President's Message - 7 Ways to Keep Your Homeowner's Dues Low
by James O'Neil, President, Board of Directors
Every year, about this time, your volunteer Board of Directors, as well as your paid Association Staff, begin work on the budget. It takes serveral months to gather the necessary information, projections, and expert opinion that combine into the budget that you receive at the end of the year. During this process, many of you will express your opinions about your desire to keep the homeowner's dues low. We appreciate your input. Here are some suggestions as to what you can do to help in that regard:
1) Have your Pen In Place newsletter delivered electronically. Obviously, postage and printing cost money. Sending additional email does not. To have your newsletter delivered electronically, contact Teri in our office. Stop by during business hours, call her at 650-871-1898, or email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org. After hours, you may call and leave her a message at 650-871-1898 extension 10.
2) Have Association notices and documents delivered electronically. California has some laws that govern how the Association can deliver documents to you, both via the US Mail, and electronically. The vast majority of documents, however, can be sent to you electronically, but you must opt-in. Once again, contact Teri in our office. Stop by during business house, call her at 650-871-1898, or email her at: email@example.com. After hours, you may call and leave her a message at 650-871-1898 extension 10. (Editor's Note: We will need you to sign a short form before we can begin sending you documents other than the newsletter electronically. We have included a copy of the form on the back cover.)
3) Recycle more. The single largest line item in our budget is utilities. This includes water, sewer, electricity, natural gas, and garbage. By recycling more, we reduce the amount of garbage that is collected. Our hope is that, in the future, our reduced garbage amount will result in a reduced garbage rate. Many items are now recyclable that were not recyclable before. We have included a one-page flyer in this newsletter explaining how to recycle and what is accepted.
4) Use less water, especially hot water. This can save us money in three ways. Obviously we pay for the water that we (as an Association) use. We pay again to heat it, and we pay for it a third time as it goes down the sewer. Since our sewer charge is a percentage of our water charge, reducing our water usage will also reduce our sewer bill. Editor's note: Find some water-saving tips on page 6.
5) Report suspected problems early. If we can catch a problem early, before it becomes a bigger problem, it will most likely save us money (and staff time). To report a problem during business hours, contact the Association office at 650-871-1898. After hours, contact Security at 650-465-0168. Problems are given priorities, depending upon what else is broken at the same time. We are a big complex. A little patience and a kind word can go a long way.
6) Pay your Association dues on time. The Association has bills to pay as well, and we are paying them on hyour behalf. If you are a bit forgetful (or if you'd like the convenience of writing out one less check every month), see item seven below.
7) Pay your Association dues automatically. This is by far the easiest and least expensive way for you and the Association. Since the amount is automatically deducted from your checking account, you will never have a late fee (assuming an adequate amount in your account). No stamps are required. Your payment will never get lost in the mail. To begin paying your Association dues automatically, contact Teri in our office. Stop by during business hours, call her at 650-871-1898, or email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org. After hours, you may call and leave her a message at 650-871-1898 extension 10. The fastest and simplest way for a member to begin having payments made automatically is to sign up online www.haney.com.