It's That Time of Year Again - Preparing Annual Meetings

Posted: 9/20/2011

The fall season brings many milestones to the year, but perhaps one of the most daunting is planning your Association's annual meeting. We'd like to provide a few tips to make the process run smoothly as well as encourage all residents to attend.

One of the biggest issues at the annual meeting is adopting the financial budget for the next year. The Board should have met previously to discuss and finalize the annual budget given to them by their Property Manager.

Another major issue is electing new members to the Board of Directors. Associations rely on volunteers to help run your property.

"It's teamwork and proper management that keep a property running smoothly. But in the end it is the residents that matter," says Mike Lo Bono, Senior Property Manager with RMS.

In conducting the meeting itself, the Board should consider how it can spark interest in the Association. Personally encourage members to attend, arrive early and mingle with residents, and avoid entering at the last minute or hovering only with the other Board members.

It is important to have a quorum at the meeting so all owners are encouraged to attend. All owners will receive a letter announcing the meeting, a copy of the Board-approved budget and a proxy. It is important to turn in your proxy if you cannot make the meeting. The proxy counts as your attendance at the meeting, and counts toward establishing the quorum as well.

Your Property Management team will make sure there are ample announcements of the upcoming meeting: through mail, e-mail, posts in the lobby, in elevators where applicable, and the community bulletin board.

In addition:

  • The Property Manager will help prepare the Board with a package which will include an agenda for the upcoming meeting, minutes from the last meeting, financial reports, and information on other projects and proposals slated for the Board to consider. Board members should ask their Property Manager any questions about the financial records so you have a good understanding before going into the meeting, regardless of whether you are presenting the financial report to meeting attendees.
  • Keep it timely. Every association board should use an Agenda for board meetings. Items on the agenda should include: Call to Order, Approval of Minutes, Manager's Report, Financial Report, Adoption of the new budget, New Business, Old Business, Elections, Open Forum, Adjournment and Social Time.
  • Homeowners do not like to hear of increased assessments, no matter how large the project or problem. A positive approach to topic discussions, especially where finances are involved, can considerably lighten the mood and keep the meeting running smoothly.
  • Keep socializing to a minimum during the meeting. Board members may treat the meeting as a social event, and as pleasant as that may be, exchanging news about children and vacations clouds the important issues. Plan social time after the business has concluded.

Most of all, if you are leading the meeting, maintain your integrity, honesty, and humility when dealing with your fellow owners.