Gates and Single Trash Q and A

More questions from the community

MEETING INFORMATION:

The annual meeting of the Shiloh Farms HOA will be held at:


Eastgate Church


Location: 2820 Brookwood Road

Cumming, GA 30041

Time: 10am

Date: Saturday, February 5th.


Proxies and financial information were included in the mailed out packets. Please either attend the meeting or send in your proxy with a neighbor. Please let the person bringing your proxy know how you would like to vote. If you are mailing your proxy to Carrie Neville, please include instructions on how you would like to vote. If you plan to attend the meeting via Zoom, you MUST send in a proxy and let the proxy holder know how you will vote.


Please go to www.shilohfarmshoa.org for all previous Scoops and make reference to the Scoop titled Brass Tacks about voting for all voting related questions.


Here is a link to the proxy if you need to print another one out.


https://docs.google.com/document/d/e/2PACX-1vS4SoBqyTuSmZSsY9gwHdDWwt0dmEItEZ5wIfF1N4P-Z0kdJnwu4F33LPYSIJ8U8EDT3dxGUNY1fxsS/pub

How will the new dues implementation work going forward if Gates or Single Trash pass?

Question: There are several residents that are vigorously opposed to the HOA collecting "dues" for this project upfront before it passes a vote by the homeowners and if passed, the project has gone before scrutiny with the required Public Hearing, which is mandatory if the County is abandoning a public road as it would be doing here with Shiloh Road. It requested the collect money be kept in escrow and promptly returned to the residents when/if the gate issue fails. This money should be returned promptly and with interest earned. Is that the procedure the board is planning to employ? And if not, why?


Answer: The HOA will be collecting nothing for gates this year even if the resolution passes. We will wait until the commissioners approve them and then do a special assessment and dues increase to coincide with next year's annual dues. The process will take 6 months with the commissioners and the gate implementation plan will also take a while (so, we are estimating a year before the gates will be installed). The only thing we will collect up front this year (in March with the regular dues) is if the trash measure passes and service would start right away or if the gate measure passes and trash service becomes a part of the plan for the future with the gates. Otherwise, if nothing passes it will go back to $825.

What is the Road repaving scenario going forward if we gate?

We have had several iterations of this question and will attempt to answer all of the repaving questions in this section. The chart below is from Forsyth County. It is the past repaving schedule of our roads. The below schedule was just a repaving and did not involve edging and milling.


The question of when the repaving process will begin again in our neighborhood (if we do not gate and the county repaves) was answered by David McKee Assistant County manager this way:

"I would say for sure a 12–15-year issue. In some cases, in a neighborhood environment 20-years is not unreasonable. The ground conditions dictate when the resurfacing is needed."


The Board is assuming that our roads would not be repaved by the county this year (our 12th year for Crofton) and probably not until 15 years out (which would be 2025) and perhaps not until 2030. This is of course if we do not gate.

Big picture

What is the projected repaving schedule with milling and edging if we decide to gate?


The Board met with our vendor to help address some of the questions being asked.


On the positive side, the vendor confirmed that the $1.20 price point is still good for phased repaving up to 75,000 square feet (~20% of our area) which means we could undertake substantial repaving every 2.5 years with complete repaving achieved in a 12 year cycle. The standard is 1.5" of Asphalt with milling and ideal replacement after 12-15 year in residential areas. Assuming a 12 year replacement cycle and gate implementation in early 2023 (one year after resident approval), our cost estimate would support the following repaving schedule:

Big picture

This means the first substantial phase could occur early in 2025, about two years after assumed gate implementation. The quality appears to be superior to the current County standard, which seems to be on a 15 year cycle and does not include milling.



In addition the repaving vendor would undertake ad hoc repairs on an as needed basis. Our cost estimate for ad hoc road repairs is $14K per year, which the vendor considered extremely conservative. This makes sense because I based the estimate on a nearby large neighborhood's last two years, which was considerably above their budget. The neighborhood had a similar age to ours.


In summary, it appears that our cost estimate includes adequate funds to ultimately deliver a superior quality road surface while having sufficient interim funds for ad hoc repairs.


Note: inflation is not factored into the schedule because there are many very different views on inflation trends in the next decade. I encourage residents to expect annual costs to rise with inflation and apply their own inflation expectations to present day costs. If approved, our HOA reserve analysis would be based on a 2-3 year cycle of major work and updated regularly to reflect current inflation predictions.

Further questions:

Question: Assuming the single trash vendor is approved. Wouldn't the board want to put this out to bid (like an RFP), to get the best possible bid from a trash vendor? Also, how long would the contract be for? Is this an annual contract? Do you foresee the board putting this out to bid annually?


