Recently the Palmer Lake Beach Club (PLBC) Board became aware that Gov Inslee had issued a series of proclamations regarding HOA’s. The Board conducted research and consulted with the PLBC attorney to adopt a policy and process that complied with the proclamation as well as the PLBC Bylaws. As you may be aware, the Board of PLBC must follow the Bylaws and the law, and cannot deviate unless the Bylaws provide such discretion, or the law requires deviation. The Bylaws of the HOA do not give the Board discretion to deviate in the collection of dues, interest, etc.
The following is the result of the research and legal guidance, and our policy moving forward:
Gov Inslee issued an initial proclamation, then several extensions/modifications of the proclamation regarding HOAs and the collection of late fees and interest on member dues (assessments). Please note the Governor also issued proclamations that affect community associations. Under the RCW, community associations are legally different than our HOA, so our policy deals with the sections of the proclamations that apply to us (RCW 64.xx, not community associations - RCW 24.xx).
B. Summary of Proclamation's impact
1. The proclamation prohibits PLBC from collecting late fees and interest on any assessments (member dues) that were due between April 17th, 2020 to when the proclamation expires.
2. The proclamation has no impact on the obligation of the member to pay their dues for any period, and no impact on the ability of PLBC to collect such dues.
3. The proclamation has no impact on PLBC collecting late fees and interest on any payments that were due before April 17th, 2020.
4. The proclamation has no impact on PLBC collecting new member fees, fines, penalties and other costs due from members at any time.
5. The proclamation has no impact on collection actions by PLBC or the collection of amounts outstanding at the time of the sale of property.
C. PLBC Operational Implementation of the Proclamation
1. PLBC will review member records, and identify any member who paid a late fee and/or interest for 2020-2021 dues which were due July 1, 2020, and issue an off-setting “Temporary Proclamation Credit” for that late fee and/or interest and communicate with that member to process a refund to the member. After payment is issued a new statement will be send to these members.
2. PLBC will review member records, and for each member who was charged a late fee and/or interest for dues which were supposed to be paid from April 17th to now, and did not pay it - that member will receive an off-setting “Temporary Proclamation Credit” for that late fee and/or interest. An updated statement will be sent to these members.
3. PLBC will continue collection actions for dues which are not paid, including those due after April 17th, 2020.
4. PLBC will not charge interest or late fees for dues which were due after April 17th, 2020, until the expiration of the proclamation (see #5 directly below).
5. Upon the expiration of the proclamation, PLBC shall send notice to each member who is past due on dues payable after April 17th, 2020, providing two-week’s notice to pay the dues or be assessed the late fee called for in the Bylaws. Additionally, interest will begin to accrue after the two week notice period.
Please give us a couple of weeks to implement this process, and if you are a member who is entitled to a refund, and you do not hear from us, please reach out to us in writing or by email, or leave us a voicemail so we can follow-up.
Thank you for your strong support of the PLBC community!
10-8-20: TPCHD reported the lake level toxic algae results have improved (down to 629 µg/L from over 4,000) , and if we test with improved results again this coming week, the lake will move to a "Caution" level. Visit TPCHD for more information and definitive guidance.
10-1-20: TPCHD closed the lake today due to a spike in toxic algae levels. As we enter the winter weather period, it is expected that we will have spikes, and we will continue to monitor our results.
9-18-20: Tacoma Pierce County Health Department (TPCHD) notified us that the lake is no longer closed, however a caution level advisory is in place. Please visit TPCHD for definitive guidance on caution levels, but basic guidance is to not swim into algae clouds, do not drink the water, bathe after swimming and do not let pets drink from the lake.
9-9-20: We were notified by Tacoma Pierce County Health Department (TPCHD) that the sample taken on this day looked very good, and given the clarity of the water, it was not necessary to actually test in the lab. We have another test coming next week, and if this one is clear or when tested below the 2,000 micro grams level, the lake will reopen to "Caution" level.
9-4-20: We were notified by Tacoma Pierce County Health Department (TPCHD) that Palmer Lake should be closed for swimming due to high toxic algae levels. Signs have been posted at both ends of the lake indicating the lake is closed. According to TPCHD the lake will be closed at least 2 weeks. It will be tested weekly, and after two weeks of toxic algae below their standard, it can move to a Caution level, and swimming will be allowed.
TPCHD routinely tests the water quality of Palmer Lake. On 8-25-20 they tested the water, and on 8-26-20 let us know we should post caution signs, which were posted same day at both ends of the lake. The lake was not closed, but everyone was warned to avoid coming into contact with the algae, drinking the water, etc.
On 8-31-20, TPCHD tested the lake again, and received the laboratory results yesterday, and notified us today that the lake should be closed. The test results show 2108 micro-grams/liter levels of toxic algae. Clearly from last week to this week, the algae "bloomed" and increased it's level.
According to TPCHD, toxic algae routinely occurs in Washington lakes, and it "blooms" from time to time. TPCHD notes that there is a lack of scientific agreement if the chemical treatment we apply annually (which we applied this spring) really has an impact on algae. It can reduce the nutrients that algae feed on, but is questioned as to if it "kills" algae.
About two weeks ago the Palmer Lake overflow drainage system was completed. There were two key objectives in putting in this system - 1) Restore the natural drainage that used to exist, so that in heavy winter rains the lake would not overflow and damage the beaches, and 2) allow us to increase the level of the lake to create movement of water that would reduce stagnation. Reducing stagnation reduces algae, as nutrients are washed away.
We are immediately looking at raising the level of the lake, so that there is the desired flow, and we will update you as soon as we finalize discussions with TPCHD. Long term, we will probably relocate the lake water inlet pipes (which puts water into the lake from the well the HOA owns) to the Shady (North) Beach, so that the increased flow goes across the entire lake, keeping it clearer with lower algae levels.
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