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Fishers homeowners push back as HOA looks to nearly double monthly dues

Conner Creek needs millions for capital improvements
Maria Alexander and Ginger Kissinger are concerned about their HOA, Conner Creek, increasing monthly dues to pay for capital projects.
Posted at 8:04 AM, Apr 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-14 21:12:47-04

FISHERS — People who live in a Fishers neighborhood are pushing back after their homeowners’ association is looking to nearly double their monthly dues.

People who live in Conner Creek, near 116th and Allisonville Road, contacted WRTV Investigates for help.

“The people are great, my neighbors are awesome,” said Ginger Kissinger, who has lived in Conner Creek for eight years.

Kissinger currently pays $297 a month in dues, money that goes to the HOA to maintain the common areas and the exteriors of their condos.

The Conner Creek HOA is looking to increase monthly dues by an additional $200 per month.

“It will be close to $500 a month, which is close to what my mortgage is,” Kissinger said. “It’s a lot.”

Maria Alexander is leading the charge to fight the increase, and so far has gathered 91 signatures to fight the plan.

"It is a lot of money for anybody,” Alexander said. "There are many elderly people in their 80s and 90s who are not going to be able to pay for it."

Conner Creek HOA recently did a capital reserve study which found over the next 30 years the neighborhood will have to address $5.1 million of projects, mostly for siding and stone chimney replacement.

“Of the total, $3.5 million dollars is for siding and stone chimney replacement that has long been deferred and must be addressed now, or conditions will only worsen,” read the January newsletter. “At about the ten-year mark, roofs will have to be replaced at the anticipated cost just under two million dollars. The board believes through your current dues we can generate the reserves for the roof replacement by properly funding the capital reserves annually.”

Conner Creek only has $140,000 for capital reserve projects. Homeowners say the HOA plans to take out a loan for $3.5 million.

"I had no idea they could pop this on us,” Kissinger said. “$3.5 million? It just blew my mind!"

Homeowner Gordon Walker bought his condo 16 years ago when he retired.

"If you take the fees we have right now and you add this assessment on it, this means over the next 10 years the homeowners of this community would pay between $55-$57,000 to a homeowners association and I think that's excessive,” said Walker.

Homeowners hired Fishers attorney Pete Kovacs.

"If I was living here I would have some serious concerns," Kovacs said.

Kovacs is looking into how the HOA ended up in this type of financial situation.

"There's some questions as to whether they've been totally transparent in how they arrived at the numbers, the bids they got for the work,” Kovacs said. “The burden falls entirely on the people who are living here now, and that’s what you want to try to avoid.”

Homeowners have already mailed in their votes and they will be counted on April 16, but residents say they’re not allowed to be there for the count.

WRTV Investigates reached out to the board for an on-camera interview, and we received an email in response.

“The Conner Creek Board of Directors does not wish to meet with you to discuss this matter,” read the email. “We have an obligation to communicate with the homeowners and not the general population."

Homeowners acknowledged some repairs are needed, but they’re urging the HOA to consider a more gradual approach to the projects to lessen the financial burden to current homeowners.

“We need to phase it A, B, C, D and put the worst ones first,” Kissinger said.

Kovacs suggested asking your neighborhood now or before you buy whether your community has done a capital reserve study and if the association is putting away money for maintenance projects.

“If they haven’t, then you could be on the hook,” Kovacs said.

To avoid an HOA nightmare

  • Research the HOA before you move in
  • Get educated by reading the covenants, bylaws, and attending HOA meetings
  • Elect board members or run for a position yourself
  • Get approval before you make changes to your home
  • Do not ignore a violation letter
  • Pay your dues on time

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