President’s Report – September 2023

As published in The View, September 2023:

Jerry Conrad

Hello, neighbors. When I think of September, I usually think of my upcoming anniversary with my lovely wife or maybe the beginning of the end of the hot days of summer. When I became a Board member, another thought entered my mind: the annual budget review. As you read this, the Board, the Finance Advisory Committee (FAC), and SCSH staff are working hard on the 2024 Budget; and the countdown to vote on it begins. Here is a thumbnail sketch of what is about to happen and how it may affect each one of us.

The Board will meet with the FAC and review past and present expenses. In these meetings, we will decide the future expenditures within the 2024 budget. The FAC members are the real heroes in this discussion. They bring many years of experience and expertise that the Board relies on to make the ultimate decision about how much and where to spend your monthly dues. The Committee and Board will meet formally at least three times, and have many informal meetings, to go over the numbers and how they affect the dues.

Speaking of dues, I know the rise last year was a hefty one. This year I am hopeful that, with careful control of spending and the $175,000 saved in insurance costs, we can limit the increase. There are no guarantees in this process. Costs are indeed going up, and there are several community “wish list” projects. I am not blind to the realization that Pulte’s Desert Retreat community will be built, and that will influence our restaurant and golf course. I am sure this issue will be reviewed in detail during our discussions.

One of the largest increases last year was in our Reserve Fund. This fund is vital to the health of our community and we must maintain it at the highest possible reasonable level. It is approximately 70% funded right now, which is incredibly financially solid. The FAC will be making its recommendation to the Board about what amount will be needed to continue this level of security.

Although our Association is on a very solid footing financially, I remind you that, in my first President’s Report, I mentioned that my philosophy this upcoming year would be to “tighten our belts.” My idea is to try to focus on those amenities we already have and make sure they are working to their best use.

When we discuss staffing, I believe that unless we seriously consider raising the income of our staff, we may not be able to attract new workers, and we will find it hard to retain the staff we have. To me, this is job one. That means, if dues go up, which seems more than likely, then let’s put that increase where it will have the biggest impact.

I encourage each one of you to read the financial information published monthly in The View and attend the Board meetings and budget meetings, so you will understand where your valuable dollars are being spent. An informed community is a healthy community.


September 20, 2023
10 am, Montecito ballroom, front half

October 18, 2023
10 am, Montecito ballroom, front half

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