By ArrowCreek Resident
Control of YOUR Destiny: VOTE !
It has been said time and again that purchasing the golf course property would provide us homeowners’ control of our destiny. The initial HOA meeting regarding the options of purchasing the entire golf club with golf courses and club house and alternatives of use (the “let it go brown”, “keep it green”, and “operate as a golf course”) took place over a year ago. For the first five years, the brown version was estimated to increase the monthly HOA fee by about $73, the green version by $135. Now, one year later, it is proposed that we buy only the 36-hole golf course property, which would increase our monthly HOA fee by $33/month to pay off the purchase of the property, property tax, and the increase in Reserve assessment. In case the FOA should decide to downsize, just keeping 18 holes of the golf course property watered and mowed, is estimated to further increase our HOA fee by about $48-$59/month, (that comes to about $580K – $700K/yr for the HOA). That would be a total increase of $81 – $92/month per homeowner. The added cost of fire mitigation is yet to be determined.
The FOA/HOA board team has not published any financial data, business plan, or financial prognosis for the golf course. As of now, we the homeowners have no idea what we will be getting ourselves into if we purchase the golf course property. Under the current proposal, the two courses are going to be legally separated from their organizational and infrastructural hub: the club house and the pump house. These assets will be owned by the FOA. In case the FOA decides to downsize to 27 or 18 holes: what non-profit use can we make of 9 or 18 holes of golf course? The discussion regarding repurposing of the land and related costs would start all over again. For all we know, the golf courses might be circling the bankruptcy drain. We then have the option to purchase the remaining assets from the FOA. There was no discussion about any other exit strategy. The dispute about what to do with the property would start all over again. We would go back to discussing how to change our Articles of Incorporation and our community from a non-profit to a for profit community if we wanted or needed to operate the golf course, unless we find a buyer. There has not been an interested buyer for the golf course since before the bankruptcy last year.
The ACCC and ACHOA board members have been asked numerous times to provide the background for the cost estimates for the different options of owning or using the golf course property, but the questions have been left unanswered. The ACHOA board also did not provide any details as to their process of elimination, giving us the background data and dollar figures that led them to the current conclusion that the purchase of the GC property is the ONLY option. The “do nothing” option was dismissed without further explanation or justification. The request to evaluate alternative options brought forward by AC residents was denied.
We also are not privy to the details of the proposed contract between the HOA and the FOA. The request to be informed about the details of the negotiation process, particularly the purchase price, was denied at the 9/16/15 meeting. Based on a comment made by Gary Smith , ACCC member, former ACHOA president, we do know however, that we would be paying above the purchase price for the property, and above fair market price. Rich Kenny did not confirm in the HOA meeting on 9/16/15 if the purchase price was based on an independent assessment. It is a basic fiduciary obligation of the board to ensure that the cost to homeowners is minimized.
Is the understanding then that control of our destiny means:
• Homeowners are stuck with the golf course property and unlimited financial liability for infrastructure replacement, while the FOA essentially walks away with a profit from the sale and no financial responsibility for the course infrastructure aside from routine maintenance
• The FOA and AC golfers retain their golf privileges at essentially no cost due to HOA subsidization
• The FOA has absolute autonomy to close 9 or 18 holes of their choice at our increased liability
• The FOA retains every option in their favor to sell or walk away from their assets and no option for the HOA to GET OUT when it’s clear it’s not in our favor to hang on under the guise “We’re controlling our destiny.”
• Homeowners have to accept that once the HOA owns the golf course property, the ACHOA BOD can still raise the monthly fees by up to 15% each year and ask for special assessments without input or a vote from homeowners because the promised limit of raising the HOA fee to no more than $300/month only relates to the initial purchase of the golf course property.
It is clear that we homeowners have not been in control of the process that has brought us to this point. With a yes vote our financial destiny would be contingent on the uncertain golf industry. Our destiny would depend on the FOA’s ability to make the courses profitable which has never been the case. The current proposal is open ended and does not provide a permanent solution. With all this in mind, why are we forced into this conundrum? Gary Smith, ACCC member, former ACHOA president, made a key observation during the 9/16/15 meeting when he said: The ACHOA board has no obligation to bring this proposal to the HOA for a vote. But here we are: asked to vote on the GC purchase proposal within about 60 days. We can voice our concerns and opinions talking to our neighbors, writing to this website, or during the upcoming town hall meetings. In the end, casting our vote is about our only chance at controlling our destiny.
Control YOUR ArrowCreek Destiny: VOTE !
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Very well said neighbor. I would add another unknown, or out of our control issue for us homeowners: who inspected the golf courses and paths, and irrigation system, before negotiating the purchase price and conditions? How about that soil and water pollution concern from years of using pesticides, fertilizers, and effluent water leakage? In case of our “yes” vote will the purchase be contingent on a professional inspection, soil analysis, etc to make sure everything is in good order?