Water Management Advisory Committee

At the June 26th open SOA Board of Directors (Board) Meeting, the Board announced the formation of an “SGCC and SOA Water Management Advisory Committee”.

Having been appointed by the Board as an “Advisory” committee, its structure, methods and procedures will most likely differ from that of the SOA’s current Standing committees (e.g., Communications, Budget & Finance, Strategic Planning & Facilities). In this context, Advisory Committees are defined under Article III, Section 3.18 of the SOA ByLaws as follows:

“ADVISORY COMMITTEES: The Chairman of the Board, the Board, the executive committee or the President may from time to time appoint such advisory committees as it deems appropriate, consisting of directors or persons who are not directors, but such advisory committees shall not be deemed committees having the authority of the Board and shall not exercise any powers of the Board. Notices of, and procedures for, meetings of advisory committees shall be as prescribed by the chairman of each such advisory committee, and meetings of the advisory committees may be called by the Chairman of the Board, the Board, the executive committee, the President or the chairman of the advisory committee”.

The Board also approved a “Mission and Goals” document related to the Committee, the contents of which are admirable (if not overly general), and address needed activities. However, most represent common sense for each organization to individually accomplish and therefore, why the need for addressing by a “joint” Advisory Committee.

The Mission and Goals statements contained within the document are repeated below (in italics and unedited) along with SU comments. For those ‘fact checkers”, an exact reading of the entire document is available via the following link:    SGCC and SOA Water Management Advisory Committee

Mission

Rather than quote the entire mission statement from the document, it basically states that creation of the Advisory Committee is the best way “to assure both the short and long term ability to provide water to the Canyon9 and Championship course is managed in the best interest of both parties”

SU Comment;  What is in the best interest of one is not necessarily in the best interest of the other.  Hopefully this will not result in the Committee reaching funding concessions on the part of the SOA, as is feared by many due to the SOA’s deeper pockets, and past history.

Membership:

“Appoint a joint Advisory Committee consisting of at least two members from both the SGCC and the SOA. These members could but are not limited to Board members, staff and or outside experts”.

SU Comment: At the June 26th Board meeting in addressing formation of the Committee, it was not announced who its members were or who was the designated chairman. However, from Board comments, it was clear that SOA Directors Fitzgerald and Leto serve on the Committee. This leaves the question as to who the chairman is, who the SGCC members are, and whether or not it also consists of staff or outside experts. Since meetings have already occurred, it is fair to assume that they are known

Advisory Committee Meetings

“This Advisory Committee shall meet at least Quarterly to discuss and plan for the operational and governance of the water as outlined in the Water Rights Purchase document”.

SU Comment: It is assumed that reference should have been to the “Water Facilities Agreement” and not a “Water Rights Purchase” document, as this does not exist as a stand-alone document. Rather, it is the Water Facilities Agreement that outlines the operation, maintenance, cost allocations, responsibilities, warranties, etc. associated with the water supply system components, which utilize some, but not all of the purchased water rights. The purchased water rights are simply listed in an Exhibit to the Water Facilities Agreement. This goal statement skirts around the real issue, which is to assure that the SGCC is living up to its responsibilities under the Water Facilities Agreement. We certainly do not need a joint committee to assure that the SOA is living up to theirs. Also, will these meetings be open to owners, as are the current SOA Standing Committees?

“This Advisory Committee will meet annually during the first quarter every year to discuss the upcoming year as each organization begins to open their respective courses for play and their upcoming operating seasons.”

SU Comment: All well and good, except do we need a joint session to discuss how the SOA and SGCC plan to manage their respective golf courses for the upcoming year? What is the expected outcome of these discussions? Certainly, each organization does not need the other to tell them how to operate their respective courses.

Board Meetings:

“In addition the Committee will meet with the Boards no later than the first September of each year outlining their upcoming budget plans and expenses to operate the Water with the community for the golf courses”, also to “Develop and prepare an annual prioritization of maintenance and repair work with timelines and projected cost estimates to be presented to each Board no later than the end of September of each year. This will be used by both parties in the preparation of their annual budgets.

SU Comment: Sounds like something the SOA’s Finance & Budget and Strategic Planning/Facilities Committees would be doing anyway. As commented on above, the real issue here is to assure that the SGCC is budgeting appropriately for the repair and maintenance of the water supply system components for which they are responsible.

“In additional to an annual operating plan the committee will prepare a minimum of 3 but preferably a 5 year operating plan again outlining in detail upcoming projects in priority order with timelines and estimated costs for the use of both parties in the development of both longer range strategic plans as well as potential use in reserve studies”.

SU Comment: Good idea.

Water Rights

Prepare and recommend a plan for the use and optimization of the Water Rights that make up the Agreement between both parties such that the Water Rights as granted never terminate or revert back to their origins and are managed within the state, federal, and local laws and requirements as outlined in any and all water rights licenses or agreements”.

SU Comment: Also sounds like something an Advisory Committee could undertake. However, believe it would be beyond the expertise of SOA and SGCC Board Members and therefore, an outside expert (e.g., water rights attorney) would most likely be required.

SU Conclusion

SU’s opinion is that the Advisory Committee’s Mission and Goals statements are essentially platitudes, which do not directly address the real issue of concern. That is, will the SGCC live up to its obligations and responsibilities as required by the Water Facilities Agreement? This whole issue was prompted by the SOA paid for “Canyon9 & SGCC Water Supply Infrastructure Review” report, which identified short and long term replacement and maintenance activities estimated as high as $700K. The majority of which fall under the responsibility of the SGCC. This raised the question by many if the SGCC had the commitment and/or financial resources to meet its obligations. Hence the primary objective of the original Ad-Hoc Water Committee. Certainly, the SOA does not need the consultation, advice, permission or whatever from the SGCC to determine and live up to its responsibilities under the Water Facilities Agreement and to budget accordingly.

Bottom line  –  Perhaps rather than appointment as an “Advisory Committee” it should be an “Oversight Committee”, whose charter is to assure that not only is the SGCC living up to its responsibilities under the Water Facilities Agreement, but all other provisions of the SGCC Purchase (and Lease) Agreement.

For background information and additional details on this subject, see the SU Post of March 11, 2019 entitled “SGCC & Canyon9 Water Supply System Report” and SU Post of March 12, 2019 entitled “SOA and SGCC Water Facilities Agreement”

Reader comments, pro or con, on the preceding are solicited and welcome1