If the Board of Directors is acting responsibly, a portion of these fees are also allocated towards the Reserve budget. This covers repair and replacement costs that will come about over time. Let's say the driveway needs to be sealed or the exterior of the buildings need to be repainted, your HOA fees will be used for those things, in addition to the various routine costs of managing the property.
But if your HOA doesn't have enough cash in reserve to cover the expenses of a major repair or replacement, you could be subject to a Special Assessment in which all of the homeowners of the units contained on the property will be expected to come up with their proportionate share of the project cost. Depending on the work that needs to be performed, you could be on the hook for thousands of dollars when you least expect.
Does this mean your Board of Directors is being derelict in their duties? If the special assessment is for a predictable (Reserve) project that failed in plain sight right on schedule, it certainly appears that way!
In some states, an HOA is not bound by law to conduct a Reserve Study. In others, the Board must disclose relevant reserve information to all pertinent parties involved in any real estate transactions within the HOA. Regardless, a Board is responsible to meet the financial needs of the association & comply with all applicable laws.