Friday 5/27/16, 2 pm, Meeting of Friends of the Village, Village Green Building, Dining Rooms 2 & 3
“SHARED COSTS IN THE VILLAGE: Where They Came From and Where They Are Today”
Betty Parker, Financial Services Directory, Village Management Services, Inc. (VMS)
Margaret Klein (pictured), Treasurer, Golden Rain Foundation (GRF)
Cynthia Conner, City of Laguna Woods City Council Member, Former President of Third Mutual, Current Resident of Laguna Woods Village
“Right now, we have access to all the recreational offerings for less than $50/month of our monthly assessment. What could we get for that amount outside our Village?” –Cynthia Conner
The meeting was opened by President Catherine Brians, who first discussed club news. She attended a Club Presidents’ Workshop that included discussion on noise in the village and Community Activities Committee (CAC)’s commitment to fair facility usage.
Friends of the Village (FOV)’s next meeting is in June when our Guest Speaker will be Chuck Holland, VMS’s information technology (IT) manager on enhancing communication in the Village. The July meeting will be a progress report on Clubhouse 2, as the projected opening is September 3. The August meeting will be a Meet the Candidates in Clubhouse 3 Dining Room 1. The Association of Condos and Co-ops (ACC) is partnering with FOV for a Board Member 101 seminar for prospective Mutual Board members on Monday, June 13, Clubhouse 3 Dining Room 2 at 4 PM.
FOV meetings are open, no charge and no political agenda. FOV’s purpose is education so residents can make informed decisions. There will be Q&A after (today’s) speakers’ presentations. Please present questions and not statements to a speaker or the full panel, remembering that the speakers are our guests and are to be treated with utmost respect. Catherine thanked Bob Hatch for coordinating the program, introduced FOV Vice President Mike Straziuso to introduce speakers.
Mike gave introduction and short bio on each panel member.
Betty gave a PowerPoint presentation on the Concept of Shared Costs.
The concept is that all expenses are shared equally by number of units in the Village, with some exceptions with additional user fees for some activities. User fees were described as far back as 1966. There is a “Guidelines on Shared Costs and Fees” included in new owners’ package.
Shared costs include Operating Costs (utilities, wages, etc.), Maintenance (repairs), and furnishings (equipment).
Although all residents have access, not all residents use all facilities.
It is intended that the facilities make the community more attractive, and thereby keep or increase home values.
Some exceptions which trigger additional fees are crowding, over usage, high cost facility, new facility, limited or exclusive use. There are no additional user fees for pools, buses (original developer guaranteed free transportation as insurance increases would be prohibitive if (we) began charging for riding buses) or facilities where it would not be practical to collect fees.
Policies for charging additional user fees (is) left to revisions by standing committees on CAC, Maintenance & Construction Committee (M&C), Security and Finance
There are currently facility fees for room rentals, garden center, equestrian center, golf facilities, recreational vehicle (RV) storage lot. The mathematics behind the current fees doesn’t offset all concerns. Some user fees are charged by the Mutuals, e.g. golf cart electricity fee, transfers, leases, number of manor occupants, carport rentals, recreation classes, inspections, permits, alterations. A fee schedule is on the Village website.
GRF Facility Cost Report shows gross operating expenses minus non-assessment revenues equals net operating costs which are the shared costs in the monthly assessments as a per-manor, per-month amount. The percentage of shared costs varies as above amounts change.
Broadband is highest operating expense; $21.07 per month shared cost covers 43% of total expense.
Buses account for $18.34 per month in assessment; shared cost covers 100% of expense.
Interestingly, the situation is now about the same as it was in 1966.
She wished to speak as a resident with some knowledge of the subject. Prior to meeting, she spoke with both current and prior residents of the Village, and her current experience in public service reinforced her personal ideas about sharing common expenses. The vast majority of our taxes go toward police, fire and schools. Everybody pays for people who need services. She moved into a three-story Garden Villa building because she wanted to be part of a community and have the quality of life that goes with being in a community. Having the various activities available in the community is important, even if one does not use them all the time. The bus service is for the most vulnerable in the community – we all would use a golf cart or car if we could, so those who use buses aren’t able to use those modes of transportation and the bus system allows them to remain in the community. Here we pay once a month and do whatever you choose to do, rather than paying as you go. This is good for small clubs especially, and is good for those on a fixed income. It is a bad idea to nickel and dime people for activities, which in the long run won’t make any difference in our monthly assessment. Right now, we have access to all the recreational offerings for less than $50/month of our monthly assessment. What could we get for that amount outside our Village?
The third speaker was Margaret Klein, Treasurer, Golden Rain Foundation (GRF).
She read a statement in response to the questions Bob Hatch gave her which were asked in 2011, as many are the same about user fees for facilities. Cost sharing splits costs among all; that’s why we have so many things to do here at no additional charge. Would room reservation fee charges really make a financial difference? Our Home Owners’ Association (HOA) is a closed system; we don’t manufacture any products to make a profit.
The room rental issue is coming down to non-resident guests overcrowding. CAC has sent a survey to clubs suggesting that their attendance be divided into three categories:
- Resident member of club
- Resident non member of club
- Non resident guest of club.
“Cost sharing splits costs among all; that’s why we have so many things to do here at no additional charge.” –Margaret Klein
Only non-residents should be considered “guests” as they are not financially contributing to upkeep of facilities through monthly assessment. Outsiders should be charged more to attend club meetings than resident non=members, who are, through their monthly assessment, supporting the facilities the clubs use.
At this time, any extra fees that clubs charge is not shared with GRF.
The shared costs fee is structured differently for co-ops and condos.
A Q&A Session then followed:
Q Re quality of life: Margaret Klein answered: 57% of budget supports labor force. Cynthia commented that budget is 1/3 GRF, 1/3 Third Mutual, 1/3 United Mutual. Board of Directors works hard to get best buy for your buck. Betty added: It is $80/per manor per month for broadband, buses, and recreation.
Q Are charges based on number of occupants? Cynthia answered: no way to calculate if increase in number of people in manor will increase or decrease that specific manor’s usage of facilities
Q Re impact of Emeritus Program on room availability. Margaret commented: There is an analysis on their usage. Face of community has changed dramatically since (the Emeritus Program, now conducted by Saddleback College, was) invited to use CH 4 rooms for no charge. Fully ¼ of rooms are tied up by Saddleback College and they are exceeding their limits, as well as tying up rooms for classes that qualify initially for attendance and then attendance drops below minimum as semester goes on. Cynthia commented: The problem with Saddleback’s utilization of facilities is that all we can charge is a parking fee to off-site students. Margaret added: Keeping only 75 Saddleback classes, if residents want a class that’s been dropped, it’s easy to go to the (Village) Recreation Department and ask for a rec class on that subject.
Q Re why can’t others use Garden Villa recreation rooms? Margaret answered: Those rec rooms are part of Garden Villa residents’ assessment, not anybody else’s. The usage of the rec rooms in those buildings is a decision made by the residents of that specific building.
There was a little further discussion about churches using 25% of available rooms with unmonitored non-resident attendance (no answer given), and also why Saddleback College doesn’t pay a sponsorship fee (because it is a government program).
President Brians brought the meeting to conclusion with thanks for all involved.
Friends of the Village Club membership is available to new or renewing members for $15 for one person and $20 for two for the year.