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Associations are just little cities when you think about it

For owners who have purchased a home in a community association, understanding the structure of the association can sometimes be difficult to grasp. Associations can be complex with many moving parts, oftentimes behind the scenes, making it difficult for owners to understand how this whole thing works. Structurally, associations are really just little cities and operate in much the same way as cities or towns or even our state and national governments. The titles or department names might be slightly different, but the function and intent are often the same.


Look at the chart below for a comparison between a typical city structure compares to that of a community association.



In both scenarios, officials are elected by those they then serve. The City Council or Board of Directors oversees the management of their respective localities and ultimately makes all the decisions.


The community manager assists the Board of Directions in much the same way a City Manager assists the Mayor. In both cases, the manager does not make the decision, but assists in advisement and then works to carry out the decisions of those in charge.

Assessments are collections from homeowners in communities to pay for common services such as landscaping, road maintenance, and amenities. As members of a city or county, owners also pay taxes annually for common services such as schools, road maintenance, landscaping, and parks. Ordinances become rules and regulations, police become security, and citizens become members.


While the terms or titles might be different, at their core, community associations are little cities that owners have chosen to be a part of. The Board of Directions has obligations to its membership, just like City Council has obligations to its citizens. Conversely, citizens and members also have obligations to the communities in which they live. Both parties working together helps to produce a harmonious environment for all to call home.

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