DS, Palm Beach
It is difficult to say whether it would be an advantage or disadvantage to merge the three associations into one. Each of the current associations has certain common areas and the responsibility to maintain these common elements. The new association would have responsibility over all homeowners and maintenance of the common areas.
You need to weigh the advantages of merging the three associations over the legal cost. Most documents would not only require a vote of the owners they would also require the approval of mortgage holders. If you are trying to save money, I do not believe that that is practical.
You will still have the same cost for landscaping, insurance, utilities, reserves, and most administrative fees. I would suggest that the boards initiate a committee to study the problem. Let them evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of the mergers.
MF, Jensen Beach
Sometimes these payments would be paid by your insurance. I would suggest that you contact your insurance agent to see if this is true for your insurance coverage.
EF, Vero Beach
As to the situation of only placing mulch in some of the common areas, it shows that the board did not properly prepare the special assessment.
I can think of several reasons why the board would not include an expense in the budget and that is to keep maintenance fees low. Low maintenance fees could indicate inadequate property maintenance.
While I have no suggestion how you can force the board to mulch in your area, you now have a valid reason to seek new board members at the next election. But before that time, your board must prepare a new budget for next year. Such meetings must be open to the members and that is a time you need to become involved in planning next year’s budget. The problem you have is with the board that does not plan properly.