An HOA (HomeOwner's Association) is a legal entity that represents the interests of the members of a community. Some are very big and expensive because they offer things like pools and gyms. Others, like ours, is very small because we focus on the essentials.
The HOA arranges for maintenance of common property (like the grass along 79th or the electric lights near the entrance). It also has to pay for things like liability insurance for that common property, file and pay for the taxes for the HOA that year. It also represents the interests of the neighborhood in community matters (like when there is discussion of building houses on the old golf course).
It takes money to keep our common areas looking nice, to hire a plow to come take care of the snow in Winter, and to pay for insurance and other common goods. Sometimes it has to make very expensive investments, like new lights at the entrance--we had to buy those, they weren't free!
The HOA board will make all reasonable attempts to encourage you to pay your dues. According to our covenants, if you don't pay your dues, the HOA can hire a collection agency to collect the dues for us and even bill you for us having to hire the agency.
Pay your dues.
Lots of neighborhoods have "Covenants", which are the legally-binding agreements the owners make when they build the houses in that neighborhood. Usually they're rules and regulations about things like "Can I put in a fence?" or "Am I allowed to park in the street?"
They're meant to keep the neighborhood looking nice, hold us accountable for that to one another, and to provide a form of government for our neighborhood.
If you go to the "Community Documents" page, they're all there.