By Philip Wilkinson, Rancho Santa Fe Association President
With the upcoming election there seems to be quite a lot of rumors, claims and/or campaign rhetoric, so here are some facts to help you hear clearly through all the noise:
Your board, the Finance Committee, the newly formed Compensation Committee and the Association staff are diligently exercising fiscal responsibility every day! At fiscal year end — June 30, 2014 — we expect to bring total expenses in under budget despite unusual legal expenses incurred since Feb. 6 related to the Form 990 and HR legal expenditures that I believe could have been avoided. The Compensation Committee, chaired by Director Yahr, is working hard to keep employee costs, especially benefit costs, in check and is advancing several initiatives to reduce costs for the Association, including changes to the vacation and sick leave policies. The approved changes to the vacation accrual policy alone should save our membership an estimated $1 million over the next five years.
Despite what you might hear around the Ranch, the Association is in excellent financial condition, operating in the black with more than $6 million in reserve funding and approximately $6 million in Community Enhancement Funds. There has not been any board discussion whatsoever about raising assessments. The current budget (that was approved by the previous board and pre-dates me) is 14 cents per $100 in assessed values with 11.5 cents going to fund general operating expenses and with 2.5 cents going to fund the Community Enhancement Fund. The board votes annually on how much of that assessment is allocated to the General Service Budget and to the Community Enhancement Fund. Over the past 30 years our “annual assessment” has been as high as 22 cents $100 and is currently 14 cents. The Community Enhancement Fund (formerly Open Space) allocation has been as high as 3.5 cents per $100 and as low as 1.5 cents and is currently 2.5 cents.
After two months of efforts by many to increase member voter registration the RSF Association is at 77 percent registration or 2,070 registered voters of the approximately 2,700 eligible! Good job everyone and our efforts will continue to target only those members that have not yet registered. We won’t be satisfied until we get everyone registered!
4. Independence —
While you may hear that some of us are beholden to a special group of residents and they are influencing decisions, that is just not the case — we represent all members. There have even been comments made that the change made in the office of Board President in February (by 5-2 vote) was a result of “the letter” signed by 33 community members. That letter, and the group of members who signed it, had no influence on those board members who initially requested changing the President in February. In fact, not all board members had read the letter before the meeting began since it was delivered that same afternoon.
I have heard that some of you believe that the Executive (closed) Session has been used for a variety of broad topics that should be discussed in open session. Since I joined the board I can tell you that is not the case and we have used this portion of our meetings to discuss legal issues and sensitive personnel matters, including the former manager’s contract, as allowed under the Davis Stirling Act. Additionally, during my presidency I have begun the practice in open session of summarizing those issues discussed in Executive Session: for example, on May 1 I explained that the board in closed session would be discussing employee contracts and the Clubmark consulting contract for the Health Club project.
If you have questions and need the actual facts, please call your Association office.
We all want to preserve the wonderful Ranch lifestyle while adding valuable amenities, such as a health club and broadband service, but we need to work together to pursue those goals!