President’s Corner –November 2023 – HOA Budget Season

It’s budget season! I am sure you have all noticed more meetings and more mail coming your way from your HOA. At the end of each year, your HOA needs to conduct its annual members’ meeting and adopt its upcoming fiscal year budget. Currently, HOAs are adopting their 2024 fiscal year (FY2024) budgets.

While budget season is a very busy time for Community Association Managers (CAMs) and board members, it is also a good time for residents to attend their HOA meetings, learn more about their neighborhood, and meet their neighbors. Maybe even figure out where you can volunteer to assist your HOA and contribute to the neighborhood activities.

This year, maybe more so than in the past, has been complicated for budgets. Some associations have seen expenses in some areas skyrocket and force increased dues for the upcoming year. We have seen increases in insurance almost across the board universally. These increases tend to impact neighborhoods with more assets and infrastructure than those with less property to insure. It remains to be seen if the upcoming legislative session will do anything to stabilize the insurance market here in Florida, but, if you have the opportunity to bend the ear of any of our Brevard legislative delegation, it would be a good time to bring the subject up with them.

Over the last couple of years, we have also seen landscaping costs increase. The cost of fertilizers in particular have increased significantly as well as labor (personnel). There has also been a shortage of labor so recruiting for our landscaping contractors has been a challenge. And, since landscaping is such a large part of our budgets, we are definitely feeling these impacts.

Understandably, no one wants to see their dues increase. We have seen our personal expenses increase too such as groceries, electricity/utilities, home insurance, interest rates, etc. It seems like all increased expenses, personal and business, are hitting our wallets at the same time. Just as it is impossible to avoid expense increases at home, it is also impossible for HOAs to avoid these same increases. Therefore, it is unreasonable to believe they can operate at the same level as they have in years past. Costs are simply increasing and this is reflected in our own bank accounts and also in the HOA budgets.

These “cost of living” increases also mean that we have the opportunity to try to be better planners and stewards of association funds: making sure the reserves are healthy and being funded properly; comparative proposals/bids on expenses and services; and using neighborhood volunteers for minor projects. There may or may not be savings in any of these activities, but, each board does have a fiduciary responsibility to ensure that the HOA is both taking care of their financial obligations but also operating efficiently and effectively. Taking in all of these economic changes, increases will be necessary at some point. Maybe you will see one this year or next, but, it will have to happen eventually. Just stay informed on what is happening with your HOA so you can be prepared when it does happen.

So, until next time, please remember … ” A good roadmap will get you to your destination.” – Floyd Talbot.

Eva M. Rey, President
Central Viera Community Association, Inc.