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Thread: Why are AICP/APA dues insane?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    Why are AICP/APA dues insane?

    OK, I'm really really not happy right now. I just paid 2010 dues. They came out to a spectacular $605, for AICP, APA, home Chapter Membership and membership in the energy and environment group! According to their invoice, that works out to $495 for base AICP/APA dues, $85 for chapter dues and $25 for group dues.

    Other professions don't have such astronomical dues as far as I know. Don't they know there's an economic crisis going on? What on earth do they spend your $605 on? Is it worth $605? I'm sure I and my firm have better things we can do with $605. Any opinions? I assume all of us, who are members, are paying something similar, although I think my state dues are one of the highest ones... and different groups have different dues too, I guess.

    Not liking this... I hope somebody over there reads cyburbia boards. If so, please consider this customer to be unimpressed.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Cismontane View post
    OK, I'm really really not happy right now. I just paid 2010 dues. They came out to a spectacular $605, for AICP, APA, home Chapter Membership and membership in the energy and environment group!
    What are you talking about? I haven't had a pay raise since 2003 with my first gig out of college...
    hint hint
    Men do dumb $hit... it is what they do to correct the problem that counts.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by CPSURaf View post
    What are you talking about? I haven't had a pay raise since 2003 with my first gig out of college...
    I suspect APA would've raised your dues irrespective of your last pay raise. I don't think anybody in the industry got pay raises the last couple of years... 'cept, I'm guessing, APA employees. I would like to encourage APA staffers who read these boards to post explanations of what the organization does with our dues and what the return on investment is/should be... especially since the annual report has about as much detail as a Madoff financial statement.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian MacheteJames's avatar
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    Do we know if anyone from APA National reads and/or posts on Cyburbia? I'd love to hear their side of this. I'm ready to take the AICP exam but am hearing from colleagues constantly that the value-add from certification is dubious... and some of those colleagues are AICP themselves.

  5. #5
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    This thread and the links in it provide some interesting information:

    APA budget thread

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  6. #6
    Cyburbian ThePinkPlanner's avatar
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    I'd guess that half of their budget goes to the glossy folded panoramic poster of bikes and people sunbathing in a green park with tall buildings in the background. After all, "We are a nation that makes realities of hopes and dreams."

    What? Haven't you gotten 6 of them sent to you in the same number of preceding months?

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    Keep this in perspective.

    1. Compared to other industries (social work, medicine, law, engineering, landscape architecture) we have (1) one-part exam. We don't have a multi-part exam. We don't have licensure. We don't require school internships to sit for a registration exam. Most of us don't have to worry about professional liability (which is why MDs make so much).

    2. If you want to work as a contributing member to your chosen profession you have to make your own investment. Here are ways you could save.

    APA Chapter Membership is based on your reporting address, which can either be your home address or your work address. If you live in one state and work in another, you might want to consider changing chapter memberships since they vary drastically across the country.

    Division membership is not required and you can shave $25.00 a year, bringing your yearly obligation down to $580.00. You mean to tell me you can't sock away $50.00/month?

    3. Careful what you say about pay raises and bonuses. I was very fortunate to earn both in 2010, but they were still very modest.
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

    Family Guy

  8. #8
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    While I second the sentiment--I'd NEVER submit myself to the AICP test again, but since i did I'd rather not lose it--this is not really a question for APA staff. It's a question for the people we elect to represent us--the Chapter Presidents in part, but really the Area Reps/AICP Commissioners. Pick up the phone, give 'em a call.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Ok on a serious note, the California Chapter is the highest in the nation, yes my dues are significantly lower than yours simply because i do not choose to update my info and plus they don't deferentate between gross and net pay (hehe, argument for me there).

    The CA chapter specifically does a lot with their funds. They provide scholarships for students, distributes money to sections for various functions, as well as offer cash payments for those planners unemployed or took a significant paycut (20% of pay) to pay a portion of the APA dues the last two years. In addition these monies fund lobying efforts in Sacramento, for such things as trying to sway legislatures not to do away with Gov Moonbeam's plan to get rid of RDAs. In short, they have a lot to do with what little money they got.

