Letter: Crickentree Board Received Bad Advice

It’s spring so naturally our thoughts drift toward sprucing up the neighborhood. But when the Crickentree HOA Board met on 3/9 to consider a $27,000 landscaping project the topic was handled poorly. The Treasurer announced that there was insufficient money left in the annual Budget and that approving the project would “blow the Budget out of the water.” The Treasurer was incorrectly admonished for that comment and over his objection the project was approved. BTW, this project improves interior areas only — but does NOT improve our neighborhood entrance.

An alternative (better) ending should have gone like this. Our CAMS Community Manager, who serves to maintain compliance with our governing documents and state law, should have directed the Board to bring the Landscape project to a vote of the community at the upcoming April 27 Annual meeting. That way the Board could gain the support of the People which is required for any Capital Improvement project. That would also facilitate community discussion of the priorities given to various neglected maintenance items vs. this new addition to our infrastructure. Alternatively, the project could have been factored into next year’s Budget. Instead, what our CAMS Community Manager did was to identify a surplus within our financials from which to plunder the desired $27,000.

Here are the problems with what occurred. A wise former Board president passed along this advice. The Board is essentially committed to spending exactly the Budget money allotted. Of course, odd things come up and the Board has to adjust by spending more or less on certain line items. But the Board remains committed to spending within that total approved Budget unless there is an emergency. That is how to stay fiscally responsible. In this case obviously the Board is not being fiscally responsible.

Since our fiscal year concludes on April 30, and the bulk of the Landscaping project would be billed in April, those attending the April 27 Annual meeting will see only a March financial statement – insufficient for discovering the over-spending done. We can expect a sugar-coated projection of the Board’s YTD spending. Only someone following the money trail by getting later financial statements might see the excessive of spending over Budget.

Our CAMS Community Manager should know better. The primary reason we pay CAMS is to pay bills, collect dues, and maintain compliance. Our Board who is trying their best to serve our community deserves Better Advice. If that Better Advice had occurred the People would be served better too.

Marvin DuBois

Crickentree resident of 23 years

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