Letter to the Board of Directors Lake Wildwood Association

Letter from Byron Maynard and Robert Bumgarner

September 23, 2015

Mr. Mike Rodriguez

President

Lake Wildwood Association

Dear Mike:

Thank you for meeting with By and me on the 20th to review our concerns regarding what we consider to be a number of inaccurate or misleading Association financial reports, reporting procedures that are inconsistent with FASB standards, non-compliant replacement reserve reporting and funding practices, and potentially improper Clubhouse funding arrangements.

As you know, rather than devoting a great deal of time to review of the exhibits we submitted in support of the nine issues stated in our IDR demand letter, we offered and discussed a five-point settlement concept.  Our aim in doing so was to provide the Board with the information it needs to identify and correct the causative system factors, policies, and procedures that enabled inappropriate actions.  It was not our intention to discredit past or present Board Members.

In our view, the magnitude of current financial pressures demands that the Board do everything in its power to amend the governing documents as needed to ensure that members are never again hit with a multi-million dollar increase in deferred maintenance costs or previously undisclosed replacement reserve obligations. Without such amendments, the next Board could easily reverse all of the good works of recent Boards.

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Manage violators rather than ban all – we will become a better community!

In the coming months we will debate whether we should allow dogs in our parks, and motorcycles in the community.   There have already been many letters about motorcycles, and now we are seeing letters about letting dogs in the parks.

In the letters to the editor against both changes members of our community bring up the risks of allowing either in our community or parks.  These members bring up issues like noise by motorcycles, or irresponsible dog owners who do not clean up after their hounds.   If we let dogs in the park, there is the possibility that an owner will not pick up their dogs feces.  If we let motorcycles in there may be the possibility that someone will thoughtlessly rev up its engine making noise.   Clearly the concern is over the exceptions and not the majority of motorcycle and dog owners.  It is an interesting issue, because for some reason our community is very inconsistent in how it applies its rules.  Some rules ban all, others just specific violations.

If we let boats on the lake, then someone may drive it in the wrong direction, or may speed in a no wake zone.  We let boats in, and have rules for use.  If we let kids live in Lake Wildwood, they might use skateboards in the street.  We let kids live here but have rules for skateboard use.  If we let new golfers on the course, they might play very slow.   We have marshals to keep the pace up.  If we let cars in the community they might speed.  We have security patrols to enforce speed limits.  Hopefully you see a consistent trend.  In most case rules are put in place to manage exceptions and risks so that we might have a pleasant and safe community.  So why are we treating people with dogs and motorcycles differently?  Why are we punishing the responsible many for the careless few?  We don’t do that with anything else.

Banning rather than managing exceptions hurts our community.  At its worst it negatively impacts our home values because we are sometimes perceived as a community of rule mongers, or worse yet non-inclusive narrow thinkers.   This is especially apparent from those who state “it’s the rule and always has been” argument.   CC&Rs need to support current reality, not a community of rules stuck forty years in the past. Continue reading

Can we trust our leadership to spend our money wisely? – Reserves Funding, the Club House, get the full picture

Submitted by Darrell Trimble – Skipper Ct

This is a second in a series of three articles on “Can we trust our leadership to spend our money wisely?.  In the last article we looked at HOA operations.   In this article we will look at how we prepare for future needs by looking at reserve funding and how our Board has dealt with or ignored the realities of an aging infrastructure.

As we receive our voting information on the new club house, we have to make a large spending decision.  I personally like the thought of a new clubhouse, though like many of you I am concerned whether the current plan is what we need or is it bigger than we need?  We are looking at an estimate exceeding $5m (which will probably exceed $6 given our track record) .  Is the hill at the golf course the right place to invest in a large group meeting place, or should it be kept to just a bar and grille, and expand the community center for larger groups?  All of these things are questions.

With the exception of the present BOD, over the past 5-7 years our Board has largely ignored the issue of not having enough funded reserves, again to “keep our annual fees low”.    Many community members asked about the issue of funding our future, but for the most part the past BODs “avoided” the discussion.   In fact, had the reserves been done correctly on the club house, we would not be facing such a big bill.

Regardless we need to understand that the clubhouse is a minor expense, given the other upcoming infrastructure liabilities that we have.    Did you know that we have as much as $8m in unfunded reserves beyond the club house?  We are all painfully familiar with the Chaparral culvert project (over $300k).  Did you know that there are many more bridges and culverts that may need the same repair?  Did you know that the golf course needs a new sprinkler system that is more than $1.5m?    An article on this blog was done in March of 2013, which laid out the unfunded infrastructure in some detail.   The point I am making is don’t we deserve to see the entire financial picture as we are making the decision on the club house and how much to spend?   Should we not get a full picture of the impact on our annual dues inclusive of properly funding the reserves and what we will have to pay for the club house annually? Continue reading

Can we trust our leadership to spend our money wisely?

With the proposal of a  $5m+ new clubhouse, the hiring of a new General Manager, and the prospect of skyrocketing costs to replace infrastructure, the question I have is do we trust our board to make the right decisions?  In the coming few years we will be facing decisions that will impact the community for decades.   The question is, does our leadership have the competence, the back bone and common sense to make these decisions?

