The ranchosantafeassociation.com website is celebrating its one year anniversary this month! Thanks to all of you who have made this your own community clearing house by sharing vital information, knowledge, expertise and ideas for improving our community. We would also like to applaud and recognize the many accomplishments of the 2014-2015 Rancho Santa Fe Association Board:
There has been unprecedented access to RSFA Board members -- with several Board members giving out their phone numbers and email addresses so that community members can easily communicate with them. Minutes for Board meetings are now accessible on the Association's official website and Board meetings are now being recorded.
The Covenant Design Review Committee (CDRC) has made changes to give homeowners a greater role in its design review process with streamlining of procedures. For the first time, members can be present during all CDRC meetings relating to their proposed project. Likewise, any member may now attend CDRC meetings.
This past year, the proposed Garden Club purchase was put before the voters as well as the proposed funding for an initial analysis of the pool/fitness center. This is in contrast to past significant fiscal decisions, like the $12 million purchase of the Osuna Ranch in 2006, which did not have a community vote.
The Board also unanimously adopted a “Gift and Gratuity Policy" which prevents RSFA employees from accepting gifts.
Almost everyone is aware of the outdated Internet and cellphone coverage in the Ranch. It was past time to really do something to bring RSF Covenant properties into the modern era.
This year, some of the world's most knowledgeable individuals were identified and brought together to help bring about innovative solutions.
Among other efforts, Magellan Advisors, a company that specializes in helping municipalities with major communications projects, was retained to study the feasibility of bringing a community-owned fiber optic network to the Ranch. Both online and mail-in surveys were used to collect feedback from members.
The Association Board voted to move forward with the next phase of the project at its March 5th meeting--conditioned on a recommendation of the Finance Committee at its March 25th meeting.
The Board has also authorized funds to update the Golf Club’s aging phone and communication systems in a swift reaction to an unexpected black-out at the Golf Club several weeks ago.
When Ann and Kim first announced their 2014 campaign, voter registration was under 50%. Today, voter registration has grown to over 75%. The Association Board is continuing the momentum by examining the voter registration process and implementing changes that will make it easier and simpler for new members to vote. For example, Association staff is reaching out to new members of the community and actively encouraging them to register to vote.
There will be continued efforts over the coming months to further increase the percentage of members who are registered to vote.
Last April, the Board voted to allow those Covenant condominium owners who had previously not been allowed to join the RSF Golf Club that option. Nearly 50 residents who paid Association assessments had been previously barred from joining the Club. Similarly, the Board voted just last month to open up new membership opportunities relating to the Tennis Club so a friend or family member who lives outside the Covenant can join, on a limited basis.
In the past year, the Board’s Finance Committee, led by Treasurer Kim Eggleston, implemented new policies to ensure that financial decisions are transparent and economically sound.
Additionally, there have been top-to-bottom reviews of the Association's financial health to ensure proper accounting, budgeting, banking practices, and to determine the financial needs of various RSFA activities and investments.
These reviews included:
- Having an independent commercial broker review the RSF Association’s insurance coverage, which uncovered critical coverage gaps that have now been filled.
- Requests for Proposals went out to four banks. The Finance Committee reviewed all responses with its goal of reducing interest expense on the RSF Golf Club debt, and to better deploy RSFA reserves with the goal of reducing service charges and maximizing interest income.
- The accounting/finance department was audited for efficiency. A restructuring of the department is already underway after several inefficiencies were discovered
- Association staff benefits and policies were reviewed. Changes have already been made that should result in over $1 million in savings over the next 5 years
- An in-depth review of employee contracts, compensation packages and annual performance reviews was conducted.
- A new mechanism was put in place so that documents, such as 990 tax forms, will be reviewed yearly by the Board and made available to all members.
Other Big Developments:
An extensive search to find a new manager included an in-depth interview process, background check, and investigation. The Board ultimately hired a veteran community manager, Bill Overton. He brings over 25 years of experience to the Ranch and is on a contract that incentivizes performance-based results, rather than guarantees.
In an effort to provide better service to Association members, employees now work 5 days a week, instead of some having alternate Fridays off.
The RSFA master trail map and easement folders are being updated with the help of volunteer community members. The Santa Fe Irrigation District is also collaborating with neighboring communities to confront California's historic drought and ensure adequate water resources will be available to future Ranch residents.
A Town Hall meeting is going to take place within the next sixty days so all members may have input before the Board decides whether to request that the County use traffic lights or roundabouts at three intersections on Paseo Delicias/Del Dios Highway.
The RSFA along with the Golf Club Board are actively looking at options to help insure the long-term viability of the Club.
Since the RSFA Board election in 2014, the entire volunteer Board has been working diligently and harmoniously to provide the best possible service to its members.