When condo association budgets get tight, the logical approach is to cut spending wherever it will hurt the least. No board or property manager wants to reduce services or take away amenities, yet in the fallout from the Great Recession, those kinds of tough decisions have been nearly unavoidable. When times are tough, recreational activities and event planning are often the first casualties. But while this may save money in the short term, it also can hurt a community long-term, reducing its desirability and eroding the sense of neighborliness that made it feel like home.
A number of Florida condo associations have weathered this lingering financial storm not by eliminating activities and community programming altogether, but by coming up with new and innovative approaches that have saved money without sacrificing quality.
Where We Started
In Florida, “Luxury living in a resort-style setting has turned into a year-round passion for many condominium communities, rather than just a seasonal one,” says Marcy L. Kravit, CMCA, AMS, PCAM, general manager of The Galleon Condominium Association in Fort Lauderdale. “The concept of community and a sense of belonging provide positive benefits [to our members.]”
The residents of The Hemispheres condominium community in Hallandale Beach also were used to a full and diverse roster of programming. Its 1,298 residential units have access to two club buildings and a broad range of recreational areas. It is an active community which was able to support an activities director, an assistant and an activities budget in the mid-five figure range.
“As the economy changed for the worse, we started to feel the impact of the defaults,” says Alicia S. Moreno, a member of the board of directors for The Hemispheres Condominium Association, Inc. Cuts became necessary and the activities office was reduced to one person: Moreno, who took on activities duties in addition to her regular position. “Our second step was to decree that activities needed to be self-sustaining.”