The decision by the NC Association of REALTORS® Board of Directors on June 10, 2008, to approve a one-time assessment on all members was the culmination of months of consideration and debate, says 2008 President Wendell Bullard.
“We knew that this was a difficult time for our members given the current state of the real estate market,” says Bullard. “That the 160 members of our Board of Directors voted nearly unanimously for the assessment speaks to just how strongly they believe in the immediate need to properly solidify our Issues Mobilization Fund.”
Here’s how the process played out:
- Following the Inaugural Meetings in Durham in mid-January, and with the Board of Directors’ knowledge, Bullard appointed a Presidential Advisory Group to study how to most effectively build a strong financial base for the IM Fund. This 13-member PAG was chaired by Lou Baldwin of Winston-Salem and made up of members statewide.
- The PAG met twice – on Feb. 20 and March 19 – in Greensboro. On May 2, its recommendations, including an immediate one-time $50 assessment and a $25 dues increase beginning with the 2009 billing cycle, were made to NCAR’s Executive Committee.
- On May 2, the Executive Committee adopted the recommendations and sent them to the Board of Directors with two additions, chief among them this: That a ceiling of $10 million be established for the IM Fund. At such time the balance reaches $10 million, annual dues will be reduced by $25 and reinstated only if and when the IM Fund balance falls below $5 million.
- Between May 2 and June 10, members of the PAG and NCAR leaders met with numerous local associations and their volunteer leaders to discuss these measures and solicit input. Further, three formal meetings were held – the first in Washington, D.C. during the NAR Mid-Year Meetings; the second a conference call on May 27; and the third a webinar on June 5 (the telecast is still available on www.ncrealtors.org by visiting NC REALTORS TV).
- From feedback received during these meetings from members, a recommendation was adopted to allow members to defer paying the one-time assessment until 2009. Members choosing to defer payment will pay a one-time assessment of $70. If paid before Sept. 30, 2008, the assessment is $50.
- On June 10 during NCAR’s annual Legislative Meetings, the Board of Directors overwhelmingly voted to approve the assessment and dues increase.
“This was not an easy decision, but it was a necessary one,” says 2008 President-Elect Sandra O’Connor. “Our members understand the need for our association to protect private property rights as charged in the REALTOR® Code of Ethics.
Adds Bullard: We’ve successfully fought the transfer tax battle 20 times thus far, but that’s just on one issue. There are 100 counties in North Carolina, and you never know when your county might need the resources of the Issues Mobilization Fund.”
Lastly, both Bullard and O’Connor believe that members receive outstanding value for their dues. In 2009, including the dues increase and full assessment, REALTORS® will pay a maximum of $200.
“When you examine all that members receive,” says O’Connor, “such as access to forms and software, our legal hotline, risk management services, Partners Program, educational and professional programs, our publications and website, and our presence within the halls of the state legislature, that’s an amazing return for your dues dollars.”