Following a special election earlier this month during which measures to ratify the Clearwood Community Association’s 2020 budget and transfer funds to cover debt, among others, were passed by a large margin, President Aaron Lang announced his intent to resign.
In a letter posted to the homeowners association’s website, Lang said he believes the board made tremendous progress during his 18-month tenure to help stabilize operations, finances and the culture of Clearwood, which has experienced heavy financial stress over the last year due in part to the likely embezzlement of upwards of $400,000.
“We are now well underway on the path to realizing these goals. Because of that, I am confidently making the decision to devote my time where it belongs: in my home with my wife and two young children. It is with sadness, and some relief, that I am announcing my resignation from the Clearwood Board of Directors, effective January 1, 2020,” Lang wrote, adding that he plans on being available to the board, counsel and management.
Throughout the last year, a majority of newly-elected board members have been working to bring forward a number of motions and policy revisions to the voters of the HOA that would bring them steadier financial footing.
The special election was held on Saturday, Dec. 14.
In addition to the ratification of the 2020 budget, members can expect to see a 26 percent increase in their dues next year. A resolution to allow the board to allocate reserve money was passed, 159-46, by a vote of the members, who will now pay an annual total of $1,071.88.
If the resolution had failed, members would have seen an even larger increase, up to $1,206.88 annually.
Board members claim the association has not been operating on a balanced budget for many years and that the dues have only gone up twice in the last 12 years, allowing costs for the HOA to outpace revenues.
Resolutions to amend bylaws and make changes to the budget and elections process were also passed. Board members now face term limits, and candidates running for director positions will get to provide input on the budgeting process, which adds accountability.
Also on the ballot, but not voted on by Clearwood community members, was the allocation of $220,000 from its capital reserves to its operations fund. A $2-per-month special assessment fee, instilled per lot, was also passed and will help cover the interest on the HOA’s loan to itself.
The board now expects to be fiscally stable as of Dec. 31, 2020.
While financial problems have been resolved, attention now turns to the litigation brought upon Dolanna K. Burnett, the former bookkeeper who allegedly embezzled funds and put Clearwood in financial trouble.
In a question and answer document posted online with the members’ ballots, the board said that it has several insurance claims open and is continuing to seek prosecution of the accused.
In 2019, the board approved roughly $206,620 from its operations budget to finish out a forensic audit and other legal audit expenditures. While initial results from the audit have shown the number of embezzled funds has grown, it’s still ongoing.