Ellie Comments on CNA Rebuttal to ACHOA FAQ II Released 022615
March 21, 2015 at 8:21 am
The ArrowCreek Homeowners Association, Inc. currently has one of the highest monthly assessments (ACHOA fees) in the Reno area. Is this a true statement?
This question was recently answered in the FAQ’s # 2 installment, concluding that we are actually one of the cheapest HOA’s if one compares like communities. Many factors go into the decision of where to buy a house. So, I propose the real question is what do you feel you are getting for your money and the answer to that question depends on what you value.
With currently $218 a month, just going by the numbers, we are paying about the same amount as the residents in Montreux, St. James, and Lakeridge ($224 – $250/monthly), and we are right on line with those and other high end communities with currently the highest monthly HOA fees in this area. Yes, we have a Residents’ Center (RC) with pools and an exercise room. If you are a gym or pool person: how do the services you can buy with a gym membership starting at $10 – 25 a month compare with our amenities? If you want to attend a class in AC: they are only offered during the day time and cost an extra fee: for example $60 for the Fitness class. How much more money would you be willing to pay for improved services as promised by Arnold Palmer if we buy the Golf Course and approve the Joint Venture option? Would some of the benefits be offset if/when future non-resident Golf Club members have access to our RC?
What if you cannot take advantage of the RC amenities, do not need to, or want to for various reasons. What if you are a walker or runner, how much more would you want to pay for the same, because the GC purchase does not include changes to the common grounds management. I invite anyone to walk or run the paths in any of the above listed communities and even in Coughlin Ranch where quarterly fees are about $180 to $550, or in Double Diamond with around $105 quarterly fees (more for certain subdivisions). The difference will be plain to see, and has nothing to do with that beauty is in the eye of the beholder or the AC western desert landscape theme. The level of common grounds maintenance year round with maintenance of the paths, maintenance of the landscape with weeding, clean up, care of shrubs and trees in all of those communities is simply better than in AC. We have sidewalks that are falling apart. If you run in the dark before/after work, you have to watch out so you don’t trip and fall over the humps and swells in the pavement or catch your foot in the wide cracks and holes in the pavement. How do strollers do on our paths? If you walk or run in day light, you will be looking at sage brush and weeds taking over where plants used to be, exposed irrigation hoses going nowhere, and drainage ditches being an unsightly mess of rocks, debris, and in the spring and summer: more weeds. We even have skeletons of last year’s weeds along the paths around the AC Parkway in plain sight of anyone, including potential home buyers. Some voices on this website have commented on the tacky photo radars. I think the yellow posts around the irrigation/electricity boxes are not very photogenic either. I have not seen anything similar in other communities.
What if you are a socialite. The option of being a social member at the GC has always been open. In the past, we had more HOA sponsored activities, such as pool side summer luaus. Now we only have a Holiday Party. Next month, Coughlin Ranch will have a Share Your Wine social for their residents. It appears that for those of us who currently are not social club members, we can only have more community social events if we buy the GC. The synopsis writer asked a few months back on this website: “Why are plans to improve the livability for all of us in a community of common interest tied to the Joint Venture proposal? What is keeping us from making such investments and improvements with the fees we are already paying?” Thankfully, as one resident pointed out during the last HOA meeting on 2/24/15, we have many volunteer activities in AC replacing the HOA sponsored events. Examples: the Art Guild, and the Gardening Club. Alan Liebman, in his candidate application stated that he organized social gatherings in his neighborhood. Now that he is on the board, how about helping us all and using his expertise to get neighborhood block parties going in the various subdivisions?
Unfortunately, the demographic study did not ask any questions with regards to current HOA services and general satisfaction with life in Arrowcreek and how much more we would be willing to pay to live here with varied added community services and activities.
A homeowner during the last HOA meeting on 2/24/15 meeting reminded everyone present that at the very beginning of this development, the original HOA Board pledged to make only the lowest risk investments and contain costs. The current board apparently did not feel to have an obligation to obtain the homeowners’ input, before committing the community to vote on the purchase of the GC. During the 2/24/15 HOA meeting this course of action was identified by another homeowner as one of the possible reasons for the current animosity between opposing views on this issue. Now, the vote on the Joint Venture has been put on hold. What could have been achieved for our community if all the money already spent and is budgeted for the Joint Venture, including attorney, and tax accountant fees, would have been invested into our community instead? On the same line of thought on cost and cost reduction: Has anyone ever wondered why our monthly HOA fees have not been reduced over the years proportionally to the income coming from lots that have been sold over the years? If you review the annual financial reports of the last few years, there is repeated discussion about excess funds and how to handle them. What is the explanation as to why we have not actually seen a reduction of HOA fees?
