Tuesday, February 02, 2010

The annual meeting

Sunday was our annual meeting of something that is like a homeowner's association but really isn't. Anyway, it was the annual meeting where I live, which is proceeded by lunch and then followed by the quarterly business meeting. I try to make the annual meeting unless I am out of town, but the quarterly meetings I usually skip, except for this one, since I am already there anyway I might as well stay and hear what is going on.

We have a new accountant. And we are now without an auditor. We have a new manager and a new president of the board. And we had a constable hired for the occasion, to keep the peace, as last year things got ugly and there was nearly a fight. Like a real fight. Like several guys got up and stood between people who were yelling at each other to stop them from hitting each other.

For future reference, baking cookies the morning before the meeting is a bad idea.

The usual suspects said the usual stuff. Somebody got upset and ripped up the by-laws. Since we actually had enough people to vote on something, a vote was called. I had mixed feelings on the subject, so I didn't vote either way. Not that my vote would have changed anything. The vote was pretty one-sided.

I get the point of it, but to get enough people to sway the vote, you have to tell people the plan before the meeting, and I wasn't told.

Anyway, what I heard during the meeting was that someone was being evicted, not because of not paying her bills, but because she didn't have all of her i's dotted and her t's crossed. And I don't know the woman being evicted, and this is the first I had heard of it. The board refused to discuss it, under legal advice. I asked the girl who brought it up to tell me about it after the meeting, but she was upset and left before I got a chance to talk to her. I would really like to know what is going on, cause she isn't the only one who doesn't have all her i's dotted and her t's crossed, but that is probably the last I will hear about it.

Then there was the usual stuff about roofs being fixed and lights and such. And then someone went on a bit about safety. Not that safety isn't a topic that deserves more than three minutes, but just most of it was about how she didn't feel safe anymore and her children weren't safe anymore and so forth, and not much was said on what she wanted to do about it. And of course there isn't much to be done about it except a.) get everyone seriously involved in the neighborhood watch type thing, which might or might not happen and might or might not help anyway, or b.) spend money trying to do something, which definitely will not happen, as the reason we are all here is that we either don't have any money or that we have decided to spend our money on other things. I get it, something bad almost happened to the woman's children and she is scared, but a.) if she has money and it would make her feel better she should move somewhere else, and b.) it isn't like anyplace else is really safe now either.

Let's do some math. There are 24 hours in a day, and seven days a week, or 168 hours in a week. If you could divide that up between four guards at 42 two hours each with ten dollars an hour for the first forty hours and fifteen dollars an hour for the last two, that would be 1720 dollars a week, or 89440 a year, and that doesn't include anything but their time. There would be all kinds of extra expenses, like I don't know how much insurance costs and I don't know about things such as workman's comp and unemployment, and then we would probably have to buy them one of those little golf cart things to drive around and those need gas and maintenance, or we might just have them drive their own cars but those will also need gas and maintenance. And of course these guys will call in sick once in a while, or want to go on vacation once in a while, and otherwise need a few days off here and there to go to funerals and such like anybody else, and a temp would have to be hired once in a while to cover that, and that would be at least twenty an hour, probably a lot more. Anyway, I don't know how much it would actually cost to hire four guys to do the job, but just the nine thousand or so a year that I can figure out would add about twenty-five dollars a month to what we pay now, and I'm thinking that after all that other stuff is figured in it might be double that. People already bitch and moan if they have to pay an extra ten because of the electric bill going up, so I can't imagine everyone agreeing to an extra twenty-five to fifty dollars. And that's what it would cost for having one guard here all the time, which really wouldn't make things that much safer.

And then there is always someone who wants to make this a gated community, and that somehow that would solve the problem. Someone always brings this up, and I wonder if they have ever even looked at a map of the place. For one thing, the place just isn't set up so that we could have the whole place fenced in with one or two gates. If we wanted that, we would have to make new streets and knock over at least six houses and a bunch of trees and such. So I don't know how much that would cost, plus I don't think that the people who live in those houses would be very happy about the idea. And I'm not even sure it would be limited to six houses, it might be a dozen or more. And then I don't know how much all that would cost, and then of course if you are going to have these gates you need guards watching the gates, plus more guards inside the gates, and I've already figured out that it would cost at least twenty-five dollars a month for just the one guard (probably up to twice that much), and for the gated community thing to feel safe I think that I would need at least three guards at all times. And that is if we could have the fenced in area with just the two gates. The place wasn't designed for that. We would need a gate on every street. I think that would be about twelve gates. And we are too close to the main street for that. People would just have to stop and block traffic while we waited for the gates to open. There would probably accidents.

And of course fences only work if people don't climb over them, and people currently climb over the fences that we already have. So unless we hire even more guards to watch along these fences, it still wouldn't do much good.

Still, someone will bring up the idea again next year.

This year someone brought up how much a person may ask for improvements when they leave. This discussion left me totally baffled, as it was my understanding that you couldn't ask for very much, and that ten years after the improvement you couldn't ask for anything at all. But by that time everyone else just wanted to go home, and so her question was hurriedly answered, and I didn't get to ask for anyone to explain what was said, as someone else asked for the meeting to be adjourned and most everyone else agreed and I didn't want to make a fuss and suggest that we stay.

I think that a bunch of people might sue each other. But at least the constable didn't have to break up any fights.

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