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  1. #1
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    Sun City's future...

    Should be clear to anyone who follows things i have written over the years, this is one of my favorite topics (Sun City's future).
    While i love our history, where we are headed is far more important. I have been an outspoken critic as a resident and as a board member on many of the actions of the last 10 years by the RCSC.

    Some think it's just a need to complain; nothing could be further from the truth. My umbrage has always been centered on the changes made whereby the community at large becomes less important in the decision making process and putting it more on the backs of the management team and the 9 member board.

    Last evening was one of the two yearly board meetings held at night so those working could attend. Beyond staff, board and management, there were 18 residents in the audience. That alone should speak volumes on the need to enhance a more aggressive approach to recruiting/attracting residents to the process of self-governance. Of course the other side of the argument is the often heard explanation; "everyone is happy."

    In the end it matters little because ultimately our future looms whether there's a 1000 people in the room or there's 10.

    Last night it was announced the ad-hoc long range planning committee on the Grand Ave project would be disbanded shortly. President Hoffer said he was delighted with the process as hundreds of people, many from clubs looking for space got involved. All of which sparked me to say a few words about the importance of reinstating the Long Range Planning committee on a permanent basis. I was told by years end i would be delighted as that decision was apparently just around the corner. Of course it didn't hurt to remind them 3 of the 4 board members elected had stated openly at the candidate forums they were not only in favor of it but would be voting for it within the first year. Of course it all begs the question; why wait?

    Last nights discussions lead me to start looking at the numbers. Rather than drag this out, i will break it up and move into the startling financials we are looking at and why it is critical putting the Long Range Planning Committee in place as soon as possible.
    Last edited by BPearson; 04-28-2017 at 11:44 AM.
    Sun City=Community before corporation, people before politics.

  2. #2
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    Starting with the great news, the PIF in March collected some 955 K. Huge number for the month and when added to the existing account puts us in the neighborhood of 11.5 million dollars. By years we will add another 5 million dollars (my projections). That gives us over 16 million dollars.

    All of which sent me scurrying to find the long range planning budget put together by the board in conjunction with the staff. Rather than piecing it together i will copy and paste 2016, 2017 and 2018:
    2016:
    Lakes East
    - irrigation system & perimeter turf
    reduction
    $1,960,438
    Willowbrook
    - irrigation pump station & lake
    renovation
    $565,400
    Skilled Trades & Willow Golf Maintenance Building
    $1,833,500
    2017:
    Willowcreek & Willowbrook
    irrigation system,
    pump stations both courses, reconstruction of
    irrigation lakes on both courses (less what's
    completed in 2016), and
    all 18
    greens at
    Willowcreek
    $6,284,000
    Willowbrook
    perimeter turf reduction
    $564,175
    Willowcreek
    perimeter turf reduction
    $825,995
    Replace South Pro Shop
    & add golf cart storage
    $1,600,000
    2018:
    Replace Golf Maintenance Building
    location TBD
    $750,000

    If you do the down and dirty math, it's roughly 14 million dollars...all of which is golf related (yes i will agree the out-buildings are in some part multi-purpose in nature, but the commitment for the next several years is all golf all the time). That only matters because the last 5 or 6 years has been golf-biased with well over 20 million dollars coming out of PIF funds.

    If we look to 2019, we have to pay off the solar at 5.5 million (WTF happened there, it was only supposed to 4 million and change?).

    The point to this diatribe is simple, we have had enormous amounts of revenue streaming into the community since 2010. In 2012 the Long Range Planning Committee was disbanded, and the direction to focus on golf was made by the management and board members (don't blame me, i voted against it and was an outspoken critic) with virtually no input from the community at large. Now with the purchase of the Grand Ave property, we are looking at another major expense that doesn't even appear in the PIF budget. No idea the potential cost, but i would be stunned if the outlay by the time it's done isn't at least 3 to 4 million dollars.

    The point is pretty apparent: The choices made in the recent past have intentionally carved out the community and put it on the backs of management and the board. Only time will tell if it was a smart investment or not, but what is clear is we have been so golf focused we have lost sight of all of the other things that could have been done if we had had a more balanced approach as to how those PIF dollars were spent. That is in fact exactly what a broad-brush approach by a long range planning committee would bring to the table.

