News and Events
Board of Directors Meetings
Board of Director's meetings are held on the fourth Monday of every month at the Office at 1 Jean Street. The public meeting starts at 6:15 p.m. with an executive session preceding the meeting. No visitors will be allowed during the executive session, but visitors and members are encouraged and welcome at the meeting.
Updating our Occupancy Agreements
This year, being our fifth year as a cooperative, it is time to update our occupancy agreements. This document is similar to a lease or rental agreement in privately owned mobile home parks and apartments. This agreement lists any occupants of the home, updates who in the household is able to vote at coop membership meetings, and renews our commitments to the park, the Wardtown Cooperative, and each other as neighbors. Expect this new document to be delivered over the next month or two. They will be due to be returned shortly afterward.
RV and Trailer Storage
The park rules limit the number and size of trailers and RVs that can be stored on lots. Therefore, the park offers a Trailer/RV parking area for our members and residents. Storage in this area costs $15.00 per month and the proceeds from these fees benefit the Community Assistance Program. Please do not park trailers or RVs in this area without filling out the forms and registering with the board of directors. Start the process by calling the office hotline, 207-558-8996.
Wardtown runs on Volunteers, and there are lots of opportunities to join your neighbors to make life better. There are boards and committees that need people, projects around the park that benefit from a few extra hands, and individuals that need support and help from time to time. This is how we keep rents low and get things done. Wardtown is the best-run and most beautiful resident-owned Mobile Home Park in the state. Help us keep it that way by stepping up. Call the office hotline, 207-558-8996 or send a message to discuss how you can fit in.
Behind in Rent…
By Bill Hodgkins, Treasurer
It’s important to know that you live in a cooperative. By their very nature, cooperatives are more forgiving and understanding about things that happen in life that cause financial issues. Home and car repairs, job losses and cutbacks happen in this world and we know that because we’ve been there.
Dealing with rent delinquencies is one of the toughest jobs the board is tasked with. In more ways than not, it pits neighbor against neighbor, and that is not a place any of us want to be. It’s easy to say that it’s just business, but it never really feels that way. So let’s swap shoes and take a look at this from both sides.
Members don’t choose to fall behind. I know we do it only as a last resort. I, personally, especially since dealing with a life-changing illness, have had to make some really tough financial decisions. We never go out to eat or to a movie or anything like that anymore. Steak and seafood is never an option at the grocery store. We’ve cut the cable and are living with antenna TV and Netflix for twelve bucks a month… We are thankful that this old home is paid for and the rent here is as affordable as any place on earth short of a cardboard box in the park. But that doesn’t mean that it’s easy. Because sometimes it ain’t.
As the treasurer and a member of the Board of Directors, I have to wear a different hat. I am responsible to fifty-eight other members and homeowners and to the policies that, together, we have put in place to ensure that the bills get paid, the streets get plowed, and the lawns get mowed. It is unbelievably hard to wear both of these hats. I feel like a bad person when I have to have a notice hung on someone’s door, and going through an eviction just ripped my heart out.
Let’s look at the realities of our by-laws, rules, and policies around rent collection and delinquencies. These documents are all online at www.wardtown.org so you can have a look for yourselves if you wish. They are often more strict than our practices, though that means admitting that we are sometimes lax in doing our jobs correctly. Rent is due on the first of the month. It is late on the fifteenth and a letter is generated by the financial manager at Lash Realty. If the rent is not paid by the twenty-eighth of the month, a Notice to Quit is supposed to be delivered. The Notice to Quit, or NTQ, is the basic beginning of the legal process that can lead to eviction. It gives the member or resident thirty days to bring their rent up to date. If this doesn’t happen, lawyers and courts become involved and things get really messy and expensive and could very well lead to real eviction and removal from the park. That is not something any of us want to see happen and there are a lot of ways to stop this process.
Internal to the park, we have a payment arrangement process where we are happy to take one or two month’s rent and spread it out over an extended time to help you get caught up. As long as the resident follows the agreement, this will stop any late fees and will keep them in good standing with the park and the financial management. There is a very nice lady at the Freeport Town Hall named Johanna Hanselman whose job it is to help folks who have found themselves in need of a temporary boost. Never feel embarrassed to avail yourself of this kind of help. If you haven’t already, someday you will be able to help someone else in similar ways.
In any case, please don’t just stick your head in the sand… We are your neighbors and are here to help and work with you. Besides, it’s really hard to get the sand out of your ears and nose.