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Rising HOA fee angers northwest community

Posted at 5:40 AM, Dec 04, 2015
Like many senior citizens, Brad Boisjolie is on a fixed income. So when he learned that his monthly HOA fee at Tara Villas was going up, he had to let a few things go, including his cable package.
 
"I stream now, and doing with an antenna for local channels," he told Action News.
 
Dozens of Brad's neighbors are in similar situations. They’re wondering how they'll accommodate the new fee of $225 starting in January.
 
"You don't want to be asking these questions when you're 65, 70 years old," said neighbor Jim Wursthorn.
 
Neighbors say that the Tara Villas Homeowner Association regularly increases its monthly HOA fee by $5 or $10. It’s a small subdivision on the valley’s northwest side. This time that fee is going up $15, prompting an angry homeowner to reach out to Action News.
 
"I think that the renters basically are the cause for the increases," said Boisjolie.
 
As soon as we got the initial complaint, Action News wanted to get to the bottom of it. Jim Wursthorn says he was told, "We've got way to many plants."
 
I called the community manager himself. Jim was right.
 
The monthly HOA fee includes payment for all water used within the community. The manager says water rates have gone up across the region, forcing a higher fee.
 
At first, the HOA board wanted to exchange some of the neighborhood's natural plant life with artificial alternatives.
 
However, several homeowners didn't like the idea, arguing that real grass is important.
 
"It's pet friendly,” said neighbor Susan Gonzalez. “It's set up as pet friendly. Where are the dogs going to go to the bathroom? They don't want a fake lawn."
 
The community manager says homeowners were given the chance to express their concern to the board, but not many came forward at all.