It’s the same dilemma that single-family households across the United States are facing: How much money can we afford to pay for the services we want? And should we stretch ourselves thin, taking more out of our bank accounts to pay for private schools and that desperately needed vacation? Or should we cut back on restaurants and renovations to put more into savings?
The same goes for condo and co-op buildings.
As the federal legislative fiasco over the debt ceiling this past summer demonstrated, it's sometimes very difficult to balance a community's (or a whole country's) need for revenue with its equal need for services.
In the case of an HOA, cutting costs is one sure way to bring a runaway budget to heel, but cost-cutting almost inevitably comes with reductions in services and amenities that many residents view as their basic rights as homeowners and association members.
When boards and managers are faced with tough decisions about raising revenue and possibly cutting costs, communication, transparency, and cooperation with residents are more important than ever.