Schreoder: No refunds on fees due to closures in Sun City

Recreation Centers of Sun City General Manager Jan Ek addresses the board of directors during a meeting prior to RCSC shut down due to COVID-19.
Recreation Centers of Sun City General Manager Jan Ek addresses the board of directors during a meeting prior to RCSC shut down due to COVID-19.

I  hope this finds you well. While I know we are looking forward to getting back to “life as normal,” I thought I would take a moment to bring Recreation Centers of Sun City cardholders up-to-date and to clarify a couple of issues.

RCSC management and the board of directors are working to finalize a plan for RCSC’s re-opening that coincides with recommendations from the Centers of Disease Control and Arizona Department of Health Services as well as abiding by Gov. Doug Ducey’s executive orders. As you may know, our governor extended the “stay at home” order through May 15, which included closure of gyms and pools and we hope to know more very soon. He let that order expire.

During this time of closure, several Sun City homeowners have requested prorated refunds for their annual property assessments, which has made us aware that there may be a lack of understanding by some individuals about how RCSC functions.

The fact is that annual property assessments are a contractual obligation regardless of facility use and provide the major portion of RCSC’s operational costs. Every year when the annual budget is compiled, all of RCSC’s operating expenses less the income projected by golf, bowling, entertainment, etc. determines the amount that has to be assessed to each property in Sun City to cover these costs.

Traditionally at the end of each year, RCSC management has been able to operate under budget and that money is then carried forward to reduce future assessments. While RCSC’s operating expenses increase each year, due to this carry forward of funds RCSC has not needed to increase assessments for the past three years.

In addition, a few members also expressed their frustration that golf remained open for the sole purpose of producing revenue. Please remember that golf was determined to be an essential business by Gov. Ducey; RCSC did not make this decision, merely followed the directive. If the courses were closed along with the other RCSC facilities and had not been producing revenue during this period, it would require additional increases in future assessments to cover this lost revenue as well.

With that being said, it is highly unlikely that the closure of RCSC facilities will produce any significant surplus in 2020. During this period, RCSC consciously made the decision to pay our employees as a majority of them are Sun City residents who rely upon their paycheck to pay household expenses.

RCSC has had to maintain all facilities during this shutdown so that they will be ready for your use when the time comes to reopen. There will also be considerable unbudgeted expenses incurred throughout the rest of 2020 for safety and sanitation purposes. Board-approved repair and maintenance and capital projects budgeted in 2020 have been on-going during this period of closure.

As you can see, operational expenses have not been eliminated, thus creating the continued need for the assessments to be collected as budgeted.

I hope this brings some understanding that if we were to provide any sort of prorated refund of annual property assessments to homeowners at this time, we would simply just have to turn around and assess them in 2021 for that amount.

In closing, please continue to stay well. We really do look forward to seeing you soon.

Editor’s Note: Dan Schreoder is Recreation Centers of Sun City board president for 2020.