Q: What does the Annual Meeting budget line item include?
A: The Annual meeting line item for the current budget includes all costs for the annual meeting, printing, mailing, food, sound system, ballots etc. The only thing not included would be an allocation of Suzanne’s wages for the time she will spend on preparing for the meeting.
Q: Why do we have Bank Charges Expense?
A: The bank charges us every time someone bounces a check or for extra services. We recover the cost of bounced fees by charging a typical NSF fee to members.
Q: Depreciation Expense… what is this?
A: Capital purchases (water system, equipment, buildings etc.) are generally listed as an asset on the Balance Sheet rather than expensed in full when purchased. Businesses use the concept of allocating that cost over the useful life of the asset as an expense—which is recorded as Depreciation. This useful life can be as short as three years and as long as forty years or more depending on the kind of asset. It is not a cash expense in the current year.
Q: Legal Fees – Is this from changing the water billing contract?
A: No, there has been no legal expense in regard to removing the water billing from the contract with Sallal. We have an attorney whose job is to help our volunteer Board be sure to make good contracts, guide us in business decisions and to review our Bylaw amendments each year among the other things attorneys do. We have been sued or have had to sue others over the years. Last year we had a mostly new Board and we had a number of things come up. An example is that PSE registered the easement they have on our greenbelt (from 2010 I think) on a member’s lot instead of ours. The attorney was involved in helping us determine how to address that. We had a question about whether trustees can take a leave of absence. So we budget for legal expenses and some years we don’t use it much and other years it is a bigger item. It is a hard one to plan for but we do the best we can.
Q: Communications/Newsletter- is this part of office supplies or is it staff?
A: We are required by the Bylaws to provide the membership with a printed newsletter six times a year. This is the printing cost. I hope we will be able to reduce that by getting a good laser printer in the office soon or going to an electronic newsletter.
Q: Park Maintenance Services—what is this?
A: Our contract for grounds maintenance was set at $1600 (plus $500 a month for extra services) a month in 2011 and 2012 until we changed to a different provider last winter. That entity went out of business this past summer and since then and currently we are not in a contract for grounds maintenance.
Q: As a suggestion, when the Chalet is used for non-board related meetings, why don’t you charge a rental fee that covers cost of cleaning, plus additional money that goes into a reserve to help pay for maintenance of the Chalet.
A: We charge a nominal fee for reserving the chalet. The members own the chalet. The reservation fee covers the administrative costs. We each pay assessment fees to cover the cost/maintenance of the assets. Yes, the reservation fee could be higher and in fact the board did just raise it from $10 a day to $25. If you feel strongly it should be changed come to the park committee meeting and we will listen to what you think or send a member concern form.
Q: Please send all future communications via email rather than USPS. I can see that a lot of money can be saved if everyone switches to this method.
A: You are correct, money can be saved, as well as time (which equates to money) and natural resources (trees, water etc.). With the upgrades to the website we are aware there are many ways we can use it to save on the cost of all of our communications. We need members to provide email addresses and be willing to agree to use electronic methods. Last spring we included a flyer with the newsletter asking members how they wanted to receive information. Over half of those who responded wanted paper. Our members have to support this kind of change by participating.
Should you have other questions, please email email@example.com.