Voting in Bent Tree

Click here for a related post from last week.

Here are some of the various voting notices that were published in the official Bent Tree newsletter over the last few years (click image to zoom).  Below the image is a summary of who can vote on what in Bent Tree.

misc voter info from the Echo over the last few years

The subject has been covered on this website before, but here’s a CliffsNotes version:

  1. Voting in CC&R matters (for example, CC&R amendments).
    • Every lot owner (as long as they are not “delinquent in the payment of any assessment or other charge to the Declarant”) gets to vote in CC&R matters.
    • You do not have to be a BTCI member to vote in CC&R matters.
    • For CC&R matters, such as last year’s amendment vote, ballots were mailed to every lot owner (in good standing).  If a lot owner did not receive a CC&R amendment ballot last year, they should double-check their address of record.
    • For voting in CC&R matters, the lot owner of record can be a natural person, a business entity, a trust, or an estate.
    • When voting in CC&R matters, lot owners are entitled to “one vote per Lot owned”.  So, if you own 10 separate lots in Bent Tree, you get 10 votes.  You also pay 10 separate assessments.  If, however, you have combined those 10 lots into one legal piece of property, you only get one vote (and only pay one assessment).
  2. Voting in matters covered by the Bylaws (for example, Board elections and changes to the bylaws) is handled differently.
    • You must be a BTCI member to vote in these types of matters.
    • Membership is voluntary, so one has to apply.*
    • Only natural persons (or a trust that designates a natural person as a trustee) are eligible for membership.  That means if the owner of record is a business entity or estate, the owner is not eligible to be a BTCI member and is not eligible to vote in Board elections or to vote on changes to the bylaws.
    • Members must be in good standing (not delinquent on payments) to vote.
    • “…no Member should have more than one vote regardless of the number of Lots owned”.  So, even if you own 10 separate lots in Bent Tree, you still only get one vote in Board elections.

*Note – the Georgia Property Owners Association Act did not exist when BTCI was formed.  Property owners voted against submitting the community to the act during last year’s CC&R amendment vote. This particular property owner is in favor of keeping it that way.

All of the above was pretty straightforward until BTCI began filing tax form 990 a couple of years ago. It would appear that the “automatically granted membership” highlighted below (from the filed form) refers to CC&R matters only.  There are more than 1100 residential lots in Bent Tree (1093 improved properties billed for assessments this year + 1227 unimproved lots that were billed for assessments this year), so these statements are confusing.  But, I’m no CPA and tax forms are always confusing…