Q&A: Budget Season Top Tips - by Séan Eglinton, Stefan Nespoli, Tricia Size and Jennifer Dickenson, CCI Directors
With “Budget Season” fast approaching, Jennifer Dickenson, RCM, asked three different professionals some questions about some common concerns presented by Board members and owners. Séan Eglinton, ACCI is a Condo Manager with Thorne Property Management Ltd., Stefan Nespoli, P. Eng., LEED AP is an engineer with Edison Engineers Inc. and Tricia Size, R.I.B (Ont.) is an insurance broker with Gallagher. Jennifer : What do you feel gets ignored or overlooked more often than not, when you see a Corporation’s budget? Séan - Landscape maintenance and rehabilitation; this is the first area to get cut yet it’s the only area that ‘grows’ every year. Stefan - Strangely enough it’s the Reserve Fund contributions. Planning for major repairs is too often pushed aside or sees downward pressure in favour of Operations costs. Tricia - The need to self-insure some losses (i.e., those under the deductible or even those 2-3 times the deductible amount). There should be room in a budget to ensure those unexpected expenses are not going to impact the payment of regular expenses should they occur. Jennifer: Should boards get 3 quotes for everything, to inform their budget making decision? Séan - In a perfect world where quality and reputable trades are a-plenty, yes. The existing labour force is thin and the good trades are booked solid for a reason. Find suppliers that work well in your community, build trust and work
Stefan - Getting 3 quotes is an excellent way to make sure pricing is competitive, but even more important is defining a clear scope of work for contractors to bid on. Whether it’s a stipulation on cleaning grass clippings or an engineered specification package for a major repair, a clear scope of work allows the board to review prices apples-to-apples and make an informed decision. Interviewing providers is also a great way to get to know team you’ll be working with. Tricia - When it comes to insurance, your 3 quotes should come from the same broker. Choose a broker that has the best interest of the Corporation in mind. Multiple brokers looking for quotes from insurance carriers will block up the markets and make the process less efficient for the Corporation. Brokers can get quotes as early as 90 days prior to renewal (depending on the insurance carrier) and should begin the process of preparing for renewal 120 days prior. Being prepared to provide the necessary information to your broker promptly when it is requested will assist them in getting the best possible terms for the corporation. Jennifer: What’s one piece of advice you would give Boards (or their managers), when prepping for budget season? Séan - Do not enter the budget season with the mind set of holding the fees, rather the mind set of providing funding for adequate repairs and quality service. Stefan - Review your Reserve Fund Study and Notice of Future Funding to check that your closing balance and allocation amounts are at the proper levels. Reach out to your Reserve Fund
Séan Eglinton , ACCI is a director and co-chair of the Digital Infrastructure Com- mittee of CCI-London and area.
Stefan Nespoli, P. Eng, LEED AP is President of CCI-London and area and member of the Grand Riv- er, Toronto and Windsor Chapters.
Tricia Size, R.I.B (Ont) is a director and co-chair of the Education Committee of CCI-London and Area.
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