Feeding birds can feed problems
Q: The board has sent me a letter to stop feeding the birds in my yard. They said it was illegal to feed them, which is not true. My neighbor fed the egrets and other lake birds for years but moved away. Since he moved, I have been feeding the birds. Please advise if I can continue.
A: Residents must never feed a wild animal or bird. This is especially true of feeding alligators; there is a Florida law against feeding them. As for the birds, some do have protective laws. If you feed them, they may begin to return to the location. If you look at the area where you feed them, you will find droppings. These droppings can be very dangerous and can cause serious illness in humans. It is best to let them find natural food as human food can harm them. Very rarely do they die of hunger. I suggest that you call your county health department and find out the laws for your area as well as illnesses that the birds can carry.
Only emergency should alter agenda
Q: After the agenda for the annual membership meeting has been posted, is it possible to add to the agenda once the meeting is called to order? Roberts Rules stipulated that the posted agenda is the official agenda and prior to said adoption of the agenda, any member can move to amend the agenda.
A: Under certain emergency situations the agenda can be modified. I would not recommend it for normal business. An owner cannot just make a motion that is not an agenda item. Motions need study and time to evaluate results or operations, as well as financial impact. The agenda is posted to allow all members to know what will be discussed and voted. This official notice will allow members who have concerns to attend the meeting to voice their opinions and cast their votes. If a motion or a change to the agenda is approved that impacts an owner, that owner has a legal right to challenge the non-agenda item that was approved. There is no excuse to allow a non-agenda item to come to the floor of the meeting except an emergency item. If an owner has a subject that he feels needs to be considered, then he should present a letter with the information well in advance of the meeting notice being posted or mailed.
Tax status varies for associations
Q: I am a director in my HOA. We are a not-for-profit association. We have the good fortune of making a profit on a recent fair and bazaar. I told the other directors that we should give the money to charity because we cannot raise money by such events. I told them that we could not make a profit. Can you advise me how I should address this problem with the other directors?
A: You need to understand the difference between a for-profit, a not-for-profit, and a nonprofit corporation. The nonprofit corporation must have certain IRS and state tax exemptions, most times called 501c corporations. Rarely is a HOA or condominium a 501c corporation. Most associations are formed under FS 617 which is the "not-for-profit" business. That does not mean you are limited to only certain incomes such as your fees. My guess is that you fall under the FS 617 statute and you are allowed to venture into businesses that allow you to earn income or a profit. You must file an IRS tax form each year and declare the income. Even if you are a 501c corporation, you must file a tax form. I know of not-for-profit HOAs that have many sources of income, including golf courses, lounges, clubs and cafes. I would suggest you seek answers from your CPA or accountant.