Monday, July 7, 2008

Budget Meeting July 15th

Don't forget that there will be another budget meeting workshop on July 15th at 5pm at the HOA Office.

We're getting closer to a budget, but we're having a big increase in costs from vendors, contractors and others. We are holding the line as much as we can, but the last budget submitted by staff indicated a raise in dues might be required. We are all working against that at the moment because raising dues should be a last resort since we are all facing increases in our costs from all sides.

The biggest hit is in the Equestrian Center budget. The cost of feed, shavings and manure disposal is skyrocketing off the charts. An increase in boarding fees seems completely unavoidable at this point, the question is how steep an increase. A group of dedicated equestrians have been meeting to look at places to cut the budget and find new sources of revenue, but a subsidy from the HOA (proposed by some as a special increase in all our HOA dues) is being proposed by some as a means to offset any board increase. Exacerbating the deficit is the fact that many such as myself are pushing for changes in the budget so that the cell phone tower revenue and the fee paid by the HOA to the EC of $18,000 for HOA using their road to access dumpsters be re-allocated (or at least renamed for what it is - a subsidy to the EC). I was told that long ago the EC gave up some of the adjacent property (that could have been used for more stalls) in exchange for receiving the cell phone tower rent. I am now more on the fence on this issue since learning that. But the $18,000 for using the road needs justified more because we could easily charge the EC for using the upper parking lot, the staff time to do the EC billings etc. Transfers can't be one way and still be fair. Calculate the actual damage and or costs to the EC that come out of their budget and I will be more than willing to find a reasonable amount.

Anyway, you can see there is more than meets the eye when it comes to budgeting. You can't keep dues down without a trade-off. Naturally we're first looking at waste or fat to trim and then other ways to do the same things but cheaper. Our dues are low and we want to keep them that way. If we raise them now just because we can and they are low, what happens if some natural disaster or big project we all find we need to do comes along that needs funding? Or suddenly getting a skyrocket in costs for things like water or electricity or other services like the EC faced. We need to save any increases for when they are really needed almost like the equivalent of a rainy day fund. The reason California is in bad shape with the budget is because people spent up and maxed out the tax rates for projects in good times and left no excess capacity in the bad. Now they want to raise our taxers just to keep up. We don't want to ever be in that position here. A little bit of belt-tightening and scrimping now may help save us greater pain down the road. But let us know what your thoughts are by either attending the meeting or posting them here. Thx!


Anonymous said...

Thank you for your informative posts, and for battling to hold the line on dues. You are right in your assessment that it is important to keep dues low at this time, given the tough economic circumstances being faced by so many. Obviously, EC boarding fees are going to need to be raised to cover whatever increases in costs are involved in boarding horses these days. Having a horse is a luxury and a hobby, and should not be subsidized by the HOA general dues paid by people in good faith to cover costs directly related to general maintenance of the Ranch.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for keeping us up to date. We should have our businesses contribute more to the Association. What about all the parties Mickey is having? Who is paying for those?

Anonymous said...

Those who run businesses from the center;
Jan Curtis, Mary Kehoe and Mickey Hayden need to contribute to the reserves. We can;t continue to subsidize their business.