Gateway Sun

It’s been a difficult month for the Timber Ridge HOA board, to put it mildly.

The first setback came when the board wanted to have new governing documents approved for the community, but they could not secure enough homeowners to go along with the desired changes.

The updated governing documents would have seen the HOA gain new powers they did not have before, which may have been the reason the homeowners objected.

While some of the new powers sought by the board were sensible, others were too far-reaching for the tastes of many Timber Ridge homeowners.

The board wanted the HOA to be able to issue fines for parking violations, which is a common enforcement power for HOAs to have. On the other hand, the board also wanted to be able to assume all of the legal rights of a homeowner in regards to securing evictions of tenants who were violating the HOA’s rules. They wanted the ability to evict tenants without the homeowner’s permission in those situations.

After the homeowners pulled the reins on the HOA board, all hell broke loose. Reports of board members lashing out at homeowners and acting juvenile began pouring in. Some of it was evident on social media, where one board member claimed ownership of the Timber Ridge HOA’s Facebook page for herself and changed the image to one of the minions characters, and the words: “The rules don’t apply to me” and “I break the rules” … clearly mocking Timber Ridge residents.

One HOA board member resigned at this point, stating that without enforcement powers, “there is no need for a board that truly wants to volunteer their time and energy for the betterment of their community.”

Things got worse a week later when the Gateway Sun uncovered an obvious case of conflict of interest. Long story short, the current HOA President, as well as the previous HOA President, both work for the same landscaping company. Their landscaping company was awarded several landscaping contracts for Timber Ridge, at least one of them in a no-bid situation.

When we questioned the HOA President about everything we had learned he initially (and amazingly) seemed intent on keeping things status quo, however when the Sun proved that the contract was bloated in favor of the landscaping company the HOA President relented and told us via email that the contract would be put up for bid.

Since that time, the remaining two HOA board members have also resigned.

One of the former board members has set up a website apparently dedicated to discussing HOA rules and regulations. On their site, they published the following complaint about this situation, stating: It should however be noted that a small group from the community have already taken their fight to a local blogger who is reporting their side of story. To date the former board members have chosen not to use his forum to address what I perceive to be misleading information and avoid a he said, she said situation.

The HOA President asked me to call him to hear their side, but when I attempted to set up a phone call he did not respond. We also gathered actual contracts and budgets from other Gateway HOAs and published that information. We got a bid from a landscaper and (while masking the bid somewhat) we published that information.

Additionally, the Sun obtained the Timber Ridge budget and most recent landscaping contract and used those documents as our basis.

So I don’t see anything “misleading”. The numbers just aren’t pretty, and show an HOA board in Timber Ridge that was – at best – asleep at the wheel when it came to the landscaping deals they made.

Moving forward, the homeowners in Timber Ridge will have to appoint a new board. I believe what they’ll need to do is get 10% of the association members to call a special meeting, at which time they’ll elect new board members.

In the meantime, the property management company will keep paying all vendors as normal so the wheels keep turning.

It’s an unfortunate situation all around and hopefully it works out for the best for the homeowners and residents in Timber Ridge.

About Jeff Kuntz

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Editor of the Gateway Sun and owner of restaurant delivery service Florida Food Runner.

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