Texans feel the strain of high property taxes plus condo HOA fees

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities As Texans debate how to rein in high property taxes, many homeowners struggle to keep up with rising condo and HOA fees as well. But several recent articles on the subject of property tax reform fail to acknowledge that the bulk of HOA and condo assessments. Association-governed community fees …

City says no trash pick up unless owners create HOA

Garbage trash recycling cans bins

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities The purpose of the Urban Service District (USD) was to expand Metro Services,  that were available to residents of Nashville, but not outlying suburban neighborhoods. Those services include trash pick up, curbside recycling, street lights and the addition of liquor stores. In exchange for inclusion into the USD, homeowners would …

Sinkholes in Ocala FL threaten homes and residents: so why continue to build homes in Sinkhole Alley?

Sinkhole

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities Another Buyer Beware warning: know the sinkhole risk for the land of your new neighborhood. Buyers may assume that city and county governments would never allow a developer to build homes on limestone-rich soil that is prone to sudden collapse sinkholes. After all, some of Florida’s sinkholes are large …

Pima County government explores options to pay for much-needed road repairs

Frustrated homeowners in HOA, non-HOA neighborhoods consider taxing themselves by establishing Community Improvement Districts (CIDs) By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities   How should Pima County, Arizona pay for more than $330 million in deferred road maintenance in its unincorporated areas? The issue is controversial. Roads all over Pima County are in poor condition, and …

Recreation districts as an alternative to HOAs

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities   Slowly but surely, homeowners’ associations are beginning shift costs and liabilities for assets and amenities back to public entities, including special tax districts. Today, let’s look at two examples of Recreation Districts (also known as Park Districts) as an alternative to HOA maintenance of amenities.   City commission …

Do Americans truly want homeowner and condo associations?

Quote Get what you want get rid of what you dont

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities   You may have seen reports of “objective” surveys that reveal that the majority of Americans who reside in homeowners,’ condominium, and cooperative associations are “overwhelmingly satisfied” with their overall community experience. But don’t put too much faith in HOA satisfaction surveys, especially those conducted by and for Community …

FEMA assistance bill for HOAs in Congress: Is it fair?

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities For several years, trade group Community Associations Institute (CAI) has been working with Congressional Representatives to attempt to push through federal legislation that puts private communities - homeowner, condominium, and cooperative associations - on par with publicly governed communities and private residences when it comes to receiving FEMA funds for …

Hillcrest Farms HOA de-annexed from city of Kinston, NC

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities     Several recent articles have featured mature association-governed communities seeking annexation to a local municipality, or the establishment of a special district to assume important public services that the HOA is no longer able or willing to supply. Here's the flip side of the coin. Enabled by a …

How government uses HOAs and special districts to create stealth tax

How many layers of government do we really need? By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities Have you ever stopped to think about all the costs associated with owning a home? Property taxes. Homeowners, condominium, or cooperative association maintenance fees and assessments. Insurance. Short and long term maintenance. Homeowners and home buyers may not fully understand …

Bozeman MT considering Special Parks District that may include HOA parks

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities Today's blog serves as a reminder to readers that you do not need to buy into a homeowners association in order to enjoy recreational amenities. In fact, the photo above was taken last spring at a public walking trail not far from my home. See the caption of the …