Sun City's future...

Discussion in 'Sun City General Discussions' started by BPearson, Apr 28, 2017.

  1. BPearson

    BPearson Active Member

    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: Apr 28, 2017
  2. BPearson

    BPearson Active Member

    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:
    Lakes East
    - irrigation system & perimeter turf
    - irrigation pump station & lake
    Skilled Trades & Willow Golf Maintenance Building
    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
    perimeter turf reduction
    perimeter turf reduction
    Replace South Pro Shop
    & add golf cart storage
    Replace Golf Maintenance Building
    location TBD

    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: Apr 28, 2017
  3. BPearson

    BPearson Active Member

    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.
  4. Emily Litella

    Emily Litella Active Member

    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. Emily Litella

    Emily Litella Active Member

    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. Emily Litella

    Emily Litella Active Member

    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: Apr 30, 2017
  7. Cynthia

    Cynthia Active Member

    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. BPearson

    BPearson Active Member

    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.
  9. 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. BruceW

    BruceW Member

    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.
  11. Adam560

    Adam560 New Member

    I purchased my home in 2002 for $123,000. I have made no major improvements over that time, and Zillow today values my house at $208,367. That's a 69 % increase in 15 years. I'm OK with the PIF.
  12. BPearson

    BPearson Active Member

    Hey Adam560, welcome. Let be blunt, when it comes to home buying, timing is everything in life. The reality is some homes still haven't hit the high water mark from those crazy times back around 2005. For the most part though there has been a steady climb in property values. The bigger story is how quickly homes sell.

    With the PIF doing over 8 million dollars in 2016, even though KHov added a lot to the number, we continue to average well over 2000 home sales per year, better than 6 homes each and every day of the year.

    Consequently, what you have to ask yourself is if the RCSC hadn't passed the PIF in 1999 and everything had simply aged in place...what would your home be worth today? How fast would homes be selling if the amenities not gotten the 65 million dollar cash infusion? Or better yet; how many votes for yearly assessments would have been passed to cover that nut?

    That's exactly why i was "tacky' when telling those who buy here and don't like the PIF, move somewhere else. No one is forcing them to move to Sun City. Hell, posters on this board have flat out said, it helped them make their decision to buy in another community. What i do hate is when they agree to buy here and then whine about it.

    And so we are clear, i have been the most outspoken critic to the all-golf-all-the-time construct. Not because i am anti-golf, but because had we spaced out the golf course remodels we could have also been doing rec center remodels which have a far greater impact on the community at large than increasing the number of pin locations on the greens.

    The best way to get back in the game of community involvement is to reinstate the long range planning committee and start looking to the future and the evolution of age restricted living.
  13. BruceW

    BruceW Member

    Agreed Bill, but only if the LRPC is given some accreditation by the board. The board can still poo poo the LRPC recommendations and continue to focus on golf.
    I agree Bill, PIF money would be best spread out across all amenities... the rec centers are one of the main attractions for today's retirees. Golf is also an attraction, but you can't put all your eggs in one basket. The community must stay relevant for tomorrow's retirees, namely me. ;)

    So board members if you read these rants, first of all thank you for being willing to step up and do the thankless job of being a director on the board. It can't be an easy task.
    I would also challenge you to find out what the bulk of the community you have chosen to represent really needs for now and the future. IMHO, focusing on golf ain't it.
  14. Really? Whining? Condemning the 500% increase in the PIF is "whining"? Consider, you bought here when there was a LRP committee... is it "whining" that you criticize its disbandment? What's our alternative? Drinking the koolaid is not much of an option to me.
  15. Emily Litella

    Emily Litella Active Member

    Nevermind. Everyone take care and have a great spring and summer. This is a great place to live.
    Last edited: May 5, 2017
  16. BPearson

    BPearson Active Member

    When i whine it's constructive criticism. All kidding aside, hardly a close comparison. Reconstructing the LRPC is a solution while complaining about the PIF is being high or should be abolished is simply whining. Unless of course you think the PIF should go away and then i would love to hear how you plan on funding improvements over the next 50 years/ Maybe there's a better solution and we aren't looking hard enough for it.

    And just for the record, when the PIF went from $3000 to $3500 i was one of a handful who spoke out against the increase. I just wasn't comfortable raising it without a reason or a plan on how to spend it. The reality is, with the all-golf-all-the-time agenda being in place, a group of outspoken residents working on a true progressive long range planning committee would be the proverbial fly in the soup.

    But alas, that's just my humble opinion.
  17. Cynthia

    Cynthia Active Member

    If it does happen, as was teased at in the last meeting, would you try to get on it? You should.
  18. BPearson

    BPearson Active Member

    Sure, i'd be interested. The important thing is less who's on it and more the structure and tasks they ingrain into the process. Years past it was often people who had an agenda or particular project they were interested in. Rather than repeating that, better served to create a committee who look to the future, studies who and what newer age restricted communities are doing and using the amazing amount of data available.

    If they set that criteria, i suspect they would weed out those interested only in their pet project.

    Just to pass it on; at the last Board/Member exchange, President Hoffer assured me it would pass in June. Interesting because i hear there are at least a couple of board members who don't like the idea. We'll see.
  19. Cynthia

    Cynthia Active Member

    I would like to know their reasons. But I imagine they would not let us know.
  20. aggie

    aggie Member

    Yay!! The reinstatement of the Long Range Planning Committee is on the agenda for a vote this month!

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