Service Area #6 homeowners say they want roads maintained
The Silver Moose HOA in Silver Springs is circulating a petition among its members and a neighboring HOA in hopes of convincing the county to take over street maintenance.
The subdivision homeowners have been paying the Service Area #6 tax, which covers road plowing and maintenance, but some residents feel they are not receiving the full benefit of the tax.
"It started when someone said, check your property tax bill for a Service Area #6 charge, and sure enough, we had it on there," Silver Moose HOA president Phil Tisovec told The Park Record. "We have been paying the tax, but we are told our streets are too small and narrow to access for the county to consider doing snow removal. And snow removal is one thing, but maintenance is another aspect as well."
The HOA has been paying privately for snow removal, pothole repair and slurry seals, he said.
"And it isn’t cheap," he added. "It’s just a short run of street. It doesn’t make sense to get a contractor up here to fill three potholes. It makes more sense if a county or other large entity that has better access to do more work at once. It’s economy of scale."
The county is maintaining local arterial roads, he said.
"They claim we can get to our neighborhood on those roads, and that’s true to some extent. But it’s an all-or-none thing, as far as I’m concerned," Tisovec said.
Since the Service Area #6 tax, HOA members are hoping to turn their private road over to the county.
However, the road would have to be brought up to county standards before the county is willing to take it over.
"The county said that if we can get the HOA to petition to have the roads brought up to county standards, they would consider taking over the maintenance, and we thought we could probably do that," Tisovec said. "But they basically stipulated that we need to get 70 percent of the owners of both HOAs on the street to sign a petition saying they’ll commit to paying for the upgrades to the road."
Tisovec’s HOA consists of 18 units mostly owned by full-time residents. However, the neighboring HOA consists of many residents who don’t live there full-time, he said.
"The HOA manager said it would be difficult to even run the petition past them," he added. "The other problem is, how often do you commit to paying for something before you even know what it costs? We have tried to get them to tell us what it would take to do that, dollars and labor, but they said they don’t want to spend the time to do that; they’re too busy. So the stipulation that the roads need to be brought up to county conditions is a little vague."
Tisovec said he doesn’t believe the private road is any worse shape than the arterial roads already maintained by the county, and it should take minimal, if any, work to do it.
"But of course it comes down to someone’s judgment," he said. "If you look at the arterial roads, they are in pretty bad shape. If we’re supposed to bring our roads up to county standards, and that’s way above the standard of the arterial roads, I think that’s a little odd."
During the April 17 Summit County Council meeting, County Manager Bob Jasper admitted that the county has gotten behind on road maintenance.
"And that’s why we recommended what we did in the budget (to raise the Service Area #6 tax.) Hopefully we’ll come out with the revenues we need to do our job," he said.
Jasper added that the county has been inconsistent in requiring Service Area #6 roads to meet county standards.
"For a number of years, we have gotten away from that," he said. "I can understand it from a developer’s point of view. It’s cheaper to build a private road when you don’t have to meet county standards. And the message we’ve sent to developers was that you could get through the planning process quicker and easier if you didn’t make it a public road. It’s our philosophy that they should be public roads and that they should meet reasonable standards."
Private roads tend to be narrower and cheaper than public roads, said County Engineer Derrick Radke.
Councilmember Dave Ure said the county is now being approached by HOAs, asking it to purchase special equipment for the private roads.
"Those roads, instead of being 18 to 22 feet, are only 8 to 11 feet, and we can’t put a big truck down that," he said. "But buying special equipment just for those subdivisions makes it 10 times more expensive for the entire county."
Jasper said that in his experience, some HOAs function better than others.
"They have a lot to do, but I don’t know how many have come to us saying, ‘We’ve never maintained our road; will you come pick it up now?’ We’ll help you bring it up to standard, but we’re not accepting some substandard road."
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