Coastland Seeking a Dues Increase!
Currently the members of the Ocean Sands Property Owners Association pay $380.00 annually.
This sum is invoiced by Coastland early in the first quarter and due for payment by March 30. The dues were $350.00 per annum for several years until 2014. Prior to the 2013 Annual Meeting, the owner members of the POA board agreed to a Coastland proposal for $30 increase, with the express proviso, however, that all additional monies generated by the increase would go directly into the “Reserve Fund for Storm Repairs”. At the 2013 Annual Meeting, the membership ratified this proposal and the increase assessment commenced in 2014. This fund is a type of capital maintenance reserve designed to cover significant damage sustained to the infrastructure (roads, walkways, cross overs) from a natural disaster such as hurricane, nor’easter, tornado, flooding etc.
Coastland is currently proposing a $100 increase in annual dues. This represents a 26.4% increase.
Braxton Hill, VP of Coastland, began suggesting the need for a dues increase as early as August. Since then Coastland has taken every opportunity when there is a request for service, information or meeting participation to point out the associated costs and the need for more money. Basically, Coastland explains the need for a dues increase based on the following factors:
- Ocean Sands POA has one of the lowest annual dues among homeowner associations on the Outer Banks.
- The activities of the Stormwater Committee are putting a strain on the resources (time, staff, legal advice) of Coastland. They charged the POA in 2015 and claim to need money for 2016 to respond to the actual requests of the Stormwater Committee, including attending monthly meetings. We would note that a Coastland representative calls in to the meetings and is maybe on the phone for an hour. Coastland has provided no information in response to numerous requests, so it does not appear they have spent any time collecting information for the Committee.
- Coastland has, yet again, sued Currituck County. This litigation has associated costs and Coastland has postured a need to “protect” Ocean Sands owners from the consequences of its suit against the county by proposing hiring lawyers for the POA. The POA has neither standing to participate nor exposure to any liability from this suit.
- Coastland’s proposed 2016 budget contains a 40% increase in total management expenses due to Coastland hiring Seaside Management (which has never been approved by the POA Board).
- Finally, Coastland informed POA Board as of 12/31/15 the Operating Account contains only $1,469. Coastland feels that a shortage of funds to cover 2015 expenses against the 2015 budget would be resolved by increasing dues for 2016.
The owner representatives to the board, Al Marzetti and Rick Kinner are challenging this dues increase. We feel the amount is too much and without rationale. Having the lowest dues on the Outer Banks is not a sound basis for determining a dues increase. We are not categorically against a moderate dues increase for 2016, say $25-$40. However, additional dues must be specifically allocated to the already established needs that owners have been discussing and requesting for years and not just used to pay more “allocated overhead” expenses of Coastland.
These would be:
- There have been continuous requests to have a formal independent reserve study completed, so we have a scientific basis for understanding future capital maintenance needs.
- Adding more dollars to the existing storm repair reserve fund, which is clearly underfunded.
- Expenditures that prudently advance the solution for storm water flooding.
- Re-establishment of the drainage easements that should have been maintained (might help reduce flooding impact).
- Better quality road repair and maintenance.