Home › Forums › Diamondhead Country Club and Property Owners Assoc › POA Board of Directors › Message Forum for Lloyd Ramirez, Board of Directors, DCC&POA, Inc.
October 12, 2003 at 3:38 pm #1522November 26, 2003 at 10:45 am #1521
Dear Members of the Board of Directors:
We have been residents from since 1987. We read with some interest Mr. Williams’ “From the President” in the November issue of the Diamondhead News regarding revenues, especially the “bond” approach. We have a few words to say- “HAVE YOU LOST YOUR MIND!”.
Apparently, Mr. Williams has not looked around at the homes around Diamondhead. There are many, many modest homes owned by working families and the elderly on fixed incomes. This is not a gated community of $350,000+ homes. When people choose to join a country club they know they are going to have to pay for a bond from the beginning and feel they can afford it.
Where did you get your information that this is “one of the least expensive anywhere in our part of the world”. We have two neighbors who have moved out because Diamondhead was too expensive. Perhaps you think that an additional $300 a year is not a big burden. Well, you are wrong. Even if you receive these bond funds how will this assure the long term financial health of the POA if you are losing $300,000+ a year.
You also say that the dues have only increased from $360 to $540. That is not entirely true because the fire protection, water and sewer, and garbage are now all paid for separately. We are also already paying for road maintenance three times – once each through dues, the special assessment and our taxes.
Are you trying to soften us up for another dues increase?
We have a solution of a lot of these problems. The people of Diamondhead are primarily interested in security and good roads; therefore, privatize all of the other amenities or bulldoze them down. Sell off all amenities that are only used by a few.
Anyone having any doubts about incorporating Diamondhead probably don’t have them after reading your article.
Very truly yours,
William J. and Barbara S. MarcelMarch 4, 2004 at 7:44 pm #1644
Below is an article by Mr. Ramirez attempting to explain the recent dues increase. We believe that “red tops” are a type of shrubbery, not a valid form of communications between the membership and its board. Therefore we present this forum for the membership to voice their opinion of Mr. Ramirez’s article. – the Editor
WHY A $10 DUES INCREASE?
By Lloyd Ramirez
This article is in response to a Red Top asking for a more detailed discussion of the dues increase enacted for this budget year. In broad overview, the $10/month increase will generate about $600,000 and will be spent on three facets of our operation: inflation, major grounds mainÂtenance, and major facilities maintenance.
More specifically, current inflation rates in the 2% range reduce the purchasing power of our $7 million budget by about $140,000 each year. Part of this is made up by increases in various fees; i.e., golf fees, RV storage fees, even food and beverage prices where competition allows.
However, dues must account for an inflation loss each year somewhere in the $100,000 range, or about $200,000 since the last dues increase two years ago. It would be nice if we could ignore the inflation effect but we cannot, in all fairness, ask the 140 or so POA employees to work for us without accounting for inflation in their household budgets.
The prices of many of the services and materials used by the POA continue to increase. For example, in the past year, fuel expense increased 5%, insurance about 15%, while our low bid to lay asphalt on our roads went from $32/ton last January to $44/ton 11 months later, a 37% increase in cost to pave our roads. About $3.30 of the $10 dues increase will go to offset $200,000 in inflation losses.
The POA maintains a huge drainage infrastructure that was built for the most part in the late ’60’s and early ’70’s. In many parts of Diamondhead, metal culverts installed 30 years ago are reaching the end of their usable life and are litÂerally collapsing. As new resiÂdential building continues, drainage patterns continue to be altered. During the past year, several residences actualÂly flooded–clearly an unacÂceptable event. Resident Red Tops have consistently pointed to roads and drainage as the major problem residents encounter. In response, our facilities maintenance budget has been increased by $345,000 (38%), most of which will be devoted to a greater level of drainage probÂlem mitigation. In terms of our $10 dues increase, the increased effort equates to about $5.50.
During the coming year, $401,000 has been allocated to major maintenance of our aging buildings and facilities. The costs to maintain these facilities increase with age just as does the maintenance of an aging auto or residence. $79,000 has been budgeted for major repairs to our swimÂming pools and a new roof for the East Rec Building.
• $40,000 is devoted to Yacht Club work to improve the roof insulation (and reduce energy bills) as well as some lesser renovation of the AC and kitchen facilities.
