Dear West Harbour Residents:
Some of you have been asking why we chose to hire a management company and why we decided to increase dues. In short, we are a small community, only 161 residents, and the cost of maintaining our community and commons areas is not inexpensive.
I am aware that South Harbour and North Harbour residents pay less in annual dues; however, South Harbour has 785 residents who share the costs, and North Harbour has 623 residents, and no swimming pool. Harbour Trees Golf Club is an amenity residents may take part in, however there is an additional fee for its use and it isn’t cheap. If you have compared our neighborhood to that of others within Noblesville, I hope you have taken the time to consider the number of residents within the neighborhood and the amenities included.
Your board has worked hard ensure necessary repairs and upgrades are made without spending an excessive amount of money. We try to make our financial decisions based on an expense verses benefits reasoning and always taking into consideration that the money in the association’s account is not our own, but that of all the residents. We try to be certain that the benefit will be long lasting and worth the expense.
With regard to raising the dues this year, some things we took into consideration were the cost of a management company, and the expenses of maintaining the commons area, particularly the pool. While the management company is an expense we have never incurred before, the greater expense will be in the maintenance of the commons area.
Recently we were able to make major upgrades to the commons area which has included new entry signs, new playground equipment, resurfacing of the tennis court, the addition of a basketball court, a new bridge, fencing, landscaping and repaving of the parking area. We were fortunate to be able to use the settlement money from DuPont’s Imprelis issue to cover many of these things, but maintaining them for years to come is something we must consider. Prices will not go down in coming years.
Additionally, some upgrades have been made to the pool area and still more will need to be contracted and completed. Due to some noticeable inefficiency in our prior pool company, we have hired a new management company for the pool. This company will take care of the opening, closing, chemicals, life guards and other related activities. The cost for this service is only slightly higher than what we have incurred in recent years, and we did receive bids from a number of companies prior to making a selection.
Some of you may not be aware of all the expenses involved in running a public pool. In addition to water, chemicals and life guards, there are heaters, filters, motors, covers, plumbing and pool surface maintenance, not to mention the pool house and deck areas. In general, a concrete pool should be resurfaced approximately once every 10 years, and this type of pool has a life expectancy of roughly 25 years before major repairs are needed. We’ve surpassed that life expectancy, and we will need to be prepared for the expenses to come. The good news is we are expected to open the pool on time this year!
Finally, some have asked why we chose an association management company? There are several reasons; however, I’ll simply provide the highlights. Your board of directors is a volunteer board. We are not paid to take on these responsibilities. We do it because we take pride in our community and we weren’t afraid to step up when called upon, but like most of our residents, we are all very busy with jobs, families and other commitments.
In the years that I have been a part of the Board of Directors, I have never seen more than a dozen residents (including the BOD) at any board meeting, and most times only a handful will appear. We have asked for volunteers on projects in the past with very little response. We receive calls and emails from residents involving a variety of issues. Many of these issues could be more easily resolved if neighbors would simply talk to neighbors. A few issues involve time and research to determine if we can take legal action, and if so, at what expense. While a complaining resident may want a quick resolution, the appropriate course of action may take time. Additionally, we believe in action with compassion so, when possible, we have tried to take personal circumstances into consideration such as health or financial hardships (it’s just part of being a good neighbor). Again, I will state that we are volunteers who have busy lives and priorities outside the association.
Based on our experience in years past, we determined a management company would be helpful as they have greater resources and devoted hours to resolving community issues. That being said, we have only signed a one year contract with Ardsley at a discounted rate to determine whether or not their services are beneficial and whether we want to maintain the relationship. Thankfully, I have been fortunate to receive a couple of compliments regarding this decision as residents have begun to notice their neighbors are making efforts to improve the appearance of their properties.
I hope this rather lengthy letter answers some questions. I apologize for taking so long to correspond with all of you. You are invited to attend the annual meeting scheduled for 6:00 PM Monday, May 11th at the Pizza King located just off of Little Chicago Rd. Kevin Schwartz of Ardsley Management will be there to help answer questions regarding the management company.
Jan Helms, President WHPOA
Dear West Harbour Residents: