I watched in dismay the dysfunctional Recreation Centers of Sun City West governing board May 26 as the directors debated the proposed 2022-23 budget.
The budget proposal has been viewed (or was available to) each director for more than two months. It was reviewed multiple times in the Budget and Finance Committee meetings, which are open to all members to attend. Two public forums open to all members were conducted by senior staff to present and explain the proposed budget.
With all these opportunities, did the directors who objected not understand, not care or were they uninterested in what had been proposed? Regardless of the reason, they failed the members with their arrogance and self-driven goal of minimizing dues increases for the upcoming year.
I cannot believe that after the previous year’s budget having no dues increase that those who are elected to represent the best interests of RCSCW actually argued over a $28 dollar annual dues increase, settling on $12. The thread-worn argument about “some people” (not identified) on fixed incomes being “unable to afford” a $28 dues increase was an often repeated smokescreen. The $16 additional dollars per year difference is the price of a single bottle of wine for those who whine about dues increases. In those few cases where this would have been catastrophic to a handful of members, there are local resources available to those who absolutely cannot afford their living costs.
Have you heard that we are experiencing inflation at a rate not seen in the past 40 years? Clearly, the clique of directors who championed lowering the proposed dues increase are not in touch with the world around them. There are costs to maintain our community at its current high standard, which are driven by external influences that we cannot control, including utilities, consumables and labor. These are not negotiable. Were you able to negotiate the price for gallon of gasoline the last time you filled your car (or golf car) tank? How about a loaf of bread, your utilities rates or your auto and homeowner insurance premiums?
Sun City West was established as an active adult lifestyle community, not as a subsidized senior living center. Those who cannot afford dues increases to live here should consider seeking alternative living arrangements where there are fewer facilities and amenities they must fund. Inflation is far from being under control and other costs of living will continue to rise for all of us.
The RCSCW governing board is elected to represent the interests of all members. The majority of us moved here because of the community reputation and the quality of the facilities, with the expectation that those would remain as such. While the objecting directors may now be congratulating themselves, they have failed us in that respect.
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