SOA and the SGCC

With all the discourse going on, (i.e., on the SU website, Somersett Nextdoor and at Board Meetings) with regard to Somersett Golf & Country Club (SGCC) members serving on the Somersett Owners Association (SOA) Board of Directors (Board) and accusations related thereto, perhaps some facts, opinions and comments are in order:

Fact:s:

  1. Any Somersett owner in good standing can serve on the SOA Board if duly elected, regardless of their associations with other entities (e.g., the SGCC).
  2. For the two SOA Board seats up for election this year, none of the four candidates are SGCC members.
  3. The current SGCC members serving on the SOA Board, Joe Strout and Terry Retter, seats are not open for election, so baring any resignations, they will continue to serve for at least another year, maintaining the two SGCC member representation on the SOA Board for 2020.
  4. Board Members Joe Strout and Terry Retter, were first elected to serve on the SOA Board in November 2018.
  5. With regard to past Rockery Wall failure actions undertaken by the SOA Board, given that Retter and Strout first took office in November 2018, they could not have been a party to the approvals of: 1) The SOA lawsuit against the Somersett Development Company et al; 2) The securing of the loan to pay for Rockery Wall repairs, including the SGCC portion; 3) The approval of the $1200 assessment; or 4) The Tolling Agreement that put litigation against the SGCC on hold. All of which occurred before they took office. Therefore, there is no basis for accusing them of violating any NRS Statutes on fiduciary responsibilities or conflict of interest for these events.
  6. With regard to the SGCC’s Water Facility Maintenance responsibilities, the SOA Board has not yet put forth any proposition or taken any actions that would directly benefit the SGCC financialy or otherwise. That is, actions that could present a conflict of interest on the part of Board members Strout and Retter.

Comments/Opinions

  1. For those who feel that SGCC membership on the SOA Board should be limited, a reasonable position given the consequences, then perhaps they should arrange for more non-SGCC candidates to “Throw Their Hat Into The Ring”, and support them accordingly.
  2. SU does not believe that there is any current basis for believing that Board members Strout and Retter have violated any NRS Statutes to date with their service on the Board.
  3. It would appear that many are aware of the above, and it is not what Board members Strout and Retter have done, but what they might do in the future.
  4. There is a valid concern over the SGCC’s ability to: 1) Pay back the SOA for the Rockery Wall repairs on SGCC leased property; 2) Perform necessary repairs to Water Facility equipment as required under the 2014 Purchase Agreement; or 3) Continue to meet their operating expenses. That under these circumstances the SOA Board might put forth a proposition to pass some or all of these liabilities (as they have done in the past) on to the Somersett membership at large.
  5. Per the SOA By-laws, a quorum for the transaction of business is 66% of the Directors, this would equate to four members, as three out of five is only 60%. Therefore, any proposition that comes before the SOA Board for approval that benefits the SGCC financially or otherwise, if the SGCC members recused themselves from discussions and voting, as they should, the proposition could not pass for lack of a quorum (probably welcome by most). Not recusing themselves would most likely assure passage.
  6. It is the fear that SGCC Board members will not properly recuse themselves from SGCC related issues that concern many. Is there any basis here? Board member Strout, when running for the Board stated he would recuse himself as required and has not, to SU’s knowledge, stated anything to the contrary. However, Board member Retter has equivocated on this issue. At the October Board meeting, he improperly interrupted a Somersett owner who was stating his opinion on the recusal issue by saying, “not so”, an argument ensued, wherein the Board President shut down any further discussion between the two.  (Note: Shutting down the argument was the right thing to do, but not admonishing Board member Retter for his interruptions and not letting the homeowner to continue with his comments, was the wrong thing to do).
  7. It is SU’s opinion that Board member Retter, does not believe recusals for voting on SGCC related propositions are required, and will do whatever he believes is best for the SGCC with an argument that whatever is best for the SGCC is also best for the SOA. This regardless of its financial impact on SOA homeowners (perhaps Mr. Retter would like to respond to this opinion, and any basis for disagreeing with such). With regard to Board member Strout, SU has no basis for forming an opinion on what directions Mr. Strout may or may not take.

Bottom line here is that, apparently the SGCC continues to experience its financial woes, and that something has to give, if not this year, then in the not to distant future.

34 thoughts on “SOA and the SGCC

  1. SU

    With regard to Fact Point 5

    Joe Strout was on the Finance Committee prior to his election in 2018. He played a role (with Ray Lee) in organizing the Jumbo $6,000,000 consolidated Loan approved by the Board.

