So we had our annual Condo association meeting today. It was … painful. I came straight from a long day at work to two hours of that, and it was full of dog poop complaints and fears that our parking lot was “becoming the Indy 500.”
In any event, the majority of the time spent was broken up into two parts — the budget, and random bitching.
The budget didn’t seem too big a problem, except that there was an old guy who complained that the 5% increase in dues was unjust, because his cost of living adjustment on social security only went up 2.5%. His brilliant argument countered with ease, he decided to start grasping at straws. His thoughts went something like this (they changed rather rapidly, but I’ll try to summarize): Rather than having a comfortable reserve, we should just spend all our reserve funds on our big expenditures that are coming up (four more roofs to replace), and when that runs out (because the roofs will, all together, cost more than our reserves) without the roofs finished, and we find ourselves still losing money, we should just get nailed with a huge assessment (say on the order of $4000 or so, because that’s what he just paid for his HVAC system).
The guy was pure amazement for me. Anyhow, after giving him sufficient time to shoot himself in the foot, we moved to vote on the issue, with only 4 (of, say, 30-ish) on his side. After losing the vote, he exclaimed “we lost again!”
Just … wow.
Anyhow, after the important matter was done, the bitching started. The most vocal one came from a small section of our association that lives on a remote property that felt they weren’t being as well represented as the rest of the property. The bitching carried on for quite a while until it was suggested by the board that “we just had elections and everybody ran unopposed, if you care so much, perhaps you should have attempted to run for a position on the board.” This was of course interpreted as a hostile response and that they didn’t have time for that sort of stuff. You can sort of guess how that whole thing went down, but when they were reminded that they were always welcome to show up to the board meetings, they eventually shut up.
Similar intensity revolved around the debate on our landscaping budget, which was really more a debate on how much the trees should be trimmed. The same folks that were moaning about the 5% increase in dues were whining that the trees were too tall. Having already been cut once (of their alotted twice) this year, the heavy rains have helped the trees to grow well this season, so they are perhaps a little taller than they would normally be. “These trees are horrible, they need to be trimmed” (I actually think they look lovely, but what do I know?) was met by “where does that money come from?” If you guessed the reserves, you get a cookie.
Other than that, it was a lot of bitching about proper use of dumpsters, lawns, cars, the inevitable “bring back the speed bumps” debate, and so forth. The best point I heard was “listen, chances are the folks that are pissing you off aren’t even here in the first place.”
Overall, it was good to figure out who I have to watch out for and who is really in charge of things, but otherwise it was a frustrating waste of two hours. Maybe next year I’ll run for the board and really mix things up.