If your homeowners association operates on the fiscal year, then Happy New Fiscal Year! Have your fellow HOA board members asked this question: how did we do last year? If not, then now’s the time to re-evaluate and ask the following questions so your Board sets the Association up for success.
Did we stay on budget last year?
Set a time with the accountant for your Association, the Board officers, and the HOA manager if you have one, to go over last year’s final financials. Pay attention to how well you stuck to a budget, if there are added expenses that need to be addressed in the new budget, special assessments that need to be made, or more dollars that need to be contributed to the reserve fund.
Are there contracts that need to be put out to bid?
The HOA board should discuss if it's happy with current contracts and review the scope of work to make sure it’s being fulfilled. For example, take a look around the grounds – is the grass consistently mowed and weeds pulled out of the common area flower beds? If not, then the landscaper may not be doing his job. How does the pool look? If there’s algae growing in it, then it may be time to find a new pool service. It takes time to go out to bid, and it’s a general best practice to get three bids to compare, so start this process earlier rather than later.
Did the reserve study show projects that need to be done?
Remember, a reserve update needs to happen once a year and a full reserve study done every three years. Assess any projects that the reserve study indicated will need to be done and make a plan. For example, if there’s any roof damage from last year’s hail storm, it should be a priority to make a timeline and go to bid with roofing companies, make any necessary adjustments in the budget, borrow from the reserves, or plan a special assessment to get the repairs done before the next storm hits.
Do we need to create a committee or disband a committee for any projects?
Depending on the size and amenities of your homeowners association, there are standard committees that help the HOA board do its job more efficiently. Examples include the budget/finance committee, welcome/social committee, safety/insurance committee or landscape committee. There can also be various project committees. The beginning of the new fiscal year is a good time to decide if a new committee needs to be formed for a specific project or if one needs to be disbanded because it’s served its purpose.
Is there anyone interested in becoming a new board member?
The start of the new fiscal year may be the time to change the structure of the board. Some board member’s terms may be up, in which case you’ll want to clarify who’s up for election, if they want to run again, and if there are any members interested in becoming a new board member. It may also be time for your HOA board to hold board elections. If that’s the case, then there is a separate process to follow.
In addition to re-evaluating the previous year, planning well for the new year fiscal year also means listening to members. Consider scheduling an open time for all members and board members in the homeowners association to just share ideas and talk over cookies and a cup of coffee – no official business! It’s a great way to start the new fiscal year on a positive note!