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Open Letter from the Stone Oak HOA Board of Trustees
Posted on May 10th, 2021

With the advent of Spring, the Stone Oak Homeowners Association Board of Trustees wanted to bring you up to date on issues, financial and otherwise, that have arisen.  You received in the mail a notice from the Lucas County Engineer's office, revising in 2020 dollars, the potential ground water maintenance assessment against your property if the drainage system were to be completely rebuilt. In part, this was activated by complaints of silt build-up in retention ponds #3 and #4 causing water to back up in basements. Three years ago, the HOA assumed the expense of placing aerators and diffusers in each of the 9 retention ponds, the last will be placed in Lost Lakes and pond #6 in the Spring of 2022. While the cost to date of over $42,500 has been significant, we have been advised that this will reduce the silt and debris content in these ponds to an acceptable level without the necessity of dredging the ponds. Consequently, the HOA Board voted to reject the Lucas County proposal for a hyperbaric survey of the 9 pounds estimated to cost approximately $48,000, which oud have been assessed against all homeowners on next years real estate bill.
 
In addition to these costs, the HOA has also incurred significant expense over the past 2 years for tree removal of more than $12,000. Damage to the exterior wall, replacement of two of its deteriorating gates and fence repair totaling $13,400 was another unexpected expense. Additionally, in 2018, the HOA voted to reimburse the Country Club, $15,000/year for five years toward the cost of a new irrigation system, this system update provides the HOA substantial savings in watering large portions of the common grounds, including areas outside the wall.
 
All of these expenses become significant when you look at the restriction on increasing homeowners' dues written into the Deed of Restrictions in Article IV, Section 4.1 (recorded in 1989 when Cavalear began opening up the subdivision for development).
The Deed provides that annual dues can only be increased annually in proportion to the cost of living increase set by the CPI. This restriction is very unusual since homeowners fees are typically based on an annual budget approved by the HOA.  This year the annual assessment is $434, providing for a total annual revenue of $259,000, if everyone pays their dues, fortunately, we have a 98% payment rate.  This has not been sufficient to cover expenses, however; we ended 2020 with a deficit of $12,265 and started 2021 with a $5000 deficit due to a payment owed the Country Club toward the irrigation project. You will be hearing more about the HOA's efforts to eliminate the CPI restriction this summer as we return for in-person meetings.
 
In the meantime, your HOA Board is doing everything possible to stay within in a budget commensurate with the the revenue it anticipates to receive annually from assessments.  At times, this means rejecting additional requests for funding that fall outside its budget, unless required to address an unexpected maintenance cost. We appreciate your concerns and support.
 
 
The Stone Oak HOA Board of Trustees and Barbara Machin, President of the SOHOA Board 
May 5, 2021