    BTW, the golf report for the first quarter showed rounds down this year...hopefully that's not a sign of things to come.
    Last edited by BPearson; 04-28-2017 at 11:42 AM.
    Sun City=Community before corporation, people before politics.

  3. #3
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    Not much less fun than a 1 float parade, but it is what it is. eh?

    We know 2016 was a banner year for the RCSC and PIF collections. A good portion of that is due the KHov project with 140 homes and the $3500 paid at point of sale and another $5000 from the builder in access fees. Clearly that inflated the numbers as we have averaged between 6 and 7 million dollars per year (and in likelihood continue in that neighborhood).

    I've argued long and loud the PIF was the single most important action ever taken by the RCSC Board of Directors. It allowed the community to rebuild without "taxing" those living here (by trying to pass yearly assessments).

    It's pretty simple; if people don't like or agree with the buy-in costs, don't buy here.

    I know, kind of tacky, but the one-time fee (with some qualifications) is critical to maintaining your homes value and providing you with updated amenities. If you think that its a bad idea, there's lots of other options out there (most with way higher taxes).

    For those who have not payed attention, you can find the current RCSC Long Range Plan here. As you can see beyond what i posted, it runs through 2024 and there's another near on 50 million dollars committed, most of it decided upon by the board and management.

    Here's the irony of all of this discourse: The board always has and always will make the final decisions. They've had that right (as long as they had the cash in hand to pay for whatever they were spending). A Long Range Planning Committee is little more than a speed bump in the road. Unless of course, the board is going down a path whereby the LRPC rally's the community to push back against decisions the majority would vocally balk at. It's why i believe the Long Range Planning Committee was disbanded and exactly how and why we have ended with all golf all the time.

    Time will tell if the board has the balls to do the right thing. I want to believe they will reinstate it, but i hear rumblings it's not as much a done deal as some would have us believe. Funny how folks run on a promise and then find themselves getting drunk on the power to do what they want.
    Sun City=Community before corporation, people before politics.

  4. #4
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    I think much is up in the air pending outcome of lawsuit. I also think much behind the scenes going on that may not be able to be made public.

    Unfortunately, "all golf all the time" may be a necessary evil for the next several years. I don't golf and doubt I ever will. But I will tell you the beauty of the greens here driving through here almost five years ago was a selling point.

    I do believe the vast majority of the folks here are happy with the way things are and the way things are run by the board. Some of us youngsters have not known any time when Sun City governance was different.

    When they sent around the recent survey, we did reply. One of the suggestions was a permanent LRPC. Heck, even our condo association has a long range plan!

    I have more thoughts on this thread and will have to come back to it.

    Sun City is ever changing. I think some of the most drastic changes that have come before us newbies have disheartened the long timers and caused them to lose interest. And then, there are more pressing personal issues, such as health, time, and changes in society.

  5. #5
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    And you know, maybe some of the changes made (Sun City governance), were made with an eye to the future and a time when there would be less volunteers with people staying in the work force. Also, just from our little condo association, I can see how it can be hard to do good for the community due to penny wise and dollar foolish people who have the attitude of "why should I pay another $ when I might not be here in five years?" I mean, how do you get things done and be a good steward for the future when you've got a lot of that attitude?

    I see both sides of the coin now. Believe half of what you see and none of what you hear. I have a hard time criticizing our board of volunteers now.

  6. #6
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    Thank you for reposting the link to the LRP.

    I support the PIF.

    I think the purchase of the property on Grand was a good deal. Whatever goes in there needs to generate some revenue and promote Sun City.

    If Sun City just kept up the properties (upgrading and replacing old ones when necessary), keeping Sun City affordable and as clean and inviting as it presently is, it will always be a great place to live.

    However, after the all the golf upgrades on the books are done in less than three years, we younger residents will expect the PIF money will be put toward interests and projects that will better serve the community and have an eye and a vision toward the future.
    Last edited by Emily Litella; 04-30-2017 at 04:25 PM.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Emily Litella View Post
    Thank you for reposting the link to the LRP.

    I support the PIF.

