Maine Alliance for Road Associations
Betsy Connor Bowen wrote:Do you know of groups that have started forming or actually formed a formal road association? (Under the statute, nonprofit or other.) If so, what were the biggest motivators in getting them to take this step? It would be very useful to have this knowledge because it will benefit assisting road association formation across the state. Could you reply to this topic? MARA will tabulate the results. Thanks.
I cannot speak for each and every member of our road association, but, certainly the majority of those who pushed to form a State of Maine Statutory Road Association (2005 or 2006), were motivated by one property owner who regularly used the camp roads, but, nonetheless refused to pay. The majority felt that by forming a Statutory Road Association (S.R.A.) that it would give us the legal leverage to force all property owners to pay their road dues. And, since forming a S.R.A. this one property owner has paid each and every year.
After the Legislature changed the rules and forced S.R.A.s to collect road dues based on a percentage of each property's value, just as each town collects property taxes based on a mil rate, I urged the membership to opt out of the S.R.A., at least until the Legislature reverted to allowing each association to determine its own rate structure. Our association felt that it was more important to remain under the S.R.A., even if it ended up with a completely illogical and unfair rate structure. Fortunately, we only had to wait one year, until the Legislature passed a bill to once again allow associations to set its own rates based on their individual situations and circumstances.
Adhering to the rules of a S.R.A. has not always been easy, but, after four years, things have settled down quite a bit. I sincerely hope that these comments will be useful to those contemplating whether or not to form a formal road association.
Charles E. Brush
Perkins' Beach Road Association
Our road, 13th St in Acton, ME consists of 162 property owners and is 2 miles long with many smaller "camp" roads running off it. A lot of our residents are now year round and it is imperative that we have access at all times of the year to an open and usable road. After many meetings (4 yrs ago) with an attorney, we decided to form a Statutory Road Association that would allow us to set assessments and legally collect them. Over these last 3 years we have been able to collect 157 assessments.....legally....and have filed liens....legally....on those properties that have not paid. The road was in severe disrepair when we started our association and since it's inception, with the great leadership of our former president, Bill Gannon, we have been able to reconstruct and pave nearly 3/4 of the road in a rather short period of time. The property owners are most pleased to see their assessment dollars used toward reconstructing the road and maintaining it to their satisfaction. In the not too distant future when the road is finished we will be able to lower the assessments dramatically and enjoy the fruits of our labor. A road association was not the avenue the owners wanted to take in the beginning but the results have now made them happy.
Virginia Grover President 13th St Road Association Acton, ME
Our association, Gray's Johnson Road Association was incorporated in 1989, under the laws existing at that time. I became a member in 1993, and it was still operated as mostly a "good neighbor" association at that time; non-paying summer camp owners were not pressed for payments. As the (dirt) road saw more year-round residents and more use, and more owners failing to pay (20%), we have had to become more assertive with requiring payment of annual and special assessments, including the placement of liens.
In order to continue plowing our road as a "right of way", the town of Gray has also required that we carry liability insurance. This has increased our costs and necessitated increased efforts for collection. At this time, we only keep enough funds to cover annual costs, and don't really have a reserve.
FYI, we just increased our dues to $165 year. I'm interested to know what others are paying.
Jeff MorrillTreasurerGray' Johnson Road Assoc.
The Maine Alliance for Road Associations