Haverhill Association FAQ
1. HOW MUCH ARE THE ANNUAL DUES IN HAVERHILL?
Annual dues are $150, due in January.
Over the last year, the board has been taking a serious look at how we can start planning for updates throughout the neighborhood. This includes keeping common area sidewalks and bridges repaired, updating lighting, tennis courts, the inn house, etc. We are anticipating increasing yearly expenses to maintain and possibly replace some of these major assets. Because of this, the annual dues were raised to $150 in 2017. This reflects an 3.4% rate, and was the first increase in three years. Liens for unpaid dues have been placed on properties – be sure to pay dues on time to avoid a lien and associated attorney fees on your property (which are often more than the dues)! Questions about dues payments can be directed to our treasurer, Maribeth Leininger.
2. HOW ARE MY ANNUAL DUES USED?
Our annual dues account is managed by the Haverhill Board, and is used for mandatory things like taxes and utilities, as well as upkeep of the services and common areas that make Haverhill such a great neighborhood. The board prides itself on being fiscally responsible and good stewards of these assets.
Your annual dues is used for various items, including:
• Mowing and maintenance of entrances and common areas
• Paying taxes on common areas and entrances
• Improving and maintaining recreational facilities such as tennis courts and playground areas
• Paying electrical and water costs for common areas and entrances
• Maintaining and replacing mailboxes and mailbox posts
• Repairing and replacing bridges and sidewalks in common areas
• Snow removal from Haverhill streets
• Security patrols of the Haverhill association residential and common areas
• Haverhill website and email newsletter
• Periodic directory of association members
The annual dues is NOT used to pay board members (actually, our covenants specifically prohibit board members from being paid to serve). It is used to pay contractors and other workers to complete projects that we cannot find volunteers to complete. Want to help Haverhill save $$? Volunteer to help with a project! Do you question how the money is being spent? Volunteer to serve on the board!
The good news – Haverhill’s annual dues are often below those of comparable homeowner’s associations. The board also hesitates to raise the annual dues amount unless it is absolutely necessary.
3. WHAT IF I CAN’T PAY MY ANNUAL DUES?
Or, I don’t think my interests are being represented, so I don’t want to pay. Unfortunately, annual dues are something that all residents have to pay – it’s part of owning a home in this association, and you agreed to it when you purchased the house. If you don’t think your interests are being represented, then volunteer to serve on the board! It’s very difficult to please everyone all the time, but the board members strive to make sure our annual dues are used to benefit all residents. As you can see from the above list, our dues pay for the areas and services that many of our residents rely on.
However, the board also understands tough economic times. Perhaps you have fallen on hard times and simply cannot pay. Or you have some unexpected bills that make it impossible to pay by the January due date. If this happens, please make every effort to contact the association treasurer to advise us of the situation. We may be able to work out special arrangements such as a payment plan. But we can’t do this unless we hear from you!
If you do not pay, and do not contact us, then we have no choice but to follow the rules and turn you over to the attorneys to start the lien process. We don’t like to do it, but it’s only fair to the rest of the residents. If we pursue this option, then you will automatically be billed for attorney fees – which are often more than the initial dues amount!
Refer to Article IV, Section 1 in the Official Covenants.
4. WHY DO WE COLLECT DUES IN JANUARY?
The annual assessment collection date is one of those items that are spelled out in our Official Covenants (Article IV, Section 3). Changing the collection date would require agreement (in writing) of at least 75% of property owners – See below.
5. HOW DO I GET ONE OF THE ASSOCIATION RULES CHANGED?
Changing the “rules” depends on what kind of rule it is. The official restrictive covenants can only be changed or amended by an official majority vote of members (property owners). Basically we need at least 75% of our property owners to sign an official document that they agree with the proposed changes. If we don’t have this majority agreement, then the rule stands as is.
If the rule you want to change is not an official restrictive covenant or bylaw, changes may be considered by the board and/or specific committee that created the policy (i.e. architectural, security, or maintenance). For example, the policies regarding children’s play structures (maximum height, square footage, etc.) were developed by the architectural committee, and then taken to the board for approval, so architectural committee members would be a good place to start when requesting policy changes about play structures. (Or you could volunteer to serve on this committee yourself, and really argue your case!) You could also talk with your area director, as these individuals represent your interests on the Haverhill board.
An important thing to remember is that many of the policies and procedures that we have in place were developed based on resident requests and feedback. Changes must be carefully considered for their impact on all Haverhill residents. In other words, we can’t promise that your requests for policy changes will be approved, but it doesn’t hurt to ask!
6. DO I HAVE TO REPLACE MY OWN MAILBOX?
A few years ago, amid complaints that mailboxes were mismatched and deteriorating, the association decided to replace all mailboxes with the uniform wooden post and metal box installations we have now. You no longer need to purchase a replacement mailbox if yours is damaged. Simply contact your area director or Susi Griffiths to request a replacement. We’ll even replace the numbers if they fall off.
