Monday, May 16

I Am The Treasurer - Part 1 Of 3.


A little over three years ago, the Missus and I bought our first home (thanks to you), a suburban condo in the hills of beautiful Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. We went the condo route as a means of compromise; we wanted to own a home, but had little interest in yard work or gardening. A few phone calls and multiple bankruptcies later, it was all ours.

What I didn’t realize at the time was that, as condo owners, we had to pay other people to handle all that icky outside stuff we didn’t want to be burdened with. To the tune of $125 a month, each of the 24 condominiums on our street had to chip in for things like roof repair, snow shoveling, snow repair and roof shoveling. Furthermore, I also had no idea that us 24 condo owners acted as a self-elected government, writing checks, drafting bylaws and fining jackasses for being noisy. Almost a full year after purchasing a condo, I finally became aware of the mythical thing known as the Condo Association.

In the past, I never attended the meetings. I always figured these Town Hall affairs were nothing more than a soapbox for the loudest neighbor to bitch about dog poop and rainwater drainage. I was a good homeowner. I paid my fees on time, kept the place clean and approachable, and kept the orgies to an absolute minimum. My opinion and attendance was not necessary. Then I got an e-mail.

Apparently, every self-governing Condo Association needs an elected President, Vice-President and Secretary/Treasurer to make sure that everything is paid, balanced and handled. If a minimum of three people cannot be scrapped together, then we would legally need to hire an outside agency to handle our affairs for us, to the tune of…slightly more than the $125 a month we already paid for the luxury to do it ourselves. We were all going to meet to discuss it (in the cafeteria of the local middle school), and see if we couldn’t rally enough troops to stay sovereign and DIY. This was a cause I could get behind.

Sitting amongst the 23 other homeowners at this meeting was, for the most part, the first time I ever really saw who my neighbors were. As you would assume, I’m not a very neighborly, social man. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll say hello to you if I happen to run into you when grabbing the mail or taking out the recycling, but you generally won’t see the Missus and I sitting in the lawn or hosting block parties. We’re not that sort of folk. Nonetheless, everyone in our Association seemed perfectly coherent, bipedal and willing to step up to the responsibility of keeping our street vibrant and self-sufficient.

Well, okay. Nobody wanted to do anything. The current Secretary/Treasurer and President were both resigning; the first due to personal circumstances he was unwilling to elaborate on, and the second because he was an asshole and nobody liked him (I was told this by no less than three different families). This left us with no members (we were operating without a Vice-President, which was already illegal), and no hands being raised when the time came to look for volunteers.

I could understand. We were all busy. We all had pending responsibilities. Morale was low. Finances were even lower. We all loved our street and our homes, but who among us had enough time in the day to devote to an unpaid, unappreciated task that hardly anyone knew about? Who was psychotic enough to become the sole point-of-contact for every complaint, superficial repair and dues check? Who had their life so completely in order that they willingly accepted another thankless chore?

“Whoever takes the Secretary/Treasurer job doesn’t have to pay the $125 a month in condo fees,” said the outgoing President.

I’ll take it!” I bellowed, practically leaping out of my seat. I sounded like Sideshow Mel; I even think my finger was pointed toward the heavens as I announced my eligibility.

Oh no, dude. No...

I did that for a couple of years at our homeowner's association in Zionsville. Pain high. Gain...low.
Thankfully our condo association is pretty much non-existent. No one really complains excet the old president, and he's moving out. Yeeha!

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