As an association, we are proud of our track record at maintaining an award winning community, while also controlling costs. While we were forced to raise association fees effective January 1, 2023, it is only the second time in the twelve years since our community has been under homeowner control. We have done everything possible to avoid any increase. Unfortunately, inflation has affected all our of lives and our association is not immune. The good news is the increases have been small and far lower than even the rate of inflation seen in our economy.

We are often asked how we can effectively manage our community, maintain services and keep costs from rising far below the rate of inflation. Here are the top 10 ways we’ve kept costs down:

  1. Set a goal to avoid increases. The first and most important step was to set a goal and policy objective to avoid increases and find creative ways to accomplish the task. Without that commitment, we would not have accomplish that mission.  
  2. Bid out every significant contract. We set a policy to obtain at least 3 competitive bids on every contract, where possible. Multiple bidders allows us to understand the true market price for any project and increases competition to further reduce costs. 
  3. Negotiate for multiple year contracts. Once a successful bidder is obtained, we have further reduced our costs by providing multiple-year contracts. This technique has also eliminated increases by locking in our pricing for multiple years.
  4. Incentivize vendors with goal bonuses. One of the programs that has been successful is a water bonus program with AAA Landscaping. By setting goals and providing bonuses based on water savings, we have saved hundreds of thousands of dollars. The goal is adjusted each year, based upon the results from the previous year, leading to progressively more efficient uses of water.
  5. Limit overhead and be efficient with staffing. Hiring great employees is critical and we’ve managed to provide great service with only a handful of employees. We’ve hired the very best and created an environment that retains key employees.
  6. Reduce waste and eliminate duplication. Our sonsite staff is managed by Terrance Smith, one of the most credentialed community managers in Arizona. With many years of experience and a focus on cutting expenses, we’ve eliminated waste and duplication within our staff. There are few, if any, associations of the size of Desert Ridge that are run more efficiently.
  7. Use technology to reduce costs. We are constantly seek new opportunities to reduce costs. Voting electronically has saved our association nearly $60,000 in the past three years. Upgrading our water system and its controllers has also saved tens of thousands of dollars. There are many more examples that have allowed us to save tremendous amounts of money over past years.
  8. Recruit volunteers. Instead of paying employees to fill every role, we run our community using seven different committees that are filled with volunteers. This accomplishes a great deal of work without incurring additional expense to the association.
  9. Ask for sponsorship from vendors. Many of our events are held at no to minimum cost to the community and funded by key community partners and vendors. Expenses for such things as Coffee Club, Veteran’s Day and other events are provided by vendors. Additionally, the costs for our website and magazine are also heavily subsidized by the companies advertising their services in support our community.
  10. Partner for buying power. First Service Residential is the largest community management company in Arizona. Partnering with FirstService has allowed us to negotiate for the best pricing on services and the highest returns on investment products. Key partnerships like this provide us with cost savings, increased income and experience to help guide our decision making.

There are many other ways we’ve found to reduce costs, but these top 10 illustrate how effective and creative our team has been. We’re providing this information so you can feel good about how your assessments are used and know that we focus on keeping both our community and our bottom line both looking great!

As always, on behalf of the DRCA Board and Staff, we thank you for your support and look forward to seeing you in the neighborhood!!