Fri, July 19

<CENTER><B>Letters to the Editor</B></CENTER>

Further, I believed the association should have done more for the people as many residents have needs. As it stood when I first became a board member, unless one is retired, or is materially wealthy where one can attend the association’s functions during the daytime, or during week evenings, due to "jobs," most residents are unable to partake in the "festivities." Most activities offered are geared to those who have "daytime" time available.

Dinners are offered during the week, but unless you get off work early, rush home in time to change, you might be able to catch the leftovers before "dinner time" ends.

Also, the "Glen Miller" mode dances, although very nice music, are not for everyone. Except during summer months at the pool, what is the association doing for the children that live here? With all that in mind, I had hoped to open up some creative avenues for social activities that would accommodate both the retired and the working class. I know others shared my opinions.

My best intentions were short-lived. The struggle was an uphill battle as some things appeared to me to be thoroughly entrenched. Subsequently, I resigned. My reasons were two. One, I do work full-time with limited "free time" to volunteer and I do respect volunteerism as an important part of a board member’s role. More importantly, I quit because I saw a dark path looming to where the association was heading and I didn’t like it. I like it even less now.

Even before I became a board member, membership was down and consistently dwindling and association coffers were shrinking. There was consistent discussion at the board level of how to increase revenues. The monthly newsletter was costly. A decision was made to suspend the newsletter. Later, it was decided the local newspaper would be used to relay pertinent information to the members, which included meeting schedules, events, plans to change the By-laws, upcoming elections, etc.

Unfortunately, not everyone receives or reads the paper and especially true of those owners not residing in the VV. The bottom line is, only those aware of the upcoming article know it's there. The facts are that specific timelines are required before by-laws can be voted on for amendments.

There are rules that an incorporated association must notify its membership properly. Many, including myself, question the board notifying the membership via the local newspaper vs. a proper mailing. And when we say proper mailing, we are talking about all property owners, roughly 4,000 if not more.

For years, the CCR’s and fees were never truly enforced but now suddenly it appears to be a priority. It’s as if this present board has given the ACC unabashed authority to collect those fees, and that no matter how trivial, or in some cases, how intimidating, the ACC is doing its hardest to collect so as to enrich the association coffers.

Many owners have already received letters from the ACC that demand monies for structures, fences, carports, sheds, etc. If payment is not made, nastier letters follow with threats of $300 attorney fees, collection, etc. Are liens next? Is "good for the community" accomplished by demanding fees for things that were built or placed years ago? I suppose it’s good for the association bank accounts.

Members of the ACC make regular trips to the county, pouring over records to see which permits were pulled. Thus, the guilty party cannot escape. One may have put that fence or carport up 10 years ago. Maybe one purchased the house six years ago with all structures in place by the previous owner. Well, folks, too bad, so sad for you. The ACC is on the hunt. Not only will you be slapped with "today’s" architectural control fees but also with a penalty. I have heard, however, that in some cases the penalty fee might be waived if the guilty party joins the association. If this is true, I suppose that is one way of increasing the membership. Regardless, the point is that some people have had to pay over $200 and anyone of you owners could be next.

There are others, beside myself, who question whether these fees are applied consistently or, if in addition, certain people are deliberately sought out. The question of ethics and fairness versus capricious and arbitrary practices is rising. I believe the facts are out there. If association members have a voting voice to change the By-laws, if association fees cannot be increased more than 10 percent per year, then how do these other events happen when there are rules? Does this mean the Architectural Control Committee can set any fee at anytime? Don't we as property owners already pay enough permit fees to the county? If the county can turn the other cheek because of irrelevance, what’s with the ACC? As citizens and property owners, we have rights under the law. Governments must provide its citizens with disclosure of an impending law and a grace period before it comes into effect. Courts can challenge the constitutionality. Governments can’t create laws after the fact so as to penalize people unfairly, at least not in this country. So, the question then becomes whose association is this — the property owners or the board’s?

Can the board vote certain issues at "special" meetings that are "open" but only board members are notified. Can and should implementation of a board decision be in effect the next day? I suppose it could be convenient, depending on the agenda.

In my opinion, this is no longer an association for the betterment of the Verde Village property owners, but instead it has become one that caters to the few while association officials pride themselves over expanding coffers.

I respect governments and institutions but I also believe we still live in a democratic society and that should start at home, in my own backyard and in my own neighborhood. Those of you property owners, who agree with the association’s tactics, remain silent. However, if you disagree, and you find truth in what I have written, and you have opened up your wallet recently to pay a fee that you feel is unfair, then join those of us who are prepared to take legal action to cease these practices by the Association.

Our group of disgruntled property owners grows daily. Please call 646-9560 or write your complaints or send a copy of the letters the ACC sent you to Property Owners Advocates, P.O. Box 3188, Cottonwood, 86326.

Corjan Igasan

Verde Village 1