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SPRING CREEK –Spring Creek Association property owners participated in a barbecue at the annual meeting June 16 that included a review of goals and priorities for the homeowners association.

More than 50 homeowners attended the annual meeting to learn more about key points, activities and strategic plans for the HOA, including updates on road maintenance, water and revenue, presented by Jessie Bahr, president and general manager.

Road maintenance

Spring Creek has about 150 miles of roads, 50 more than Elko, and something that is unique for a homeowners association, Bahr said.

About 50 percent of assessment fees go to roads, including for snow removal and maintenance. In the past year, the association has been trying to manage that spending wisely by monitoring routine maintenance work, Bahr said.

“We’ve got a good database, and as we do road work throughout the association, we chart every pot hole to see if it’s in the same place and if the maintenance is failing,” Bahr said.

Part of the problem is that the roads, which could last for about 20 years, are pushing 30 years, said at-large director Tom Hannum, who worked with Summit Engineering’s pavement preservation plan that recently assessed the quality of the roads.

“Since about the late 1990s, all the roads have been chipped, and we’ve been maintaining that chip surface since,” Hannum said. “But we’ve needed to increase maintenance for draining along the ditches, which were a big factor in deterioration on the roads.”

“They’re not made to last longer than four to five years without being redone,” Hannum added.

If the roads were all to be completely redone, the project would cost about $90 million, Hannum estimated.

Ideally, the roads should be repaired enough to hold substantial maintenance back eight or nine years, Bahr said, but instead, road maintenance has been on a shorter cycle.

“We’ve always chip sealed about 30 miles of roads every year every five years,” Bahr said, “but our roads are failing in different areas, so we continue to do the same thing because we’ve always done it that way.”

Bahr said that crews will continue to work on the roads as weather permits with pot hole patching and a shoring machine, but she also cited years of neglect for the overall problem.

“The drainage is so poor because of many years of not doing anything. A lot of things have added up, and it will take a lot of years and money to fix,” she said.

Additionally, contractors and other companies with heavy trucks are being held accountable for damage to roads, shoulders and culverts that may occur in the association, a rule implemented to preserve association dues for other things, Bahr said.

“We don’t feel assessments should be used on contractor work. [The company] should be fixing the roads,” Bahr said. “I know it’s a sore subject, but we have to have standards in place. Curbing is not cheap, and I don’t think it’s too much to ask, to fixing those things.”

Governance and revenue

If Spring Creek were to become a new entity, it would not reduce costs for residents, according to a third-party study completed by Hansford Economic Consulting last year.

Under any governance structure other than the current HOA, the level of service for roads and amenities are not increased, Bahr said.

Capital projects would be subject to prevailing wages, and labor costs for municipal salaries would be among the expenses absorbed by residents by becoming a district for maintaining roads; general improvement district; or unincorporated town.

Hoping the study would reveal “a money tree” for the association to push back dues increases, the HOA is now looking at two grants at $150,000 each for weed maintenance and fire safety, Bahr said.

The association has already received $39,000 designated for upgrades at the shooting range.

Additionally, commercial business permits were added last year in an action by the SCA Committee of Architecture, which goes back into the roads.

Water

To be part of proceedings between Great Basin Water Co. and the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada, the association filed to intervene and sit at the table during hearings for the rate case and Integrated Resource Plan, an avenue that has benefited the HOA, Bahr explained.

“It’s good for us to know exactly what [GBWC] is looking for,” Bahr said. “I’m certain they don’t appreciate us asking about every detail.”

However, with the capital improvement hearing on the horizon, association representatives are considering its options for a possible co-op through an independent study, Bahr said.

If commissioned, the study would seek feedback from the residents and what such an action would look like, Bahr said.

“This is a top priority for us and the board. We can’t keep going through the death-spiral, [or] it’s going to take our whole community down,” she said.

Bahr thanked the property owners for their patience as the association works toward correcting issues that have needed attention for several years.

“There’s a lot to do because of many years of no planning and no processes,” Bahr said. “Some things are very controversial, so it can be a hard thing to make a decision as a board.”

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Courts, K-12 schools & Spring Creek reporter

Staff writer for the Elko Daily Free Press

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