7. I OWN A HOME IN HAVERHILL, AM I ALLOWED TO RENT IT OUT?
Yes, rentals are allowed in Haverhill. However, it is still the property owner’s responsibility to ensure that covenants are followed and the annual dues are paid. Property owners are advised to give tenants a copy of the covenants, and make sure that following them is part of the lease agreement. Annual dues notices are normally mailed to the Haverhill address, so property owners should supply an alternate address to which invoices should be sent. We would also appreciate being notified of the tenant’s name, if possible, so that any possible mailings can be addressed to the home’s occupant and not returned. We encourage all property owners and residents, owners or renters, to subscribe to our email list for regular updates and important announcements.
8. WHY DO WE CONTRACT FOR SNOW PLOWING?
Isn’t the city supposed to do it since we were annexed? Yes, the city is supposed to plow our streets; however we’re not very high on the priority list. (Translation: the city does not plow our streets very reliably.) Upon requests from residents, we contract a company to clear all of our streets once snowfall has reached 3 inches. This is one of those services that many residents rely on – and is why they choose to live in an association such as Haverhill.
7. DO I NEED TO CLEAR THE SNOW FROM MY SIDEWALKS?
Yes, residents are expected to clear sidewalks around their property. This is one of those things where it would cost the association a lot of money to contract, so if everybody does their little section, then our sidewalks are cleared in no time. It is also a city code (and safety issue) that residents must keep sidewalks around their residences clear. If you are unable to clear your sidewalks and driveway, there are several neighborhood residents who would be glad to do this for you for a nominal fee. Or you could try to bribe your neighbors with cookies or something.
The association does not clear common area trails of snow, due to the sheer amount of walkways and low usage during snowy weather. Residents urged to use caution when using snow-covered common area sidewalks. A big thank you goes to those residents who take it upon themselves to clear some of these paths!
8. WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I SEE SOMETHING SUSPICIOUS GOING ON IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD?
In short – call the Fort Wayne Police Department: Non-Emergencies: 260 427-1222 | Emergencies: 911
While we do have security that patrols the neighborhood regularly, these patrols are limited. So, if you see something suspicious going on (such as a suspicious car, person, or other activity), the first thing you should do is call the Fort Wayne Police Department, as they can respond immediately. Do not call the security committee members or your area director – they will most likely tell you to contact FWPD. Even if you do not think that FWPD will send a patrol car, it’s still a good idea to let them know that you saw something suspicious so that they take your report over the phone. These calls are recorded as part of the statistics for our area, and can result in increased future patrols.
After the immediate ‘danger’ has passed (within the next day or two), it may be a good idea to give a board member or your area director a quick call to let them know something is going on – especially if it’s something such as vandalism or individuals regularly loitering around the association. We can pass this information along to our security staff and have them keep a closer eye on specific areas or situations. We can also send alerts out to Haverhill residents via Facebook and our email contact list. The most important thing to remember is that our security staff is no replacement for vigilant residents! It’s up to us to keep our neighborhood safe!
Street and Sidewalk Repair
9. SOME OF THE STREETS WITHIN THE NEIGHBORHOOD ARE IN REALLY BAD SHAPE. WHY ISN’T THE ASSOCIATION REPAIRING THEM?
You may be surprised to learn that the association is not responsible for completing street repairs within the association. Since annexation into the city of Fort Wayne, this responsibility rests with the city — and was a county responsibility before that. Residents who desire the City to make infrastructure improvements, such as street repairs, must petition through the Division of Public Works or through their district City Council representative. Each year, the Haverhill board spends considerable time assessing our streets and completing appropriate petition forms for replacement of those that are in the worst shape. The city then prioritizes our projects among all other city street repair requests when preparing the budgets. In recent years we’ve had several sections of streets completely re-built per these petitions, so let’s hope this trend continues.
10. WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR REPAIRING SIDEWALKS?
Sidewalks in common areas are the responsibility of the association. We evaluate them annually and make repairs as needed, depending on the available budget. Sidewalks along homeowner properties are the responsibility of the property owner; however, the City of Fort Wayne does have a petition process for sidewalk repairs. If approved, the city will pay 50% of the replacement cost for approved repairs. Information about the petition process can be found on the Board of Public Works website at: https://www.cityoffortwayne.org/publicworks/3627-cost-sharing-programs.html
11. ARE POOLS ALLOWED ON HAVERHILL PROPERTIES?
Above-ground pools are not permitted on any Haverhill property (except portable wading pools for children). This is a specific covenant of the association (Article VII – Section 24 of the Official Covenants). As described in the covenant, any pool having a capacity of more than 150 gallons of water must be completely enclosed by a “privacy fence” that is not less than six feet in height, regardless of whether it is temporary or in-ground.
In-ground pools are permitted, and must be approved by the architectural committee. Remember, no detached sheds or outbuildings are allowed on any property (which includes pool-houses), so be sure to make necessary provisions for pool equipment.