    I believe that, Joe played a part in reccomending the $1200 special assessment (with a ~ $215 benefit to himself as a past Chairman of the SGCC Finance Committee) as chairman of the SOA Finance committee, which he presumably voted for, after being elected to the Board in November 2018.
    (Joe – if my recall of the events is incorrect, please feel to correct my comment.)

    1. Hi Geoffrey,
      Thank you for your comments. After making several phone calls yesterday, I have been encouraged to compile a list of such concerns.

      Could you please explain:
      1. The “$215 benefit to himself as a past Chairman of the SGCC Finance Cmmittee”.
      2. Also, is Joe Strout the Treasure for both SOA and SGCC….or just on the Finance Committee of both SOA and SGCC?
      3. Since it was a jumbo loan of $6,000,000, was a vote by homeowners needed?

      And….if you have any supporting documents (such as meeting notes showing who voted for what), could you send them to me via private message on Nextdoor (Deb Orick). Thank you.

      1. Deb

        1. $215 is each homeowners share of the cost, yet unpaid By the SGCC, for $680K repairs to the Championship Golf Course. The SGCC have been paying $500/month under the Tolling agreement ($9K paid, when it expires December 31 2019). If the SGCC had paid their share of the repairs prior to the 2019 Special Assessment (say, by using a special assessment of $2500 to $3000 per member)…all homeowners would only have had to pay $985 in 2019…

        2. I was hoping that Joe Strout would clarify my comments to ensure that they are accurate. However, I believe he was on the SOA Finance Committee and the SGCC Finance committee, prior to his election in 2018. I recall that it was said that he had resigned from the SGCC Finance Committee when voted onto the Board last November.

        3. No Community vote required. I believe that the new loan was for $3.75 million (wall and reserves repair) and the rest was for the loans for the SOA to buy the Canyon 9 (13 years paid), the TCTC (13 years paid) and the Championship Golf Course (3 years paid).
        I have asked Tracy Carter for a detailed explanation.

  2. I am amazed that people are so upset about this wall story. It’s like Brexit, it never ends.

    Simple solution – all the residents become golf course members, we all pitch in to save the golf course and fix the walls. Then, we can move on.

    Honestly, I would like to see the board candidates talk about Somersett’ s development and growth. We’ll need a new lap pool soon, a few more tennis courts, an app to book a court or a tee time etc…

    + we need the Town center to be lively again with shops etc….

    + any other ideas to make this community more premium and more attractive to residents and investors.

    1. I moved into Somersett on the understanding that I did not have to join and support the golf club.

      I moved here for the great views, the green grass could be viewed by some, an anathema in the high cool desert?… And green is not visible to me, the mountains are, and they are glorious.

      Arrow creek owners had a study done by UNR, which showed that property on the Golf Course was a worth 4% less than houses not on it – like mine.

      We have houses at the other end of Somersett, adjacent to the failed Northgate Golf Course – none are complaining about their property values, by all accounts they find native desert scrubland attractive, if not pastoral.

      It is quite a disappointment when I am told that I have to pay for something I don’t want, to protect my property value! Comments like that spoil my retirement.

      I understand that Somersett and Sierra Canyon will soon be completely built out – The Aspen Lodge is run well and can cope with most SC demands. Accumulating monies in our reserves to fix our aging infrastructure and future catastrophes seems a higher priority than “building more amenities”. Aggressive fire suppression is needed, I liked the goats. Reducing costs would be a good idea. What should our candidates talk about? Bravo to SC residents who wish to give back and run (and maybe serve) on the Board

    2. Your simple solution is not feasible as many would resist and if the Board tried to mandate it, the courts would soon overturn it like similar cases throughout the nation.
      Also I think most residents would say we have already pitched in to save the golf course.
      Finally the current budget does not have the funds for any new amenities. Almost 10% of the budget goes for loan repayments alone. Potential costs for legal fees, pump repairs and other items are also coming. The proposed budget for this year is asking for a fee increase to fund a contingency line item which the Board wants to use for cash flow issues. I do not see new amenities until the fiscal issues are resolved.

      1. Developments that require country club memberships have lower property values because the pool of potential buyers is limited to those who want to be country club members,

    3. Bronco, The issue is not just paying the wall failure that SGCC’s is responsibility. The problem is that SGCC has never been financially viable without unfairly taxing the 2800 home owners that don’t belong to SGCC.
      The simpler solution is having the SGCC members pay for their luxury. by making it public or raising costs to the members I’m sure that SGCC would be happy to accept donations from those who feel their property is enhanced by the golf course. As far as your solution “all the residents become golf course members”, I assume you were just joking, but if not good luck with that.

