Sunday, November 11, 2012



Assessments are a fact of life endured by residents of many condominiums. But not at Farmington Woods Condominium according to our leaders:

In her letter of January 5, 2012 to all unit owners, Irene Loretto, President of both the tax district and executive boards assured us that “There has never been an assessment at Farmington Woods” and as recently as last month tax district director Nancy Landwehr made a similar statement in an article about Farmington Woods in the Avon News. I have heard the same claim from other board members as well over the last year.

I finally decided to check the accuracy, if not the veracity of those statements and quickly discovered that our leaders are either ill informed or prevaricating. It didn’t take a whole lot of research to find the truth.

The following document is from Amendment Number 3 to our Bylaws adopted March 30, 1998. It refers to our restaurant and the newly created minimums. Without even reading it you can see that the word assessment appears in one form or another 5 separate times!
(I highlighted the only section you need to read to see how we’ve been hoodwinked.)

History fascinates me. From what I’ve been able to ascertain from residents who were here in 1998 the restaurant was doing poorly and residents were asked to bail it out. So why can’t our leaders just own up to that. It’s one thing for them to remain ignorant of the history of Farmington Woods but trying to convince us that there’s never been an  assessment here is just plain dishonest.

Section 7.2. Powers and Duties. The Executive Board may act in all instances on behalf of the Association, except as provided in the Declaration, these Bylaws or the Act.

aa.        (1) Operate and maintain the premises and facilities leased from the Farmington Woods District for the benefit of the Unit Owners, their invitees and members pursuant to terms and conditions of membership as set by the Master Association.

(2) Provide for non resident and resident membership in the golf club.

(3) Maintain a Club liquor license under the Liquor Control Regulations of the State of Connecticut within the Clubhouse leased from the District.

 (4) Levy assessments against the Unit Owners and members of the golf club who so agree as a condition of membership, as a charge or fee for goods and services purchased or other charges incurred by Unit Owners or such members for use of the facilities or membership in the golf club but not paid for at the time of purchase, and for any additional fees or charges incurred by a Unit Owner or golf club member in the use, leasing, renting, or purchasing of goods and services from the Association in connection with the premises leased from the District or other services provided directly to the Unit Owner by the Association or its staff. The charges for membership in the golf club and use of the Clubhouse may reasonably differentiate between golfing and non-golfing memberships.

The levy can include a separate assessment per Unit Owner or golf club member as a minimum periodic charge for the fixed costs of operation and overhead of the restaurant in the Clubhouse, against which the costs of meals purchased during such period can be credited. This uniform restaurant assessment shall be established by the Executive Board after Notice to the Unit Owners and an opportunity to Comment. Pursuant to Section 47-258(a) of the Act, such charges may be assessed against the Unit of any Unit Owner incurring such charges, and enforceable as a common expense assessment.


The State of Connecticut passed the Common Interest Ownership Act in 1984 and amended it in 2009. It governs what executive boards can and cannot do and puts limits on how much they can assess unit owners in any given year. It turns out that if an assessment does not exceed 15% of the association budget “the special assessment is effective without approval of the unit owners.”

So, if the association wanted to assess all 1,084 units $1,000 each for new roofs the total of nearly $1.1M would require the approval of owners since it exceeds 15% of our yearly budget of $6M. That's a one time assessment.

When I moved here in 1999 the restaurant assessment was $20/mo for ten months. That soon changed to $25/mo for twelve months and was raised to $30/mo several years ago. That's an ongoing assessment, one that never ends and only goes up.

In 1998, when the assessment first went into effect, the total came to about $220K, well under the 15% threshold for unit owner approval.That $220K has grown to nearly $400K, still under the 15% limit for owner approval. 

But if you figure what that 1998 assessment has cost residents since its enactment, it comes to roughly $4.7M, about 78% of this year’s budget. And if you add the $2.1 it will cost residents over the next five years (barring increases), we’re looking at $6.8M over a twenty year period which amounts to an assessment of $6,273K for each unit owner! 

That $6.8M figure sounds oddly familiar. Oh yes, it’s the total that the bonds we rejected in May would have cost us with interest over the next 20 years.

Tax district board elections are today. We have directors who are either unaware of what I just summarized or blatently lying to us about it. These are the same directors that were ready to spend $6.8M over the next twenty years to shore up the money losing golf/clubhouse operation. 

They were so sure we were behind it that they spent $50K of our money planning this boondoggle with it's horseshoe bar.

Let's face it. We need honesty and transparency from our leaders, which is why we need to elect the three candidates I endorsed in my last post: Peter Janus, Joe Chudecki and write-in candidate Harry Dermer.

Public Act No. 10-186

Sec. 47-261e. Adoption of budgets. Special assessments. Loan agreements.

(b) The executive board, at any time, may propose a special assessment. Not later than thirty days after adoption of a proposed special assessment, the executive board shall provide to all unit owners a summary of the proposed special assessment. Unless the declaration or bylaws otherwise provide, if such special assessment, together with all other special and emergency assessments proposed by the executive board in the same calendar year, do not exceed fifteen per cent of the association's last adopted periodic budget for that calendar year, the special assessment is effective without approval of the unit owners.

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