To avoid a perpetual state of disrepair to its facilities and infrastructure, the Lake Monticello Board of Directors is proposing a $180 homeowners association dues increase over the next three years, an annual increase of $60. Additionally, the board also proposed a one-time $50 assessment to financially support the lake’s two restaurants. The increases are necessary to ensure a financially stable future, the board said.
“If we don’t do anything, we will find ourselves right back into the state of disrepair we were five years ago,” the board wrote in the community’s newspaper on January 17th.
If association members vote yes on both proposals, the annual homeowners’ association dues will rise from $861.33 this year, to $1,091.33 in three years, an increase of $230. All residents of Lake Monticello will receive a voucher redeemable at either restaurant, if members vote to support the food and beverage operation in addition to the maintenance dues increase.
Currently, most home owners also pay an improved property fee of $212, an increase of $52 over 2018. For those residents, yearly dues will rise to around $1,300 in 2022. It is not yet clear if that fee will change in the next couple of years.
The increases, which were proposed last week, will mostly fund future infrastructure projects, and give Lake Monticello staff members a raise. According to the letter published on January 17th, the Board fears that staff members will leave for better paying positions, now that the economy shows signs of strengthening.
“We consider this staff as first rate and from your postings, many agree. How long before the word gets to employers needing good help?” the board wrote.
The Board also pointed out that road maintenance costs will soon exceed the association’s reserve fund, and that by the next required repaving of Jefferson Drive, the main street that runs through the development, “the well may be dry.”
The Lake’s golf course maintenance facilities, which the Board qualifies as dilapidated, need a major overhaul, and the Board wants to replace the current building.
“We will need to begin saving to afford the replacement,” the Board wrote, once a location is found.
Overall annual repairs and replacements are costing around $900,000 and the annual return, according to the Board, is between $500,000 and $700,000.
“We are making ends meet day to day, but we are not financially stable for the future if we want to maintain what we have built,” the Board wrote. “We are barely making annual operating costs with what we currently have, but we need to grow our infrastructure, including our staff, so we can maintain our amenities properly.”
The proposed increases are meant to do just that.
Over the next few months, the board will advocate the proposals in several interactive settings. Members of the Lake Monticello Home Owners’ Association will vote on the proposals during the 47th annual meeting, which will be held on June 29th.
“These proposals are just the beginning of a process,” communications director of Lake Monticello Judy Fish, said. “We will take these proposals to our residents, and I’m hoping that people will keep an open mind, ask questions, listen to the Board’s reasoning and above all, participate."