Friday, October 21, 2016

Life in the Commune

Tuesday was my introduction to shared financial planning. We all met in the clubhouse by the pool at ten in the morning - apparently on the assumption that no one who lives here has a job to get to - accurate based on the expanse of white and gray hair of the15 or 20 people gathered ( except for a few like yours truly whose vanity prevents them from surrendering to nature). 

The condo board was only half there physically. They weren't missing body parts - the other half of the board phoned in, not having yet made the migration south to Florida.  

The gist of the meeting was that while we still have one more new building going up, some here in the complex are ten tears old and haven't been maintained due to lack of funds. Additionally, the company hired to keep up the outside of these three story units is woefully underpaid. 

Unless we seniors want to get out there with our own pressure washers and telescoping brushes, we're going to have to bite the bullet and vote in higher association fees. 

Along the way to that discussion we had forks in the road like the comment from the man in the oddly military patterned shirt and matching cap. "What about licensing? Better make sure these contractors are licensed.  They get hurt and we're all in trouble!"  

The moderator got him simmered down and we returned to issues like building paint colors, spraying for weeds during a summer that rained every single day and so washed off all attempts, and interlopers who sneak into the pool area and unscrew the light bulbs for a midnight swim. 

Fortunately, we have two gentlemen with financial resumes who have begun guiding our complex down a sounder fiscal path. Most of the people in attendance sat passively, contributing little and one of the phone-in board members was all in favor of increases in labor and landscaping, but voted against any increase in fees. Maybe he was planning on organizing a bake sale to fund the needed work. 


  1. My twelve years experience as township clerk (with financial credentials!) is, don't count on anything being done, unless your steering committee of two takes the bit and puts on their bullet proof vests. Just saying.

  2. I've never lived in such an environment but have close friends who have. One ran screaming pulling out his hair after being talked into serving as president of the condo association. One was a no nonsense university professor who tolerated no nonsense. She wasn't out to be liked. She was out to be right. The other friend has a lot more money than anyone else in the association and has always served as treasurer or whoever oversees how the money is spent. She's also not out to be liked. I wish you luck.

  3. Good for showing up. Showing up is half the battle. It is always a matter of income and outgo. People have to decide what they are going to give up for what they cannot give up.

  4. The gentleman insisting that contractors are licensed has a very good point. Unlicensed people are more likely to do shoddy work in my opinion.

  5. glad I don't live in a condo or neighborhood with associations and fees. of course, lots of stuff doesn't get done or done on a very irregular basis, like the ditch.

  6. Do not envy you. It is hard enough maintaining our own homes much less those of a large group. Good luck and hope it doesn't get too expensive.

  7. Associations can be a nightmare...good luck:)

  8. Oh, argh. I served on my co-op board in New York, so I know exactly what this is like. I do not miss it!


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