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Financials

The goal of the LHCA is to provide complete transparency into our financial plan, including how many funds are contributed by homeowners, how much is spent on each project and subproject, and what companies are selected as contractors.

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The Las Huacas directors and steering committee are pleased to provide a financial update for the year ended June 30, 2022. 

  • Road Report - Year Ended June 2022 

  • Construction Impact Fees 

  • Security Report -Year Ended June 2022 

  • Annual Homeowner Fees 

  • Acknowledgement for LHCA Supporters 

Road Report - Year Ended June 2022
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Starting in 2013 and through another two phases in 2017 and 2019 the association installed a total of 1,590 linear metres of ‘painted’ asphalt, layers of fine stone and liquid bitumen applied cold. This surface has not proved to be as durable as we expected, as the many potholes indicate, and has required constant reapplication by a very unreliable contractor. In July 2021 we decided to forgo this method for a thicker (5cm/2in) hot asphalt mixture, a compound mixed at high temperature, so that it adheres to the granules and becomes a solid mass when placed and compacted and hardens on cooling, similar to that used on roads. Unfortunately, this difference in labour and materials is more costly.

 

We are not adding additional asphalt to existing lastre surfaces, and we are not making unnecessary improvements. The focus is just on repairing and replacing the painted surface with the more durable hot asphalt and preventative repairs to weak sections. Over time we will have more and more “new” surface. We expect this new surface to last longer and over time require less frequent repairs. The contractor has done a detailed study of the road and created a list of areas that need treatment and identified those that require attention immediately. This new process will have to be budgeted for and take place over a number of years. 

 

It is important to attend to the critical areas as soon as possible since the water seeps under the existing layers, creates more damage, and even the newly installed thick asphalt can deteriorate. We cannot start until we have received sufficient funds. 

 

We have had two recent landslides near the monkey refuge. We mitigated the initial slide at a cost of $16,200, which exhausted our emergency fund. Subsequently, there was a secondary slide adjacent to the initial one. An engineering assessment indicates we would have lost the road had the mitigation step not been taken.

 

This secondary slide represents a safety and access issue. Permanent mitigation of this slide may require a $150,000 expense to build a gabion wall. In the meantime, we are widening the road in this area to avoid traffic on the downhill side, thereby minimizing the destabilizing effect of traffic in the area. In parallel, we are putting pressure on the Municipality to fund and execute the structural repairs with the construction of a gabion wall. We are not optimistic; however, we feel strongly such major projects should fall under the domain of the Municipality.

 

In order to fund this road widening, we had an appeal for early road contributions for fiscal 2023 fees. As of July 1, 2022, we had received contributions from 26 quick responders for which we are really appreciative. That is only about 1/3 of potential contributions. We look forward to the other 2/3 very soon. That revenue, being fees for the next fiscal year, is not accounted for in the year just ended, fiscal 2022. Likewise, the $21,000 expense of the road widening will be accounted for in fiscal 2023 to match revenue and expenses in the same accounting year.

As a reminder, LHCA maintains the hill’s principal arterial roads. These include the continuous asphalt from before the guard caseta to the EE “T” junction at the top of the hill and four segments of lastre: (1) the entrance to the hill road from 160; (2) the main hill on section F; (3) from the “T” to Tierra Magnifica and (4) from the “T” to the cell tower. Abutting neighbors are responsible for other sections, “side streets” and private islands of asphalt.

Construction Impact Fees
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Building homes puts significant wear and tear on our roads. We ask owners with new construction or major modifications to pay an impact fee and LHCA uses those fees to build an Emergency & Capital Reserve Fund.

 

We use the reserve to fix immediate construction-caused problems, to respond to storm and quake-caused landslides, and to provide for future emergencies and improvements. In nine years, that fund has paid $56,500 (excluding the blue wall mudslide), to rebuild damaged road infrastructure.

 

We also use this fund to temporarily cover regular maintenance when road fee collections are insufficient due to late payments. 