    4. Making all residents SGCC members is a sure fire way to torch property values. Communities that require memberships are less desirable that those that do. If a future home buyer has no interest in being a member, then the added cost in SOA fees and future assessments is a negative. So the pool of potential buyers is smaller depressing property values.

    5. We need a strategic management approach to all these issues. The new board, whoever is elected needs to understand the interests and needs of its community members. 1) survey all 3200 Somersett owners and ask what types of businesses they would likely visit and utilize at the Town Center. 2) do they know what is available at the Town Center Club – the amenities, classes, etc., and ask why they do or do not use those services (the place is mostly vacant). 3) would they participate in more board meetings if they were available online (this is very easily accomplished today). 4) do they see their home as their forever home? Ask some follow-up questions whether they do or do not. (By the way, offering the Club for County Senior Health Services can generate revenue – Douglas County’s community (and senior) center makes some good revenue from partnering with the County Health to provide seniors with health check-ups, flu shots, and host of other senior services (essentially it is a Medicare / Medicaid pass through). And 5) of course, ask about the golf course, why they play or don’t, why they bought here, what they would like to see. etc. And don’t use the survey to manipulate by “informing” a point of view before asking each question. True surveys rely on the raw results of its respondents.

      Have a board retreat shortly after getting the results of a community service, and develop a plan to deliver what is most likely to generate revenue; develop an economic development plan to go after and bring in the businesses most likely to be supported by the community. Businesses would appreciate that feedback before investing in opening a business at the Town Center – that is a hugely under-utilized asset.

      These are common strategies to improving how an organization functions. For First Residential, we are one of many HOAs for them. We are plenty big enough to hire our own GM, and staff, and get a strategically focused management team.

      Identify the real issues, development an effective strategy of solutions, measure progress meaningfully and adjust the implementation as needed.

  3. I still haven’t received my ballot, but supposedly US Mailed today.

    Some of you have asked how I am voting and some of you haven’t, but here goes:

    After much personal thought and asking and listening to others, I have come to the conclusion that the best two candidates are Simon Baker and Craig Hanson (in no particular order).

    If you haven’t yet voted, please consider these two very seriously. The way Somersett is and will be for the near future, it is my contention that we need the strongest financially oriented people we can find on the Board.

    Thanks for reading and please do vote your decision. JGB

    PS Maybe the other two candidates will run for the Sierra Canyon Board. I think both would be a better fit on it.

  4. Electing good stewards for the board is important – so is hiring excellent – aka outstanding – management staff. The financial conditions of both the HOA and SGCC will eventually fall to homeowners and SGCC members, which primarily are Somersett homeowners as well. Therefore, the financial impact to all of us homeowners is obvious. The best resolution to these issues, is negotiation. Lawsuits are the result of failed negotiations. Negotiations start with reasoned minds and not “it’s his/her fault, it’s not my fault, blame them or him or her, etc.” It would harm all of us, through reduced property values and the financial impacts to some or all homeowners, to not resolve this financial issue between HOA and SGCC amicably. While some people might not play golf (I hack at it barely, but I do think the course, the golf, the events and more are a huge amenity benefit available to everyone)… but while some might not care about SGCC or the course, we all bought our homes KNOWING there was a championship golf course right outside our front door. We see it everyday, we benefit from the views and the amenity. Our home values would be negatively impacted should the course or country club assets fail in some way.

    Resolve the dispute through effective negotiations.

    Conversely, “I will go to court …” means we abdicate solutions to a third party (judge) and we can see how that has turned out – judges decide things on legal technicalities, good attorneys figure out how to defend their clients over technicalities and pointing flaws in the other side’s argument — this is no way to resolve a dispute that is of such importance to all of us.

    SGCC and HOA could split the cost and move on. Personally, that would financially impact our house twice – we’d be assessed by the HOA and SGCC. However, splitting the cost is much easier than splitting hairs, right?

    The wall should not have Failed! The failure of the wall is not the fault of either the HOA, or SGCC. How that didn’t win in court, is astounding, but demonstrates my point. Logically, the constructor of the wall should have borne the cost. Or insurance…

    However, the judge sided with some technicality or time rule of liability … and ruled against what is logically the responsible party.

