Fee Increase in West Molokai

The West Molokai Association has announced that they have raised maintenance fees on all properties in the West Molokai development by 666%! WMA is a homeowners association which has no common property to maintain, only has to hold an annual meeting, several board meetings and operate the Design Committee. It encompasses all of the 800-plus dwellings and lots in the Kaluakoi area.

In a time of dire financial hardship, this reckless move is unconscionable. Many property owners in the development are retired and living on fixed incomes and many more are struggling with tight budgets due to the current hard times.

Contrary to statements made in the WMA Board’s most recent mailing, there were no maintenance fee assessments by WMA prior to 2001 when the current level of $30.00/year was established. The current increase is claimed to be needed to pay attorneys fees to fight the water rate increase proposed by the Molokai Ranch but in fact, the association bylaws do not support such expenditures for activities outside the scope of those bylaws. Their vague justification for these legal adventures would potentially allow them to attack Maui Electric, Hawaiian Tel, Young Bros. or Island Air using funds extorted from the membership.

In the Board’s great wisdom, they have chosen an attorney to represent them to the PUC whose track record includes two failures to mitigate earlier rate increases by MPU. The likelihood of success this time is dubious. It is probable, once again, that the sole beneficiary of this action will be the attorney himself. They have chosen to restrict their scope to the MPU rate action, leaving the remainder of the Ranch’s water customers in Maunaloa and Kualapuu to their own devices and further isolating WMA property owners from the Molokai community.

WMA offers little or nothing to its members in return for supporting the Board’s legal adventures. All it offers is continuing liability for whatever flight of whimsy the Board may chose to pursue. It should be disbanded.

Paul Mullin
Maunaloa, HI

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