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HSV – A Better Way – It’s Never Too Late To Do The Right Thing

By Marcy G. Mermel, October 18, 2021

Have you received your ballot?

Vote NO for Option #1.

By VOTING NO FOR OPTION #1,  it will compel the Board to consider a “Better Way”.  Option #4 was given to the Board prior to mailing out the ballots…they said it was “too late”.  

It’s never too late to do the right thing.

First, I would like to thank everyone for all the calls, emails and texts encouraging and supporting Proposed Option #4.  Also, the help I received from some very special people giving me their thoughts, opinions, and numbers while developing this model – thank you so much.  Thank you also to M. Bracke for publishing the first Article regarding the issues, concerns and pitfalls of OPTION #1 – all statements right on point.  

There was also a recent post on Next Door that asked, “What is the plan for the “NO Voters”?  I ask you to encourage the Board to adopt Proposed Option #4, “The better way”, as I believe you will see in the following explanation of its Benefits and Advantages. All PDF’s and Spreadsheets, including calculations are available at the end of this article.  They can be viewed here or downloaded for your convenience. [Please click on the arrows to enlarge PDFs.]

Option 4 V.8. assessment tables(4800)
  • Longer plan – no rush to collect funds that can’t be used or spent quickly.  Why would we want our money to be sitting in some POA account when it could be in our own accounts or portfolio, making interest or dividends for us, until it is actually needed by the POA?
  • No asking for more money every three years – this exercise wastes our time, divides the Property Owners and costs us too much money that could be used for something else more productive.  Who paid for the all the “Vote Yes” signs we saw being staked on lawns and especially large ones on common property?  Who paid for the staff that worked with the Task Force, Board and F & P Committee for 8 months? Who paid for the “Vote Yes” tri-fold marketing piece that came in the ballot envelope?  Was information from the “Vote NO” side included or even considered?  How much is the actual Vote going to cost us, including printing, mailing and the use of a third party to facilitate the entire production?

As it is, if the Option #1 vote loses, it will cost us another chunk of money to adopt this Proposed Option #4 (or any other more acceptable model) when all that needed to take place was the re-printing of the ballots when this model #4 was shown to the Board….we could have gotten it right the first time!

Do we really want to do this every three years?????

  • More palatable annual increases so those on limited or fixed incomes don’t have to move out of their Village homes.  With Option #1, for improved Property Owners, the first jump was $20 per month, arriving at $110 by the end of the 3rd year!  Proposed Option #4 is still at a manageable $95.57 by the end of year 3.
  • There is no CPI considered in Proposed Option #4.  We have no control over CPI, so why use it?
  • Unimproved Property Owners also benefit from this proposal – annual increments are lower as well.
  • Buy-in fees are revised to actually encourage construction, plus Property Owners that wish to move within the Village or purchase additional property are not considered “new buyers” and are not subject to the same fees.
  • Utility increases have been revised-lowered as it is not fair, and possibly not legal, but certainly not ethical to continue to raise our water rates above market just because Administration does not have to get a vote from the members to do so.  Additionally, because currently the profits made by the Utility department do not stay in the department, the $$ raised here would, and for two very specific needs:  a.  for any additions or new needs for our systems and such things as the water treatment plant, etc.; and, b.  to connect HSV water supply to the WAMA insured water source.  We pay/have paid for this insured water source since 2016 but are still not physically hooked up to it….for all the $$ it has cost us thus far, let’s use some common sense and make the connection so it really is Insurance!
  • Proposed Option #4 utilizes “Dedicated Interest-bearing Escrow Accounts”.  They are actual savings or money market accounts at a selected banking institution that are tied to legal documentation that specifically spells out what the funds can be used for, who controls the funds, and how they are controlled.  The “who” would include a Bank Trustee  plus 2 very particular signatures for anything outside the scope of the specific line items and correlating chart of account entries that are in the Approved Budget.  This creates the “Checks and Balances” we no longer have in place inside the POA.  A Dedicated Interest-bearing Escrow Account is the next best legal instrument to a special assessment, yet is does not carry the same negative connotation/stigma, as pointed out by the Task Force in the last Town Hall.  Because of the use of a Bank instrument and Trustee, this is a legally binding processThe “Bold New Policy” created by the Board is NOT. 

Even though new opportunities and revenue streams can be created anytime, and should be as part of a solid strategic plan for the Village (something we need desperately); the funding for this Proposed Option #4 initially comes from the following areas:

  1. Our Revenue over Expenses (before Depreciation) was over $14 Million at the end of August, and will be greater by year end.  We will most likely never be in this position again.  For that reason, we need to take advantage of this opportunity and extract $12 million, putting it in the first Dedicated Interest-bearing Escrow Account to be used to fund Differed Maintenance and Capital Spending (what the Task Force refers to as “Shortfall” or the “Big Red Blob”) at $2.5 Million for 4 years, and $2 Million in year 5 (2026);
  2. Non-Assessment Revenues, i.e., all other revenues which average 51% of total Gross Revenues annually;
  3. Donation and other similar programs – this is already happening, especially from those Property Owners that feel they could be giving more to the Village.  They often make donations over and above their assessments and other fees annually or monthly;
  4. The Task Force’s Buy-in Fee revised (decreased);
  5. The Task Force’s Utility fees revised (decreased);
  6. The Task Force’s additional Amenity expectations;
  7. Unimproved Property Owner REGULAR Assessments;
  8. Improved Property Owner Assessments:


b.  REGULAR Assessments.

Please examine and scrutinize the 7 pages of tables and charts carefully.  Hover you mouse over the screen to page up and down to see them all.  Pages 3-7 are supporting data to the Full Formula on page 2.  Page 1 is the Resulting Assessment Breakdown for Proposed Option #4.  Please comment below, or contact me at mgmermel@msn.com or call 312-925-2020.  I would be happy to hear from you.

If after full examination you believe as many already do, that this is “A Better Way”, please help to encourage and implore the Board to reconsider and adopt the Proposed Option #4, re-vote and facilitate!  I have offered my time at their convenience to set up the accounts and procedures – including processes to access funds, confer with Rose Law as needed, as well as create parameters for the Dedicated Interest-bearing Escrow Accounts.

HSV – A Better Way – It’s Never too Late to Do the Right Thing Full Spread Sheet

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