Thursday, November 06, 2003

It's a beautiful day in my neighborhood

Over at Cap'n Ken's Homespun Wisdom, the Cap'n has been talking about the homeowner's association in his new neighborhood. They want him to cough up $200 so that they can hold emergency meetings about neighborhood dogs. At least they have  meetings.

Over in my neighborhood, there's a sign at the entrance stating that RMHA (Russet Meadows Homeowner's Association) dues are now past due. That message has been up there since we moved in five months ago. It's not as if the sign board is neglected — it gets updated every month with the new yard-of-the-month winner. Whoever maintains it just never takes down the part about dues being past due.

After a couple months in our new house, we finally got a flyer in the mailbox informing us as to what our $75 dues actually cover: upkeep of the entrance flower beds, upkeep of the street signs (some are wooden instead of the standard metal), and the yard-of-the-month competition. I don't know exactly how many homes there are in my neighborhood, but I'd guess they number around 150. So, that's more than $10,000 a year the RMHA is expecting for these small projects.

However, since we've lived there, we've seen no indication of any association meetings. What's the point of having an assocition if it doesn't meet? I have no idea who the board members are, so I don't know who to contact if I did have an issue I wanted addressed. Furthermore, no one has welcomed us to the neighborhood*, formally or otherwise. That doesn't seem very neighborly to me.

I like the idea of a neighborhood civic association. I'd like to have a forum to address complaints, organize projects, and interact with my neighbors. But it doesn't seem like such options are offered by the RMHA. Because of this, I haven't paid my dues. I'm not inclined to join a club that just wants its members' money, but doesn't care who they are.

* Our neighbor across the street did greet us, but that was because our moving van ran over his mailbox. Our next-door neighbor introduced himself, but he's new, too — moved in the same time we did — so that doesn't really count. Our next-door neighbor on the other side finally acknowledged our existence with a brief wave from his car just two weeks ago.

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