By Jan Bergemann

Published August 21, 2020


Itís a matter of how you look at it when answering the question: Is it time to work on the annual budget?


In my opinion itís a little early, considering the uncertainty of financials caused by the Chinese Virus. Many families are in financial limbo due to the fact that the Democrats are stalling the COVID-19 Relief Package in Washington, which will cause more families to fall behind in paying their maintenance fees. In the moment it should be really more important to help families and businesses in need instead of trying to bail out mismanaged cities and states.


We all donít know yet how this crisis will influence the income of our community associations and how to deal with it. We will definitely know more in November, when itís time to vote on the budget proposals.


According to the comments posted this week the big question in regards to the budget seems to be the issue of reserve funds. Please disregard the comments of some folks who think they know it all, just read the Florida statutes that show in detail how the funding of reserve funds should be accomplished and what influence the members can have on the funding of reserves.


Please read FS 718.112(2)(f) Ė Annual Budget. It explains in detail how an annual budget is supposed to be created and how the membership can vote on how to waive reserve funding, or only fund the reserves partially.


In my opinion RESERVES are very important. Itís a lot easier on ownersí finances if paying in monthly installments instead of the board having to levy a special assessment telling owners that a big amount of money is due for necessary maintenance or repairs within 30 days. Some of you may still remember the many foreclosures on familyís homes after hurricane Wilma in 2005, when most associations didnít have reserves and had to levy big special assessments just to cover the cost of the insurance deductibles after the hurricane damage. Many families couldnít come up with the money to pay for the special assessment and lost their homes to foreclosure by the association.


Just follow the budget guide lines as described in the Florida statutes Ė and please allow the reserve funds to be fully funded. Otherwise we might see again financials disasters and foreclosures in community associations.

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Jan Bergemann Jan Bergemann is president of Cyber Citizens For Justice, Florida 's largest state-wide property owners' advocacy group. CCFJ works on legislation to help owners living in community  

associations. He moved to Florida in 1995 - hoping to retire. He moved into a HOA, where the developer cheated the homeowners and used the association dues for his own purposes. End of retirement!


CCFJ was born in the year 2000, when some owners met in Tallahassee - finding out that power is only in numbers. Bergemann was a member of Governor Jeb Bush's HOA Task force in 2003/2004.


The organization has two websites to inform interested Florida homeowners and condo owners:

News Website:

Educational Website:

We think that only owners can really represent owners, since all service providers surely have a different interest! We are trying to create owner-friendly laws, but the best laws are useless without enforcement. And enforcement is totally lacking in Florida !

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