Q: Due to restrictions imposed on gatherings because of COVID-19, and health concerns for residents, our HOA is considering not holding an annual meeting this year as required by law. Instead, they plan on mailing ballots to each homeowner so residents can vote on the proposed budget for 2021 and candidates for election to the board of directors. Will this be legal? Seems like a good solution to help prevent the spread of the virus.
Answer: Lawson Newton, an attorney who specializes in real estate matters, said that your HOA is "right on target with a method by which HOA business normally transacted at an "in-person" annual meeting can be conducted without an "in-person" meeting."
North Carolina General Statute Section 55A-7-08 "specifically addresses the situation in which we find ourselves due to COVID-19 restrictions on meetings and gatherings," he said.
That statute provides that any action that may be taken at an annual meeting may be taken without a meeting if the HOA delivers a written ballot to every member entitled to vote at the annual meeting. The written ballot's requirement may be satisfied by a ballot submitted by electronic means, including email, as long as such transmission can be determined to have been authorized by the member, Newton said.
Such a ballot must (a) set forth the proposed action and (b) provide a member the opportunity to vote for or against each proposal. This would include the election of directors and officers, if applicable. Also, he said, the HOA must satisfy all quorum requirements as if the meeting were being held "in-person".
"The written ballots so distributed must indicate the time by which the ballot must be returned," according to Newton. "This course of action is available to the HOA if, and only if, the articles of incorporation or bylaws do not prohibit or limit this method of action by the HOA. As always, this course of action should be well documented and records preserved for the protection of the HOA board and the good of the association."
Q. Why are there so many benches on the Muddy Creek Greenway? It is for exercise, not sitting. What a waste of money. There are too many now. C.R.
Answer: William Royston, the director of the Winston-Salem Recreation and Parks Department said that “some of the benches on the trail were installed for users of the greenway. Oftentimes, trail users will sit on the benches on the greenway and enjoy the nature. However, there are several benches that were installed as memory benches as part of our memorial program.”
Q. I was told there are two census forms. The 2020 census form that has few questions and the American Community Survey that has a lot of detail questions. I was told that we only needed to fill out the 2020 census and not The American Community Survey. Can you make this information clear for all to see. P.K.
Answer: Census officials ask that you fill out both, if you have received them. According to 2020Census.gov the American Community Survey is conducted every month of every year. It asks about topics not covered by the census and provides information to communities for economic development, emergency management and local issues and conditions on an ongoing basis. The census is conducted every 10 years and counts everyone living in the U.S., the District of Columbia, and the five U.S. territories. It provides an official population count that determines congressional representation and provides information to providers about daily services, and community support.
Ask SAM, 418 N. Marshall St., Winston-Salem, NC 27101
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