Friday, August 3, 2012

 EDITORIAL-dated June 24, 2012

I think the Board has enabled the POA to lose sight of the fact that this is a Property Owners Association established to preserve the value and maintain the “common properties” for the benefit and in the interest of Property Owners, not a municipality or other entity.  The Goal should be to manage costs to preserve interests and frugally control expenses for Property Owners/Residents!

At the retreat it was made painfully clear that most Board members (notably continuing members) not only had not read the Declarations or Covenants but also didn’t know where to find them.  Amazing!

Retreat Action items (are these in the interest of Property Owners?):

• The Research and Special Projects committee will help develop comparison data for golf fees and assessments for communities similar to the Village;

I hope that this time around the purpose is stated, a creditable comparison is defined, and a realistic analysis is performed.  Who on the RASP has the knowledge or background to guide a rational well thought out creditable research project like this?  What is the purpose/goal of this?  Is it in the Property Owners best interest?  This analysis should be used as a marketing or promotional tool; but I am concerned this will be just another propaganda move by special interests or certain Board members to justify unwarranted fee increases? If residents (or potential residents) want comparable fees they would have stayed at their previous locations and paid fees at “for profit” golf facilities there, as a Property Owner in HSV the assessment they pay rightly pays a portion of the cost and any “profit” percentage should stay in the pockets of the Property Owner.  Property Owners deserve responsible fiscal management and good value for assuming their portion of the financial responsibility of HSV.

• With the next time assessments can be changed without going for a vote being January 2014, the board remained committed to the two-percent cost-of-living adjustment that’s currently in the financial plan and agreed property owners should be educated on the matter;

Why is it that the Board is so intent on spending Property Owners money to the extent that fees (or assessments) have to be increased every year in an attempt to support funding of nonsensical projects resulting in mismanagement of our limited resources?  The Board’s focus should be on controlling costs and growing our only reliable revenue source, “more residents”; not how much money can be spend on nice to have non-essential items that few if any want, and only promotes increasing fees that makes HSV less attractive.
• As for administrative fees, general manager Scott Randall is to provide the board with Declaration language and gather a list of all possible fines and fees, with board directors sending any fine or fee ideas to Randall;

Administrative fees are probably warranted but with the secrecy and certain actions that have been perpetrated in recent history do the Property Owners trust that the current management will implement a responsible process and penalty fee structure?

• A review of the needs and costs of installing the 40th Anniversary design for the East Gate was discussed and a full plan was requested;

This is another item that is NICE TO HAVE that could wait until better times but the Board cannot seem to comprehend “responsible fiscal management”!  If one fee has to be increased then expenditures such as this should be put off.

• Concern was expressed about comparing senior-level salaries with surrounding communities and the need to base them on a national scale. As for employee fringe benefits, an outside benefits consultant will review the current plan and make any recommended changes;

The Board should be very careful in erroneously increasing overhead costs for the Property Owners.  There are very few jobs that require special unique skills in the POA that cannot be replaced quickly at our current salary and benefit levels and this includes our upper management positions (which some are probably overpaid currently considering responsibilities and operating environment). 

• Yucuis was charged with making sure fees were considered earlier in the 2013 budget process, allowing enough time for recommendations from committees;

The Board should focus on living within the current fee structure and revenue stream instead of increasing fees and the financial burden on “residents” to fund pet projects and degrading the attractiveness of HSV for potential residents!

• Randall and Yucuis will develop a 20-year capital improvement plan, including road maintenance;

This is a good plan to have, one was previously on the website but removed when it was critiqued for irresponsible projects that were not in the best interest of Property Owners.  Property Owners should be made aware of planned future expenditures with their money.

• Yucuis will see if bonding in order to fund the waterplant project is possible, while putting the $4.4 million saved for the plant in reserve;

This makes no sense at all, to borrow money and increase Property Owners assessments to spend more of their money for no reason (or is there an alternative agenda behind the scenes here?). Property Owners have paid for this reserve fund to finance the water system over prior years; now the Board wants to double charge the Property Owners and expand the debt obligation against each lot. 

• With Randall stating the POA has only two revenue streams, assessments and user fees, and the only areas in which the POA breaks even are water, sewer and trash, the board and Randall were to consider a consultant to develop the future business modeling for the Village; staff will look into the cost of a Metro Plan or Municipal League doing a study on alternative governance of the Village, with the cost going in the 2013 budget;

34,000+ lots were sold to individuals and investors as a Property Owners Association; there is no funding problem, there is a spending and management problem.  We break even on all expenditures!  The Property Owners pay for everything, either through assessments or fees or both!  If the reference is about amenity operating revenues covering expenses, then this is a mute irrelevant point!  Golf is the only amenity that comes close to revenues covering expenses, all other amenities are heavily supported by assessment dollars as a percent of operating cost, and that is as it should be, that’s why we pay the assessment.  Assessments are paid to maintain “common properties” (I guess Randall hasn’t read the Declarations either). The GM and POA staff is just a necessary overhead cost, which should be minimized.  POA mismanaged requires that fees be increased every year to pay for POA incompetence in handling of Property Owner money and assets.  The Assessment is supposed to contribute to the operating cost for amenities that represent a “common asset” and to ask “residents” to pay full cost of amenity assets owned by all Property Owners would be criminal and dishonest!  The assessment dollars spent on POA management compensation may be a bad investment for Property Owners if they cannot do their jobs within the framework of the organization, the current BUSINESS MODEL!  There is nothing wrong with the current business model, is this endeavor an attempt to conceal mismanagement? A POA is probably the best and most flexible business model for a community to determine it’s own direction free from outside influences and constraints.

• Randall will send out requests for proposals this summer to city planners re- garding a land-use plan for the Village, with town hall meetings serving as the forum to review the options;

This activity is way outside of the POA authority; this is not a municipality and with a review zoning laws; you will find there is no legitimacy in this endeavor.  This will be a waste of limited POA resources.  Expend our resources on legitimate POA activities.

• Director of public safety Laroy Cornett reviewed operations of the gates and said ultimately he would like to have two lanes at the entrance to the west gate, with a kiosk in the middle;

I feel sorry for whoever gets stuck in the kiosk; especially when one of our “good” drivers loses control and drives through it.

costs of installing cameras at the gate entrances were also requested;

This should be a priority item, won’t be that expensive, all gates should be video monitored and would be of much greater benefit to Property Owners than some of the items money is spent on currently.

• After hearing about a dog-park proposal from Joe Moreau and Rolland White, director Keith Keck was assigned coordinating with Randall and maybe bring the issue before a town-hall meeting; and finally,

This is likely not good value for the money and effort.  First of all finding a place where you don’t have an outcry of neighbors who don’t want the noise and perhaps smell next to them; secondly expecting people to drive many miles to walk their dogs is unrealistic.  People will continue to walk their dogs in the neighborhoods and multitude of undeveloped or open spaces near their homes.  Do your research before you waste Property Owners resources.  Dog parks are only good ideas in high-density population communities where there are NO green spaces; we have plenty of green spaces!  If pet owners (and there is an estimated 5,000 dogs in HSV) want this so much then let them contribute dollars to fund construction and maintain it (assuming of course you can find a suitable location).  If you can raise the money as contribution from dog owners then it might be utilized, but I’m afraid it would end up being like trails; it will be there, a maintenance liability on Property Owners, and few will use it!

Property Owners, especially residents, should speak out and let the Board members know of their concerns and desires, since Board members are elected to oversee POA operations for Property Owner interests.  These are my issues, concerns, and desires concerning Board/POA focus on these action items.

Larry Frazer
A Concerned Property Owner

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