Each year, your HOA Board goes through an extensive budgeting process. In eleven Budget Study meetings last year, our management firms, the Finance Advisory Committee (FAC) and the Board evaluated the financial needs of all operating areas of the community - landscaping, maintenance, lifestyle events, fitness, food and beverage, golf, roads, safety, and security, as well as capital expenditures and reserve requirements. In addition, the FAC and the Board review all revenue sources, including dues and investment performance.
Dues are then established to meet the operating needs of the community and maintain a high level of reserves funding, while also striving to avoid large deficits or surprise assessments.
Meetings are scheduled on the annual budget which residents are invited to attend. Once the Board has consolidated all input, a meeting is scheduled for the FAC and the Board to formally approve the budget.
In 2014, dues were reduced from $237 to $217 based on improved operating efficiencies identified and obtained by management and the FAC, which allowed us to reduce reserves for repair and replacement, and in 2015, dues were held flat with 2014 for the same reasons. It is important to note that current dues levels are essentially the same as they were 2008, seven years ago.
Dues levels since inception:
2004 to 1st half 2006 - $175
2nd half 2006 to 2008 - $198
2008 to 2nd quarter 2010 - $214
2nd quarter 2010 to 2014 - $237
2014 to Present - $217
Dues went up in 2nd quarter 2010 because the new Santa Rosa Clubhouse and the North Course were about to open, and costs for those operations had to be estimated and provided for.
Some residents have mistakenly believed that our dues were reduced in 2014 due to a 2011 Review by the Department of Real Estate (DRE). In that study, the DRE concluded that our dues should be between $197 and $250, and at $237, our dues were already within that acceptable range. Others believe it had something to do with a "financial elder abuse" complaint 8 SCSH Homeowners filed with the California Attorney General. Our Homeowners Association had to spend a considerable amount to defend ourselves against this complaint. In the end, the office of the Attorney General did not act on the complaint. They simply closed the file without comment. It should also be noted that the complaint specifically stated that the 8 homeowners filing the complaint had no issues with our fees. In other words, both of these assertions are false.
Independent of that Review, dues were reduced in 2014 due to the additional operating efficiencies mentioned above, and today, our dues remain among the lowest in the Coachella Valley for communities similar to ours. This is especially noteworthy considering the unique and high level of amenities we enjoy here at SCSH, and also when considering that, based on our annual independent actuarial reserve studies, our reserves remain 90% funded, which is also among the highest level for most communities in the Coachella Valley.