    I think the purchase of the property on Grand was a good deal. Whatever goes in there needs to generate some revenue and promote Sun City.

    If Sun City just kept up the properties (upgrading and replacing old ones when necessary), keeping Sun City affordable and as clean and inviting as it presently is, it will always be a great place to live.

    However, after the all the golf upgrades on the books are done in less than three years, we younger residents will expect the PIF money will be put toward interests and projects that will better serve the community and have an eye and a vision toward the future.
    And for that to happen many younger residents will need to run for the board. I worry the golf-centric people will continue the agenda past those three years. They are not going away so fast.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cynthia View Post
    And for that to happen many younger residents will need to run for the board. I worry the golf-centric people will continue the agenda past those three years. They are not going away so fast.

    Thanks E and C for the comments, clearly there are lots of good things about Sun City and how we are run. The future is bright.

    The scary thing about your comment C is there were never thousands of golf fanatics clamoring for 6 million dollar remodel jobs on Sun City courses[ just wasn't the case. There was management and board members who felt it was time to invest in golf's future and of course when you dangle 6 million dollar renovations in front of golfers, who the hell is going to balk at it?
    Oddly enough a significant number of golfers at the 2 willow courses started a petition to stop it, but were quickly told to remove it from RCSC property.

    We do need new blood with a bold vision for the coming years, but it appears for now, the only thing on track are those items the board singled out.
    Sun City=Community before corporation, people before politics.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by BPearson View Post
    It's pretty simple; if people don't like or agree with the buy-in costs, don't buy here.

    I know, kind of tacky, but the one-time fee (with some qualifications) is critical to maintaining your homes value and providing you with updated amenities. If you think that its a bad idea, there's lots of other options out there (most with way higher taxes).
    Yes, tacky.

    IMHO, PIF was the only funding mechanism the board could implement without getting member approval. There were lots of vocal members against spending money. I didn't see an alternative at the time and something had to be done, so even though I didn't like the PIF concept, I supported it. But since it seems to have gotten far to easy for the board to simply raise it at will. It's more than trippled! That needs to stop.

    And, I'm not convinced RCSC capital spending is as connected to my home's value as you imply. According to Arizona House Prices and AZ Housing Market Info - NeighborhoodScoutthe average home in Arizona has appreciated 77% since 2000. Sadly, the $50-mil spent by the RCSC on improvements garnered by the PIF haven't affected my home's value at all. Zero. Nada. But to your point, it hasn't gone down, either. OTOH, if I invested 50% of my home's value in remodeling I could likely increase it's value 20-30%. I'll guess this is true of a large percentage of SC properties.

    RCSC improvements are certainly necessary -- but $40-mil in golf improvements might just be putting very expensive lipstick on the pig.

  10. #10
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    Yup, add all the lipstick you want, it is still a pig so to speak.

    Just my two cents. I'm not in Sun City... yet.
    We will get there when the good Lord puts that avenue directly in our path... hopefully soon.

    I support the PIF and will be more that willing to pay it when we buy in SC.
    Why? Simple, I like the fact that Sun City is still relevant, without the PIF I believe Sun City would have long ago gotten run down and forgotten by many.

    I do agree however that golf doesn't seem to be the place to pour cash. Not that golf has really declined all that much, but there are so many other things retirees like to get involved with so golf has lots of competition. Walking/hiking and basic fitness seems to be winning well over golf.

    Who knows, maybe golf will make a comeback and all the cash spent will have been worth it, but the trend is not leaning in that direction. Sorry golfers, your sport is not the best place to sink cash.

    Golf course upkeep and maintenance is an obvious need, but $40M... not the smartest investment.

    So where would the money be better spent? Pretty much anywhere IMHO. How about some nice walking trails, maybe additional equipment in the fitness centers, improve the lake, etc.

    I can't say much yet as I am not retired and don't really know what I will want to do as a retiree, but full retirement age next April... woohoo! I can tell you that of the friends my age, very few play golf and the ones that do prefer much more variety of activities. In other words they would not invest very much cash in the sport.
    I must admit though most my friends you would find at the shooting range, hunting, fishing, hiking, or simply spending quality time with family and close friends.

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