This is becoming a common question, desire and a lament. It is my opinion that this is driven by multiple factors, including but not limited to;
Community members have expectations and a desire for a certain lifestyle. The fact is that many communities are managing for unknown expectations or the expectations of a few, usually a combination of both.
It is difficult to place a value on the contribution of volunteer board members and trustees, as well as the other valuable volunteers of the community. As community members demand more for less, the pool of those willing to give their valuable time and effort shrinks.
Volunteerism in our society seems to have risen, but so has opportunities for volunteerism. Churches, synagogues, temples, faith based organizations, health groups, hospitals, veterans groups, charity groups, animal groups, Red Cross, Scouts, Lions Clubs, Kiwana's, civic organizations - the opportunities for our time are endless and this list could reach voluminous proportions. We also have an aging baby boomer population that is taking care of their aging parents and it appears that this poulation is increasingly more mobile. This shrinks the pool of volunteers.
This is something that I believe is not looked at enough in the industry. I can't give any hard date, but I can give plenty of anectdotal evidence that many community members appear to be less reasonable, though I have no hard explanation why. I have been to community meetings where a person will stand up and demand that fees remain the same, and in the next breath will have a laundry list of items that they think the Association should be performing. I have sat in board meetings where members are distraught over violation issues and want it immediately resolved; often which is impratical or impossible. Over half the time, it is not even an issue the Association could or should be involved in.
My opinion is that many boards don't have a Standard Operating Procedure - in the military referred to as an SOP. Most boards could probably meet quarterly. Given proper direction and guidelines, a good management agent should be able to keep your community running smoothly. The Board should be planning the whole next year in advance the end of the previous year. Contracts and services should be bid out on regular intervals and the board does not need to be involved in the day to day or the minutea. Many boards make a mistake of getting heavily invested in the smaller items that they lose sight of the bigger picture and get overwhelmed. Other community members see that and say "Not me!"
Another key part is effective communication with your community. Many communities "nickle and dime" for savings in mailings and newsletters, websites and other effective communication tools that help inform the community and shape expectations.
If a board met quarterly, then they could meet as needed on violation issues and maintenance emergencies. Cutting down on the amount of time needed and having a system that makes the tasks simpler will draw in more volunteers. With education, commuication and managing expectations as well as the community, you can create success where you see problems.
Costs are per month, the smaller the community the higher the cost.
A community of say 400 units will pay 8 to 12 dollars, wheras a community of 30 units may pay fron 15 to 50 dollars.
The difference is based on a number of different factors and the company you are dealing with