    As for national APA, your guess is as good as mine.
    Men do dumb $hit... it is what they do to correct the problem that counts.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by CPSURaf View post
    i do not choose to update my info
    hehe. no comment, except some general mumbling on my part about free-rider effects on the rest of us...

    Quote Originally posted by CPSURaf View post
    The CA chapter specifically does a lot with their funds.
    I don't have a problem with the $85. It pales next to the dual national dues for APA and AICP. That's what I'd like clarity for. So far as I can tell CalAPA does more than national does in terms of programs and support.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
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    I realize that $495 a year for dues is quite a bit Cismontane, but would you be making that $100,000+ salary if you didn't have an AICP certification?

  12. #12
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Well.....

    Check out the renewal and continuing education requirements for Building Inspectors:
    http://www.iccsafe.org/Accreditation...enewal_EIB.pdf

    A quick looks shows that if you have 3 or more inspection certifications to maintain, you need 4.5 CEU's which equal 45 units of 0.1 each (= 1 contact hour)

    Worst case: If you attend the official ICC institute to get CEU's it looks like the cost every 3 years just for tuition is appx. $1,300 plus $70 renewal for a total of $1,370/3 = $457 a year.

    This doesn't count travel expenses for those not living in a City offering the institute courses. There are online classes that are much less expensive.

    My CFM costs about $490 every two years for renewal and membership costs plus costs to attend continuing education classes around the state ending up in a total appx. cost of about $450 a year to maintain CFM each year.

    My APA, AICP, CFM costs are about 1 large every year to keep.
    Last edited by The One; 04 Jan 2011 at 4:14 PM.
    Skilled Adoxographer

  13. #13
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Tide View post
    I realize that $495 a year for dues is quite a bit
    I didn't realize until earlier in the thread that the dues are prorated by salary. Well... actually, the entire schedule looked too expensive to me, and then perhaps the pay grades need to be pro-rated for CoL and location. I'm sure $100k in San Francisco is the same as $45k in Peoria. Either that or a lot of people are taking liberties with comp reporting.

  14. #14
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Cismontane View post
    I didn't realize until earlier in the thread that the dues are prorated by salery. Well... actually, the entire schedule looked too expensive to me, and then perhaps the pay grades need to be pro-rated for CoL and location. I'm sure $100k in San Francisco is the same as $45k in Peoria. Either that or a lot of people are taking liberties with comp reporting.
    FWIW...

    Actually, 100K in San Fran is equal to $60K in Peoria.

    http://www.bankrate.com/calculators/...alculator.aspx
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by NHPlanner View post
    FWIW...

    Actually, 100K in San Fran is equal to $60K in Peoria.

    http://www.bankrate.com/calculators/...alculator.aspx
    You mean 100K in San DIEGO is equal to $74,000 in Peoria

  16. #16
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Tide View post
    You mean 100K in San DIEGO is equal to $74,000 in Peoria
    San Fran to Peoria Comparison:

    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

  17. #17
    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by NHPlanner View post
    San Fran to Peoria Comparison:

    I understand, but he's in San Diego.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Tide View post
    I understand, but he's in San Diego.
    No I'm not actually, San Diego's just home (born there, raised there, friends and parents there).

  19. #19
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by The One;570277
    Check out the renewal and continuing education requirements for Building Inspectors:
    http://www.iccsafe.org/Accreditation...enewal_EIB.pdf

    A quick looks shows that if you have 3 or more inspection certifications to maintain, you need 4.5 CEU's which equal 45 units of 0.1 each (= 1 contact hour)

    Worst case: If you attend the official ICC institute to get CEU's it looks like the cost every 3 years just for tuition is appx. $1,300 plus $70 renewal for a total of $1,370/3 = $457 a year.


    ...

    My APA, AICP, CFM costs are about 1 large every year to keep.
    Building inspectors, IMHO, have lives and property on the line with their qualifications. Much more reasonable for their CM. That said, with lives on the line their dues make APA-AICP look silly by comparison.

