The Rancho Santa Fe Post

RSFA Board Moves Forward with Fiber Project, Discusses App for Community Feedback, & Provides Election Updates

There was a great deal covered during the June Board of Directors meeting. The Board approved funding to move forward with the next steps in the fiber process, provided an update on the status of ballots returned and is considering a mobile application to garner real-time community feedback.

Read all about it below.


 

Association Approves Fiber Funding for Outreach & Education, Community Vote Expected for October 2016

 

At the June RSF Association Board of Directors meeting, the Board discussed the fiber Internet deal with Hotwire Communications and voted on two measures: (1) to approve funding for legal and consulting work throughout July and (2) to approve funding for community education and outreach.

Before bringing a completed deal to the community for a final vote the Board, with its legal advisors and consultant needs to do an engineering and procurement contract, finalize the service-level agreement, draft a maintenance agreement and ultimately finalize the definitive agreements, including the construction contract, and a “Service Level Agreement.”

The association is not committed to build the full $13.5 million infrastructure project until approved by a member vote, which they said will occur before October 31, 2016.

When asked why the Board approved this money before a vote of the community, Wilkinson explained that the Board cannot get to a community vote without doing all the due diligence first that goes into a $13.5 million project like this so that the community knows: (1) what they are voting for and (2) has obtained enough sign-ups to significantly reduce any potential financial risk.

Senior Partner at Peace-Shea, Bret Peace, who specializes in highly regulated industries like the energy-sector and municipality work, explained these steps were necessary to get to a definitive document so the community could vote on a fully executed and financed deal, rather than just a Letter of Intent.

Next, the Board unanimously approved $250,000 for community education and outreach for the next four months. This amount is part of the total $13.5 million and will go toward Hotwire’s website development, video production, advertising, a subscriber campaign, community education, a demonstration room located in Rancho Santa Fe, staffing, travel, and marketing materials.

Some of the community outreach has already started as Hotwire currently has a team on the ground assessing properties and members are now able to sign-up for fiber through GetHotwired.com/RanchoSantaFe.

The Association hopes to have 1,200 home and business subscribers by the end of the four months, Wilkinson said.

“The outreach process is expected to take four months. If we aren’t seeing the type of uptake we expect we can stop it. We do believe that where we are at now and the momentum we should be halfway there on the uptake in the next 45 to 60 days,” Wilkinson explained.

When asked if the Board had consulted other options, Wilkinson said the Board included Cox, AT&T, Orion, and several other providers in the RFPQ process and looked at more than a dozen proposals before finalizing it down to 3 final bidders.

“The Hotwire proposal was the only one that recognized the Association’s requirement that any investment include a return on our money, all others generally said ‘give us the money, we’ll build it, but you won’t get any equity, control over the services, or return on revenue share,’” Wilkinson concluded.

Board Director and Technology Committee member Mike Licosati added:

“The option was to own it ourselves or to pay somebody. Orion asked us to pay them $14.4 million to never see a return on that capital and we would be captive customers of Orion forever… With this, we have a service-level agreement and we also have the option to fire them if they aren’t doing a good job. Plus, it will pay itself off in 15 years.”

Hotwire is now officially signing-up members at GetHotwired.com/RanchoSantaFe. And, there will be a community-wide vote on the project before October 31, 2016.

You can also find a comprehensive list of FAQ’s, the LOI presentation given to the Board, and request access to the full LOI at: RSFCommunications.com


 

Association to Adopt User-Friendly Community-Feedback Application

 

The Board is also looking at new technology that will enable the Association to get feedback from the community to improve Association systems.

Rob Pace approached the Association with an application that helps communities and businesses gather feedback from residents, members, and customers. Pace has agreed to develop the software and gift it to the Association.

Expresit team members provided an overview of the application and described it as a listening solution that takes under a minute to input feedback enabling the Association to gather important data over a long period of time.

When asked by a community member what the use for the Association would be the Expresit team members, said it is a quicker way for citizens to improve their community and all of the Association’s organization.

Board Treasurer, Kim Eggleston explained:

"This will really give a voice to those who don’t come to meetings… We tend to hear from fewer voices than we’d like to hear from and this is a simple way for the entire community to express their opinions.”

The basic version will be offered for free to the community.


 

Over 50% Voter Turnout and Climbing Fast!

 

As of the June 2 meeting, there had been 1,165 ballots turned in out of 2,200, Association Communications Manager, Christy Whalen reported.

Members can mail their ballots or drop them off at the Association office during office hours from 8 to 5pm. However, for the last week there will be an after-hours secure drop box at the Association office.

The postmarked date will not count, Whalen said. It must be received at the Association office by 5pm on June 13.  

Ballots will be counted at the fire station at 8am on June 14. This is an open meeting and any member can attend.

This was the last Association Board meeting for Board Directors Heather Slosar, Philip Wilkinson, and Jerry Yahr before they hand over their seats to three of the six candidates currently running. 


 

The Community is Invited Celebrate Osuna on June 11

 

Jerry Yahr reminded members of the upcoming Village event held at Osuna Ranch on June 11 from 3-6pm. It is a collaboration between Osuna Ranch, the RSF Historical Society, and the RSF Garden Club.

There is no RSVP and all members are invited to show up for the Santa Maria Style BBQ, beer and spirit tasting, equestrian demonstrations, and other Mexican Rancho period activities.