The "Final Warning", and BOARD MEETING TUE 7PM!! by Kevin Wine, Feb 20, 2023, 12:18 AM, reply, branch, edit
IMPORTANT! There is a Board meeting this Tuesday, Feb 21 at 7PM. It is both in person and on Zoom. If you are upset about how the Board is still (mis)handling the hill and the special assessment, this is your chance to try and talk some sense into this Board!!
Tuesday Zoom Meeting
I see there is Committee Appointments on the agenda for Tuesday - so if you want to be on any committees, this might be your opportunity.
I returned from work last Wednesday evening, February 15th, to find a "Missed Delivery" notice on my door - a certified letter from Town & Country. I finally made it to the Post Office on Saturday to retrieve the letter (since I'm usually at work during the day), and here is what it said:
The Final Warning Letter
Wow - they are still charging me late fees, even though I have been paying the monthly maintenance fees on time. They also say they sent me a notice earlier - maybe they did, but I don't remember any other such notices.
I discovered there were a whole stack of these letters sitting at the Post Office, awaiting pickup. I have been contacted by several owners over the last few days regarding this letter and what to do about it. I am thus sending this community message with my response. After spending hundreds of hours dealing with this Board's irrational behavior since June of last year, I have fallen behind on other projects so I have had to direct my attention elsewhere for the last several weeks.
It is still very disappointing, that in spite of the unprecedented homeowner reaction to the $2,000 special assessment, the "new" Board has decided to continue forward, oblivious to what happened, and even after numerous highly-attended public meetings and nearly 300 petitions calling for their removal. I essentially agreed to stay out of last year's election to give some new (or old new) people a chance. While I realize there may be some complications, I am not seeing what I had hoped to see. This also makes up my mind on what I will do in future elections.
Considering the Board has admitted publicly on multiple occasions that they still don't know how much it will cost to address The Hill problem nor how long that will take, it seems the logical thing to have done would be to suspend the special assessment until that picture has crystalized. The plan has already changed multiple times. It also seems logical that the Board would have offered more realistic ways in which to collect the special assessment. It is very clear that they are totally out of touch with reality if they think that 545 unit owners here in Society Hill have an extra $1,200 laying around. Perhaps the people making these decisions have the extra $1,200, but not everyone here is like them. Perhaps they are willing to front the Board $1,200 to play with until the Board finally gets its act together, but others might not be feeling so generous.
The Board's letter is dated February 7, 2023 and threatens a 10 day deadline in which to respond and request a meeting with the Board - that would be February 17th. The earliest I could have received it was February 15th - that's when the Post Office first attempted delivery - a full 8 days beyond the date of the letter. Typical. I didn't actually have the letter in-hand until February 18th. Although the Board is allowed to put a deadline on requesting ADR, it has to be reasonable, and it is unlikely a court would find 2 days to be reasonable, so put in your request even though the 10 days have expired.
I am going to formally request ADR, which is what they are talking about in the last paragraph. The request has to be in writing, but I assume an email will suffice. The Board no longer has an email address, so you will have to send your request to the management company, which I assume is email@example.com. It would be good to copy the Board's attorney, which is firstname.lastname@example.org. The email should still be addressed to the Board of Trustees!! All you need to write is something like:
"Dear Society Hill at Piscataway Board of Trustees, As per your letter dated February 7, 2023, which I received on February XX, 2023 (fill in the date you actually received it), I am requesting ADR and a meeting with the Association's board and managing agent to resolve the matter. I am unable to pay the total amount due at this time and will be requesting payment terms that I can afford."
I am still researching the Board's authority to impose special assessments. The law gives them a lot of power to do this, and unfortunately our Bylaws and NJ State law does not mandate any limits. Some states, and some Bylaws, require the owners to vote to approve special assessments greater than a certain amount. This is another amendment that should be made to our Bylaws, to prevent this from happening again. Currently our only remedy against an out-of-control Board is to vote them out, but we see how they manipulate that process as well. However, the last chapter has yet to be written on the petition to remove the Board story - I am almost ready to file the legal brief for the appeal, so there is still a chance that the court will finally provide some assistance.
I didn't have time to send out a summary of the January Board meeting, even though some pretty important things happened (or didn't happen). The maintenance fees have been raised by $25/month, to $235/month effective March 1st. No surprise there. That's over $1.5 million a year to run the place. If you average the recent $1,200 special assessment over 4 years, that's another $25/month, so in effect the fees are $260/month. Getting pretty close to that $300/month I predicted a few years ago - remember that post card??
Also at the January meeting the Board approved a "late fee" of $72 for anyone who hasn't yet paid the $1,200 special assessment. I assume this was the interest the Board (and X-President Tong Zhou) was mentioning at some meetings. Six percent of $1,200 is $72. That implies that the Board was going to let the $1,200 remain on the account, and just hit us with interest, but I guess that's not what they ended up doing. I'm sure the association's attorney is drooling over all the legal fee money she is going to get by going after 100+ more owners. She charges over $400 to place a lien - that's 10 times the court costs of actually filing the lien. And she gets paid up front, regardless of whether the homeowner pays up or not.
THE EASIEST THING TO DO IS SHOW UP AT THE MEETING TUESDAY AND TELL THE BOARD WHAT YOU THINK!!!