Budget and Hot Tub Discussion / Response to Owner Emails from Dan Farley, President:
 
I want to first explain that no matter what the board thinks or does, all of the owners will be given a chance to be heard by a mail in ballot to decide our direction. As a board, we are in a fact finding mode and will put together a plan that will be presented to the owners.

I have received letters of all sorts, some complimentary and some well....not so complimentary, but I want to remind all of you owners that we are owners also and we don't like increases or assessments either. The board tries to make sure the direction of the budget is for solvency and our goal right now is to get it in the black and to stay there. French Ridge has so many obstacles with regards to the budget right now with the age of the buildings, the lack of long range planning when it was built, and mostly right now the economy and the impact on our owners with respect to paying dues. Please remember also that we are a commercial facility with a residential flair so it's difficult to meld the two without some additional financial impact.

Our management company has decades of experience in the Summit County area and we are not their only client and you can bet that if there's a trick to get dues paid they have tried it, like monthly billing, credit cards, incentive gifts and so on. Fact is folks, times are tough and for some, retired, laid off, increasing costs and a host of other reasons just make it more difficult to pay. We are not the only HOA of time share units that are having this difficulty. There are task forces set up to brain storm ideas and consolidate resources to overcome these hard economic times for us, so rest assured that we are doing everything we can to get our dues submitted on time. Owners not in good standing are not allowed to use their time and we do send them to collections and right now we have a large number of weeks in foreclosure, so yes we do actively pursue our collections. We also work with owners if they would just call but they don't..

The hot tubs require a large amount of resources both physical and financial. It is without fail that some owners will remember the one time that they didn't see anyone taking care of their tub. There could be a lot of reasons, emergency work in the complex, a sick day, and just maybe you weren't there when they came to look at the tub. Our management company is excellent and they offer great customer service and if you have an issue and call the front desk I know they will respond ASAP to take care of it for you. Please keep in mind that there are 24 hot tubs and if just a half hour was spent on each one, it's now a 12 hour day so it isn't feasible to see all of the tubs in one day or when you think they should come. NO, every tub is not seen every day but they make every effort to be sure they are safe and operating and we can't ask much more than that. The average monthly cost of operating the hot tubs is $125.00 now multiply that by 24 and we're at $36,000.00 average per year. We schedule replacement for 3 to 5 tubs per year at $7,000.00 so you can see that just the daily operating costs and replacements are staggering per year. This does not include the building code compliance requirements for electrical and structural. And for those that have an idea of codes, we not grandfathered, these are safety issues and are required to be done. So our decks are now being scrutinized for structural strength and because of that we having to rebuild them one by one. A lot of the reason is that they are 30 years old and one small example of new codes that have a huge impact is the windows within 48" of the tubs now have to be tempered glass and so on. So for the next 3 to five years the hot tub maintenance is about $90,000.00 per year and that requires budget increases. NOW that's for just the hot tubs and for those that think this is only $90.00 per year for our about 1,000 paying owners, we still have to make the rest of the budget work and that requires some difficult decision making with the increases we've seen so far. Hence the $200.00 likely increase unless we eliminate something. The hot tubnumbers can be reduced but the repair costs become so high that the fact is this is the best financial approach and that's been established for a good many years.
So a long story short is that if we eliminate the tubs we can utilize an additional fifty to sixty thousand direct dollars a year and that goes a long way to eliminate dues increases or assessments and that doesn't count the hidden dollar savings of labor and additional construction of thirty thousand a year for the next 2 or 3 years to update the decks and structures.

We also looked at the community hot tub idea and a central building but after a long hard look, here is one example of issues, a group of young people occupy the tub room for the night and we then have to call the front desk at all hours to be tub cops and so the fight begins. Just too many issues and we still have to build an area to accommodatethem and that costs so there just isn't an easy answer for hot tubs.

Please, we can't just take Deed backs. It's up to the ownerto sell, trade ordispose of their property because we don't have the resources to absorb a unit let alone support them with the lack of income dues.
From one of our board members:
Our own hot tubs give us privacy.The opportunity to avoid the hassle and noise that large public hot tubs or pools have.Visualize the image of sitting in the hot tub after a day on the slopes watching the snow fall and the machines working the snow on the slopes with a drink in your hand (plastic cups please).Or a moon and starlit night while the hot water sooths your aches and pains and those of those dear to you. That is why we BOUGHT French Ridge.Without the individual hot tubs we are just another second tier timeshare.

Another issue is the "do we rent the units"? Alpine aggressively seeks rentals with advertising French Ridge for rent on their website www.alpine-meadows.com and on VRBO (Vacation Rentals by owner) and they offer it through travel agents. Our management company not only rent weeks where the owners in good standing contract with us for rentals, but will rent any week in collections, foreclosures or association owned weeks.

RESPOND TO BOARD PRESIDENT DAN FARLEY @   DFarley413@comcast.net