GET INVOLVED

GET INVOLVED!

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All residents—long-time homeowners, new residents and even renters—can contribute to making our community a great place to live by volunteering a few hours a month on any one of several association projects.

The next time you’re looking for an activity or a way to meet your neighbors, consider participating on an association committee or task force or volunteering to plan a casual neighborhood social gathering. Your ideas, time and effort will be a valuable contribution to making a neighborhood event successful.

Your neighbors aren’t the only ones who’ll benefit from your volunteer endeavors. According to HELPGUIDE.org, volunteering can reveal untapped talents, teach new skills, introduce you to new activities and increase your self-confidence. Participating in a community activity also can provide networking opportunities that can benefit your career and your social life.

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Contact an association board member soon to ask how you can get involved in our community. Who knows? There may even be a vacancy on the association board that should be filled by someone just like you.

We’re Having What Kind of Meeting?

images (2) We’re Having What Kind of Meeting?

What’s the difference in a board meeting and a special meeting, or an annual meeting and a town meeting? Confused? Here’s some clarification.

Annual Meetings

Annual meetings—or annual membership meetings—are required by our governing documents, which specify when they’re to be conducted and how and when members are to be notified about the meeting. This is the main meeting of the year when members receive the new budget, elect a board, hear committee reports and discuss items of common interest.

Special Meetings

Special meetings are limited to a particular topic. The board can call a special meeting at any time, and they must notify all members in advance. The notice will specify the topic so interested members can attend. Special meetings give the board an opportunity to explore sensitive or controversial matters—perhaps an assessment increase. Members do not participate in the meeting, unless asked directly by a board member, but they have a right to listen to the board discussion.

Town Meetings

Town meetings are informal gatherings intended to promote two-way communication; full member participation is essential to success. The board may want to present a controversial issue or explore an important question like amending the bylaws. The board may want to get a sense of members’ priorities, garner support for a large project or clarify a misunderstood decision.

Board Meetings

Most of the business of the association is conducted at regular board meetings. Board members set policy, oversee the manager’s work, review operations, resolve disputes, talk to residents and plan for the future. Often the health and harmony of an entire community is directly linked to how constructive these meetings are.

Executive Session

The governing documents require the association to notify you in advance of all meetings, and you’re welcome—in fact, encouraged—to attend and listen. The only time you can’t listen is when the board goes into executive session. Topics that the board can discuss in executive session are limited by law to a narrow range of sensitive topics. Executive sessions keep only the discussion private; no votes can be taken. The board must adjourn the executive session and resume the open session before voting on the issue. In this way, members may hear the outcome, but not the private details.

Parties

Occasionally the association notifies all residents of a meeting at which absolutely no business is to be conducted. Generally these meetings include food and music, and they tend to be the best attended meetings the association has. Oh, wait! That’s a party, not a meeting. Well, it depends on your definition of meeting.

What Gives the Association the Right to Tell Me What to Do?

images (1) What Gives the Association the Right to Tell Me What to Do?

In a nutshell: the association declaration and state law gives the association the authority to regulate some of what you can do in our community.

Community associations have a governmental component. Like a city or county government, a community association has a charter—called the declaration. The declaration encompasses bylaws, covenants and other documents that give community associations their legal foundation.

These governing documents obligate the association to preserve and protect the assets of the community. To enable the board to meet this obligation, association governing documents also empower the board to make rules and define the process for adopting and enforcing them—within limits. Governing documents also establish parameters for the nature and type of rules the board can make.

State law gives associations the authority to make rules. These are called common interest community statutes, and they apply to condominiums, cooperatives, and property owners associations.

Remember, however, that the board can’t make or enforce any rule that is contrary to the governing documents, local ordinances, state law or federal regulations. Remember also that the board makes rules on your behalf—to protect your investment, your home.