The need for more open and transparent governance is just as important an issue at the Columbia Association (CA) as it is at local, state, and federal government agencies. However, there is a recent proposal, drafted by CA staff, that would go in the opposite direction, making CA less accountable to the people of Columbia.
The proposal is in the form of a potential State bill, which would redefine CA and Columbia’s village associations. They would no longer be considered “homeowners associations,” under State law. They would be called “nonprofit community service corporations,” a new category that would have weaker provisions.
The proposal would remove some State protections of Columbia residents' rights under the Maryland Homeowners Association Act. It would take away protection of some rights to be notified of and participate in CA’s meetings. It would also take away protection of some rights to get information about CA’s proposed budgets, how CA operates, and what CA spends for individual salaries and bonuses.
Because CA is a homeowners association that requires property owners in Columbia to make an annual tax-like payment to CA, people rightfully expect CA to be open and transparent about how CA operates and spends residents’ money. In my opinion, the recent proposal is misguided and would be very harmful to Columbia residents’ rights. I will oppose, and hope that my colleagues on the CA Board of Directors and Howard County’s State Delegates and Senators will also oppose, any such efforts to undo any rights of residents in Columbia.
Columbia Council Representative for Oakland Mills