The Barton Hills Neighborhood Association is governed by a set of bylaws that were originally written in 1979 when the association was formed and incorporated. They’ve been amended and updated several times over the years – most recently in 1995, 2001, and 2004. Some things have changed since then, and our bylaws are due for another update.

The BHNA executive committee has reviewed and discussed the bylaws, and we’ve identified a list of 16 proposed changes. Most of these changes are relatively small and reflect things that either need to be cleaned up, modernized, or updated to align with the evolution of the organization and how we currently operate. A few of them are more substantial, and I’ll discuss those below.

Copies of both our current bylaws from 2004 and the updated bylaws that we’re proposing can be found on our website at https://bartonhills.org/about/bylaws/. The updated version includes numbered comments that show where each change has been made and a brief description. Please review these changes and provide any feedback that you may have to the BHNA executive committee by Oct 17th at officers@bartonhills.org. We’ll then finalize the proposed version, post it on both our website and the BHNA listserv for final review, and present it to our membership for approval at our fall general meeting on Oct 23rd.

As I mentioned above, many of the proposed changes are relatively minor such as adding clarification about our organization type and updating Robt. E. Lee Rd. to Azie Morton Rd. in our boundary description. We’ve also reallocated the duties of some of the officers to better balance the workload, clarified some existing duties, and added a few new ones, all of which reflect the way we presently are operating.

The biggest change we’re proposing is to change the unit of membership in the association from households to individuals. The current bylaws define a member as anyone age 18 and over in a dues- paying household, and we rely on whoever submits the annual membership form to list their spouse, roommates, adult kids, and other relatives or individuals who live in the household and qualify for membership. The problem is that people get in a hurry and don’t always fill out the form completely (or at all). In the meantime, people marry, divorce, move in or out, graduate, pass on, etc. and we can never really be sure how many members we actually have, which makes things like determining quorums for meetings almost impossible.

To remedy that, we’re proposing that every individual who wishes to be a voting member of the association sign up for their own membership. The folks who would be the most affected by this change are the couples where both individuals are active members of the association – their total household dues would double. While we certainly want to encourage membership and participation rather than discourage it, we feel that if we don’t increase annual dues (they’ve been $10 since at least 2004), most people would be agreeable to the idea of paying dues for each member.

Speaking of dues, one of the other changes we’re proposing is to allow the executive committee to set annual dues, subject to membership approval. Currently, annual dues are specified in the bylaws and require an amendment to change.

The final change of any real significance is a proposal to bump up our limit on consecutive terms served in a particular office from two to three. It’s difficult to find good people who are willing to serve, so the idea here is to let an officer stay in a position a little longer if they want to.
Again, please go to our website at https://bartonhills.org/about/bylaws/, review the changes we’re suggesting, and let us know what you think, good or bad, by Oct 17th at officers@bartonhills.org.
Thanks in advance for your feedback and thanks for supporting the BHNA!

Stan Ostrum
vicepresident@bartonhills.org