Letters to the Editors

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How Much Do You Care?

Dear Editor:

In the first segment of this series, we discussed the fact that the Board had rejected four (4) separate proposals which would have increased annual revenue in amounts ranging from a low of $235,560 to a high of $410,800. The reasons given for these rejections were unrelated to the proposals themselves.

A real head scratcher for sure.

We will now discuss Spending starting with the Pickleball ball courts.

The original plan was to build an outdoor Pickleball complex of 8 pickleball courts and a Pavilion for an estimated cost of $557,000. Because the bids came in higher than expected, the Board divided the complex into 2 phases. Phase 1 will be construction of the 8 courts at a cost 0f $413,000.

How can this $413,000 expenditure of member money be justified? Clearly, we have pressing infrastructure needs, including the Racquet Center, itself which so many feel should have been addressed first (Fix what we have before developing something new).

The General Manager has said that these courts represent the last of what we need to do to be able to successfully compete for new residents with the Villages, Del Webb (Nashville, Memphis Lake Providence, and he Smokies) and, Tellico Village.

Questions. Why do we feel the need  to spend this kind of money to copy what others have without looking at what others need to match what we have (e.g. our wide- range of  amenities, assessments, atmosphere, reasonable user rates, home prices, taxes, location etc)?

The General Manager and the Board apparently ignored the financial analysis completed by the Financial Advisory Committee (FAC) and moved ahead with the project anyway. It’s always sad when the Board chooses to ignore member concern without so much as a discussion.

The whole point of this story is to point out that presently, there is no limit on the amount the Board can spend without member approval.

The only exception to this is where the acquisition of real estate is involved (e.g. such as Stonehenge).

For example, the Board at the time ignored widespread member concern over the $6.8 million cost of the Community and Conference Center, the annual dues assessed to maintain it , the projected debt service and operational losses totaling $11 million over 10 years, and the overall poor design of the building. As even the Board has said, “This is a financial albatross around our neck.” There is no relief in sight.

To protect members from the potential for discretionary spending abuse while giving members at least some control over how our money is spent, we ask that you express your support for a proposed amendment to the Covenants & Restrictions we have drafted and submitted to the Board for its consideration.

This amendment would limit the Board’s ability to spend more than $300,000 on a capital project unless approved by resident members with the exceptions of emergencies and legal/regulatory compliance.

 

Gerry Miller, for Residents for Fiduciary Responsibility

Fairfield Glade

[email protected]