Liberty Twp. subdivision HOA petitions county for ditch maintenance

Members of a Liberty Twp. subdivision homeowners’ association could become the first in the county to successfully petition the engineer’s office to take over maintenance of a storm sewer system through an assessment of residents.

When a drain pipe collapsed in the Woodmoor Terrace subdivision a few years ago, the homeowners’ association drained its funds to repair the damages.

“After that section of pipe failed, that prompted the HOA to recognize that it didn’t have the capability or finances to deal with future failures,” HOA President David Addison said.

David Bruno, a member of the Woodmoor Terrace HOA board, said it explored options to make such maintenance the responsibility of the Butler County Engineer’s Office, where there was more knowledge and capacity to address issues.

After three years of negotiations, Butler County Engineer Greg Wilkens made a presentation Monday to Butler County Commission at the request of Woodmoor Terrace HOA with a recommendation the county assume maintenance of the storm sewer system through an assessment of the property owners.

“Since 1988, developers have had an option to have either the HOA or the county be responsible for the storm sewer system outside the right-of-way, including the man-made features such as ditches, storm sewer pipe, catch basins and concrete headwalls,” Wilkens said.

To cover the county’s maintenance costs, 68 property owners will be assessed $105.62 annually for the next six years to build up a maintenance fund, according to Wilkens.

The total cost of the drainage system is listed at $215,668 and the maintenance fund is capped at 20 percent of the system’s value.

Once the reserve fund reaches $43,133 in six years, the assessments will stop. It will resume when the fund needs replenished, according to Addison.

The Woodmoor Terrace HOA is the first in the county to approve such an agreement through a petition process, according to Wilkens.

The process, which was designed for rural areas, was attempted by another HOA but was not successful, he said.

Addison, who has lived in the subdivision for the past 24 years, said he felt very optimistic as the commissioners appeared to receive the report, information and comments well.

“I’m hopeful we’ll get a favorable decision from the commissioners,” he said.

Bruno, who was one of the first residents in the subdivision, agreed, saying this option is “a wonderful thing. It allows us to manage the HOA’s liabilities much better.”

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