By Karen Billing
Staff WriterThe Rancho Santa Fe Association will chip in for half of the $44,000 repair cost of the RSF Golf and Tennis Club parking lot, the Association board decided in a 5-1 vote on Sept. 15.
The club’s lots have deteriorated due to use, water erosion and invading roots of large trees growing adjacent to the lots. The last improvements were done in 2007 and the lot is in need of repair, seal coating and restriping.
According to research, 37 percent of the business in the Golf Club dining room comes from non-Golf Club members of the Association. Additionally, the Association often uses Golf Club facilities for meetings, retreats, dinners and events.
In light of that shared use, the Association will contribute $21,866 toward the project on the condition that the Golf Club reduces its bank loan by a corresponding amount from its free reserves.
The funding request was met with some resistance from Association director Ann Boon.
Boon noted that the Association’s homeowner assessment delinquencies are up and last year for the first time property values went down 3 percent, which in turn meant the Association’s income went down 3 percent. She said she’s heard that the Golf Club has a positive cash flow and its revenues are strong.
“(The Golf Club) is fine and we’re facing delinquencies. It doesn’t matter who uses the parking lots, we don’t need to be handing out money until we get a long-term fix on our budget,” Boon said.
She suggested that Golf Club member assessments pay for maintenance and that maybe the Association should charge a lease on the club land.
Mike Irvine, the RSF Golf Club president, offered a counterpoint that the club was hit just as hard as everyone else by the economic downturn. He said new memberships have dropped and earlier in the year it was reported golf rounds were down 12 percent.
Association director Dick Doughty disagreed with Boon and said that the club has a well-established agreement with the Association—he said $21,866 was a small amount of money and giving it to them was “the neighborly thing to do.”
“Small amounts of money can really add up,” Boon said.
Association director Larry Spitcaufsky also expressed concern about the allocation, although he voted in favor of it.
“We now know we have 3 percent less income so we’re spending money we don’t have. We keep doing this every meeting,” said Spitcaufsky, who at the Sept. 1 meeting voted against a $48,000 contribution toward Osuna Ranch repairs because he had concerns about the warranty and unknown maintenance costs.
Spitcaufsky was concerned that the Association may be digging itself into a financial hole but board president Jack Queen said that is not an issue: “We don’t have a cash problem,” he said of the Association’s free reserves.
While Queen agreed that the Association’s contribution to the cost of the Golf and Tennis Club’s parking lot repair was the neighborly thing to do, he did note that the contribution set a precedent he was not entirely comfortable with.
However, Irvine reassured the board that, “I worry about setting a precedent, too, and I doubt that we’ll be back real soon.”