Monday, April 18, 2011

Westmoreland annual meeting on Apr. 25

The Annual Meeting for the Westmoreland Terrace Condominiums will be held at the Condominium Office on Apr. 25, 2011.  An election will be held for one position on the Board of Directors.

Westmoreland unit owners should have received by mail a copy of the adopted budget for June 1, 2011 to May 31,2012.  The adopted budget includes a 7.5% increase in the monthly assessment. Total operating expenses are budgeted about $367,000 for the year. Contracted services (janitorial, landscaping, trash disposal, etc) and utilities (water & sewer, gas, and electricity) account for about half of operating expenses.

The amount budgeted for electricity increased from $14,400 to $17,000. Whether this increase reflects increased electric rates or increased consumption isn't clear. Conserving electricity will help lower our expenses and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Arlington County offers a variety of tips on saving energy and reducing emissions.

We continue to spend about $7,000 per year on our doorbell system. With new wireless technology, we should be able to get a doorbell system for a small capital cost and very little ongoing operating expense. Anyone with specific ideas for alternate systems should bring them to a condo board meeting.

Some items in our budget are rather vague. The "management & administrative" category includes line items "administrative expense", $2,700; "office supplies", $1,500; "postage", $1,000; and "printing & duplicating", $1,000. The postage item should be relatively easy to audit. Since Westmoreland has about 147 units, if 5 mailings were made this year to all units, total postage would be about $324. How we managed to spend $1,000 on postage isn't clear. The budget includes "audit fee", $3,125. Given the nature of Westmoreland financial records, that audit fee seems rather large.

Overall, the most economically significant items for Westmoreland are in its capital budget. Westmoreland is in the midst of a ten-year program of facade repair and roof repair. This year the facade and roof of 1336 N. Ode Street will be repaired. The budgeted amount for these repairs totals about $226,000. Hence our capital improvement spending amounts to 62% of our operating expenses. Getting good quality, cost-effective capital repairs is the most important issue for Westmoreland.

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