February 12, 2014

Madame President

I was called to a meeting of my condo association last week, and, as I expected, I was elected president of the association.

Truthfully, it's not that big a deal - we're a small (four unit) building, each of us is an officer, things roll around. Kate, the outgoing president, is moving to a new place in Newington and renting her unit out, the other two owners are an older retired woman who had a mild stroke (she's OK, but not great in the memory department) and a young single guy who is not really that interested. So....it's me.

Not that hard a job really - we have a handful of regular expenses: insurance, water & sewer, a small shared electric service. We have a few regular maintenance tasks - lawn care in the summer (I've been doing it) and snow removal in the winter (seems to be kind of ad hoc at this point). And the seasonal stuff, power washing, trimming trees and bushes, etc.

Along with my responsibilities, I was handed a meticulously balanced checkbook (I have not kept a personal check register in many years), and an antique accordian-fold file (about the size of a microwave oven). My first official duty was to run down to Staples for a plastic file box replacement, some hanging folders, and a PAID stamp (no particular reason, what's the point of being president if you do not get to stamp stuff).

I spent this evening going through the falling apart accordian folder to see what we have. Water and electric bills going back over a decade. Checking account statements for close to 20 years, ranging from Fleet, Bank of America, Webster, and Farmington. 15 years of insurance documents (State Farm and Travelers) including a roof leaking problem in 2006 that was probably ice dam related, and I've thought about it this year as well. Federal tax forms, state of CT incorporation stuff, some old legal documents, and small piles of snowplow, landscape, and maintenance records.

We're not a very progressive association - the condo fees are very low (agreeably so for all concerned) and we're not making a lot of major repairs or upgrades. The bank balance seems healthy. So for now, it's stay the course.

I have some geekery to set up - Kate emailed me a very old and barely useful spreadsheet of expenses / income (I can do much better), she's been keeping the record of condo fee payment in a chart that is one step above crayon. I see in the archives that a past president did an annual budget projection that I'd like to resurrect, and I'd like to send out a periodic condo association letter to keep folks updated.  

I'd love to do some things this summer - trim the trees, create a bricked garbage / recycling can area (presently some plywood on the ground), perhaps repave the parking lot and add a few spaces (presently 6 spaces for four units, I and the guy on the end get one space, would be nice to have two)

I've been coasting for a few years now in terms of "adult responsibilities" - time to step up again! 

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