Monthly Meetings / Village Governance / Village Life

May General Meeting Focused on HOA Income vs. Assessments

General Meeting
Friday, May 26, 2017
Laguna Woods Village Performing Arts Center Dining Room 1


How to Make the Village More Affordable:
Potential Revenue Sources

Speakers (from left)

MARTY LOPATA, Resident with Extensive HOA Experience

BOB HATCH, Resident, Friends of the Village Board Member, Program Coordinator

BETTY PARKER, Financial Services Director
Village Management Services, Inc.

Q&A Session Followed Presentation

The meeting opened at 2 pm by Club President Catherine Brians, who welcomed attendees and the panel consisting of Betty Parker, Village Management Services (VMS) Financial Officer, Marty Lopata, and Bob Hatch {replacing Bert Moldow who was taken ill).
Betty Parker spoke of the GRF facility fee, a.k.a. transfer fee.  In January 2012, the new transfer fee was set at $1,500 to be used to maintain and improve GRF facilities.  In 2013, the fee was increased to $2,500.  This fee is charged each time a unit is sold. There were 890 sales in 2016 collecting approximately $2.2 million in revenue to be incorporated in the GRF Reserves.  By contrast, Seal Beach Leisure World (retirement community) charges a $6,000 transfer fee and Walnut Creek Leisure World (retirement community)  a $9,000 fee.
In the 2016-17 GRF budget, there was $7 million in the Reserves for renovations and equipment. They took $12 per manor per month from the reserves to lower the HOA fees in 2016.  They are projecting a reduction of $23 in 2017 and $26 in 2018.
Betty Parker also spoke on the subject of shared costs.  GRF budgeted $13.3 million of assessment revenue – including $4 million from Broadband and $1.5 million from the golf courses and other miscellaneous fees.  These fees are used to offset operating expenses, maintenance, and furnishings.  Historically, transportation has no fees.  Fees are discussed in committee, recommended to the Board, and adopted where appropriate.  All fees are on the Village website.  Gross operating expenses minus rental fees = shared costs per manor per month.
The current VMS Business Plan is also on the Village website. Broadband has a $3.3 million operating cost, and each subscriber is charged $20 per month for the service.  The bus transportation system has a $2.2 million net cost, and since there are no fees collected for bus use, each manor has a shared cost of $12.70.
Bob Hatch spoke of Village Land Use. In 2008, the City of Laguna Woods approached GRF for a discussion related to our unused land, which totals a little over 7 acres.  The City needed this information to have a more dependable source to plan their own budget. In 2012, GRF put together a committee who, with the assistance of a consultant, prepared a plan and submitted it to the City. Currently our free space is zoned for recreation and maintenance purposes.  State and County regulations change, so Bob Hatch recommended that this plan be reviewed at this time.
Marty Lopata spoke of possible new sources of income for the Village.  He concentrated upon the services VMS provides to the realtors who sell the manors within the Village. There are 150 realtors who work on sales within our gates. Using figures published in the Globe, he said there were 155 units sold in Third for an average price of $418,000, totaling $64 million in sales.  In United, there were 160 sales, averaging $236,000 per unit for sales totaling $37 million.
These sales represent a lot of money in commissions to these realtors. He thought that realtors would be willing to pay fees to support quicker turn around on their sales and quicker reporting of the multitude of rule and regulation changes within the mutuals.  Right now many of these services are being provided to the realtors free of charge.  He also recommended that realtors selling in the Village be “certified,” showing potential buyers that they are knowledgeable of correct Village rules and regulations. He proposed that VMS partner with realtors to assist them to close faster.
Realtor fees collected could buy golf carts to allow them to navigate within the Village more easily, updated layouts of for sale manors, and provide office space with computers for their use.  VMS could also serve as a source of referrals of interested parties.
Before the Q & A section of the meeting began, an attendee challenged Marty’s facts and figures.  Catherine Brians asked the audience to ignore the challenged figures at this time, and requested only questions related to the ideas and options presented by the panel.  This did not happen. Comments ranged from a realtor saying that, by law, certification and referral fees could not be charged.
The meeting ended with Bob Hatch again recommending that the current Land Use Plan be reviewed, giving current residents the right to modify it as needed, so we are not locked in on using our free land only for recreation and maintenance purposes.
There were 47 attendees at this meeting, which ended at 3:17 pm.
Respectfully submitted,
Marion Levine, Secretary


The Necessity of A Long-Range Plan

If we are unwilling to study and consider these and other opportunities, then we need to quit complaining!

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