    It’s not HOA’s fault, or SGCC , so let’s split the cost and move on.

    Let’s build relationships, strengthen the partnership, work together for the good of our entire and most beautiful community.

    Lawsuits between HOA and SGCC will not increase property values, increase value in our community, or build upon each other’s contributing strengths.

    Who running for office will commit to working together to find solutions? And who will find outstanding management to do the same? All of the associations should be collaborative, work together for the mutual benefit of all, meet regularly and find common ground, and develop solutions on a variety of issues. The management of each association should be meeting, resolving, strengthening.

    Instead, there is a lot of posturing.

    1. Nancy Do you have any evidence to back up your opinion that property values will fall if the golf course fails ? its my opinion that ever increasing HOA fees to support a failing golf course will have more of a negative impact on property values. Many of us do not have the golf course right outside their front door nor even a view of it, and we bought our homes understanding that the golf course was an INDEPENDENT entity, not supported by SOA. I lived more than a decade in a subdivision that had a private golf course and country club. Membership to that was optional, and I even had a great view of the fairway. Best of all it was not subsidized by the HOA. For a few years the SOA’s developer controlled Board illegally transferred SOA money to SGCC. When that was stopped, SGCC got a sweetheart deal, with SOA bailing out SGCC by purchasing its land, leasing it back to them for a ridiculously low fee. Then SOA paid SGCC’s share of the wall failure which was SGCC’s responsibility per the lease terms. We do not need board members that will continue to misdirect more money to SGCC. SGGC has never been financially viable without bailouts from SOA. If SGCC can’t make itself financially viable, whether by becoming a public course, or increasing its fees to its members, or some other creative solution, other than than expecting SOA to solve its problems, then its time for SOA to take back its land.

      1. There is no evidence that closing the golf course would negatively impact property values. Closing Northgate did not reduce Somersett values adjacent to the property. Also Geoffrey Brooks has analyzed D’Andria and the opposite seem to be the case. The property vaule argument is a myth.

  5. Again, I think we want to think of Somersett as a premium community we need to continue to invest in the facilities and its development like acquiring more land around us, build more pools and tennis courts, maybe a beach club at Tahoe or Donner or at another lake (like the Tahoe Donner beach club), invest in technology like an app to book a massage session or a tennis lesson.

    In an earlier post, I had suggested thinking about adding a horseback riding center.

    We all paid $1200 extra this year, and this did not cause an uproar. Why not make this permanent? $100 a month would allow us to do so much more.

    PS : As I have said before, I personally don’t golf but I appreciate the vistas and the scenery offered by the golf course (congrats to the gardeners in charge of its upkeep, they are doing an amazing job).

    If we get rid of the golf course, we’ll turn Somersett into Damonte Ranch, which I find a lot less attractive. At this point, a lot of us will want to move to Montreux or Arrow Creek.

    1. Bronco,

      I find your lofty ideas for the SOA a bit altruistic and wonder how serious you really are. I suspect that your statement the $1200 assessment “did not cause an uproar” and should be made permanent is not shared by most in the community. Especially us retirees living on a fixed income. You talk about moving to Montreux, good for you if you can afford it. Unfortunately, the vast majority of us cannot. With regard to Arrowcreek, you are probably not aware that the Arrowcreek HOA does not support their Golf Course in any way, they tried that and failed. The Arrow Creek Golf Course exists today due to the generosity of a very wealthy member. Perhaps you and others who want to financially support the Somersett Country Could can follow suit.

      1. Expanding desirable amenities is a lofty goal. But right now SOA is broke. The SGCC purchase overleveraged the balance sheet and left no room top pay for things like the rock wall failure. Hence a special assessment. Reserves are too low necessitating a $13 fee increase. Remember we were told purchasing SGCC would result in no fee increases.

  6. I appreciate your comments on negotiations to resolve our issue with the SGCC operator. However we negotiated the purchase agreement with the operator and placed a Warranty provision in the contract to protect ourselves from any damages which befell us for four years. The operator wants to ignore that provision which in essence defaults on the purchase contract. We have already paid for the repairs and want to be reimbursed per the contract. The operator has been afforded many accommodations including the original purchase when the SGCC was failing and a delay in collecting on the warranty provision while we sued the construction companies. I suspect the operator may not be financially sound and uses the spectre of the SGCC closing to get better and better financial compromises from us. We need to take a firm stance or it will never end.
    Also the court case against the wall builders failed because it tried to negate a statute to prevent parties from filing suits no matter how much time passed. The Nevada Legislature passed the statutes with time limitations to prevent endless lawsuits. If you read the actual judgment hearing, there is much discussion about filing a lawsuit 50 years after something was built. The judge questioned that logic as would everyone. The other arguments by our attorneys were also very weak. The judgment was not a technicality but based on lack of merit. The lawsuit was a “gossamer thread of whimsy” . I got that quote from the judgment.
    I do agree with negotiations rather than lawsuits but I also believe you meet your contractual obligations.

