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

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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

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