Financier

Robert Johnson

Bob Johnson moved into Harbor Point in May 1975, the 80th person to become a resident, having purchased his unit after seeing a model unit on display in the sales office at Michigan Ave. and Randolph St. From time to time during construction, he would walk over to the building site in an attempt to figure out what his view was going to be from the 51st floor.

From the beginning, Bob was an active participate of the Finance Committee that had been established by the developers. They understood the necessity of having an educated volunteer population of owners who would know what to do once the building was turned over to them. The committee was a training ground for such responsibilities. In 1977, with one third of the units sold, owners were put in control of Harbor Point.

Initially, the developers controlled the building and the owners’ committees were only advisory to them. The developers would explain the budget and the budgetary process, but weren’t required to follow suggestions from owners.

However, the Finance Committee did know that at the time the first Board of Directors was put in place, the developers would turn over $75,000 to the Association for the beginning of a Reserve Fund. The philosophy for the fund began to evolve: it would grow little by little, adding a percent of each month’s assessment to the fund; and the fund would become adequate to cover future renovation or replacement needs, both foreseen and unforeseen. The thinking was that if a capital (reserve) fund was built up slowly, a sudden request for additional moneys from owners could be avoided.

The Board and its advisory committees began to take hold and a budgetary process evolved. For the preparation of the annual budget, the manager did the preliminary work, sent it to the Finance Committee and, after the committee’s review, on to the Board for its final approval.

Eventually, the Association wanted more direction in helping to determine a “reasonable” Reserve Fund level. A firm was hired to complete a Reserve Study, a projection of what eventually would need fixing, when that might happen, and its approximate cost. Years later, with the same goal, the Finance Committee requested a more detailed study and hired several consultants, familiar with specific aspects of the building, to do a more thorough study.

As the years proceeded, the process of creating accurate budgets for ongoing daily expenditures and reserve budgets for the future, became more formalized. Typically, the Finance Committee meets at least once a month, and owners have never had a special assessment.

Bob has now moved out of the building. For many years, and right up until he left, he was the Treasurer of the Board of Directors, and chairman of the Finance Committee.

March 3, 2013