New Castle County launches call center and website for homeowner associations

Nov. 9, 2011 -- New Castle County Executive Paul Clark today announced the launch of a new centralized communications resource for the more than 800 maintenance corporations and civic associations in the county. The county's Homeowner Association Help Line - 395-5601 - will give directors of these homeowner groups easy access to answers on everything from storm water management to annual dues to grass-cutting schedules for parks. The goal, Clark said, is to help homeowner associations address questions and concerns quickly and efficiently. "My experience working with maintenance associations and civic groups has made it clear that they need a way to get easily accessible information," Clark said. "We want to help people navigate through the system and get them answers as quickly as we can. It's all about providing exemplary customer service and helping to build community." The county has set up a Homeowner Association Help Line website, www.nccde.org/hahl, as an additional resource for those with questions about homeowner associations. And starting in January the county will hold quarterly information sessions on topics important to homeowner associations. The first session will introduce the initiative and will include representatives from all county departments. "These countywide community outreach meetings will be valuable forums for questions and answers related to homeowner associations," Clark said. "It's important for residents to have this kind of direct contact with their county government." The call center is designated to serve the needs of homeowner associations directors; the county's general customer-service line - 395-5555 - remains the number residents should call with questions or concerns about code violations or general county government services. The call center will be staffed from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Since the center will use existing county staff, startup costs will be minimal and will come from the existing budget. All calls to the 395-5601 help line will be entered into a database to provide information for county administrators and County Council on the types of calls received, where they came from and how and when they were resolved. The help line's staff will use the call logs to develop a list of common questions and answers. "We presented this program to County Council this week and look forward to collaborating with council members to enhance service to the homeowner associations in their districts," Clark said. Maintenance corporations are legal bodies mandated in some communities to govern issues such as maintaining open space, managing storm water and removing snow. Membership in a maintenance corporation is made part of the deed when a house is purchased, and residents are billed a mandatory annual assessment. Civic associations are voluntary groups of dues-paying residents who sponsor community events and advocate on issues that affect their communities. Some communities are represented by both maintenance corporations and civic associations.

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