2022 Year in Review

A lot has happened with Rolling Meadows this last year.

A little background about how we got here for those who may be new: The HOA essentially started over from scratch in 2020, due to lack of records handed over and an almost empty bank account left by the previous board. Most of 2020 was spent rebuilding old records, reviewing legal requirements, and just figuring out the current state of things. By early 2021, it was evident that the amount of work required to get the HOA back in a proper operating state would exceed the capabilities of the board members, so we began shopping around for agencies who could provide professional management help. While we thought in the long term we might be able to handle managing it on our own, we would need professional help in the short term to get back to that point again. After getting bids from five different agencies, and reviewing their capabilities and offerings, we settled on Waveland Property Management. One of the main selling points of Waveland, besides being one of the cheaper options, was that they had a lawyer on staff, and we knew our current state of existence was going to need legal help to clean up.

Early 2021 was spent doing knowledge transfer and getting Waveland up to speed. In Late 2021, not much happened at all. And we weren’t happy about it. At the beginning of this year, when Waveland’s contract was due to be renewed, we almost didn’t renew it. We had until the end of February to back out of the contract. The outgoing 2021 board in January voted to table the decision to the incoming 2022 board, due to be elected at the end of January, to better reflect the will of the member homeowners. The January Association Meeting when the new board election would occur failed to achieve quorum, however, and by the time the board election was achieved, the deadline had passed, and it was too late to back out of the contract. (Side note: if people had showed up to that meeting or submitted proxy forms, we might not have had a management company this year.) But we got lucky: the issues we had with them turned out to be one employee, who by this point no longer worked there. And our new manager has been fantastic. The current board has had a 180° turnaround in our opinion of Waveland over the course of this year.

Thus, most of the real cleanup from the association restart happened this year (2022).

Here are some things that Waveland has accomplished on our behalf this year:

  • Cleaning up records and filing tax returns for the past 8 years (2015-2022) with the IRS, since no federal tax returns had been filed since 2014.
  • Reviewing the Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CCRs) put in place in the new phases by Allen Edwin to find out if any amendments could be made to reduce differences between those and the CCRs from the earlier phases.
  • Working on grading and drainage issues in the Phase 2 open space that was never completed by the original builder. The surface grading in that open space does not match the building plan that was filed with the township when it was built, as Holwerda Homes went bankrupt before it was completed. Waveland is currently working with the township to determine if there are sources of funding to complete the job, and thus resolve some of the drainage issues around the houses on the north side of the open space.
  • Legal consultation on property violations since new land was deeded into HOA hands in November 2021 which were previously owned by the developers, and had property encroachments by resident homeowners (fences, sheds, etc, that were on the common land instead of inside their own lots).
  • Managing enforcement of violations of the CCRs by residents. This was a really hard one this year. In addition to the above-mentioned new property which had encroachments, there were a number of other violations of the CCRs in the community, some of which had been left unenforced for a number of years. 340 man-hours were spent on this line item this year. Much of it in followup with residents who ignored or claimed not to get the original notifications of their violations, or otherwise stalled in resolving their issues. There were fines collected. Drawing a line of where to begin enforcing is hard. On the one hand, we don’t like being mean to our neighbors. On the other hand, leaving anything unenforced is a slippery slope. To keep everyone on a level playing field, and remove any questions of playing favorites, if anything is going to be enforced, everything has to be enforced equally. If anything seems petty, then we need to get it removed from the CCRs rather than failing to enforce it. I will put up another blog post in a few days detailing the process for amending the CCRs.
  • Provided us with legal advice surrounding various provisions in the CCRs and for procedures required to make changes or remove them in response to homeowner questions about the legality of them.

In addition to the above special work done this year, the following “general course of business” items were handled by Waveland on our behalf:

  • Managing our relationships with lawn care vendors, utilities, and the trash company
  • Managing title verification work as homes (new and older) are sold
  • Manage mailings of violation notices and community information mailings
  • Manage the collection of dues
  • Collecting and acting on complaints from homeowners
  • Forwarding some of the above complaints to local law enforcement and following up with law enforcement on them (vandalism that affected multiple houses, etc)

Waveland as a whole this year has handled countless hours of work trying to get us up-to-date after so many years of nothing being done. The unpaid board of 5 would not have been able to keep up this year without them, and, as it was, have put in a huge amount of hours helping Waveland.

The Board of Directors participated in or oversaw the following projects this year:

  • Clearing the access easement into the Phase 2 open space off of Jesslee Drive
  • Clearing debris left over from county drain maintenance
  • Meeting with various vendors to solicit new quotes for land clearing or lawn maintenance (We do this instead of Waveland so we can walk them through the property and show them what they’re supposed to mow/clear/etc)
  • Comparing and noting differences in administrative and operational provisions between Phase 1-3 restrictions and Phases 4-6 restrictions
  • Soliciting new management company quotes (with Waveland raising prices this year, it would not make sense to not check around for a better deal, but we decided to stay with Waveland in the end)
  • Soliciting quotes for new entry signs, since the existing ones are about to rot away
  • Researching various resident questions regarding Township HOA requirements, nonprofit annual meetings and minutes requirements

To sum it all up, we made a LOT of progress this year towards getting the HOA back to a state where it will be easy to manage again, and hopefully after this coming year, we’ll get to that point again.

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