(001) Dear Fellow RRLE Property Owners:
(002) This letter is intended to give you some history and insight on the financial problems confronting our Park.
(003) It is also intended to present some workable solutions that need your support.
(004) For many of us, who purchased here in the 70’s & 80’s, the history of RRLE has left us with great and lasting memories.
(005) Many of us remember the good times and how hard we worked to plant trees & shrubbery because we knew with pride, that RRLE was going to be one of the best parks in the USA.
(006) For new comers, allow us to reminisce and give you a look at where we’ve been, what we have today and where the future may take us.
(007) YESTERDAY: In the 70s & 80s, we had a Park Manager, Assistant Park Manager, Country Store Manager, Social Director, Office Secretary, two janitorial employees, 3 or 4 seasonal employees and 4 to 6 country store/pool attendants.
(008) The 80’s were good years as RRLE had approximately $130,000 in its capital reserve and its annual budget for maintenance was $110,000.
(009) Our buildings, pools and roads were in great condition.
(010) In the late 70’s, our yearly maintenance fee was $150.
(011) In 1981 it was $250 and $300 through the 90’s.
(012) From 1975 through 1981, our maintenance fee accounted for almost the entire RRLE budget.
(013) Over the years, this has gradually changed to account for only 65% of the total RRLE Budget income.
(014) User fees (e.g., boat docks, storage yard, etc.) are about 15% and the balance of income, namely about 20%, coming from miscellaneous sources (e.g., video games, country store, washers and dryers, etc.).
(015) Since 1990, our total budget income and expenses have increased by about 38 percent, while our maintenance fee has only increased by 20 percent.
(016) Under the RRLE Rules adopted in 1975, we cannot raise the maintenance fee unless we can get two-thirds of “all members”, whether voting or not, to approve a change in the cap.
(017) As such, every failure by a member to vote in essence equates to a “No” vote.
(018) This makes it a substantial challenge to get a change
(019) As we have not been able to get the two-thirds vote from the membership, RRLE has had to rely on other forms of income to keep the Park barely operational.
(020) Over the years, our previous and even this current Board, after having obtained legal counsel, were obligated to impose or increase various “user fees” in areas such as the storage area, boat docks and refuse.
(021) Recently, our managing of the water system was turned over to the RRLE Cooperative to ensure proper maintenance of the water system.
(022) The RRLE Cooperative’s creation was also a way in part to get around the “$300 cap” on assessments and bring in more money to cover needed repairs.
(023) The $300 cap established in 1975 has been unrealistic going back at least to the mid 90s.
(024) TODAY: In the budget for 2002, we again are obligated to raise the user fees on boat docks partly to meet the needs of our Park.
(025) Because of the boat dock increase, our maintenance fee applicable to all Park members in 2002 accounts for only 64.9% of our total income.
(026) We cannot continue to raise user fees that impact only some of the owners, and allow the rest of the owners to escape their rightful share of the costs of running this Park.
(027) The budget, as currently presented is a “no frills” - no money in the savings account - budget.
(028) The only so called “extra money” in this budget is about $27,000 earmarked to repair the entrance road of our Park.
(029) That will leave only $7000 in the 2002 budget for the year to address any unexpected cost in running or maintaining our Park.
(030) That is simply unacceptable and would be irresponsible going forward not to address this in any meaningful manner.
(031) TOMORROW: As to the FUTURE, the Long Range Planning Committee, established by this Board, has initially identified over $75,000 in needed repairs and refurbishing of Park property.
(032) As our common properties continue to wear over the years, we will experience increased repair and even replacement costs.
(033) Currently our capital reserve account is at less than $40,000 (a carryover from previous years) which is the lowest it has been since the 1970s when we had about $130,000.
(034) Should we be faced with a catastrophic event (not covered by insurance) a special assessment could be necessary placing a financial burden on many members.
(035) It also could take a substantial period of time to be approved by the necessary number of owners voting in the affirmative.
(036) We also have no guarantee that a bank would consider RRLE a good risk to lend a substantial amount of money if the $300 cap continues and the bank questioned the past difficulties in attempting to get it raised.
(037) Due to the age of the Park facilities: roads, pools, common grounds and equipment along with the increased cost of services, which include utilities, contractors, accountants, attorneys, security, refuse, insurance and payroll and other sudden or unforeseen costs to maintain our Park; the need for increased income should be obvious.
(038) If you understand this and wish the high standard of RRLE to be maintained, which is so beneficial to the investment of every property owner, you need to support and to actually vote “YES” to an increase.
(039) We do not have a crystal ball, but it is obvious that we need to take specific action now to avoid a future disaster.
(040) With the cooperation and positive efforts of all our members, we can change the course of history and continue to make our Park a place for all ages to enjoy for many years to come.
(041) This Board desires to be as “up front” as humanly possible.
(042) We cannot continue to raise user fees that impact on only some of the owners, and allow the rest of the owners to escape their rightful share of the costs of running this Park.
(043) The Board recommends that the “cap” be raised to $450 over a three-year period starting in 2002.
(044) As such the cap would be raised $50 each year for the next three years when the cap becomes $450.
(045) Under this proposal, the cap would go up automatically by an amount tied to the reported rate of inflation in the United States each year.
(046) This hopefully would lessen the need in the foreseeable future to go after another vote to approve yet again an increase in the cap.
(047) It is important that you understand that an increase in the maintenance fee cap under the Rules does not mean that this or a future Board would necessarily increase this fee to that level immediately or potentially ever.
(048) However, it would allow them to raise this fee anywhere up to that new-capped amount if they felt it necessary to properly maintain the Park.
(049) The Board feels strongly about putting as many fees, related to maintenance (e.g., refuse, etc.), under one maintenance fee rather than all the separate fees we currently have.
(050) As to user fees for the boat dock and storage areas, they would continue without the current pressing need for increasing them further.
(051) As there are limited boat docks and storage areas, it is appropriate to have some user fee to recognize that those privileged to have such areas should pay something above the maintenance fee and that they should largely pay for themselves in terms of cost to maintain.
(052) Your current Board recognizes the need to give assurances that if this proposed Rule change is passed by the members, that at minimum, the current refuse charge will come to an end and that going forward there will be no assessment for refuse.
(053) Attached is a copy of the proposed Rule changing.
(054) The Board urges you to study this document.
(055) Please send your written questions or drop them off at the Office on or before May 24, 2002.
(056) The Board will review your questions and comments and respond generally to the points made by members in the Review.
(057) Names will not be given. We also plan to have a limited discussion of this issue at the RRLE Annual Meeting on May 27, 2002 along with the proposed architectural code hearing.
(058) Our current plan is to seek a vote from the membership on this Rule change raising the assessment cap on or around the Labor Day holiday weekend.
(059) We realize that this document is much to absorb.
(060) But we hope you take our plea in good faith and forthrightly.
(061) With your help, we can assure that RRLE will continue to be one of the finest and most beautiful parks of its type.
(062) That is why we all bought in here.
(063) It is not in the interest of anyone ultimately to allow it to fall into disrepair and diminishing value.
(064) Thank you, on behalf of your Board of Directors.