Representatives of Kent County came to Smyrna in January to introduce communities to a new Storm Water Management Program which will eventually allow Homeowners’ Associations to shed the financial burden and maintenance onto Kent County for a nominal annual fee. This will prevent Homeowner dues, budgetary adjustments, and additional assessments for absorbent pond maintenance. This proposed program offers a lock in, one time annual rate of $28 per year, per household, while reducing homeowner’s annual fees.
Unlike other government programs, this is totally on a volunteer basis and has two requirements (1). You must obtain 51 percent of votes within the community to join and, (2). Your pond must past inspection.
At any time you may opt to be removed from the program, but will again require the 51 percent votes. Residents are excited to get it started. If communities collaboratively embrace the program it will insure the annual fees to stay at minimal rates. Others feel that there is security in the numbers of members and they will all experience the benefits and issues together empowering members to initiate any changes needed to the program.
There are things to consider:
A. The program was based on a study by the University of Maryland-King-Hagen, which poses the question, how similar are the factors to Delaware conditions. (What are Maryland’s average annual precipitation and other statics)? Being this study was conducted in 2011, is there enough compiled data to make a determination?
B. Budgeting a line item financial forecast would provide measurable comparisons.
C. How will Kent County handle the program regarding separation of duties and audits? If a problem arises, how does the residents’ hold the county accountable? What recourse do homeowners have?
This is not a program for one board of an association to decide, but it is for an entire community; each homeowner needs to be responsible and involved. Ask questions, research, present concerns and attend meetings. A board cannot predict or read the minds of their constituents.
When homes are flooded or a bill is received for the maintenance/repair of a pond ranging in the thousands of dollars, homeowners do not realize the importance of healthy ponds and water management systems.
For more information visit: The Kent County site at: http://www.co.kent.de.us/planning-dept/planning/homeowners-association.aspx