Answer:The Board has been working with a consultant company throughout this process. This is the same consultant company that Three Chimney's used to move to a single trash provider. That is why we landed on Red Oak because they were recommended as the best price and service for our size neighborhood (less than 300 homes). This is a year contract. Red Oak guarantees no more than a 6 percent increase year over year. They will not lock in a price for any amount of time and according to Dean Gerstein at POC (consulting company) no hauler will lock in a price. We would not seek to change this arrangement on a yearly basis as that would be a difficult process to change trash providers. Also, the consultant is in place to help us handle any disputes or problems that arise with the service.


Question: Regarding trash collection; I am all for one trash company and we have never had an issue with Red Oak. I have concerns with our trash collection payments, being included with our HOA dues. I think that will result in a multitude of problems. I understand that Stone View voted to have one trash company and each resident pays that trash company directly. Why can’t we have that type of arrangement? If the goal of the HOA board is to eliminate the traffic resulting from several collection companies and eliminate trash cans out on multiple days, then why can we not pay Red Oak directly? I will not vote for the trash collection option as presently stated. But I will vote for one trash company, if we can pay the selected trash collection company directly. Also, I feel this should be put up for discussion so all neighbors understand that an option for paying the trash collection company directly exists. As currently explained by the Board, I think many neighbors think your option is the only one available. I think we may get more yes votes, if the Board gives us this choice. I am asking the Board to consider this. Also, can you share this information with the rest of the neighbors?



Answer:The single trash company option has been voiced as something homeowners were interested in looking at for the past 10 years. We have gone into this process because there has been interest from the community. The Board has no right or power to force the homeowner to choose a trash provider. There are two reasons we did not choose the single payer over the master bill. 1. The cost for a master billed community is much lower 2. If we did a single payer system, we would have to commit to 80 percent participation in the neighborhood to the chosen single trash provider (how do you guarantee 80 percent participation?). Also, even if we were able to guarantee 80 percent participation, that could mean that 20 percent of our residents choose another trash provider. It doesn't matter if four people do that or 50 people, we will continue to have 3-4 trash companies coming into our neighborhood on a weekly basis. There is no point to moving to a single trash provider if the entire neighborhood does not see it as a financially correct reason to use that provider. The master bill allows the resident to use another trash company but makes the incentive much higher to use the neighborhood trash company because they are already paying for it in their dues. This is why this is going to the neighborhood for a vote. This is the same scenario as someone choosing to send their child to private school even though they are paying for public school in their taxes. This Board sees this as the only viable solution to having a single trash provider. If the vote fails, another Board can take this process on. I fully understand now however why boards in the past have not wanted to touch this issue with a 10 foot pole.


Question:This is a follow up question to another’s yard waste inquiry (pasted below). Does Red Oak pick up yard waste that does not fit easily in yard bags – such as branches, small bushes, logs or cut tree limbs? If yes, how are these to be provided – lose, or tied up into bundles no longer than x length, by x diameter, by x weight?


Answer: Red Oak’s yard waste policy will be the same with us as it is with everyone else that uses them for yard waste. That can be found on their website:

http://www.sanitation-services.com/services.php


Question:Have you discussed the single trash vendor with the HOA legal counsel? My understanding from when I was on the board is that the board members could only increase dues up to 10%, and could impose a one-time assessment up to the value of the annual dues. Any other fees would need to be an amendment to our By-Laws.


    1. As example, when I was on the board, we passed an amendment to add an initiation fee to all new homeowners. Per legal counsel, this required 2/3 of all homeowners (not just those that came to the board meeting).
    2. I'm not trying to add more burden to the board, but I just want to make sure we are not setting ourselves up for a potential legal battle with a homeowner that doesn't want to pay the additional trash fees, and they would be able to use our by-laws to win their legal argument.

Answer: We have worked with legal counsel throughout this entire process. From our attorney, Carlie Jackson


Article IV, Section 4.04(b) provides in relevant part that “the annual assessment may be increased at any time and from time to time during each Assessment Year not more than ten (10%) above the increased annual assessment for the previous Assessment Year without a vote of the Membership.” Section 4.04(c) further provides that the annual assessment may be increased more than ten (10%) above the maximum annual assessment for the previous year if the increase is approved by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the Members of the Association who are present in person or by proxy and voting at a meeting of Members.

