The Buzz: Mid-Year Report: No time for retreat!
By Ann Boon, RSF Association board president
Remember back in September I told you this board, along with staff, came out of our goal-setting retreat energized and “full steam ahead?” Well, we haven’t slowed down a bit. Staff and members of various committees are working on so many projects that, in the interest of efficiency and reducing the burden on staff, the board has chosen to cut back regular meetings to one a month versus two. It remains to be seen whether we can sustain that schedule. As the board is faced with new projects, more funding questions and other issues that need to be decided, we will probably have to have additional monthly meetings.
As was discussed at the Jan. 2 board meeting, the Garden Club purchase is proceeding. The final documents should be available for members’ review at our next board meeting on Feb. 6. This will give the board an opportunity to hear the exact points of the deal as documented in the purchase agreement and lease, and to determine if this deal, in fact, represents the transaction approved by members in April, 2012. With nearly $3 million required to come out of the Association’s Community Enhancement Fund (CEF,) the purchase would represent nearly 50 percent of the CEF. In order to promote full disclosure and transparency, we will discuss the Garden Club transaction and related financial implications at every future meeting until the issues have been fully resolved.
Tree lovers, take note: this month, the Association board and staff met with the members of the Golf Club board as the Golf Club staff presented the draft version of the club’s updated Master Plan. The Master Plan contains long-range goals for the course, including increasing water conservation efforts with more drought-tolerant planting and adding secondary water with well water and a reverse-osmosis system, if feasible. Because the Master Plan includes a tree management plan that is of paramount interest to many members of the community beyond just Golf Club members, representatives of interested committees also participated in the meeting, including: Committee on the Natural Environment (CONE); Covenant Design Review Committee (CDRC – formerly known as the Art Jury); and Parks and Recreation (Trails.) A smaller committee, led by RSF Golf Club Board President Mike Phillips and including representatives of all the groups involved, has been formed to collaborate in further refining the plan before it goes to the Golf Club membership and Association board for approval. It is a community process!
Other projects that have been making progress since September are: installation of the new Association-wide accounting system; development of the new Association website; stoplight evaluation by the Intersection Study Committee; consideration of rights of condominium owners to Golf Club memberships; and formation of a Steering Committee to explore the possibility of a pool/fitness center.
Last, but far from least, at our Feb. 6 meeting the board will be bringing residents up to date on the findings of the Compensation Committee that has been working since last fall. As I noted in the last Buzz, the committee has examined salaries, sick leave and vacation leave policies, as well as medical benefits. The purpose of the review has been at least two-fold: (1) to compare the salaries and benefits that our employees receive to the “industry standards” and (2) to project the costs of various policies and packages to determine a level that is sustainable.
Currently, our personnel costs represent about 70 percent of the Association budget. Some parts of the benefit package are growing at a faster rate than our revenues. We want to make sure that our compensation and benefits are fair to employees, yet are also sustainable for members at current assessment rates. On Feb. 6, we will be presenting a financial overview of employee compensation and, in particular, some alternatives being considered to sick leave and vacation policies. We hope to see you there.