Here is a brief update on the Leaf Pickup situation.
Just before Christmas, members of our board and the Knollwood West HOA board met with a representative from Greenworld to discuss a joint leaf pickup contract should St. Joseph County decide to discontinue the county program. Our hope was that, by combining the neighborhoods, we would get better pricing and, perhaps service.
- First of all, a couple of facts to be aware of:
The County has NOT decided to discontinue the Leaf Pickup program. Greenworld has been indicating that the County HAS decided to cancel, but that is not true.
- In 2015, our HOA had a contract with Greenworld to do 3 fall and 2 spring pickups at a cost to us of roughly $17,000. However, with the County program, we reduced the number of “private” pickups to 2 for the fall (for a total of 5) and 1 for the spring (for a total of 2). Greenworld agreed to charge us roughly $2,000 a pass for these supplemental-to-the-County pickups.
- Under the Knollwood Homeowners Association By-Laws and Covenants, the HOA is not obligated to provide leaf pickup services. They were provided in the past because money was available from dues, funds surplus and solid financial management by the HOA Board.
We met with the representative who provided us with a quote that included the following:
- 3 Fall Passes beginning as early as the last week of October and completing no later than the first week of December, weather permitting
- 1 Spring Pass (which they called a “free” pass)
- Opt-out clause at no penalty should the County continue the leaf pickup program for 2018/19.
The combined quoted cost to the two HOAs was $372,725 (almost 11x the price from our previous contract). They also offered a number of “discounts” … 50% if we signed up prior to December 31, 2017, 10% if we committed to 5 years and another 10% if we were “among the first to sign up”.
With all discounts offered and taken, the combined two HOA price would be $151,000 (still 4x the price from 2015). Dividing the $151,000 over the roughly 580 combined homes in both neighborhoods, the cost per home would be $260 per home (2-1/2 times the current annual dues). That amount would have to be recovered by increasing our annual HOA Dues by a similar amount, possibly imposing a 250% increase in dues beginning in 2018.
We told the representative that we might be able to present a price of half that amount to our membership (and the associated dues increase), but there was no way we could possibly get agreement on that prior to December 31, 2017. The Greenworld representative was not willing to entertain a price of $75,000 (or roughly $130 per home).
All board members for both HOAs attending the meeting were in agreement that this pricing was in no way acceptable and even with the discounts applied, the price was outrageous.
We have informed our County representatives of this quote and the tactics employed by Greenworld.
As it stands right now, if the County decides to discontinue their leaf pickup program, the Knollwood HOA will be unable to provide an HOA-funded and managed alternative. Unfortunately, this means that each homeowner will be on their own to handle the fallen leaves.
We will continue to look for alternatives, including a non-endorsed list of providers (including trash removal services that would include yard waste pickup).
We will do our best to keep you informed.
Your Knollwood HOA Board