Lakewood Ranch homeowners can expect thousands in fee hikes

nwilliams@bradenton.comDecember 21, 2012 

LAKEWOOD RANCH -- Residents living in homeowner association neighborhoods in Lakewood Ranch may soon see a spike in fees to absorb a $155,000 shortfall.

The news stems from an association's departure from the Lakewood Ranch Inter-District Authority, which provides administrative, financial and maintenance services for community development districts and associations in the East Manatee community.

In early November, the Country Club West Association informed the IDA it had hired a new property management company, weeks after the IDA had adopted its 2013 fiscal budget. The departure forces the three remaining HOA's in Lakewood Ranch -- Country Club-Edgewater, Greenbrook and Summerfield-Riverwalk -- to shoulder the expected cost for services provided by the IDA.

Country Club West will officially break from the IDA on Jan. 1. and has hired Advanced Management Inc. as its new property manager.

Steve Peters, president of the Country Club-Edgewater Village Association, expressed his concerns to IDA supervisors during a meeting at Lakewood Ranch's Town Hall on Thursday.

"Those fees are going to go toward maintenance-free neighborhoods," he said.

Country Club-Edgewater will pay $70,000 of the $155,000, preliminary figures show.

IDA officials assured Peters it was a high priority.

"We are looking at what we need to do to minimize costs to districts and HOA's," said Tom Green, chairman of the IDA and community district 2 supervisor.

In October, supervisors representing CDD 6, which serves the Country Club West neighborhood, unanimously voted to adopt the

IDA as its district manager. Country Club West was developed by Manatee-based home building company Neal Communities and was served by an outside property management group. The change will take effect Jan. 1.

Irwin Davis, a resident board member of the Country Club West Association, said the decision had no bearing on the district's move to the IDA, but was a result of the HOA becoming resident controlled. Neal Communities will turn over control of the HOA on Jan. 16. Typically, developers transfer control of the association to the homeowners once the development meets a certain threshold.

A statement prepared by the Country Club West Association's resident board members explains the decision.

"During the preparations for creating the 2013 budget we reviewed all the association's contracts. The contract for management services was put out to bid. Although Town Hall participated in the bidding process, the contract was awarded to Advanced Management Inc."

Steve Zielinski, the IDA's chief financial officer, said residents of Country Club West will still have to pay the district through their tax bill.

Davis declined to comment on the shortfall caused by the association's departure.

Nick Williams, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-748-0411 ext. 7049. Twitter:@_1NickWilliams

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