PETITION: ALLOW LEASHED DOGS ON OUR PARKS

PETITION TO THE LAKE WILDWOOD BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Please authorize the General Manager to permit residents to walk leashed and registered dogs on our parks and beaches to help control the goose population, enhance the cleanliness and safety of those areas, and further the safety and well being of dog owners.

Dog Club Parade

The Board adopted RULE R-10.40.10 to create a Goose Control Program for purposes of improving safety and sanitation in our parks and on the golf course.  The Rule stipulates that, “Animals shall not be allowed on the golf course, parks or beaches, tennis courts or inside any Association building unless approved by the General Manager with the intent of making these facilities more user friendly.”

The Lake Wildwood Dog Club, which advocates for the interests of resident dog owners, has determined that an expanded dog presence in our parks could significantly enhance the goose control program while also adding to the safety and well-being of owners who now walk their pets on busy Association streets.

The Dog Club asks the Board to expand application of RULE R-10.40.10 to allow leashed dogs in all Lake Wildwood parks on the following conditions:

  1. Dogs must be registered with the Association.  Each registered dog will be identified by a small bell that   will also serve as a warning to geese that dogs are near.
  2. The Dog Club will assist the Association with registrations. The Association will need to charge a nominal fee for dog registration, which will be used to defray the cost of bells, sanitation supplies, and equipment.
  3. When registering their dogs, owners will be provided with verbal and written instructions regarding leash requirements, clean-up rules, necessary vaccinations, and County licensing requirements.

Allowing residents to enjoy the beauty of our parks with their pets will certainly enhance the dog-friendly reputation of our community and make it more attractive to current residents and prospective buyers who own dogs.

Will you take 30 seconds to sign the petition right now  by clicking here.

If you do sign the petition, you will receive an E-mailable message that you can forward to other LWW dog owners.  Please make an effort to recruit as many supporters for this initiative as possible.

Thanks!

Lake Wildwood Dog Club

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The Cost of Deferred Maintenance

General Manager Casey recently reported that the cost of culvert repairs is expected to be $500,000 annually for the next 12 years — $6 million. That staggering sum, coupled with Clubhouse replacement costs and millions of dollars of planned golf course renovations, convinced the Board to hire a credential reserve specialist.  Sacramento-based Browning Reserve Group (BRG) was hired in December.

BRG presented its draft reserve study at a joint meeting of the Board and the Finance/Audit Committee on February 6th. BRG estimates that the current replacement cost of major common elements will be $22,000,000 as of 5/31/15, nearly $15 million more than reported by the Board in FY 2013-2014.  Unfortunately, members were not provided with copies of the draft report, so details were not available.

General Manager Casey also reported that the Association expects to spend a total of $11 million dollars on repairs and replacements during the next five years.  That’s an obligation of $3,872 per membership interest, which BRG suggested will require a 24% per year increase in the reserve assessment each of the next four years.

If implemented, that rate of increase would result in the following annual assessments for the renovation or replacement of capital assets, not including the Clubhouse assessment:

2013-2014     $323 (base before we got serious)               Reserve Assessment

2014-2015     $465 (44% increase this year) x 2,841 lots         =  $1.3 M

2015-2016     $576 (+ 24% proposed) x 2,841 lots                    =  $1.6 M

2016-2017     $714 (+ 24% proposed) x 2,841 lots                    =  $2.0 M

2017-2018     $886 (+ 24% proposed) x 2,841 lots                   =  $2.5 M

2018-2019   $1100 (+ 24% proposed) x 2,841 lots                    =  $3.1 M

Total 2015-2019                     $ 9.2 M

Accumulated reserves amounted to approximately $3.9 million on 5/31/14, including $1.5 million in reserves for non-capital assets.  BRG estimates that required reserves will be 13.7% funded at the start of next year and that funding will fall to around 5% ($1.1 million) by 2018-2020 despite increased assessments.  That compares to the 64% funding level reported by the Association in FY 2013-2014.

Members Should Push For Two Corrective Actions by Our Board

With the community now facing as much as $15,000,000 in previously unreported and unfunded long-term replacement reserve obligations, we must recognize that this problem was caused by a Board reserve policy that excluded the dam, the entire golf course, structural components of all buildings, the swimming pool shell, the sub-base of our roads, walkways, improved ditches, swales, and similar drainage features. Those exclusions were intended to keep assessments flat. That goal was accomplished. But increased repair costs have also been passed to a future generation of owners and property values have been adversely affected.

The last Board amended that unreasonable rule on January 28, 2014.

To ensure proper management of our common elements, we must realize that members who volunteer to serve on our Board of Directors have the power of Kings and Queens, but do not necessarily understand all that’s required of them.  As a first step to improve their capabilities, we must provide all new board members with appropriate preparatory training.

The Community Associations Institute offers its M-100 training course for new association managers and board members in two and a half day classroom sessions and through distance learning.  Properly trained board members will understand the complex statutory requirements of the Davis Stirling Act and administrative processes required of community associations.

Finally, we must recognize that elections change the composition of our Board every year. The Finance/Audit committee recently testified that a result of Board restructuring is, “There is a lack of consistency in maintaining the Replacement Reserve schedule from one Board to the next, such as when the Clubhouse was placed on it but removed three years later.”  The same is true of the dam, which carried a $2.2 million replacement cost until 2010 when that estimate was reduced to $292,000.

That same lack of consistency extends to the Master Plan, which the Board has not updated since 2010.  A Master Plan that’s broadly supported by the community offers the most effective way to ensure continuity of thought and provide guidance to successive Lake Wildwood Boards.  Absent such guidance, Board decision making can devolve into advocacy for pet projects favored by a few individuals, which seldom generates the highest and best use of scarce Association resources.

Members should insist that our Boards work concertedly with the Planning Committee to generate a true “Master Plan” that’s based on a consensus of membership preferences and priorities. The Board should then implement the plan it has approved.

Hopefully, the Board’s ongoing deliberations regarding the functions and composition of Association committees will address those needs.  However, members should take advantage of the scheduled Community Cafe workshops in March to voice support for implementation of adequate board member preparatory training and the need for a true Master Plan that’s based on a consensus of member preferences and priorities.

If you’re already convinced of the need for these changes and would like to join others in providing the Board with a petition to support the need for action, please click on the following link or insert it into your browser:

https://www.change.org/p/lake-wildwood-board-of-directors-maintain-and-improve-our-amenities-consistent-with-member-preferences-and-priorites?

Without these changes, there is no assurance that the progressive accomplishments of the present Board won’t disappear after the next Board is seated!

We must also realize that in order to bring about the changes needed to correct the system deficiencies that enabled such grievous financial mismanagement, a majority of us will have to become engaged in the change conversation and make our preferences known.  Considering that forty-four percent of all members did not vote in the $5.5 million Clubhouse Improvement election and that more than half sometimes often don’t vote in Board elections, we have some work to do.

As Pogo once said, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

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