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Maine Alliance for Road Associations

What basis does your association use to set assessments?

  • 13 Apr 2010 11:23 PM
    Reply # 324906 on 221778
    Deleted user
    Betsy Connor Bowen wrote:To reply to Todd Tolhurst's July post, our road association uses a combination of distance and seasonal vs. non-seasonal. Both have "cut-off" points even though the use is "shades of gray," by which I mean there is a point in the road beyond which people don't have to pay for the rest of it, and it's summer vs. winter. Some people benefit and some lose disproportionately to use but that is probably OK with most.

    I am heading up a team for our Road Association to assess a fair way to apportion costs for snow plowing. The plan a few of our members derived would assess cost based on distance and usage, however a few members are dead-set against using distance in the formula. I would be very interested in learning how your assessment plan is working out and exactly what formula you used. 

  • 14 Apr 2010 4:47 AM
    Reply # 324982 on 195365
    Anonymous member (Administrator)
    You have a job ahead of you! The statute says that the majority rules on what the method should be. It doesn't go any further than that, except to say that it should be "fair and equitable." It is in the nature of governance, of associations and of the "democratic process" that the minority accepts the rule of the majority -- meaning that some people don't get their way sometimes. If it's going to work at all, it does so because reasonable people accept the majority's decision for the sake of the group's continued functioning. Things fall apart and nothing gets done without that willingness. 

    I am not familiar with the ruling cited in this thread that the millionaire (or just anybody) doesn't have to abide by the decision of the majority (if that is what the decision said). Having a citation on that ruling would be useful. (HINT!)

    That said, in your case, the vote on the method is going to have to be taken, and whether time or distance or both gets the majority, it's still the majority. Neither time nor distance is so unusual that one or the other or a combination of them, I would say, is not going to be considered "fair and equitable" by a court if the majority supports it.

    Maybe the combination idea might seem fairer to the dissenters, and maybe that could be worked out. 
  • 14 Apr 2010 10:00 PM
    Reply # 325626 on 195365
    Deleted user
    Betsy can you give me specifics on the method used for your road association? You stated that distance is used in the assessment. How granular did you go with the distance, i.e. 1/10 mile, 1/4 mile, split the road in thirds etc.

    You also stated you categorized people as seasonal and non-seasonal or winter and summer. In your plan if a mostly summer use person occasionally visits his residence in the winter is this person categorized as summer or winter? 

    A formula would be helpful. 


    We have people who never use the road in the winter, some year round and the rest partial winter users.  Up until a few years ago, plowing was handled by the year-round residents but more people came up in the winter to use their places and these people never shared the cost of plowing with the year-round residents. Problems ensued and then everyone paid for plowing equally until I complained and was volunteered to derive a "fair and equitable" plan. 

    I have a plan that assigns a fixed cost to all road users and then adds (distance x usage days) to this fixed cost. It is a cumulative cost model where a person's distance from the beginning of the road is divided by the total of everyone's distance from the beginning of the road and then is multiplied by how many plowing days they used the road....or 
    (fixed cost + (distance x usage)). The fixed cost is there so even non- winter users pay something we call an accessibility fee. 

    Some people have a problem with this plan because of the wide dispersion in assessments between non-winter users and year-round users. Other plans have examined assessing by frontage, seasonal use only and combinations of each. 

    It would be nice to get specifics on how other road associations apportion costs and how each plan was accepted by their road association members. 
     


     
  • 15 Apr 2010 7:33 AM
    Reply # 325763 on 222279
    Deleted user
    Todd Tolhurst wrote:
    Patricia Dignard wrote: The law states that I am only liable for the "repair" of the road from my parcel of land to the main road....as it should be... 

    I can't find anything in the Private Ways statute that supports that statement. The law states only that "The determination of each owner's share of the total cost must be fair and equitable." 

  • 15 Apr 2010 7:34 AM
    Reply # 325764 on 195365
    Deleted user
    Exactly and the judge did not feel that it was either fair or equitable that we should have to pay for the road beyond our house which we do not use.....
  • 15 Apr 2010 7:50 AM
    Reply # 325765 on 325626
    Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Chris Ingari wrote:Betsy can you give me specifics on the method used for your road association? You stated that distance is used in the assessment. How granular did you go with the distance, i.e. 1/10 mile, 1/4 mile, split the road in thirds etc.

    You also stated you categorized people as seasonal and non-seasonal or winter and summer. In your plan if a mostly summer use person occasionally visits his residence in the winter is this person categorized as summer or winter? 

