|[ Legal Complaint ]||[ Flock Spy Camera Complaint ]|
On March 9, Forest Brooke HOA Board President Michael Barron wrote a post on the private Forest Brooke group on Facebook to notify the neighborhood of removing and replacing the 52 Leyland Cypress trees on Bluffton Springs Drive.
This came as a surprise to most homeowners. No meeting minutes were sent to homeowners after the annual meeting in September 2021, and those who attended the meeting reported that this cosmetic project wasn't covered in any detail - including disclosing costs. Most homeowners were unaware of the proposed decorative project when the Facebook post was made, and many are still not aware of the negative impact of this project on the HOA community funds.
What should have happened: HOA Funds are only to be used for Common Property improvements and must not be used to improve private properties. Any enhancements to personal property must be paid for by the homeowner of that property.
When the original 52 trees were planted in May 2011, only the thirteen trees on Common Property were the financial responsibility of the HOA, and the four homeowners paid for the remaining 39 trees.
The March 2022 project has used our community HOA funds to pay for Common Property and private property improvements, including Forest Brooke HOA President Michael Barron's personal property.
May 2011 Leyland Cyprus Trees
March 2022 Emerald Green Arborvitae Trees
|52 trees planted, 13 on Common Property||141 trees planted, 22 on Common Property|
|Total HOA cost: $955||Total HOA cost: $37,250*|
|Homeowners covered private property costs to add trees||HOA President and three more homeowner properties materially benefited from HOA funds|
What should have happened: a minimum of three quotes must be sourced for each phase of the project (tree removal, new tree installation). Contract awards must be given to the most cost-effective vendor for each step.
HOA Board President Michael Barron sourced three quotations to remove the Leyland Cypress trees. The tree removal work was awarded to Americut Landscaping & Tree Experts. The company was not the lowest price of the three quotes, and the owner of that company is a Forest Brooke Resident.
Only one quote was sourced for the provision and planting of the replacement trees. Without competition, the work was awarded to B.L. Mullinax Landscaping & Shrubbery, Inc.HOA Board Treasurer, Kyle Garrett, did not intervene to take corrective action on this irresponsible contractor sourcing process.
The HOA funds belong to all homeowners to be used to maintain and improve our neighborhood. The HOA Board must act on behalf of all homeowners, not just themselves.
The total estimated cost of the cosmetic project is $37,250. When the same work was carried out in May 2011, the total cost to the HOA was $955. It is not known what the final total of the current cosmetic project is, and the estimated cost was only ever disclosed in response to a direct question on the closed Facebook group.
The HOA funds used have resulted in an average estimated cost of $400 per homeowner that did not directly benefit from this project and is not the final total. It is not known if HOA funds will now need to be used to maintain and trim these newly planted trees.
The 2022 budget for landscaping is $13,450. This one decorative project alone is almost 300% of the total landscaping budget for the year.
Forest Brooke neighborhood has annual HOA due collections of approximately $122,200. This single cosmetic project amounts to a third of the total annual collections for the whole community.
This is not the first time the HOA Board has spent large sums of community money without letting homeowners know. Most homeowners are unaware that $9,000 was spent on the unavoidable, creepy spy cameras at the neighborhood entrance.
As homeowners in Forest Brooke, if you or I were to have a broken mailbox or not paint our house, the HOA Board and ARC can issue fines and even place a lien on our homes.
When the HOA Board breaks the Covenants, Bylaws, or local laws, using community funds to improve Common Property and private properties without considering historical precedent, this opens the door to any homeowner whose property didn't benefit from the funds to now seek legal remedy.
Enough is enough. Members of the board have failed us, and we cannot allow such disregard for our community and our money.
We're working with all concerned homeowners to remove the HOA Board President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer and replace them with homeowners who will responsibly serve the interests of ALL Forest Brooke homeowners.
A petition has been started to gather signatures from a minimum of forty-seven homeowners (half of the 94 homes) in the Forest Brooke subdivision representing a simple majority of the Total Association Vote to invoke Bylaw Article III-A Section 6 Removal of Directors.
If any of this information causes concern, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to be confidentially added to the petition to remove and replace the HOA Board.
We're going to ask the new HOA Board:
What else? We'd love to hear from you. If you have more helpful ideas for the new HOA Board, please let us know at email@example.com.
- To recover the misappropriated HOA funds from the four homeowners whose properties materially benefited from this cosmetic project
- To alert homeowners when the cost of any non-maintenance project exceeds $2,500
- To seek a simple majority agreement from the homeowners for any project that exceeds $6,000 (5% of annual collections)
- To maintain a transparent top ten list of non-maintenance projects that are in focus or queue
- To move the online community communication from Facebook to a privacy-centric, non-invasive platform accessible to all homeowners
- To remove the $9,000 privacy-invasive spy cameras at the neighborhood entrance.