    1. Thank you Craig Hansen. I have now heard from two reliable sources that the lawyers are still trying to pursue the lawsuit…..and I am trying to verify this with a third source. IF….the attorneys ARE proceeding……our Board needs to direct them to stop NOW. It is beyond understanding how the attorneys and Board were permitted to even start the lawsuit. To my knowledge, they never received the number of votes by homeowners that they needed. We were also told …at that same meeting….that not voting was akin to voting NO. Many more NO votes might have been received, if that statement had not been made. In any case, there were not sufficient YES votes. Who on the previous Board voted to proceed with this lawsuit without the necessary approval of homeowners? Now the homeowners owe huge attorneys’ fees, possible legal fees for the ones those attorneys sued…. and it looks like more big legal fees in the future. This needs to be explained sooner, rather than later.

      These are my opinions, based on my research. I encourage all interested homeowners to research these issues for themselves. I am open to constructive comments and corrections.

    2. Craig,
      Of course, contract terms not only matter, but are the foundation from which resolution can be achieved. However, if contracts and agreements alone resolved everything, there would never be anyone in court. Contracts are notoriously flawed (the time to get the best attorneys are upfront, when contracts are written). Terms are left undefined, which is where most contracts fail, who is the “responsible party” for each aspect of the contract are also where many flaws are realized, years later, and only when problems arise. Hence, negotiating resolutions between contractual obligations is often achieves equal if not better results — as proven by the current lawsuit.

      However, what is of most concern, is this “Us” vs “Them” aka “HOA/SOA” vs “SGCC”. “They” (SGCC) are in fact, us. Not every member of the HOA is a member of SGCC obviously, but a very high percentage if SGCC members are members of HOA.

      We are in this together. We as members of the HOA cannot divest ourselves of the impact of the golf course — as Proven by this current dialogue. What happens to SGCC and more plainly, the golf course, will impact us the homeowners in Somersett.

      Somersett is marketed, sold, promoted, as a “golf course community.” That amenity is important – take a look at the ones that have failed in Reno and those house values collapsed – although there is a myriad of reasons for house values.

      As someone asked, “is there evidence of house values going to collapse if SGCC fails?” The answer is plain: No one , from any point of view, has “evidence” of what is going to happen in the future, obviously; none of us can predict the future. We all have opinions. But, our community is literally billed as a golf course community.

      If SGCC were to fail, HOA would have to pick it up and decide what to do. Your comments, “we’d take back the land,” are more in line with an “us” vs “them” approach and “us” telling “them” how we think they should manage their association. Which is it? They are an independent association and should operate as such, make their own decisions, fail or succeed, or we’re going to tell “them” how to run their organization.

      As for looking back and criticizing the decisions made in the past as flawed or improper — that might be fair game and a strategy for getting elected (generally those running for office take that approach), but in reality, if we weren’t on the board when the decisions were made, ‘Monday morning quarterbacking’ is just that.

      We are here now. If the Agreement between SGCC and HOA has flaws and undefined terms and lacks clarity on who is the responsible party for things like rockery wall failures, then those terms may need to be renegotiated or we’ll continue to ‘fight this out.’

      Typically, the landowner, property owner, handles all structural maintenance and repairs (e.g.: a landlord fixes the roof when it needs replacing, not the tenant; a landlord fixes the pipes and floors and structures, not the tenant). However, the Agreement between SGCC and HOA appears to be unclear, otherwise there wouldn’t be this argument about how is responsible.

      But, let’s be totally clear: The contractor is the one at fault – it is surely not the HOA or SGCC to ‘blame’ for what has happened, so let’s stop the blaming.

      We cannot divest ourselves from the brand we all bought into – we live in a golf course community.

      Perhaps the SGCC course should be open to the public – that might be a great idea; perhaps that organization needs to reduce expenses, increase revenues, improve their year/over/year ROI and look for creative strategies to be more financially sustainable. I’ve worked with non-profit organizations to help turn around those types of outcomes, there are plenty of experts available to assist in that regard, but again, either SGCC is independent or they are not.

