The scene at a Highland Ranch Homeowners Association meeting in Sun Valley earlier this month was packed full of emotion. The topic that got everyone so passionate? An increase in HOA dues that needed 75 percent of the 1626 units to vote against in order to defeat.

The HOA tells us that the space was beyond capacity and the crowd’s emotions were high, and after receiving threats the staff, along with security officials, attempted to continue the meeting.

They continued in a written statement --

"Homeowners were given the opportunity to speak but the situation became unruly and potentially unsafe for all involved. The sheriff was dispatched and the meeting was dispersed."

But some homeowners say it was rigged from the start: the meeting was in the HOA office, with very limited capacity--

"It was unfair and it was a terrible way to do it because they knew what was coming," said homeowner Bruce Ferrel.

Many of the homeowners tell us that things took a turn for the worst when an outside management company, Associa Sierra North, was hired to take on the day-to-day operations.

"They take pictures of one weed in your side yard and then write you up for it, and yet for all of the common areas, the detention ponds and areas like that are covered with weeds. Among other things, its a huge fire danger," continued Ferrel.

"The general consensus is that they are using the money that we pay them not to manage the neighborhood, but to harass us," said homeowner Annette Cassity.

Several homeowners say that much of the outrage during the meeting was the increase in fee's for what they feel is a decrease in services.

Even though there is a difference of opinions on how to go forward, all HOA board members are also residents, and homeowners say they want to work together to make the community better.

"To fix it back up right now, it's going to take time and baby steps are going to be needed,” said homeowner Terence Sterbi.

The full statement from the Highland Ranch Homeowners Association Board follows:

I would like to provide you background on the Highland Ranch Homeowners Association’s November 15th meeting and also give you a statement from the Highland Ranch Homeowners Association board of directors. The Highland Ranch Homeowners Association is a Nevada corporation and its affairs are managed by an elected board of directors. On background: Highland Ranch Homeowners Association is a large community that is a common interest community governed by its governing documents and applicable Nevada law, including NRS 116. Associa Sierra North is the community management company that the Association retained to run the day-to-day operations including, but not limited to financials, maintenance, dues collections, etc. As the community management company, we work for the Association and provide these functions at the direction if the board of directors. The community management do not make any decisions regarding budgets, fee increases, maintenance projects, etc. In September, in accordance with the requirements of its governing documents and NRS 116, the Highland Ranch Homeowners Association board of directors proposed and approved the community’s annual budget. That budget included an approximately $2.33 monthly fee increase for all homeowners including the board of directors. The fee increase is a direct result of many fiscal needs of the community including, but not limited to, fire break maintenance, assessment delinquencies, contribution to the reserve fund, etc. The budget ratification process is set by NRS 116.31151 and as provided in the CC&Rs. On, Thursday, November 15th, a member meeting was conducted to consider ratification of the proposed budget, which included the $2.33 increase per month. The member meeting must have 75 percent of the members be present and vote to reject the budget. If not, the budget is ratified. The community has 1626 units. Although the meeting had a large turnout and the board worked to have residents sign-in to get an accurate count of the number of homeowners present. The number was well below the required threshold of at least 75 percent of all of the members. During the meeting, the space was beyond capacity and the homeowners’ emotions were high, and after receiving threats, the staff, along with help from security officials, attempted to conduct the meeting efficiently and productively as possible. Homeowners were given the opportunity to speak but the situation became very unruly and potentially unsafe for all involved. The sheriff was dispatched and the meeting was dispersed. The management team and board were able to sign-in attendees during this time. We are continuing to work to provide the homeowners with additional information about the budget to hopefully help them better understand how the budget process works and the need for the fee increase.

Thank you.