Building on the past, heading into 2013


Article

As Canyon Lakers get used to writing "2013," on their checks and correspondence, many wonder how the previous year passed so quickly. Actions and events took place in 2012 that touched residents directly or indirectly.

Among the most notable changes were new roads inside and outside the gates. Since January 2012, Railroad Canyon Rd. has been widened from four lanes to six, with all new landscaping and additional signals (Towne Center East and Country Club Dr.). That work can be credited to the efforts of the City of Canyon Lake in obtaining outside funding for the project.

Roadwork on all the side streets inside the gates is being completed in three phases through a contract of the Property Owners Association. Phase 1 is done, Phase 2 is almost complete.

Community leaders have sought to steer Canyon Lake through a difficult economy that affected budgets of both the City and the POA. Here, CLPOA President Dawn Haggerty and Treasurer Sean McDonald look back at the challenges and accomplishments of 2012.

Greetings from the Board

By Dawn Haggerty

CLPOA President 

Looking back, it's been a challenging year. As POA President, I've had much heavier involvement with homeowner business and meetings with the EVMWD and City Manager. I was also challenged, as President, to bring more order and civility to our general meetings, which were completely out of hand, with ugly accusations and threats from both members and Directors. I'm happy to report the meetings are now businesslike and civility prevails.  

The year began with establishing the Amnesty Program, which has been very successful, bringing in an additional several hundred thousand in past due collections.   

In early February, the Board was served with a Derivative Action, demanding we investigate and remove myself and two other Directors, with a threatened lawsuit if this did not occur. The three Directors were charged with various inappropriate behavior while serving on the Board. This Action was signed by 36 homeowners, many who later withdrew their names after realizing what the Action was actually about.  

The Board followed the demand to investigate accusations, directing legal council to hire an outside professional investigator to begin immediately.  This investigation took several months and results were printed in the Friday Flyer and  presented at our August General Meeting.  The report not only exposed the accusations as completely false, and politically based, but also exposed much illegal activity that had occurred in prior years.  Since that time, as a result of information received through the investigator and our own appointed Forensic Audit Committee, law suits have been filed by the Association against a former General Manager, CFO, Operations Manager; and our former legal council.

The Board has worked hard to reduce costs. Since the beginning of my term, the Board has saved approximately $6.3 million; $4.3 million was saved by doing all road paving at once rather than spreading the work over two years, following the recommendation of the Facilities Review Committee.

The rest was due to reduced payroll, realignment of departments, including combining ACC with Member Services, and all costs across the board. We are continuing to work on several projects that will reduce costs further. 

In 2011, the new Board was able to reduce costs enough to rescind the dues increase voted by the prior Board. Then we discovered the Pro-Forma Budget projected for 2012 included income from 4,800 lots when, in fact, over 10 percent or 480 lots (property owners) would not pay their dues. That is over one million dollars shortfall in income. Therefore, we had to reduce expenses by the same amount or borrow money to make up the difference.  

We borrowed $546,000 from Reserves but only had to use about $250,000 because of further cuts in expenses. We discovered that prior years' deficits were illegally being taken out of Reserves. Based on the number of lots paying assessments in 2011, we conservatively projected 10 percent or 480 lots would not pay in 2012. We increased the assessments by approximately $20 per month to cover this shortfall for the 2012 Pro-Forma Budget.  

The reductions made in 2011 rolled over into 2012, but were partly absorbed by increased costs in Insurance, Workman's Comp, Utilities, Lake Lease and Lawsuits. Without the 2011 reductions, we would have been forced to increase dues significantly more to cover these increased, unforeseeable costs. 

Our goal is to maintain dues at the present level and possibly reduce them with future reductions in insurance, lawsuits and other areas.  

From the beginning, I have been dedicated to holding down costs and setting up our Association with policies and procedures that will protect us and prevent any possible future mishandling of funds and/or fraud. We are getting close to that goal.  

Also, the Board is working toward again making Canyon Lake a safe place to live. This past year has seen an influx of crime, including increased burglary, illegal squatters and vandalism. We hope to install cameras on all public sites in the near future to identify those who are guilty. We hope to soon have a good security company, with increased patrols and the ability to hold suspects of illegal acts.  

I look forward to a better 2013. Here is a synopsis of some of the Board Actions taken in 2012.  

January ? Amnesty Program is established; collection of some delinquent fines is set up through Small Claims Court.

February ? A new Lien Process is established to enable collection of bad debt; Safety Committee is established.

March ? Ad Hoc Dog Park Committee is set up.

May ? Annual Meeting and Election

June ? Updated Pool Rules.

July ? Vehicle parking regulations were changed; conceptual design to remodel Country Club was authorized.

August ? Adopted new investment policy; after evaluating both concepts, chose to go outside for new Security Services rather than in-house.

September ? Established study to redesign Main Gate entry.

October ? Street sweeping study was requested.

November ? Installed experimental Lake aeration device to help clear water; requested plan and cost to revitalize Skipper's Island.

December ? Approved restroom for Operations facility; approved engineering feasibility study for expansion/renovation of Country Club; refinanced POA Corporate Building, reducing interest rate significantly; implemented street sweeping changes that include parking fines.

Appreciation for those who serve

By Sean McDonald

CLPOA Treasurer

I wanted to take the time to thank my colleagues on the Board for working so hard to make Canyon Lake a better place to live. I also want to thank all the homeowners who took time out to serve on the committees we have in Canyon Lake.

Our most valuable asset is our employees and I want to thank them for putting up with us when we have a problem and for serving our community. Our managers are second to none; they work very hard running their departments and, in some cases, wear more than one hat. We are very fortunate to have such competent managers helping Chris Mitchell run our POA. 

I am so pleased that the Board chose Chris Mitchell to be our GM. Chris has been our GM on and off since he first started working for the POA and I am sure he will do a fine job running our Association. We are now looking for a new CFO and those shoes will be hard to fill. I cannot say enough about all of these people. Their work, for the most part, does not make any headlines but their efforts contribute to making Canyon Lake a great place to live. 

We will be outsourcing some of our accounting to a company named Greenacre, so we can finally get financials we can all understand. The  plan is to build a new community center and we would like to renovate the Country Club, provided we have the funding. Hopefully we will have a new security company in place in the near future.

We are in the process of reviewing our Rules and Regulations. We are making some incremental progress regarding our Lake and the Lake Lease. I am pleased that we are the recipients of some grants that will help clean up our Lake.

Our staff members are working on a revised Reserve Report that will accurately look at the lifespan of all assets in Canyon Lake to ensure we will have the money to replace that asset when it has reached the end of its useful life.

The Finance Committee and our managers are starting to work on the 2013 Pro-Forma Budget.  It is is my personal goal to keep our annual assessment at our current level or less, if possible. I believe we have made great strides with the help of many people to rectify most if not all of the serious issues we were faced. I want to wish everyone a happy and prosperous New Year.