Does that mean, if we have quorum at the annual meeting (1/3 of all owners) and 2/3 of those present approve the increased annual assessment (over a 10% increase) or the one-time SA, it passes? Or do we need 2/3 of ALL owners to vote for the increased annual assessment over 10%, as well as the SA?- Assuming you establish a quorum at the Annual meeting, you will need 2/3 of those present at the Annual Meeting to approve of the increased assessments (Carlie Jackson)


Question: What is the recourse for someone not paying their Annual dues. Would they still get access to get through the gates? Same with the trash service. Would we have the ability to stop trash service to someone not paying their trash fees? I know in the past we have turned off access to the amenities (swim/tennis) for homeowners not paying their dues.


Answer:This was made reference to in the Q and A scoop. Homeowners that are delinquent will not have their gate fob turned off and trash will continue to be picked up. These homeowners will go into the same process that we have set up for all homeowners that are delinquent with their payment of fees. The amenities will be turned off and then legal will get involved. We currently have a VERY small number of homeowners in arrears. We will continue with our same process for delinquency.




Question: Can you share the financial statements for 2021 in advance of the meeting? As the gating s is a major financial undertaking, it would be helpful to see our current financial standing; to see how much we have in reserve for unexpected expenses (gate and non-gate related)?


Answer:A detailed financial statement for the year was mailed out with the packet on January 4th, 2021. You will also find your proxy in that packet.


Question: In reviewing the spreadsheet on the Gate fees, shouldn't we be factoring in homeowners that aren't paying their dues. Historically there have always been a few. When I divide the one-time costs and the annual costs, they based on all 277 homes paying the fees.


Answer: The current Q&A's include the following answer: "Very few homeowners are not paying their HOA dues. We calculated the gate portion of the HOA annual dues based on our current payment success rate. The one time special assessment of $360 was calculated using the same assumption. We have a strong collections process, and we will continue to apply this process to help ensure timely payments."


Our current payment success rate is almost 100% and reflects the strength of the work from previous Board's to strengthen our Collections processes.



Question: About every five years the board conducts a reserve study. That is, where a 3rd party expert will review all of the HOAs assets to determine their remaining life, and replacement costs. They include calculations (including inflation adjustments) to determine how much we should be putting into our reserve to cover these replacement costs. While I appreciate the initial research done by the board so far, I would want a formal reserve study from experts on the age/replacement costs of assets that would now be under our ownership (roads/sidewalks/etc). This would confirm that we are budgeting for future expenditures appropriately.


Question: I see where we are budgeting to resurface our roads in 12 years. I did a quick google search and found this study by GA Tech in 2016, file:///C:/Users/Steve.Schmitt/Downloads/dot_31385_DS1.pdf The average life of an asphalt road in GA is 10.3 - 12.2 years. How long has it been since our roads were resurfaced? We should be factoring in the existing age of our roads into the reserve calculations.


Answer: The proposed asphalt repaving appears to be a superior quality to current County repaving: upgraded to 1.5" stare fmix asphalt for longer durability and edge milling for smooth transitions into driveway and curb/gutter. The vendor stated a 12-15 year cycle for repaving and we selected the 12 year cycle in line with our practice of taking the more conservative estimate. There are several web sites that indicate longer durability than the web site you mentioned. In addition, our vendor confirmed that the current $1.20 per sq. ft. price point is good for a phased repaving up to 75,000 square feet (~20% of our area) which means we could undertake substantial repaving every 2.5 years with complete repaving achieved in a 12 year cycle. The first substantial phase could occur early in 2025, about two years after assumed gate implementation in early 2023 (if approved). The quality would be superior to the current County standard, which appears to be a 15 year cycle and does not include milling. In addition the repaving vendor would undertake ad hoc repairs on an as needed basis. The cost estimate for ad hoc road repairs is $14K per year, which the vendor considered extremely conservative. This makes sense as we based the estimate on a particular neighborhood's most recent two years, which was considerably above their budget. In summary, it appears that our cost estimate includes adequate funds to ultimately deliver a superior quality road surface while having sufficient interim funds for ad hoc repair. Please see detailed charts above to fully explain the repaving.


Question: Reserve studies factor in inflation. It doesn't appear that the $38,300/year put in reserve is factoring in inflation costs.


Answer: Please see above charts on repaving for inflation answer.


Question: Can you share more details on the sidewalk/curb maintenance? What was the age of the sidewalks in the neighborhoods that were interviewed? Do they have the same challenges with tree roots damaging the sidewalks like we do?


