March 1: Candidate Handbook and Nomination Petition for Village Board (3 open seats) and Columbia Council Representative (1 open seat) available at Claret Hall, in The Villager (out for delivery from 3/3 – 3/8), and below:

River Hill Community Association Candidate-Handbook-2023 – with map


March 21: Deadline for submission of RHCA Nomination Petition 2023, Candidate Statement, and Headshot by electronic transmission to manager@villageofriverhill.org and newsletter@villageofriverhill.org at noon.

April 12: Candidate Forum, 7:00-9:00 p.m. on ZOOM.

April 2-12: Period to receive written and in-person requests for Absentee Ballots.

April 2-21: Period to return Absentee Ballots in-person or by mail to Claret Hall.

April 21: The deadline to receive Absentee Ballots at Claret Hall is midnight.

April 22: Election Day, Claret Hall, 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.

May 9: Second Election or Runoff Election, if required, to be held 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. at Claret Hall.

Serve the River Hill Community – Run for Election to the Board of Directors

Residents of the Village of River Hill are needed to run for election to the community association’s Board of Directors (RHBOD) and for Columbia Council Representative (CA Rep). The positions are for two-year terms, May 1, 2023, through April 30, 2025. Nomination petitions are available here: NOMINATION PETITION 2023. They are also available at Claret Hall and on page 15 of the March issue of The Villager (out for delivery between 3/3 – 3/8). All petitions must be submitted by noon on March 21, 2023. The Election Committee is accepting petitions submitted as pdfs to manager@villageofriverhill.org. Electronic signatures are not permitted. Alternatively, hard copies may be mailed to or dropped off at Claret Hall c/o Election Committee. The Election Committee will accept multiple petitions nominating a candidate provided they are grouped together in a single packet. A minimum of ten (10) verifiable signatures of members is needed for a petition to be valid. For residents ages 18+ who are not listed as owners on the Association’s property rolls, proof of person, age, and residence must be provided with the petition. Members may nominate more than one candidate. A candidate shall be nominated for one office only.

The RHBOD has three (3) open seats to fill and there is no limit on the number of candidates that may run for election. The River Hill Community Association was created to enhance the quality of life for residents and to provide opportunities for community engagement. The Association is the organization behind River Hill’s Independence Day Parade, Haunted Hallow’s Eve celebration, and the Family Pool Party. The RHBOD is responsible for overseeing the finances and management of the association including covenant enforcement and operating Claret Hall and The Meeting Room. The RHBOD appoints the Village Manager, sets association policy, and advocates on behalf of residents. Local development, traffic, and safety issues are areas the RHBOD has focused on over the last year. The RHBOD meets at least one evening per month except in April, when there are two meetings. Curious? Plan to attend the Board Meeting (hybrid format) coming up on March 14 at 7 p.m.

Every two years village residents elect a resident to serve as the community’s Columbia Council Representative. The Council elects itself to serve as the Columbia Association’s Board of Directors (CABOD), which is the governing body of CA. As a CA Board Member, the village representative is responsible for establishing CA policies and strategic initiatives, serving on CA Board Committees, and communicating CA related information to River Hill residents. The CABOD addresses community issues and hires the president who manages the team members who carry out the day-to-day operations of the organization. CA meetings are held on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month and each CA member has committee responsibilities. The River Hill Council Representative is also an ex-officio member of the RHBOD and is expected to regularly attend RHBOD meetings.

Want to make a difference in River Hill or Columbia as a whole? Complete a nomination petition and return it to Claret Hall by the March 21 deadline. Candidate information is available here: River Hill Community Association Candidate-Handbook-2023 – with map or at Claret Hall.

Village Elections and the Association’s Annual Meeting will be held on Saturday, April 22, from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at Claret Hall. If a quorum is not achieved, a second meeting will be held on Tuesday, May 9, 2023. Stay tuned for more details in the April issue of The Villager.

Council Corner – State Bill May Change Village Election Procedures

I am very excited that my four-year-old son is interested in learning to play board games, which is one of my favorite hobbies. Board gaming teaches him to take turns, follow rules, and play fairly. That is until he gets frustrated with the way the game is unfolding and then demands that we “play for silly.” He then moves the pieces whenever and wherever he chooses so that he inevitably wins the game.

While my son’s games may often devolve into silly play, local elections are a serious matter. This is why I am especially concerned with Maryland House Bill 1024, which was introduced into the General Assembly by the Howard County Delegation. The text of this bill states: “If a residential lot within the village community association is owned by more than one person, each owner of the lot is entitled to one vote in the election.” If a lot has several people on the deed, each of them would be also entitled to a full vote regardless of whether they even live in the village. HB 1024 significantly alters how our elections would be conducted, as currently in River Hill, only residents of the Village aged 18 or over may cast a vote. This bill has the potential to give outside interests an outsized influence in who represents us on the Village Board and Columbia Council.

Proponents of HB 1024 claim that this bill will improve the democratization of Columbia Village Elections, by increasing the number of eligible voters. However, this bill appears to violate the democratic principle of “one person, one vote” since a person with a partial ownership interest in multiple properties in the Village may be entitled to cast multiple votes. Furthermore, in a healthy democratic process there should be a dialogue with the community to discuss new legislation. Yet as of this writing, none of the bill’s sponsors have engaged the River Hill Board to discuss the implications of this bill.

If increased democratization in HOA elections is so important, why does this bill only apply to Columbia Villages but not to any of the other homeowners associations in the county or state? It seems odd that democracy should only be enjoyed by the Columbia Villages but not any of the other HOAs. Each Village’s election rules are written into their charter and have been applied through numerous election cycles. Why is our State Delegation now seeking to override the village charters?

As a reminder, Village Elections are coming up on April 22. I encourage everyone to participate and vote on election day.

Eric Greenberg is the River Hill Representative to
Columbia Council and the CA Board of Directors.
Email: Eric.Greenberg@ca-board.org.

Disclaimer: This column reflects the views of Eric Greenberg only and not those of the CA Board or the River Hill Board of Directors.

Theft Prevention for Your Vehicles

As part of a national trend occurring across the U.S., Howard County Police Department (HCPD) continues to see an increase in thefts of Hyundai (and Kia) vehicles stemming from a social media challenge in which thieves target a vulnerability to steal certain models of these vehicles. The good news is that Hyundai recently introduced a free anti-theft software upgrade. HCPD is encouraging all owners of these eligible vehicles to take advantage of this upgrade to protect their vehicles. Find out if your vehicle is eligible and schedule your software upgrade at www.hyundaiantitheft.com.

HCPD is reminding everyone to lock their car doors and to never leave keys or key fobs in your car. In recent days, police have taken several reports of stolen cars in which the victim left their keys inside their car and the doors unlocked. This occurred in high-density areas like Columbia, Elkridge, and Ellicott City, and in neighborhoods in Glenwood, Dayton, and West Friendship. No matter where you live, lock your doors, and take your keys with you. Do not make yourself an easy victim.

For additional vehicle theft/theft from vehicle prevention tips from HCPD, visit https://bit.ly/preventcartheft.