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Hill Condominium owners vote down 84 percent dues increase



By Jana Bounds EBS Contributor

BIG SKY– With the focus of university students and debate of a town hall meeting, more than 70 Hill Condominium owners attended the annual meeting Sept. 2 in Big Sky Resort’s Talus Conference Room.

The meeting lasted nearly five hours with the bulk of that time spent confronting options to deal with the damage that heat, moisture and age have done to the association’s 180 condos.

Ultimately, the proposed 84 percent dues increase was voted down, with some owners expressing concerns that the dues would not decrease after the allotted three-year period. This left two options for funding repairs: a special assessment, or the sale or lease of the overflow lot to a developer.

The construction committee’s $1,890,714 project recommendation includes removal of siding; blasting and staining; necessary repairs to the structure; and new windows, self-closing doors and gutters. The $1.89 million estimate is also inclusive of $96,000 for a project supervisor to oversee the daily progress and a $15,000 budget for contingencies. The proposal would require an additional $10,504 per unit owner for the 3-year project, or $875 per quarter.

“For a lot of people, those fees are more than their mortgage,” owner Dave Stergar said.

Board member Sheryl Gustafson said the appeal of the special assessment is that it’s a stated, finite amount of money collected for a pre-determined amount of time with a clear list of items. It looks better to prospective buyers than increased dues, she added.

Literature provided at the meeting compared condominium values in Crested Butte, Telluride, Snowbird and Jackson Hole and claimed that Big Sky realtors predict a 30 percent increase in sales value if repairs are made.

Everything from the types of windows to the necessity of having a project manager was debated.

Fiscal health of the association was also discussed, with accountant Doug Shamley saying the association was $174,000 under budget.

Owners also voted on a 4.73 percent operating budget increase for general maintenance, which was approved.

At the next monthly meeting, the board will further discuss financing options.

Joseph T. O'Connor is the previous Editor-in-Chief for EBS newspaper and Mountain Outlaw magazine.

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