  • We received $13,375 towards the Emergency & Capital Reserve Fund from 7 homeowners who paid impact fees for new homes under construction or major renovation projects. Disappointingly 4 owners did not pay the fee.

  • Out of the Emergency Fund we invested $31,508 this year (2021 $1,116) on infrastructure repairs including damage to the road shoulders, potholes, and damage to the road surface.

  • The mudslide at the blue wall cost us $62,267. We received $67,186 in this special fund raiser from 51 contributors.

 

LHCA initiated the construction impact fee in 2013 for new homes and substantial renovation projects. The fee now has categories to reflect project size and road distance.

The impact fee table is used to determine each project fee. Your lot location determines the “road use” category and your plans determine the “project size” category. For those not familiar with our “road use” terminology, the “T” refers to the intersection at the top of the hill where the left branches to Tierra Magnifica and the right to the ICE tower. LHCA does not ask to see your plans, we simply ask you to notify LHCA’s treasurer of the amount you will pay and of your plans for payment.

Security Report - Year Ended June 2022
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Over the last fiscal year, we raised $77,894 (2021 $73,447) and of that spent a total of $72,806 (2021 $68,304). These expenditures allow us to staff 24/7 security for the community, including at the caseta and roving guards. Extra guards were required to assist traffic at the blue wall mudslide when the road was reduced to one lane.

 

The security operation serves as a significant deterrent to would-be crime.

  • Over the past year, we had 1 break-in in the community. Looking back two years, we had 4 break-ins, (two at the same house). 

  • Anecdotally, we hear that theft and crime have been rising around the broader Nosara area community. Our hill is probably the most secure area in Playas de Nosara.

  • In addition to security services, our security guards serve as roadside assistance, traffic management during the mudslide, first responders to public safety issues, and noise disputes (a service no longer offered) 

 

Going forward, expect the following changes to security provision:

 

  • Reduced annual fees by $300 per household. With more households in the community, we are able to provide the same service levels for less money per household.

  • If more people pay their share, we can reduce the fee still more for everyone. 

  • We will not provide certain security services for non-dues-paying households anymore.

Annual Homeowner Fees
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It’s our road to maintain, it’s our homes and families that are kept secure. It's our property values that go up. It’s also why some new owners have chosen to live in this community. Keep up the good work for all of us. LHCA financial contributors are recognized in our monthly reports. 

Although everyone on the hill benefits from LHCA’s road and security spending, some owners chose not to pay for road maintenance and a few more chose not to pay for security. A few non-payers have financial constraints; most non-payers are able to pay but choose not to.

 

While LHCA’s fees are not mandatory, the majority of our community choose to support each other by helping to pay for the costs of maintaining our unique neighbourhood. 

Annual homeowner fees are changing in our fiscal year beginning July 1, 2023. Our road maintenance spending will increase significantly again this coming year, forcing a road fee increase in most cases. We are changing the road fee calculation to a distance-based methodology to address fairness considerations which a few homeowners mentioned in the survey.

 

Going forward, we will have three fee categories this fiscal year: 

 

  1. Lower Hill - Lower E section 

  2. Middle Hill - F and middle E sections, and up to EE11 

  3. Upper Hill: - Near and above the T 

 

At the same time, we are able to reduce our security fees. Our security costs do not increase as our community grows, so we are able to offer the same level of service for less money per household. 

The two fees offset each other and ought to be considered as a combined total. The lower hill goes down, the middle hill stays constant and the upper hill increases.

Road fees will increase for homes in the middle and upper sections this coming year as indicated for each section below.

Security fees for the year ahead will drop $300 to $1,200 for all sections. With more households participating as our hill community grows, we could reduce the fee even further in the future. 

Fee summary for the year ahead:

  • Lower hill: Road $600 + Security $1,200 = $1,800

  • Middle hill: Road $900 + Security $1,200 = $2,100

  • Upper hill: Road $1,250 + Security $1,200 = $2,450

Please pay your fees as soon as you can, if possible, in July. We can’t start fixing the potholes until we have sufficient cash in the bank.

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