• $185,000 is budgeted to repave the airport, its first repaving in 34 years. About $97,000 is budgeted for drainage, bunker, and building repair of our two golf courses, the largest generator of fees of any of our amenities. About $1.50 of the dues increase will go to support the greater level ($90,000) of maintenance as the facilities age.
In summary, no one wants or likes a dues increase. On the other hand, it makes little economic sense to allow a $20+ million investment in roads and drainage, buildings, etc. to deteriorate, especially since the investment value of our homes would likewise decline.
In any case, we are commitÂted to the upkeep of all faciliÂties until the year 2020 as explained in an article in the Diamondhead News two months ago. I hope the above is not too confusing and sheds some light on the recent dues increase.March 5, 2004 at 8:08 am #1645
Reads like a fine article to me. I’m happy that Lloyd puts it out for all to see. But, just with any action taken, some of the people like it, some don’t. We’re just in a continuous no-win situation. Damned if you do…. damned if you don’t. And I like the idea of the “Red Tops”. I’ve used a couple of them with positive results. Suggestion boxes have been around for many years and, when properly used, are valid communication vehicles. And the shrubs are red tips. donMarch 5, 2004 at 8:23 am #1646
The problem with “red-tops” is that they are one-way communication that allows selective processing. All correspondence with the POA board should be open, for all to see. Your satisfaction is commendable, but doesn’t a rejected “red top” deserve the attention of the membership as to why it was rejected?March 5, 2004 at 8:43 am #1647
Dues increases in all reality are probably a necessary fact of life. Cost do go up and things to deterioate and require repair. However, if these items are planned for correctly there should be a long range budget to slowly build up an ammount required,from dues and fees, so it will be available when the repair or replacement is scheduled thus offsetting budget shockers. When the roads no longer need overlaying for another 10 years or so and the facilities no longer need new roofs for another 10 years or so will the increase be resended??? It does take some background experience to do this, it is not found on the cocktail circuit, or at the head table usually. Mr Ramirez’es article below validates the concept of cost increases and where they come from very well,but, why hasen’t the board escrowed for these maintainence cost and inflations if they are so well known. He also pointed out that golfing was the largest fee provider, if I have read the budget statements correctly, it also has the largest negative cash flow. It takes no brain trust to coordinate cost of operation to fees charged, lets get real, people do not want to pay for others leasure, They want to pay their share and have equil voice in what they utilize and pay for. The board should not be a quorum for special interest, if in fact that exist, they should all resign. I expect the board members to represent all Diamondhead residents and to maintain fiscal responsibility in all facets of diamondheads many activities and functions. Decisions based upon ego and selfinterest should be avoided and a cost analysis be developed prior to a decision being issued that may result in litigation. Any decision given by an officer of this community should be based on information outlined in writeing, if its not, the whole board should meet and develop the guidelines for an appropiate decision, there is no room for shirtsleve authority.March 5, 2004 at 12:10 pm #1649
There are probably 5-year and 10-year plans developed by the “current” board. Following elections, the “new” board strives to make its mark and surely modifies their predecessors work. As we all know, EVERYBODY has their own agenda.
And I do not believe the every question/comment that is made to the board has to be a public statement. If I have an issue that I want to formally present to the board for their consideration without taking up the community’s time at the open meetings, the red top is the tool. donMarch 5, 2004 at 1:40 pm #1650
Secret communications by members in a non profit corporation with the board? Sounds like a perfect perscription for disaster. It may even be illegal.
See MS Code § 79-11-177. Rights and obligations of members
All members shall have the same rights and obligations with respect to voting, dissolution, redemption and transfer, unless the articles or bylaws establish classes of membership with different rights or obligations. All members shall have the same rights and obligations with respect to any other matters, except as set forth in or authorized by the articles or bylaws.
You may also look under 79-11-283, 79-11-285, 79-11-287. You can do your own reseach at: http://188.8.131.52/mississippi/lpext.dll?f=templates&fn=fs-main.htm&2.0
As far as horticulture, we stand corrected:
Photinia x fraseri is an evergreen shrub that has moderate to fast upright growth habit and can get to a height of 10 to 15 feet and a width of 15 feet. This Photinia was discovered at Fraser’s Nursery in Birmingham, Alabama and was formerly known as ‘Birmingham’. This commonly used shrub has oval leaves that are a bright showy bronze- red in youth and mature to a dark leathery green. Red Tip Photinia is good as sheared hedge or a tall screen, prune often to prevent legginess.
