I painted a lot when I was young.  Mind you, I had neither the time, nor the talent for artistic painting; I painted houses, boats, and swimming pools for money.  The pandemic has us all doing more do-it-yourself home projects.  I was painting recently (not for money, but to avoid going stir-crazy).  It was rewarding and brought to mind some alliteration (see title above), some metaphors, and some ideas from a wandering mind for community associations as they consider their upcoming annual budget cycle.

First, because we all have some more reflective time these days, give your painting (and your budget) some thought.  I really enjoyed getting back into the Zen of scraping and painting.  Budgeting, not so much.  But, like a painting, you should plan the work and then work the plan.  Assemble the right data, such as updated financials, knowledgeable folks, and some math skills.  Scrape away at your financial statements.  Consider what is truly necessary, whether you can remove some costs, and whether you can afford to lose some revenue.  Dig into the details; don’t assume that because you spent that much last year, that you should spend the same amount this year.

A little paint goes a long way.  By this, I emphasize that a thoughtful approach to expenditure or investment may not cost a great deal, but can produce great benefits.  Whether it’s some landscaping, some painting, paving or carpeting, or even a (socially-distanced or virtual) community gathering, there are many low-cost strategies to enhance your community.  On the other hand, if your scraping reveals some weak infrastructure, then consider the bigger expenditure, i.e. a major capital investment.  Don’t just use paint (or stopgap repair and maintenance methods) to cover up or delay the inevitable onset of a larger problem.

Give yourself enough time to craft a meaningful budget.  Home improvement projects and budgeting always take longer than you expect.  Go back through your work at least twice, because you will miss an item, just as I missed lots of spots to paint.  Have someone else review your draft budget.

Take persuasions to not fall off the ladder. That is my cautionary metaphor for anticipating a diminishing revenue stream arising from delinquencies, collections issues, foreclosures, and delays.  Due to the difficult economic situation, many people are running into cash flow problems, so delinquencies will increase.  If your community has rental properties, you should be aware that your owners will have delays collecting their rent arising from COVID-19 related moratoria on evictions. Some federally backed mortgages have a moratorium on foreclosure sales.  There may be further economic and financial market volatility, so your community should expect delays in collecting revenue. This risk and cost management approach should inform what your next budget includes.

When it all becomes too discouraging to finish, go grab a scraper and a paintbrush, and enjoy the Zen of painting.

Please do not hesitate to contact an Altitude attorney at 303.432.9999 or at [email protected] with any questions.

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