Kent County Levy Court commissioners on Tuesday approved an ordinance that allows the county to help collect fees on behalf of homeowners associations.
The panel reviewed the draft policy implementing the program through a public hearing during their March 4 meeting. No one appeared to speak against the proposal, and it was placed on the commissioners’ consent agenda for the March 11 meeting.
Homeowners association fees generally cover items including routine maintenance of common areas, including recreational spaces.
The idea was brought up through a series of meetings by the ad hoc Homeowners Associations Resolving Problems, or HARP, committee.
In November, the group proposed either asking the General Assembly to pass legislation allowing the county to collect the fees as part of annual tax bills, or to have the county set up a separate billing program. The county’s Department of Planning Services went with the latter idea, which is similar to an ongoing program in New Castle County.
Members of the HARP committee felt asking the county to get involved should help standardize fee collections and put a little more weight behind collection efforts. Enrollment in the plan will be voluntary, and commissioners do not expect all HOAs to take part.
If approved, the county planning department will work directly with HOAs and will monitor enrollment in the plan, said Director of Planning Sarah E. Keifer.
Levy Court’s finance department will handle billing and the collection of funds as well as their disbursement back to individual HOAs.
Under a proposed schedule, which still is under review, enrollment in the program would begin this year, with bills going out in January 2015. Payment would be due by the end of February, and delinquency notices would go out in March, June and October. However, the county will not become involved in efforts to collect unpaid fees; that effort, as well as a decision to pursue any legal action will continue to rest with individual HOAs.