Association board reports a $428,000 surplus


The Columbia Association board reported last night that it ended the third quarter of the current fiscal year with a $428,000 surplus.

The surplus was the result of increases in Columbia Association memberships and revenues from recreational facilities, and interest income.

"I think it's a significant amount of money," said Padraic M. Kennedy, association president. "It represents a very good year. It's not a shock but it's a reaffirmation of what's been going on."

The surplus means that the association will not have to borrow money for expenses for next year, a savings of about $35,000 in interest.

The surplus also will help reduce CA's $13 million debt, said Karen Kuecker, chairwoman of the council, which acts as CA's board of directors.

The association places annual levies on Columbia property owners to pay for recreational facilities, community services and parkland maintenance.

Also during CA's quarterly meeting last night, a board member voiced concern that lack of a uniform policy makes it difficult for Columbia's 10 villages to enforce the town's architectural design guideline.

Citing the recent case of Wilde Lake resident Bruno Reich, who the Columbia Association took to court because he failed to clean up his yard, board member Gary Glisan said resolving conflicts over the architectural guidelines should not require such extremes.

"There are some that still will not comply, even though we take [the case] to court," said Mr. Glisan, who represents Oakland Mills on the Columbia Council.

Mr. Glisan and other board members said that residents want to see the rules enforced without court battles.

Mr. Reich's neighbors complained his decade-long restoration project at his home on Hyla Brook Road and Pasture Gate Lane made the property look like a junkyard.

Neighbors have said they have run out of patience trying unsuccessfully to work with Mr. Reich and to pursue remedies through proper channels.

"The process takes a long time," Mr. Glisan said about enforcing the architectural guidelines. "From a resident's perspective, it approaches infinity."

Some people have become so angry about the lack of enforcement that they "would like to have a covenant police force," Mr. Glisan said after the meeting.

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