By the way: AC employees will enjoy double the amount of bonuses this year ($25000) for presumably above average services. That would include the services from our gardeners, landscaping consultant, Operations Manager, and our Activities Coordinator. What could $ 25000 have done if invested into the community?
IF we buy the Golf Club or go into the JV as previously proposed, then for all of us the currently $ 218 monthly HOA fees and AC expenses would increase by:
$99/month HOA fee
$17/month GC Reserve Fund: either shared in JV option/or full with purchase of property
Costs per HOA member:
$2616/year HOA fee (current fee), $ 1188/year added Joint Venture fee, about $102 $ – 204/year Reserve Fund = Grand Total: $ 317/month equals $ 3804/year in fees, plus Reserve fund fee, plus average of $ 40 property tax impact for the GC property, + new maintenance building property tax, + property tax on any improvements/investments for the GC, + all other yet to be determined costs, unlimited special assessments associated with the purchase and/or operation of the Golf Club.
In summary: The FAQ’s do not list any similar community with a basic HOA fee of currently more than $ 300/month in this area. On a personal level, every AC property owner has to decide for him/herself if the promised benefits warrant the added cost if we get to vote on the purchase and operation of the Golf Course or some of the other options being looked into by the HOA Board. From a broader perspective, a basic question we should ask ourselves and the board representing us is: are we presently and will we in the future use our community dollars in a judicious, cost reducing and preserving way, that maintains and enhances the value of our community for all? I am relieved, that with the April/May deadline for the vote being off the table now, we all have more time to think about all of this. I am curious how the results of the demographic study will be put to use in the future to improve our community.
Then Ron Duncan had a response to which Ellie responded with:
March 24, 2015 at 3:39 pm
I guess I came away with a different recollection and interpretation of what was said and briefed during the 2/24/15 HOA meeting. While Sam Fox seemed to say that there was no detailed business plan for the Joint Venture proposal on the table at the time, I did not hear the idea declared dead. Rich Kenny then briefed on the activities of the ACCC and briefly touched on several alternatives that they are investigating regarding having control over the course, the property, and what to do with in the best interest of the community. All the options discussed at the meeting and all the options outlined in the FAQ’s #2 will cost us. Even for the brown option with purchase of the course, if we go by the original ACCC briefing, an average additional fee of $73/month for the first 5 years was cited. (I realize, that the numbers quoted for the different options have been questioned.)
So the point I wanted to make is that we are among the HOA’s with a relatively high monthly fee and to me it looks like any decision regarding the GC purchase will ultimately add to our cost. Costs, benefits and risks will vary. The option we know most about is the JV. The numbers listed in my previous post were meant as a reference base to evaluate what we have right now, and what we may be faced with in the future as alternatives will be presented to us. Leaving the controversial issue of home values aside, the only option I see that will not add additional costs to the HOA membership, at least for the moment, is if the FOA and Arnold Palmer were to continue to own and run the Golf Course without the HOA. Such a decision has not been reached and the HOA board has not deferred any future vote. There is a lot of work going on behind the scenes, so a let’s wait and see attitude seems ill advised. The next date for a vote may come at us fast and furious, like the last one. Better be prepared than surprised. So keep the discussion going about the various GC purchase scenarios, including the JV, and what each one would mean to us financially, personally, and for the community. For that I am thankful that we have this website. I agree a clarifying statement by the HOA board as to the current status and updates regarding the GC purchase, as well as updates from the FOA/Arnold Palmer team would be helpful to all of us and might have a stabilizing effect on the real estate community.
The second point I wanted to make was that I believe we all need to stay involved, not only surrounding the GC issue, to ensure our HOA money is well spent for those who want to live in ArrowCreek, want to buy or sell property in ArrowCreek, no matter what happens with the GC. There is always room for improvement.