Answer: The tree root damage that you are referring to on Shiloh Road east is a very difficult problem. One that I am all too familiar with in Louisiana (especially New Orleans). Large beautiful trees cause sidewalk damage. I talked to the county about these sidewalks. In general, if the sidewalk gets really bad, the county will come in and fix it. Whatever root is causing the problem will be dug up and the sidewalk fixed. This process sometimes kills the tree. Jimmie also said that if they feel that they can't dig up the root, they will take down the tree. They will not fix a sidewalk that they feel will just get damaged again by the root. So, you have to really think about how much you want the sidewalk fixed. That is why the sidewalks in New Orleans are crazy bad, because they don't want to lose those beautiful trees. If the neighborhood is gated, or not...we will continue to have this problem. We have to decide if a broken sidewalk is ok if we don't want to lose the tree. The estimate for sidewalk/ curb maintenance was based on the actual costs incurred by one very large and nearby neighborhood of a similar age and also having larger trees. We prorated our estimate based on relative total road area. In addition, the County's current approach to curb maintenance does not fit with our philosophy of maintaining our attractive trees and would lead to our own management of such issues, gates or no gates.


Question: I don't see any reserve funds for tree maintenance. Trees on Shiloh are getting older and shedding more branches. I know of 2 incidents in the past year where a homeowner had to replace a windshield because of falling branches on Shiloh Road. In the past, we've had large branches fall in the road that required the County to come out and remove that. We should be budgeting for that as well, especially as the trees continue to age.


Answer: Tree maintenance is the responsibility of the HOA. The Board has spoken at length to the county on who owns the trees (and the answer is we do). So, the gates do not play a role in the tree maintenance. The trees have become part of our budgeting over the next 5 years. We are about to hire a tree company to do a trimming of all dead branches along Shiloh Road. The reason you don't see trees in the gate budget is because they are in the normal operating budget without the gates even in the picture.



Question:. Have we spoken with our legal counsel about the added legal responsibilities of the HOA having ownership of the roads/sidewalks? Today, if someone were to trip/hurt themselves on the sidewalk, that is a County issue. But if that happens if we have ownership, that would be the HOA's legal burden. What is the feedback from our legal counsel? Would this result in any additional legal coverage/fees to the HOA?


Answer: The Board has spoken with both legal counsel and our insurance adjuster. We have factored in the increased premium cost of our new possible "gated" community into our proposed gate budget.



Question: What is the forum of the HOA vote on 2/5? Does this issue go straight to vote? Will homeowners have an opportunity to express their opinions with their fellow homeowners prior to the vote?


Answer: Homeowners will have an opportunity to express their opinions in a controlled, kind, and polite manner. Those using the zoom link will not be able to speak, but can send in questions via a chat.



Question: When the initial surveys were presented to the neighborhood (gates, speed humps, stop signs), we weren't provided any specific costs associated with the gates. Now that the costs are coming into clearer picture, shouldn't we do another survey to see how the community members feel?


Answer: The first survey that went out was October 2020 with 160 households participating and 76 Percent of them wanting one or two gates. The next survey was done in March of 2021 when over 200 residents responded and 86 percent wanted gates with an overall favorability rating of 8.5 out of 10. This started the process of putting hard numbers to exactly what it would entail and cost to install gates in our neighborhood. This data gathering took a long time. We are now at the point where we need to vote and this board needs to move on. The board also has no idea how long Forsyth County will think this is a good idea. If we wait and new commissioners are installed this window could possibly close.


Question: On a related note, in reading the letter from the County Attorney regarding the refusal of the single gate option, he mentions the idea of cul-de-sacing Shiloh Road. I don't recall that being an option posed to the neighbors. Could we include that on the next survey?


Answer: The Board has met with our County Commissioner Alfred John and the Assistant County Manager David McKee and several other members of the county. I personally was at both of the meetings and I have been in constant communication via email with David McKee. The lawyers did indicate in the letter that the cul de sac was a possibility. However, during the meeting the county told us in no uncertain terms that the cul de sac idea would not be popular and would not pass with the commissioners. It falls into the same category as a single gate. Essentially, we can't have our cake and eat it too (by blocking the road but still having the county pay to refinish it). That idea is off the table as it will not pass with the Commissioners. We only presented ideas that had a chance of passing with the commissioners and the only ideas that they were supportive of was double gating.


If the gates do not pass. The board will go back to the county and request another traffic study. If the traffic study warrants intervention of speed humps or other traffic mitigating means, the county will consider them. However, practically when talking to David McKee, he feels that the county will begin with the no through trucks sign (making sure it is registered correctly) and they will continue to call the businesses in the business park and talk to them about keeping their trucks off of Shiloh Road. In other words, we will probably not get speed humps.


Question: Has anyone been able to determine the effect limiting access to a neighborhood like ours has on property values? All other factors held constant, does the addition of gates enhance or detract from property values? Any data or feedback on this question from the other three neighborhoods you've looked at? I would think, in our neighborhood, gates would add some amount to property values, given that potential buyers can easily see the truck traffic in the Shiloh Farms complex. That's my theory, anyway, which I have no data to support, and why I ask the question. If the theory is correct, then the additional assessments we would pay would come back to us in property value.


