The Coast News Group
Rancho Santa Fe

Delinquent payers again a topic for Association

RANCHO SANTA FE — The board of the Rancho Santa Fe Association is flirting with the idea of publishing the names of those who are delinquent with their Assessment fees. 

Chief Financial Officer Steve Comstock had appeared before the board to request it to allow him to take the next step to collect delinquent assessments for the 2011-12 fiscal year. The next step is the recording of a notice of delinquent assessment with the San Diego County Recorder.

“Despite several letters requesting payment of the outstanding Association assessments and warnings of the consequences of non-payment, these property owners have failed to bring their assessments current,” Comstock said after providing a list to the board.

Comstock said last month there were 19 residents who had not paid their assessments. This month 13 have paid their fees.

The assessment fees can be paid all at once or biannually. “This is the last payment of the assessment for this year,” Comstock said.

Director Larry Spitcaufsky asked Comstock to provide the board with a list to help it determine if these people are those who always wait until the last minute to pay or if this was a first time issue.

Director Ann Boon asked about the policy of publishing the names of the offenders in local media. “You do have the option if you so choose,” said Pete Smith, Association manager.

Rochelle Putnam, one of the newest directors worried that publishing a name might add to a person’s troubles. “People may be under financial distress,” she said.

Craig McAllister asked Comstock to report on the delinquent accounts at each meeting.The idea of publishing the names of offenders had been discussed last February when Boon had suggested the names be made public.Director Anne Feighner agreed with the idea saying it is the Association’s “fiscal responsibility,” to go after delinquent fees.

The steps taken to collect the errant fees is done in steps. First membership privileges are suspended. They are not be allowed to play on the golf course, eat at the club restaurant, play tennis or take part in riding club activities. They will also be forbidden to run for any office or be on any Association committee.

If a person continues to default on assessment fees, a lien for the amount can be levied against their property, which means the outstanding money must be paid before a home can be sold. The homeowner must pay for legal and filing fees.

Comstock said collection methods are polite, but aggressive, which culls the number of offenders before this action is taken.