By Bob Gourley
Maintain – Protect – Enhance. This is the prime directive for Boards of Directors of Homeowner Associations across the country. By maintaining, protecting, and enhancing the assets of the association, the Board ensures that property values are maximized and owners’ interests are served. The majority of your association’s common fund will be spent on maintaining common elements of your association. The many details of this story are seldom told to homeowners yet they need to hear it.
Take a look at your association’s budget for the current fiscal year. Where is your money being spent? I am willing to bet you have several line items for large ticket items that involve maintaining your association’s assets. Landscaping, snow removal, Pool and Tennis Court maintenance, sidewalk and concrete, blacktop, roofing materials, gutters, etc. and on and on it goes. How many homeowners take for granted that the common elements of your association will be maintained, protected, and enhanced for them? All owners have a chance to look at the maintenance items in the annual budget at your annual meeting. Have you ever considered presenting them the story in a way that is both informative and timely throughout the year?
Do residents know the process for how vendors are selected to maintain, protect, and enhance your association’s common assets? In most instances, line items in budgets are the results of careful vendor selection via a process of bid and review. The Board is charged with making the best selection from the submitted bids of qualified vendors. Sharing this information with your residents can help them understand that their common fees are being spent in a judicious and effective manner. It also helps them understand the need to raise common fees when prices rise on line items in the budget. (Please note it will not help them LIKE that their common fees are being raised, but it will help them understand the process.)
The story of maintaining, protecting, and enhancing the community assets may not be the most glamorous story you’ll ever tell your members. However, if you tell your story well, your association members will be fully informed as to how and why their money was spent the way it was and why it is necessary to save today for tomorrow’s maintenance projects. A community that has the financial resources in place to keep its association’s common assets looking great and working properly makes for a happy and successful community association. That’s a story that you’ll want to tell again and again!