Monday, October 19, 2009

Spend Money Wisely: I Pitch to the Neighbors

I've served almost one term (two years) on a Condominium Board. The first year I was the Secretary. I took minutes, signed papers, etc.

The second year (this year) I have been Treasurer. It's been a lot of work, a volunteer position that requires diligence. We are done with the Budget. This is because I made a schedule in advance with the General Manager, and then we rammed that schedule. Plus there is a very talented member of this board who understands budgets but cannot serve as an Officer. So I am the Officer. My job is to make sure the talented people get what they need to have, and nobody steps on them in the middle or harasses them in the end. I take the flak. I'm very good with flak, so this works out.

We are having a rate increase. I have to explain this to our electorate. We have done all kinds of due diligence on this budget, but it is what it is. We haven't raised fees very much for years. No one ever wants them raised, including me. But this is the year they go up, under my watch. The belt won't tighten any more.

So, in a one-bedroom condominium unit, you get your utilities paid (ALL of them: trash, gas, electric, water, antenna-okay, not cable, internet or phone), someone to watch the front door and sort your mail, take care of the pipes and emergency generator, call the laundromat people when the washers aren't working, etc etc etc.

My current monthly fee for this is $312.00 per month. When we raise fees 8%, I will be paying an additional $25.00 a month. This still seems cheap to me.  One check, once a month: no hassle, all taken care of. We're already saving for the roof repair that comes in twenty or so years. Condominium Associations are a great idea.

The "Q & A Meeting of the Budget" will be at 7 tomorrow. It was my idea in the first place, because I am all about transparency when people have to spend their money. For some reason, I am happy about this but not thrilled, if you know what I mean.

I'm running for office again. Silly me. But I believe I've done a good job. And it's interesting, also wise, to check more carefully and be involved in your investments. By serving on the Board, I understand how things are going with the primary investment of my life.

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