We have heard this genus referred to locally as “red tops”, but in an area where they pronouce Kiln as “kill” all colloquialisms should be suspect. We also have some growing over 20 feet in our landscape.March 5, 2004 at 4:07 pm #1651
As the one who intiated the ‘Red Top” Mr Ramirez responded to, I’d like to thank him for his explanation. I’m not an accountant but I was able to follow his response. It is obvious a lot of thought and effort went into this decision by the board. Some of the previous responses to this thread have generated some good ideas I hope the directors will consider such as an escrow account in anticipation of future maintenanc needs. It is regretable, however, that the board did not see fit to provide this explanation to the members upfront without being asked to do so. I have submitted to the board a proposed amendment to the POA bylaws, to be voted on this summer, that requires at least one open meeting be held by the board to explain any future rate increases and give the membership an opportunity for questions and answers. I believe this will provide a little more ‘openness’ in the decision making process of our POA that will go a long way to creating more trust and confidence in our elected officials.April 1, 2004 at 6:23 pm #1687
THE FEES WE PAY
By Lloyd Ramirez
Several Red Tops as well as notes have posed questions about fees such as “What are the pros and cons of fees?” “Who pays for the amenities?” Do we charge enough for fees?” “Too much?” All seemed like good questions and a little analysis was in order. Using year end 2003 financial data, Table I was developed showÂing the profit or loss status of each amenity or fee generating activity starting with the biggest “losers” at the top. To complete the picture, the income generated by all activities other than fees such as food and beverage and various goods sales were included.
Analysis of the data reveals an interestÂing conclusion: by and large, the people who use the amenities pay for them. A fairly small amount of our dues is used to support the amenities. On an overall basis, the $3.757 million in expenses to operate all amenities is almost totally offset by the $3.625 million in income from sources such as use fees, service charges and food, beverage and goods sales.
About $2.30/mo. (4.5%) of dues are used to cover the $132,000 overall ameniÂty shortfall. (Excluding lot and builder fees, the $664,000 shortfall amounts to about $10 per month of dues.)
Other interesting facts and conclusions are:
– There are over 90 different kinds of fees of which about 60 apply to Residents/Owners.
-Of the amenities, the largest “loser” is the Country Club. This is the reason the Board brought in an outside management firm to focus on improving the Club’s botÂtom line.
– Recreation (pools and associated play areas) is the second largest “loser. ” It would probably take a resident fee of $7 to $9 per swim to offset the loss here since we only use the pools about 4 months of the year but must maintain them year around
-While Golf costs most to operate, the large income generated by Golf leaves it one of the least costly of the amenities.
-Of the amenities, only the Marina and RV Storage actually “made” money in 2003 while the Airport and the Community Center/Twin Lakes almost broke even.
– Last year’s alcohol income was $401,000 or over 5% of revenues. (This has nothing to do with the subject but does indicate our propensity to party!!!)
Finally, the above does not take into account the capital and major project expenditures on the amenities over the past 33 years due to a lack of historical data. However, assuming a 12% upkeep rate which is a fairly normal industry averÂage, the estimated $8+/- million amenity costs would require about $96,000/year or about $3.8 million over 33 years. This would be equivalent to about $1.70/mo of our dues.
In summary, the people who use the amenities pay most of the cost to operate and maintain them. The amount of dues used to support the amenities is actually fairly small. By far, the majority of our dues money, in the 80% to 95% range depending on how various fees and capital costs are allocated, goes to pay for roads and drainage ($1.175 million), lighting ($107,000), security ($353,000) and a host of other things that are necessary even if there were no amenities. Are the amenities worth the money? Do the amenities add value to our homes? Are fees too high? Low? In the end, each resident and properÂty owner will probably have to reach his or her conclusions.April 7, 2004 at 4:40 pm #1705
A very discriptive explanation of cost by Mr Ramirezes. Lot of big words,ie, major expendentures ect, lot of percentages ect. But the explanations do not relate to actual dollar cost for the line items that the money is spent on. There is a total of $4.00 explaned in Mr Ramirez”s explanation, $2.30 for something vague and nondiscript and $1.70 for something else. mabey we are just too complicated and finite for our own good. The whole point of the “shell game is to keep the shell with the pea under it moveing.
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