Neighborhood cuts services as funds run low

June 21, 2011 4:31:12 PM PDT
Imagine having a neighborhood pool that you haven't been able to use for years. That's what has happened in one Spring community, and residents want the locks taken off. But finding the money to do so hasn't been easy. On a hot day, Kim Myers' kids play at the neighborhood park. Even though a clean and sparkling pool is just a few feet away, it's closed.

"It's horrible," Myers said. "I would love if (my kids) could (swim in the same pool I used as a kid.) We've got trophies in there from my swim team but I want my kids' trophies to be in the same spot."

The Cypressdale neighborhood pool has been closed for about four years. The homeowners' association, which Myers belongs to, doesn't have enough money to pay for lifeguards.

"When we get to the point where we run out of money, then we will have to cut back even more," Myers said.

So she put signs around the Spring-area neighborhood saying 'Save Our Subdivision' and asking neighbors to sign a petition to raise assessment fees.

Here's how the Cypressdale subdivision's financial problems started. The $225 annual assessment fee was capped back in 1987, meaning there hasn't been an increase in 24 years. A proposal would increase the fee 10 percent for the first year and 10 percent in subsequent years, with board approval.

Rebeca Morales lives walking distance from the pool. Even though times are tight, she says she'd pay the increase.

She said, "We have two young kiddos and it gives our family something to do in the summer."

Other neighbors worry not everyone will be able to afford an increase.

"If you're on fixed Social Security with a little bit of income coming in from retirement, you're terrified," said resident Betsy Billingslea.

So far, Myers says the HOA has 46 out of 51 percent of neighborhood signatures required to raise rates. If the HOA can't get the support, Myers says the next cuts would include cuts to security patrols and street lighting.

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