Sun City Lincoln Hills: a great place to liveBy: Al Roten
I was grieved and disappointed to read Pat Miller’s letter, “Beware of HOAs,” in the May 24 News Messenger (page 4). However, I was not too surprised, since there is a small fraction of Lincoln Hills residents who have gone overboard with self-feeding of negative views of life in this fine community.
Is life in Sun City Lincoln Hills perfect? Of course not but it is very good!
We have a seven-member Board of Directors and a staff of about 250 dedicated employees who make the daily decisions affecting our safety and comfort. With approximately 11,500 residents it would be unreasonable to expect that every decision and action was agreed to and appreciated by all residents. However, society dictates that we should work to understand that decisions and actions appreciated by some may not be seen as favorable by others.
Looking back to June 6, 1978, when Proposition 13 passed, rolling back property taxes and limiting annual tax increases to 1 percent, thus passing many amenities such as street lights and common area landscaping to suburban communities, we see why homeowner associations have taken on aspects of what we would expect our property taxes to do. Much of our homeowner association dues pay for street lights and highway landscaping. Pat Miller wrote that HOAs put another layer of control over our lives: that is true since they provide amenities and services which were furnished through property taxes in the distant past.
Pat Miller asserts that “money is being moved around to satisfy spending desires” of people who are exercising their fiduciary responsibility. I believe this to be an irresponsible statement. Unlike public entities, fund accounting in the HOA only requires separation of reserve funds (those set aside to replace/repair fixed assets) from general funds. I know of no instance in which reserve funds have been used for general expenditures.
It is a true statement that food and beverage operations have seen expenses exceed revenue for many years. Last year saw a significant uptick in such loss. However, there were several extenuating issues that were explained but some people chose to not consider these circumstances. Our CEO has been working with a food and beverage task force to address cost containment while providing best service and food quality. Many of us consider the Meridians Restaurant an amenity for which we are willing to have a small amount of our dues support.
Pat Miller asserts that Lincoln Hills has strayed from the Del Webb model. I do not believe this to be true. Many years ago, Del Webb asserted that he did not build housing developments, he built communities. That is what we have here. We have a community of 6,783 homes, which live with CC&Rs and Bylaws designed to maintain quality of life with certain controls which are accepted in the contract of home purchase. An essential factor of community is volunteerism; hundreds of our residents volunteer not only in Lincoln Hills but throughout Lincoln and its schools.
Do our homeowner association dues increase? Certainly, they do. Have we seen the cost of food, transportation, services or utilities go down over the years? It would be terribly naive to expect our association dues to remain static.
In conclusion, Pat Miller cautions that living in a community with a homeowners association requires thought of accepting certain conditions. This is true. However, in my opinion, Sun City Lincoln Hills is among the best managed and maintained HOAs in the nation.
Al Roten is a Lincoln Hills resident.