    A formula would be helpful. 


    We have people who never use the road in the winter, some year round and the rest partial winter users.  Up until a few years ago, plowing was handled by the year-round residents but more people came up in the winter to use their places and these people never shared the cost of plowing with the year-round residents. Problems ensued and then everyone paid for plowing equally until I complained and was volunteered to derive a "fair and equitable" plan. 

    I have a plan that assigns a fixed cost to all road users and then adds (distance x usage days) to this fixed cost. It is a cumulative cost model where a person's distance from the beginning of the road is divided by the total of everyone's distance from the beginning of the road and then is multiplied by how many plowing days they used the road....or 
    (fixed cost + (distance x usage)). The fixed cost is there so even non- winter users pay something we call an accessibility fee. 

    Some people have a problem with this plan because of the wide dispersion in assessments between non-winter users and year-round users. Other plans have examined assessing by frontage, seasonal use only and combinations of each. 

    It would be nice to get specifics on how other road associations apportion costs and how each plan was accepted by their road association members. 
     


     
    Chris,

    I can see that you have quite a spreadsheet going. 

    On our road, the split is summer/year-round. Even though we use it less in summer and are called year round, we aren't going to make a big deal of it. The distance is not granular at all; its up to a certain point in the road or all the road. The formula was designed by a majority that lives along the lake, which the road leads towards. They felt they were bending over backwards as previously the split was all equal and there were non-payers and a big project came up and the minority got riled and things had to be worked out. 

    I worked on a spreadsheet once (took me ages) that used assessed valuation and distance and time as factors. Then there was a calculation that reversed out the over payments that had happened over the years and came up with some surprising numbers. It didn't fly. Anyhow, if a given plan raises objections you can always fiddle with it. It actually sounds to me like you are on the way to something, and good luck! 
  • 16 Apr 2010 8:17 AM
    Reply # 326344 on 325764
    Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Patricia Dignard wrote:Exactly and the judge did not feel that it was either fair or equitable that we should have to pay for the road beyond our house which we do not use.....
    What was the date of this ruling? Is the road maintained by a legitimately constituted road association?
  • 18 Apr 2010 10:47 AM
    Reply # 327309 on 195365
    Deleted user
    This is all very confusing!!  We are still in the process of forming a road association.  Personally, I don't feel it should be split between summer and winter.  Some summer residents come up occasionally in the winter, and the road is plowed so they can access their house.  Additionally, if there is any emergency at their house during the winter., emergency vehicles can access their homes.  So isn't it fair to say that we are all responsible for the road, summer and winter?
  • 19 Apr 2010 7:17 AM
    Reply # 327653 on 195365
    Deleted user
    There is another way to look at the winter access.  Some say that it is safer if the road is plowed.  My personal experience is because they plowed the road, vandals came in by truck and unloaded my house of everything they could carry out.  If the road had not been plowed this truck could not have gotten through.  Now we are out of all our personal possessions.  Granted we were insured but that does not alleviate the loss of things that were in our family for generations.  I realize  that it would still be accessible by foot or snowmobile, but "bringing in a truck"......and we are not the only ones, they robbed four cottages here. 
  • 19 Apr 2010 10:53 PM
    Reply # 328126 on 327309
    Deleted user
    Joann Wallace wrote:This is all very confusing!!  We are still in the process of forming a road association.  Personally, I don't feel it should be split between summer and winter.  Some summer residents come up occasionally in the winter, and the road is plowed so they can access their house.  Additionally, if there is any emergency at their house during the winter., emergency vehicles can access their homes.  So isn't it fair to say that we are all responsible for the road, summer and winter?
    I think that if anyone uses the road in the winter they should pay something but if a person occasionally uses the road in the winter is it "fair and equitable" to have this person pay the same as a year round resident?
    The year round resident obviously gets more value from having the road plowed/sanded because they use it every day in the winter. 
     
    What about the resident who doesn't use the road at all in the winter? A case may be made that even this non-winter use person gets a benefit of having the road cleared for emergency vehicles but some people may not consider this a value to them. I am one of these people. I close my house in the winter, pipes drained, electricity shut off and I am fully insured. I do not feel that I get any value from having the road plowed. Others on my road feel the same. Yet other non-winter users have to have the road plowed for insurance reasons and yet others need it for fuel delivery.In these cases I feel these people should pay something because they get value from having the road plowed.  

    You are absolutely correct about this being confusing. 

    if you are in the process of forming a road association who currently performs the winter maintenance?

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