Answer: Several factors determine property values, so it is impossible to predict how our home values would be affected. There are several online articles that indicate the positive effect of gates on property values. According to Scott Murphy, Chairman of the Appraisal Board and appointed by GA Governor, house values may appreciate by 5-7%.


Comment asked to be included by homeowner: What I get out of this is that if Mr. Murphy is wrong by 80% or more, and that average home values rise only 1%....that's $5,000 on a $500,000 home, well in excess of the projected assessment increase.


If you believe the 5%-7% range, it's obviously even more.


So what we're considering here is an INVESTMENT, not a cost. :)


Question: Costs of adding a third lane at the Belmont entrance: My understanding from the information provided is that we are adding a third lane at the Belmont entrance. Have the costs for this expenditure been included in the cost estimates? Have the costs of purchasing the right-of-way or the land been included?



Answer: Costs included in detailed costs assessment as noted in the detailed cost breakdown. We own that land.


Question: Turn-around at the gates: Are we going to have a space for cars and trucks to turn around? I see that we are supposed to direct all of our vendors and deliveries to the Belmont entrance. I think that is doable for most deliveries, but do believe some will be missed. If there is no turn-around space allocated at Ridgefield, then I have concerns that situation will result in traffic back-ups. And is there a proper turn-around planned for the Belmont entrance? Again, if not, what will prevent back-ups occurring? Since are are in the middle of a county road, with no turn off from that road, our situation is unlike the majority of other gated neighborhoods.


Answer:This is partially answered in the current Q&A:


There will be signage before entering the Ridgefield section of the road that it is a resident only entrance.


"Call box provided for guests using a Memory Telephone Entry Unit. Both gate vendors recommend a separate guest lane (70’ length) at the Belmont entrance to facilitate unhindered resident access and provide easy visitor turnaround if needed. The guest lane would be added on the right-hand side of the road after the last large tree before the entrance. The Ridgefield entrance is currently recommended as resident only access, although this can easily be changed if so desired. Signs would be positioned prior to both entrances to warn approaching traffic about the gates. Traffic at the Ridgefield entrance would be directed to use Shiloh Crossing as an easy and convenient alternate route."


The Belmont guest lane will allow the visitor to approach the call box in the guest lane, positioned about 20' from the gate. If the visitor has problems gaining access they can easily perform a simple U-turn without hindering resident access or creating long lines. The guest lane is 70' long and will easily accommodate two cars or one large truck. As an additional measure to prevent long lines, the "gate master" can also easily schedule the gates to remain open for a couple of hours when events are occurring.


The Ridgefield gate would be positioned near the Ridgefield boundary wall and is clearly visible from Shiloh Crossing. We are confident that the "Resident Only" signs before Shiloh Crossing and the very clear sight of the gates will cause traffic to take the alternate Shiloh Crossing route. Making it resident-only will also significantly reduce potential tailgating damage to this gate.


Question: Does the county lay salt on roads like Shiloh Road East (the part going through our neighborhood) when freezing weather and snow is predicted or does the county only focus on highways and major thoroughfares?


Answer: The county is broken down in zones Shiloh Road East is on the Secondary Road list of salting order in Zone 2. So if needed and all of the primary thoroughfares were addressed we could salt and plow Shiloh Road East. Will note that your comment is partially true in that the main focus is major thoroughfares, hospital, and emergency services.

What will the gates look like and where will they be located?

Please click on the pictures below to get a larger view of the slides.

Last traffic study done by Forsyth County on Shiloh Road East in 2020

Here is the data collected from the traffic study that was done by Forsyth County on Shiloh Road East in 2020. The entire 144 page document will be placed on the Shiloh Farms HOA website for your referral. The county acknowledges that this study was conducted during Covid and is willing to do another study if the gates do not pass. However, the new study is no guarantee that the county will implement major traffic calming features like speed humps.
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Shiloh Farms HOA Board of Directors



Director Hokan Ojert President Ridgefield hokan.shilohhoa@gmail.com

Director Jane McLain Vice President Belmont jane.shilohhoa@gmail.com

Director Gary Nixon Treasurer Belmont gary.shilohhoa@gmail.com

Director Lance Hall Secretary Belmont lance.shilohhoa@gmail.com

Director Dawn Bourg Member at Large Crofton dawn.shilohhoa@gmail.com

Association Manager (CMA)Carrie Neville404-835-9216CMA cneville@cmacommunities.com