By GERRY MILLER
For The Vista
Admittedly the issue of incorporating our community into a city is an emotional one. Some are for it, some are not.
Yet, at no time have the members ever been given the facts on which to base an opinion. The 2005-06 incorporation committee came the closest until its efforts were suddenly shut down by the Board for reasons known only to a few.
The 2013 incorporation committee issued a surface only report, followed by an unfortunate town hall meeting. Rather than the Board picking up the issue by meeting its fiduciary responsibility to the members by contracting for an independent incorporation feasibility study, it chose to do nothing—UNTIL NOW.
In the next few days, the Board will be sending out an email survey asking for member approval to spend an estimated $25,000-$30,000 to contract with an independent party to conduct an incorporation feasibility study.
This study will let members know if incorporation is even feasible. If the answer is not feasible, it will close the issue for the foreseeable future.
However, if incorporation is feasible, it should tell us some of the following:
• Governance options
• Financial information
• Advantages and disadvantages
• Who would benefit and who would not
The study will then be presented to the members after which town hall meetings will be held — hopefully chaired by the organization contracted to do the study.
Following this should be a scheduled vote on the issue of incorporation. By law, only resident members who are registered voters in the county will be eligible to vote.
Why the Board is seeking member authorization to spend $25,000 for this feasibility study remains a mystery. This is a first except for the purchase of Stonehenge where a vote was required by the Covenants because the acquisition of real estate was involved.
We were never asked to authorize the expenditure of millions on the Druid and Dorchester pools, the Dorchester clubhouse, the Marinas, the Stonehenge pavilion, the many new signs, and of course the multi-million dollar Community and Conference Center.
The cost of a feasibility study is so trivial in comparison—yet may be the most important expenditure ever for the future of our community going forward.
This is not a vote on incorporation.
It is only seeking our authorization to contract for a feasibility study which has been lacking for so many years—a study for which the Board should have contracted previously within its fiduciary obligation to the members without the need for member authorization.
And we owe it to ourselves to authorize this expenditure which will finally give us the facts on which to base an informed opinion.