Sunday, October 09, 2005

Critical Thinking

One of the big things I’ve learned about condominium associations this past year is that you always have to project into the future. Unless your association is sitting on oil reserves, it is always in the group’s best interest to anticipate any potential financial issues that may creep up and bite you in the ass later.

I know---“No shit Sherlock.” This isn’t exactly Nobel laureate economic theory I just gave you, right?

Nonetheless, I ran an idea up the flagpole to my fellow board members and as I could have predicted, one member was resistant to change.

It’s no secret that everybody’s utility bills are going to be a mother this winter. Hurricane Katrina along with the normal gouging of those rat bastard power brokers (literally) means that my mortgage and our association gas and electric bills will pretty much look the same.

I thought a good way to combat this would be to get on the budget plan for both Peoples Energy (gas) and ComEd (electric). While it won’t lower our bill, at least we’ll know what we’ll be paying every month.

The budget plans allows you to pay the same amount for your bill every month for a certain period of time. Depending on the utility, you may be issued a refund check if you paid too much or have a credit on your bill. Or if you underpaid, you have to remit the difference at the end of your budget period.

Personally speaking, my budget bill will be $116.00 a month starting November 1st. For that amount of cash, I’m going to have the thermostat down to 65 degrees (Don’t ask what I normally have it on) and I’ll be wear the cat around my neck like a stole.

Cruella DeVille might have had the right idea.

The consistency in our billing will help us avoid any surprises during the winter months and it will also allow us to get more money in the bank. So if and when we choose to get off the budget plan early, we will be able to pay off any balance we may have on our respective bills. As any right thinking person could surmise from the usage chart listed on our bill, the amount of energy we use isn’t likely to go up, only the cost of the units of energy. Therefore if we know---and trust me we do----that the cost of the units of energy is about to skyrocket, why in the good Lord’s name aren’t we willing to do everything we can not to screw the pooch?

Once again you’re saying “No shit Sherlock.” Is there a point?

Why yes cats and kittens there is a point.

I guess whatever communications skills I thought I had are completely lost on one person on our board. This person replied back that they didn’t see the need for addressing these concerns at this point because (and I’m giving you direct quotes):

” You need to review the gas bill for a year to determine if the budget
plan in advisable (sic) . Right now I would say no . we are only paying for heated water”


“Also the electric is not an issue . It has been pretty manageable.”

Well once again, maybe it’s me. Perhaps I don’t make myself clear or get my point across very well. I’ll let you all be the judge---I’ll post my original e-mail.

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