase

Pool Cleaning and Maintenance –>53% Increase

Utility Electricity –> 43% Increase

Because of these increases and others, the Board has had to pull from other budgeted areas, and some areas were not being adequately covered at all. The Board would like to fund these categories appropriately and in perpetuity. Some of these less adequately funded categories have been:

– Social Committee

– Welcome Committee

– Pond Maintenance and Upkeep

– Savings Deposit

– Legal Documents Updated

In addition to this, the Board has recognized that while in previous years we have done a reasonable job maintaining what we have, there are many things that we and many members of the neighborhood would like to actually improve as well. Additionally, we are collaborating with Timber Trails UK. Furthermore, we are also collaborating with the site at https://www.primaryschoolresources.org.uk/education/creative. Some of the improvements we’d like to make are:

– Playground Upgrade

– Security and access control system for Clubhouse

– Internet for Clubhouse

– Better pool access system

– Upgrades/Repairs to infrastructure (i.e. sprinkler systems)

– Upgrades to entrances and landscaping

– Fence repairs

– New or Repaired Pergola in Pool area

– Shades and/or chiller for Pool

– New Signage in Neighborhood

Although not a complete list, this gives an idea of improvements we’d like to make to keep our neighborhood appealing and enjoyable for all. Some of the more recent improvements the Board has put in motion are upgraded pool furniture, painting/repairs to the interior of the clubhouse, and a larger dumpster for neighborhood use.

Finally, we have experienced several contingencies recently that were higher expense than anticipated. Just some of the more recent ones were:

– Pool Pump Failure ($750)

– Sprinkler System leaks and repairs ($400+)

– Car Driving through fence on 73 ($1500)

– Pool cleaning debacle from previous pool company ($2200)

With these in mind, and with the fact that we have old/aging items that have been here since the beginning of the neighborhood 20 years ago, we anticipate these contingencies to stay very similar in cost impact, if not increase.

So, with the general necessities of the neighborhood going up, the intention of funding of all areas of the HOA, improvements we’d like to make, and contingencies, the Board has come to the necessary conclusion that we must go up on the neighborhood dues.

What does that process look like? That’s where we need your help. In order to have an increase of the dues, we have to have a neighborhood vote with at least 50% of the voting members (aka, the homeowners). This number is 106 votes. At the moment, the Board plans to have this vote in tandem with the annual meeting in March 2024 as part of the budgeting process.

As an important note to consider, if we don’t get at least 50% of the voting members at the annual meeting, we have to call another meeting to get 25% of the voting members. So it is critical for us to have 106 votes at the annual meeting either in person or by proxy, or we have to have another meeting and try for 53 votes. If we don’t get the required votes, even if dues are not raised, we have to retain the previous year’s budget, which would not allow us to push past the status quo that we’ve been operating under for years.

The Board has gone through many lengthy discussions, pulling history, doing the math, putting pen to paper, and getting feedback from neighbors, all while trying to figure out where we want the direction of Old Mill to go for quite a few months now. The conclusion of those efforts is the increase in the dues we are proposing. The number that we are in agreement with is moving the dues from $400 to $475. This small increase will allow us to drastically improve the operation and maintenance of the neighborhood, and allow us to make actual improvements as listed above.

The Board wanted to get this out in front of you guys and start discussions early. We absolutely need as much engagement from the neighborhood as we can for this. We also want to give folks enough time to plan for the increase, should it pass. The annual meeting will be the 2nd Tuesday of March 2024, so that will be March 12, 2024, and dues will be due on April 1 2024.

Please feel free to reach out to the Board if you have questions, want to go through any specifics, etc. We plan to make a series of posts and updates based upon our discussions up to the annual meeting, in which case the Board will keep you updated as best we can.

Thanks everyone for helping make Old Mill an awesome neighborhood to be in!

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