SunBird HOA dues: Money at work

Financial accounts

The SunBird HOA has several accounts for various purposes and some with large balances. What is all that money being saved for? That’s a GREAT question. Every account is dedicated to certain items, and the monies in them dedicated to certain maintenance, services, or improvement projects. From the beginning of SunBird, our HOA board of directors, HOA committees, and general manager have been planning and saving for the future so that we can keep our community up to date operationally, esthetically, and ensure that we continue to have up-to-date facilities and equipment. With this plan in place, we have had minimal yearly cost of living increases and very few low “cost assessments” to us, the residents. Let’s take a closer look at our five financial accounts.

Operating account: This account is used for all of our general operating costs that is funded primarily by HOA dues. This account is somewhat self-explanatory, as it is used to cover all of our normal, daily operational expenses. The operating account funds the following departments: activities, clubhouse, common area landscape, general and administrative, patrol and gates, post office, recreational, roads, and the restaurant. The operating account balance will fluctuate due to receiving our HOA dues twice yearly, and then, of course, it goes down as we pay our monthly expenses.

Special projects account: This account is not funded by HOA dues, but receives $200 from each new home sale. Any monies deposited into this account will pay for “board approved” projects costing $50,000 or less, which are also reviewed and approved by both the project review and long-range planning committee and board of directors. Some recent projects include the veterans memorial plaque, remodeled restrooms by the post office, new SunBird perimeter signs, badminton court equipment, bocce ball courts, stair handrails, a new drop-off box, new exterior tile, and the installation of new balcony awnings. Chairman Bill Hook keeps an entire list of all the projects that are funded, so should you ever want to review them, just give the office a call.

Contingency fund account: $10 of each homeowner’s dues are placed in this account annually and is designated for emergencies and unscheduled projects that are not covered by the special project account. Compare it to your own personal home “emergency” savings. It covers things that come up unexpectedly or need repair sooner than our operating or reserve budget schedule. Currently, this fund has not been used this year. The elevator that was replaced last year is a perfect example of what this account is for. The new elevator required fire-safety equipment be brought up to the new current codes. This was an unanticipated expense that was funded by the contingency fund.

Reserve fund: This fund is partially funded by HOA dues and from each new home sale. A portion of annual homeowner dues, $140 from each homeowner and $800 from each new home sale funds this account. This is normally our largest account, and all monies in it are dedicated to very specific replacement or large maintenance items. We have a long list that captures almost everything that the SunBird Community owns or uses as well as the estimated life span and future cost of each said item. This includes the clubhouse air conditioner units, flooring, painting, vehicles, furniture, lighting fixtures, roads, all sport courts, bocce ball, shuffleboard courts, fitness room maintenance, swimming pool upkeep, exercise equipment, billiard tables, roofs and roads, and much more. Each couple of years, we update the study with projections and costs to be as accurate as possible. For instance, this year, many of our glass double doors in the clubhouse needed replacement.

Capital improvement fund: This is not funded by HOA dues but receives $1,000 from each new home sale. Capital improvements are normally projects costing more than $50,000 but less than about $250,000. Examples of this are the addition of the new Apache Room and balcony extension, Horizon Room kitchen expansion and remodel, a large portion of the clubhouse swimming pool expansion and remodel. All of these projects were completed with monies from new home sales.

That pretty much sums up our major accounts and explains why we keep so much money saved. One more example; most items for our new clubhouse interior design and upgrade have been previously budgeted from the reserve and capital improvement fund accounts.

As I end this edition of “Fact or Fiction,” I want to remind everyone of a past “Fact or Fiction” article that explained the fact that we, the HOA finance committee, the HOA board of directors, the HOA treasurer, our accountant, and, of course, our general manager review our accounts each month. We then report on the status of our finances at the monthly board meetings, which is one more great reason to attend the board meetings.

Again, please attend the SunBird board of directors meetings that will resume in September to hear and comment on facts first-hand. For more information, please refer to the August 2019 SunBird News or the SunBird website. If you have any questions, please contact the SunBird Office at 480-802-4901.

“Fact or Fiction” will be a new monthly article established to help to enlighten and educate our community about the many amenities and other financial operations of the SunBird Community.