I applaud Frank Bagnato (“No dues break despite budget excess,” Sun City West Independent, April 27, 2022) for his detailed analysis of budget excesses at Recreation Centers of Sun City West. I will detail to the reader where this money Is going.
The reserve balance for RCSCW is presently about $30 million. I pointed out in a letter to the Budget and Finance Committee that is far in excess of what is reasonably required given the 5-year capital refurbishment and replacement plan in effect. The response I received, signed by Anne Brown was, and I quote:
“Our financial policy Fi 04, Reserve Funds Policy, states in 126.96.36.199 that our reserves are set between 40%-100%. Any change to this policy would require approval by our Governing Board. The Board and the Budget and Finance Committee both look at best practices each year and strive to keep sufficient reserves for large anticipated expenditures such as the irrigation project for Grandview Golf Course which will occur in FY 2022-23. The reserve study is as much an art as it is a science. The last words we want to say to our Owner/Members are ‘special assessment,’”
What the reader may not know is that the intent of RCSCW is to fully fund 10 years of maintenance for capital assets. The present amount required to implement this unwise policy is about $50 million, which will require an additional $20 million be confiscated from residents a little at a time. This is far in excess of what is reasonably necessary given the comprehensive nature of the 5-year capital refurbishment and replacement plan. RCSCW is getting special assessments by annual fee increases. I consider this response nothing less than gaslighting my concerns and blatant dishonestly on the part of Anne Brown.
Another area of concern for residents should be the fact that RCSCW routinely spends $3 million more a year on salaries and salary-related expenses than Recreation Centers of Sun City, which is a much larger community. I suggested an audit and comparison of full-time employee equivalents between RCSCW and RCSC. The response from Anne Brown was, and I quote:
“While it is easy to try to make comparisons between Sun City West and Sun City as far as Wages, Salaries, Payroll Taxes and Benefits are concerned, there are some items that keep these from being apples to apples comparisons. There are many dynamics that differ from our communities. Some of these are number and type of facilities, sub-contracted services vs. employees, volunteers vs employees, service levels to match the needs of each community and its members, quality and condition of grounds, just to name a few.”
What utter nonsense! Sun City has more facilities and more golf courses that Sun City West. Why do your representatives refuse to engage in any meaningful analysis? What are they attempting to hide? I suspect that there are too many managers at RCSCW, but they only way to identify the excess is to do an audit and clean house.
Now the reader will understand why fees will continue to increase year after year to $700, $800 or even more per person. You can’t say you haven’t been told the reasons.
I do not expect any of these matters to change, which would require critical thinking on the part of committee members and members of the governing board, both of whom merely rubber stamp what is put in front of them.
What should be done is to dismiss Bill Schwind and Pete Finelli immediately and retain competent and fiscally conservative management for our community.
Sun City West
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