I've decided to elaborate about the lost dues since there were statements made on Facebook and now I've received an email question about it. There is no secret but I hope to clarify what happened so there is no confusion about what is going on.
One of the previous boards decided to use HOA money to buy a laptop and Quickbooks Desktop maybe 10 years ago (I’d have to find the meeting minutes to be sure). That seemed to work well for them at the time anyway, but it has been mentioned before that there were no practices put in place to ensure the information wouldn’t be lost. The board has changed a few times since that happened, including in February 2021 when myself and most of the rest of the board positions were elected.
When we got to work in February we quickly discovered that the laptop in question would no longer power on and in fact was broken. I managed to pull the hard disk from it and recover the Quickbooks database for the HOA dues, and I also happen to have a Windows Server that runs that version of Quickbooks so I attempted to load the database. Unfortunately I was not told the password to unlock the database. I contacted every treasurer back to the one who originally set up Quickbooks and nobody knows what the password is. I then attempted to gain control of the email account used to sign up for Quickbooks so that I could have Intuit email me the password but nobody has control of that email account anymore and indeed nobody knows who owns it now (I have contacted the known previous owner but they stated they do not control that email account and never did). The last step was to look for software to unlock the database but the best I could find relies on a brute force method of decryption that could take weeks or even months of running continuously before it would find the password used, and the software is not cheap nor is it guaranteed to work.
It was decided in the board meeting that we would have to write off past dues as lost and are starting over. We know not everyone got invoiced for 2020 and so that is where we started. Obviously if you weren't a resident in 2020 you wouldn't owe dues for that year (thank you to those who have moved here recently and contacted me about it!).
To prevent this from happening in the future we are taking multiple steps that include using Quickbooks Online (to eliminate the need for physical hardware to be maintained) and using a HOA owned email account that at least 2 people will have access to at any time (to ensure that at least one person can get back in in case someone quits and doesn’t want to play nice with the information). We hope these steps will prevent this from happening again.