Darla

About Darla Ellingson

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So far Darla Ellingson has created 78 blog entries.

Maui: A Look Back at 2019

While not a full list of the all of the happenings and news on the island in 2019, Here are some of the headlines that attracted the most attention. Blazin’ hot. Even though 2019 was the Chinese year of the pig, the year may be better remembered as the year of fire. Weather, including record breaking heat, combined with fallow fields contributed to blazes across 25,000 acres- more than five times as many as in 2018. Growing green business. Maui Brewing Company was recognized for investing over [...]

Reducing HOA Property Risks

Amenities add value to communities. Having a place to gather, play tennis or other recreation activities can be the centerpiece of the neighborhood on Maui. And since all members chip in through HOA fees, perks can be provided at a reasonable cost. However, amenities are not without risk A Homeowners Association is open to liabilities providing such amenities. It’s important to be fully aware of risks and take appropriate steps to minimize them. It may mean saving a lot of money down the road. [...]

Employers: Are you ready for payroll and related changes in 2020?

There are numerous payroll changes for 2020, mostly on the Federal level. You can toss out the old Form W-4- there’s a new one. 2020 is a leap year, which may throw off payroll calendars. Finally, there are a few interesting state laws taking effect in the upcoming year. While the new Hawaii laws are not directly tied to payroll, they may have an impact on personnel. Federal Changes FICA Taxes Social Security tax For 2020, employers and employees must each pay Social Security tax at 6.2%, up to [...]

Creating a Better Work-Life Balance

If you are seeking a better work-life balance in the coming year, you have probably already heard some standard advice, such as getting more sleep and taking more time off. But what if you are doing these things and still feel things are out of balance? What it boils down to is productivity- using time efficiently so you are your best self at work and during leisure time. The problem for a lot of us is efficiency does not come naturally- you have to work at it. It can be especially hard here on [...]

Understanding Specs Before Buying a New Computer

Is your association in the market for a new computer? Black Friday is one of the best times of year to shop for a new system. But even my techno eyes glaze over when the sales person goes into too much detail. “Will you ever be over-clocking?” Well I don’t know (or want to tell you I only have a vague notion of what that means.) That said, it is important to understand the laundry list of technical specs attached to a machine. A computer’s features can affect things like performance, how much [...]

Confirming a Parking Stall before Buying or Selling

A parking stall is an important asset to a condominium unit. Buyers may evaluate if the space fits their car, how close to the unit the space is, or if there is enough room to get in and out of the vehicle. However, don’t assume the stall being used by occupants of the unit actually is the legally assigned stall. Owners sometimes enter into informal agreements among themselves to use a parking stall other than the one assigned to them. This could be for the convenience of one or both parties d [...]

Communities, Cultural Diversity and Holidays

Our condominium and housing communities can be a great melting pot of cultural backgrounds and interests. As we head into another holiday season (Hallow-thanks-mas according to what’s currently displayed in Walmart), there are new opportunities to celebrate our differences and find common ground. We are increasingly asked to recognize a much larger global picture of humankind. We make ourselves known to one another by infinite varieties of intelligence, language, race, values, politics, religi [...]

Is Your HOA Board at a Stalemate?

If your HOA board is plagued with constant bickering, morale problems, or just an overall lack of productivity and follow-through, they are not serving their community well. There are many professional approaches to solving these issues. Many boards hire experts in team building. Here’s why that approach often doesn’t work. An ill-tempered and dysfunctional board is likely just the outer layer of larger foundational problems such as leadership or policy issues. Having members, who probably don [...]

Fiduciary Duty of a Board of Directors

Board members of a condominium or homeowner’s association have fiduciary duty to act in a way that will benefit all members of the association. The Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs has a document available to associations, “Condominium property Regimes: Owner Rights and Responsibilities.” Following is an excerpt of the document, which is a good starting point for association boards and their members to understand their responsibilities under the law. Board of Directors The as [...]

Keeping Adequate HOA Reserves

It’s hard for some homeowners to understand why dues are collected, or even increased, when an HOA already has funds held in reserve. However, reserves must be adequate, and a vote not to reserve is likely a vote for a special assessment in the future. An association must protect its common elements through the proper funding of association reserves. Pre-planning can save money, relieve stress and save time. Adequate reserves help keep a property well maintained, and adds to the safety and sec [...]