In December 2008, the National Bureau of Economic Research announced that the United States was in a recession that had started back in December 2007. The official announcement was old news for most Americans.
As the dust continues to settle from the downturn, the silhouette of a reformed economy is slowly becoming visible. In certain markets, real estate sales have increased over the last 18 months, construction and capital improvements projects that were put on hold have been green-lit, and the unemployment rate in the metro New York area is receding.
That’s the good news. The bad news is that foreclosures and budgets remain a significant concern for many homeowner associations, unit owners and managing agents. Despite this reality, many boards still realize a budget surplus. Too much money is never a problem, how best to manage it can sometimes prove challenging.
“A surplus should be rare if budgeting is based on a five year average of expenses,” says Alvin Wasserman, director of Fairfield Property Services in Commack, Long Island. “An influx of funds is more likely to come from refinancing or a certiorari settlement,” he adds.
A number of variables could also contribute to a budget surplus. For example, a capital improvement project budgeted from the previous year may have been completed ahead of schedule and at a savings. Additionally, allotted monies for snow removal might not have been used. This scenario played out last year. The freak 2011 Halloween snow storm prepared people for a forecasted severe 2012 winter season; however, after that early surprise storm, there were hardly any other major snow events.