The beginning of the New Year always marks two significant events that enable our homeowner’s association to do its business: Our annual dues and Board elections.
The Common Property fees and Community Plus fees are the source of the bulk of our income. If you read my last column about the 2017 Budget, I hope it prepped you for the notion of a dues increase and an additional assessment to fund a list of maintenance projects that in some cases have been deferred for several years. What it may not have done, is prepare you for the magnitude. After running the numbers with firmer estimates, we were surprised in some areas too.
The dues increase was driven by two main things: fully budgeting for some items “above the line” as part of expenses and increased costs (vendors and payroll). The most significant cost that is now properly budgeted is our annual reserve contribution ($60,000 in 2017) and we are doing it in accordance with an annual reserve study. Many of our vendors also increased their fees after several years of keeping them steady.
The 2017 assessment ($950) for maintenance projects for the Clubhouse and Pool was derived after doing our due diligence to define exactly what the “must dos” were and the actual cost. Engineering inspections were done and competitive bids were sought. Choices were also made. For example, the biggest cost item is to refurbish the Clubhouse exterior ($203,000 total). The siding on the front and the South side of the Clubhouse is failing and the glazing on the single-paned windows is compromised. We made the decision to side the whole building because the siding is 60 years old and will eventually fail too and because there are economies in having the contractor do the work now. As a long term investment, we chose a more durable material and we also decided to replace the windows with a double paned, energy efficient alternative. You will receive a notice for this assessment in late February and all of the projects will be fully outlined.
At the last Board (and Budget Ratification) meetings there was a great discussion about the obligation of the membership to maintain the assets (Common Properties) that we all own. Not everyone agrees about the best way to do that or how we should pay for it. One of the primary functions of the Board is to be “stewards” of these assets and the funds of the association. We struggle with those questions too. As an outcome of this more difficult budget process, the Board is committed to more fully funding our reserves in conjunction with reserve studies and will engage in more long range planning to be more intentional and proactive in managing our maintenance obligations.
Board Elections and Annual Shareholder’s Meeting
By now you should have received the notice for the February 6 Annual Shareholder’s Meeting and your ballot to elect Board Members. ALL residents are invited to the shareholder’s meeting (even if you aren’t a shareholder). Board Members will present their annual reports and there will be an opportunity for residents to bring up topics that they wish to discuss.
The Ballots have 3 candidates running for 3 year terms: me, Steve Brunette, and Steve Reich. Andrea Durbin’s name will also be on the ballot as a formality after being appointed to complete Brandon Pemberton’s term as Treasurer. If elected, we’ll be shifting some positions around to replace Board members that are departing. PLEASE VOTE by February 6! We need a quorum for the election to be valid. You may send your ballot in the postage paid envelope, drop it off at the Clubhouse or bring it to the Shareholder’s meeting with you.
We do have two Board Members rotating off the Board after completing two 3-year terms. It is impossible to thank these two enough in one paragraph in the Bulletin. Mike Brooks as Grounds Chair (along with his wife Linda) developed a plan for the landscaping of our two parks. Both parks (Woodbine in particular) are far more beautiful than they were 6 years ago and that is attributed to Mike’s vision and hard work. Steve Malloch’s contribution to our community may not be quite as visible but has been invaluable. On the Board, he has served in two of the most involved roles as President and Architecture Chair. Under his leadership and with a focus on process improvement, the association is far more organized and professional than it was 6 years ago. He also has a communication style that helped us through some difficult and potentially divisive situations. We truly will miss them both on the Board and the community as whole owes them a great big collective THANKS!
Well, that’s it for this month’s column. Hope to see you at the Shareholder’s Meeting. And one more time……..PLEASE VOTE by February 6!!