- October 16, 2018
As I write this, it’s been just over six months since five new OVA board members were seated. This seems a good time to report on progress toward goals.
Our primary goal has been (and will always be) to increase civility, education and transparency within Oakmont. We hope to unite rather than divide and to provide residents with timely, accurate and complete information about our community.
Leaders wishing to increase civility within their constituencies must first model it. In all our activities and interactions with residents, we strive to be civil. We discourage uncivil behavior by refusing to tolerate it in our meetings and condemning and not participating in it when it appears elsewhere.
Our education and transparency story includes the following achievements, with more to come.
The new Community Education and Transparency Committee is feeding regular suggestions for article topics and resident education to the board. One of these resulted in a recently passed resolution to have our GM add to his board meeting report a “spotlight” on important laws Oakmont must observe.
Neighborhood gatherings get the board into the community to hear and address resident concerns. Four of these have already been held and more are scheduled.
Public board agendas and member packets with background materials give residents advance notice and unprecedented visibility into board operations. We’re also providing more information than ever before on what is being addressed in Executive Session closed meetings.
Board meetings now feature open forums on all old and new business items, providing multiple opportunities for residents to speak during each meeting.
We’ve officially recognized renters as integral to Oakmont, so both owners and renters are now invited to not only attend board meetings, but to speak during open forum and to serve on and chair committees.
Regular committee reports, frequent emails and more consistently updated committee minutes keep community members updated on both inside projects (such as the East Rec renovation) and outside projects (such as Elnoka).
Increased town hall meeting frequency and the return of board/community workshops gives residents additional opportunities to comment on issues of current concern and dialogue with Directors. Two fireside chats have added additional board/member interaction.
Taken as a whole, these education and transparency initiatives build healthy involvement in community governance.
Democracy dies in darkness. Democracy begins with truthful, timely, detailed accounting of relevant facts. It continues by offering numerous opportunities for dialogue. Only with facts and dialogue can citizens properly hold those in power accountable. We recognize we don’t corner the market on good thinking and welcome your input and scrutiny to help us ensure a better Oakmont.
As we go forward, this and future boards face a turning point in how dues are structured and applied to keep Oakmont’s traditions as a vibrant, attractive destination for active adults. You will be hearing more about our thinking on this issue, but a brief look at our historic funding structure sheds light on the challenges ahead.
Oakmont faces three main factors that put upward pressure on dues: 1) dues increases over many years that didn’t keep up with inflation (during an 18-year period from 1970 to 1987, dues increased only from $5 to $7 and during a more recent four-year period from 2010 through 2013, dues increased only a total of 6.7%), 2) the loss of developer impact fees beginning in 2018 (these fees added $2.6 million in revenue between 2006 and 2017), and 3) an aging infrastructure that has not been uniformly upgraded to account for new fire, earthquake and ADA safety requirements.
Recent boards have responded by increasing dues. The board immediately previous to ours increased dues 15.5% from 2017 to 2018. The board immediately previous to that one increased dues by 8.9% between the last half of 2016 and 2017.
Two recent unexpected events add additional dues pressure: 1) the request from the Oakmont Golf Club to help them with their financial struggles, and 2) the loss of the polo field as a dog park.
Despite these potential and actual pressures, as well as costs associated with the East Rec renovation project, this board has increased current dues only by 11.9%, a figure roughly halfway between the increases of the past two years, allowing Oakmont to continue to “catch up” to where we need to be financially by strengthening our reserves and updating our infrastructure – key components to maintaining and enhancing property values.
Oakmont will always face lively, controversial issues, just like HOAs across the country. How we come together as a community to solve problems will determine who we are.