How and Why HOA Boards Should Communicate With Local Government

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There is an old adage that “all politics are local.” Basically this means that government works best when it works at the grassroots level, and community associations that foster positive relationships with these government officials will find that navigating through government bureaucracy will be a lot easier when you know someone on the inside.
The Role of Local Government With A Community Association
Being part of a community association is no different than being a homeowner. There are certain services which are provided and maintained by the local government which we all benefit from. Street lights, sewer, electricity, sidewalks and garbage pickups are just some of the “to-do” services that are handled by the local government.
When any of those services aren’t performed adequately or need adjustments then your best bet is to solicit help from the local government whether that’s a city council or county board of supervisors. HOAs can turn to these official agencies for a wide variety of reasons ranging from asking for help to protect the environment to getting measures approved to be added on an upcoming ballot.
At certain times throughout the fiscal year, there are budget reserves that have been earmarked for local municipalities to use for the “public good” – funding that many reserves are almost giving away sometimes to communities in their jurisdiction. This means it’s vital for HOAs to establish a relationship with local government.
The Management Trust has even had experiences where local government contacted us asking if we’d like funding for any sort of necessary fixtures for a community we were working for. It was completely unsolicited!
The Best Way To Build Rapport With Your Local Government
Every elected official has stories about “crazy constituents” who call up with all kinds of bizarre requests or demands. Don’t be one of those! You begin your working relationship by inviting your local council representative to your next HOA event such as a BBQ or potluck dinner.
With some communities this might mean a dozen or so potential voters. However, it’s not uncommon for larger complexes like a high rise or retirement community to have hundreds if not thousands of interested persons. What you’re offering a representative is a chance to meet a lot of potential voters in a relaxed setting.
Having a relationship with a local representative can also help an association as issue with protection covenants. Sometimes an HOA member won’t be in compliance and lawsuits follow.
If those cases are heard in a municipal court then the local rep could offer advice as to how to navigate that situation, and possibly direct you to an HOA ombudsperson.
Beyond the casual community gathering, a local politician will also appreciate coming to a board meeting. That’s their “wheelhouse” and it’s a great chance to interact and discuss a specific issue.
The moment you’ve established a cordial relationship you’ll find that gaining access to those reps is a lot less complicated, and you can stay top of mind with them when you need their assistance on something.
In other words, don’t wait for a problem before your HOA makes itself known to the local reps.