My name is Darrell Trimble,  a home owner of over 14 years, a LWW resident, and a 50 something who will be living here for at least another 30 years god-willing,  I am a straight shooter who is not driven by politics or how many people like me.   I am very concerned about what I have seen over the last 5 years in our leadership.   I got an inside look in LWW operations when I headed the IT Committee in 2010, which did an in-depth operational assessment of LWW business processes and systems (or lack of) status.  We documented the processes and gave very direct advisements to the Board along with a long term IT Plan.   I also, am a successful business man who has a record of successfully starting companies and taking them to successful results.  My current company is one of the fast growing companies in Nevada County.  Not bragging here, just making a point that I consider myself a pragmatic business man with a background in building and managing organizations, budgets and projects.

I will be doing a series of articles which are opinion, mixed with facts and reality.  I invite others to join in and with comments and your perspectives.  I hope that we all have a common objective, that of making our community a great place to live together.

The first of my posts will be on our board leadership in the past 5 years and its impact on our community.  I am publishing these here, because quite frankly the TWI will not publish negative articles especially about the board or general management because in part they are funded by Lake Wildwood HOA at the discretion of the Board.

LWW Board Leadership 2009 until now.

As I write this article I first want to state that the LWW Board is a volunteer position and these people put in long hours and all have the right intent.  I commend them for that.

The best description of our Boards over the last five years can be relayed in 3 basic terms, “avoidance“, “lack of accountability“, and “short termed thinking“.   All of these have combined to put our community in a very bad fiscal situation.    Lets take a look at several areas:

Article I – Operations. Continue reading

Allow Dogs on Leashes in Parks

Submitted by  John Field, Waxwing Court

Comment or suggestion: We are new permanent residents within the past two months to LWW. Originally, we bought property here in the last seventies, but did not build or reside here at that time, only vacationed. I am appreciative of the time and interest spent by the governing boards since I experienced a position with a HA in Southern California many years ago.
There is one regulation in LWW that I would like to see amended…It is that of dog restrictions at our parks. I have never seen a park anywhere else in the United States where dogs weren’t allowed on a leash with their owner. I do believe a strong leash law should be in force and bags for waste available in all the parks. I would even suggest that our dogs be licensed in LWW for a fee to help offset the cost of waste dispensers, liabilities, etc.
There are many of us here that regard our pets as family members and find that without being able to bring them with us to simple park outings puts many social restrictions on us.
I ask that you consider my position and invite you to discuss this matter with me if desired.

Thank you,
John Field

Candidate Statement: Paul Towne

I would like to summarize my positions as a candidate for the Lake Wildwood Board of Directors.
•    Clubhouse: Certainly something must be done. Repair, replace or remodel – it all comes down to what best will serve our community, not just for now, but for many years in the future. We, as a community, need to study a variety of options and scenarios. This decision will affect our community for decades in the future. There is no need to rush this project.
•    Long Term Capital Improvement Fund: The Clubhouse is not the only amenity that needs major improvements Everything on this wish list would make our community a better place to live, not only for today’s residents, but also tomorrow’s. We need to find a way to finance these improvements without putting the burden solely on our current residents, but also shared by future residents.
o    The irrigation system on the golf course in need of major repair or replacement. Cost for this project has been estimated at 1.5 million.
o    Sections of the Voight ranch are rumored to be up for sale in the near future.
o    Pickle ball needs a permanent home.
o    Meadow Park upgrade
o    Fitness/Wellness Center
o    Secure parking structure for the community’s motor cycle riders.
o    How about an indoor lap/exercise pool?
We need to establish a long term capital improvement fund!
•    Full Service Restaurant: Our current operation is costing our members over $200,000 a year! If we were to close the restaurant today, in five years we would have more than enough money to fund a pickle ball facility, the Meadow Park upgrade and a structure for our motor cyclist. Certainly our members need a place to purchase a good, wholesome meal, but do we need something that is as labor extensive as a full service restaurant? This discussion must go hand in hand with our clubhouse project!
•    Marketing: The largest generation in this countries history is about to retire! Lake Wildwood offers the finest amenities and living environment in the country. We need to get the word out! There is a limited supply of homes in Lake Wildwood, so increase demand will mean increased home values. New members with fresh ideas can only make our community a better place to live…for everyone!

Lake Wildwood is a community with members who have a variety of special interest. It is the sum of our parts that make this a wonderful place to live. I plan on representing everyone equally. As a member of the board I believe we must represent not only the Lake Wildwood of today, but of tomorrow. It is time for our community’s leaders to be proactive, rather than reactive! If you believe as I do, than I would appreciate your vote!!!

Paul Towne

Freedom of Speech at LWW?

Submitted by Gordon Pelton

I heard a rumor today that Robert Bumgarner, a candidate for the Board, caused the Lake Wildwood Association to spend $50,000 on legal fees last year to prevent the legitimate use by members of the official membership email addresses. In fact, Mr. Bumgarner filed a complaint in Small Claims Court where attorneys are not permitted, seeking to establish the right of members to communicate with one another regarding Association business using the Association’s member email list. Though attorneys are not allowed to participate in Small Claims proceedings, the LWA Board and the General Manager decided to spend large sums of our money on legal advice in order to deny members this right and, thus, control member-to-member communication. The rumor may not be true, but the following reveals some of the real background.

On five separate occasions in 2012, Bob formally applied to the Lake Wildwood General Manager to either permit him to use the LWA membership’s email addresses to communicate with the membership concerning a proposed LWA rule change, or, alternatively, to have the Association distribute his email.

Five times the General Manager denied Bob’s requests (and six times denied a similar request from another member). The General Manager did this even though the Association’s Bylaws, California’s statutes and California legal precedents require that an association such as ours make member addresses (including emails) available for any purpose reasonably related to members’ interests. Continue reading