  20. #20
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Tide View post
    You mean 100K in San DIEGO is equal to $74,000 in Peoria
    This is a BS argument anyway. The only thing more expensive factored into cost of living is housing.

    No matter where you live your:
    student loans cost the same
    car payment"
    doctors appointments"
    prescription medication"
    cable/satellite tv"
    internet"
    cell phone"
    most goods"

    I've got friends in Burbank, CA who pay the same rent as I do in Peoria.

    As far as the AICP stuff:
    If your work pays for it, do it.
    If not, I say ditch it.

  21. #21
    Cyburbian Rygor's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by CubbieBlue View post
    This is a BS argument anyway. The only thing more expensive factored into cost of living is housing.
    And taxes. Those can vary greatly from state to state and city to city.

    But generally I agree.
    "When life gives you lemons, just say 'No thanks'." - Henry Rollins

  22. #22
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    Planning is not only, by far, the most expensive magazine I receive, it is also the one with the least amount of interesting articles. It serves its highest function as fire starter.

    Like a lot of planners, I wouldn't pay APA dues if my job didn't pay for it. I am a rural planner from the West. APA doesn't do squat for us.
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

    ~ Otterpop ~

  23. #23
    Cyburbian Dharmster's avatar
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    I'd like to weigh in on this matter. First, I'm one of those people who started out my career in consulting and became AICP right after I had my required experience. I dropped it because I moved away from planning and worked in places where it didn't really matter whether I was AICP. I believe I let my membership lapse in 2002 and didn't reinstate it until last year. I figure I saved a lot of money by not having APA membership for 7 years and that paid for my examination fee and the approximately 25 hours I spent studying to take the AICP exam which I passed last November.. My employer was moving towards more contact with state and local governments and I felt having AICP after my name it would be useful. As I work for the feds, and AICP is not a requirement of my job I pay 100% of my dues out of my own pocket. In fact, I can only earn my CM credits and have my employer pay for it if I attend say the Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board where earning CM credits is incidental to attending the conference.

    Like the poster who started this thread, my annual dues with AICP, local chapter dues, a JAPA subscription, and one division membership total right around the $600 range. What kills me is that APA represents a profession which preaches local differences yet its income based due structure is not adjusted for location. Unlike some posters, I will not conceal my true income. What I would like is an acknowledgement that my income while it may be a lot in Peoria, doesn't buy me much in the Washington, DC area. I dont' have a problem with the CM program. My supervisor is understanding because he is a CPA and is in the same bind that I am in that he can only go to continuing education towards renewing his CPA that is incidental to his job. Money for training and travel is not an issue, it's just finding the time to do training. I do wish though that dues were in some rough form (even if it was done by state) adjusted for cost of living.

  24. #24
    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
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    So Dhamster and Cristmone are you proposing that a fee schedule for dues that included cost of living would actually make dues in more expensive to live regions less and in more rural cheaper regions more??? So for instance, if we keep using the San Fran/Peroria example if your dues were $500 in San Fran they should be 25% higher in Peroria or $625 ??? I hardly see how this would be equitable. If anything why wouldn't the dues be directly in line with the cost of living instead of counter to the cost of living?

  25. #25
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    flame me

    I agree the dues are expensive but I am one of those types that thinks it is worth it.

    If you look at the APA website, you can see the activities the APA staff does - now you may think they are worthwhile or you don't, but they are going on just the same and shouldn't those people have a living wage - we all cry that municipal planners should be paid what we are worth and why shouldn't those folks be too? wages and salaries alone of the APA staff is likely a piece of why our dues are what they are -

    running a non-profit is not cheap

    there are things APA should do to streamline their costs, like yes, all the mailings we get for books and such - they would do better switching completely to digital communication for that stuff, as well as their periodicals - but even there, someone still has to manage the information, so it's not free

    if you pay dues and feel you aren't getting anything out of it - then be part of the solution, get involved with your chapter or if you are a memver of a division, help there - we all have regional APA and AICP reps, so get to know them and tell them what they should be doing

    and yes, I am a division leader but they did not pay for this message...

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