Proposed HOA Dues Special Assessment

After Decades of Neglect, It’s Time to Pay the Piper.
By Mark Reichert, KLHOA Board President

I hope all of you are doing well and managing our “New Normal” as best you can. If you have been reading my articles over the past year, you know I’ve written much about the state of your Homeowners’ Association (HOA) and the ever growing need to address our infrastructure, which has been mostly neglected for decades for lack of funds. We are in a better financial situation after years of cutbacks, along with the vote by your Board of Directors to end the discount for paying your annual dues assessment early, and are better able to meet the current needs of the Association as well as address some of the minor infrastructure issues we have. However, it’s the “Big-Ticket” items that we will never have the funds to address unless we (and I mean the collective “we”) have the wherewithal to suck it up and make the investments we need to make to bring our assets up to a level we can be proud of to keep Killearn Lakes one of the most sought after communities. You don’t buy a house and then fail to maintain it. Neither should we fail to maintain the assets that make Killearn Lakes a wonderful place in which to live.

There are three big ticket items that continue to fall into disrepair because your HOA doesn’t have a mechanism in which to improve them; the Lake Monkey Business access road, the access road into Tekesta Park, and the bathrooms at Tekesta Park. Add to this list the repair of the boat ramp and dock at Lake Monkey Business and a much-needed covered pavilion at Tekesta Park and you can easily surmise the challenges we face.

Not to belabor the point but let me repeat what I wrote in the last Lakes View Magazine. Killearn Lakes is almost 50 years old. When it was developed, the Covenants were written to favor the developer and to meet the needs of what a community needed in the 1970s. Our annual dues were only $30.00 in the beginning. Sometime before I moved into the neighborhood in 1984 they had been increased to $60.00. They stayed at $60.00 for over twenty years before we attempted to increase them to meet the needs of a growing community. In 2005 we started the VERY laborious process of raising them. We were finally successful in doubling our dues to their current $120.00. We simply took our $60.00 dues assessment and multiplied that by the increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) over that period. Just keeping up with inflation really doesn’t cover the needs of a growing community. And remember, our infrastructure was mostly built in the 1970s. The costs associated with fixing our infrastructure will only continue to rise the longer we put off the inevitable.

We tried two years ago to raise the dues for only the third time in almost 50 years. Although most of you voted to make the additional investment in your community, we did not get the necessary two-thirds majority of ALL the members of the Association we needed. Your Board believes that rather than make a permanent increase in your annual dues, it might be more palatable if we initiate a one-time “special assessment” to address our big-ticket assets. At our recent Annual HOA Members Meeting we asked for feedback on what we should do. We also walked around Tekesta Park asking those enjoying our “signature” asset what they thought. The overwhelming response was to move forward with a special assessment rather than permanently increase the annual assessment. We also asked whether we should split the effort out over a few years by asking for a series of smaller special assessments or just get it done in one effort. Again, the overwhelming response was to ask for a special assessment just once to cover all the big-ticket items. We have 4,225 member properties in the Killearn Lakes Homeowners’ Association. So, whatever the price tag is, it will be divided by the number of members of the Association.

Some of you might not care about our assets or may have never taken advantage of them. You may be asking yourself why you should support a special assessment to fix a community asset that you never use. Again, let me repeat what I wrote last August. Killearn Lakes is a very desirable place to live. It’s desirable, not only because we are the only neighborhood in town where your kids never have to leave the community to attend school, but also because of the numerous amenities we have. If the amenities fall into disrepair, the community becomes less desirable. If the community becomes less desirable, housing prices drop. If housing prices drop, you lose equity in the most expensive investment you will most likely ever make.

We plan to start the process for the special assessment in the Spring of 2021. If the effort is successful, the collection notice will go out in July. Just for the record, even “special assessments” require a vote of two-thirds of the Membership (subject to the quorum requirement).

The Board of Directors would like your input. Please direct questions, comments or suggestions to admin3@killearnlakeshoa.org for the board to review. Thank you.

Lake Monkey Business Entrance
Lake Monkey Business Road
Tekesta Park Bathrooms
Tekesta Park Road