      HOA should be doing the same — why we contract with First Residential should be examined. We are a large enough community now to hire our own GM and not contract out everything to a 3rd party organization. Hundreds of HOAs hire their own, First Residential has their own goals and our community’s important future is not their goals.

      Who is going to pay for the Rockery Wall failure ? Ultimately, it is some or all of the Somersett community members – either the SGCC and/or HOA or both or split or whatever the Agreement says (if it’s clearly defined).

      But this is not all about money. It’s a relationship between SGCC and HOA that needs to be improved, we need to work together for what is the best outcome for our entire community – which is a thriving active community, with amenities for all types of interests, a community built on respect for those diverse interest, a community management team that appreciates and understands the success of every association is the benefit of all of us. We are a desired community in Reno – that didn’t happen through in-fighting.

      Pitting the HOA against the SGCC “they need to pay us or we’ll take back our property” doesn’t get us anywhere. If it’s “our property” then why are we not fixing it ? If there are financial troubles a the golf course, that’s not a difficult problem to solve. It’s people, personnel, revenues and expenses.

      I don’t think we should limit our relationship to the SGCC as one “all about the money,” “they” owe “us” etc. If the SGCC has a debt to pay, of course their financial obligations to the HOA should be met. How that was done in the past is … well, the past. A good board on both organizations would realize we need to honor our agreements, and make sure our boards develop good working relationships and perhaps — maybe even leverage our collective wisdom, experience, and work Well together? that’s an idea worth exploring.

      Executive Session – oh this new fight about demanding we get information out of executive session. There are laws about what can and cannot be released from executive session. The HOA cannot operate anyway it wants to (which is another reason contracting out management to First Residential is an admin fee we don’t need). The law governing HOA and public (community) access to information are very well tested in the courts. What is discussed in executive session cannot be released to us, except for specific decisions made by the board. There is a multitude of reasons as to why that is, but simply put, if you’re negotiating a lawsuit and talking about strategies in executive session – obviously, the courts have allowed the protection of that conversation so that the ‘other side’ (party to the lawsuit) is also not informed of their strategies, legal reasonings, and so on. Any person in executive session who discusses what happened, can be found guilty of violating the law. The GM can inform the community of the decision made, but not the strategy or legal reasoning as discussed in executive session.

      And no, the board does not need our vote to decide to sue someone. That would hinder the operations of the HOA.

      Elect good people to the board, those who seek positive relationships with others, who don’t pit “us” vs “them” against our neighbors and community members, who see working together as a worthy goal, on all boards. We are one community.

      1. Thank You Nancy K. for your voice of reason and sharing your expertise.
        Please continue to bring facts and clearly state what many want-a community that works together to resolve these important issues. The “Us” vs. “Them” attitudes are very damaging in my opinion.

        A solution to the rock wall failure that shares the cost may be best. I hope our new board can resolve this and we can move on. Another big lawsuit to determine if the problem was caused by the properties above the walls, or not, does not really help.

        If the SSGCC folds and the huge costs from “taking back the land” fall on all SOA members, I think we would be going backwards.
        Let’s find a way to have the golf course in our Master-Planned Golf Community survive and stand on their own financially. That would be a win-win for us all.

        Somersett is a wonderful place to live. We are one community.

      2. Thank you Nancy for your frank and honest comments.
        First of all, let me clarify where I am coming from on the country club golf course. My former occupation involved reviewing many proposals to approve funding which required evaluating whether a proposal had merit. I also had to review programs to recommend funding cuts and oftentimes this was met with derision as people saw their favorite program slashed as it did not meet goals or was ineffective. Hard calls.
        For the golf course, I have read many materials and met with folks involved in the original purchase. From this analysis it is apparent to me the current operator who is on the lease is struggling financially. this is evidenced by his sale of the course to Somersett and his reluctance to meet his obligations under the purchase document. The sale saved him and the golf course. For Somersett it meant taking on some financial risks but wisely we put in a warranty to protect ourselves. The operator cannot meet his obligations for this warranty. The logical course is to assert the warranty and force payment. If he cannot then we can get another operator or some other option. This is not me pitting the Somersett folks against the country club. It is strictly business. Not popular but necessary.
        The current animosity between the country club members and the rest of Somersett is because the higher fees, large assessments and lawsuit costs resulting directly from golf course liabilities. Most Somersett residents do not reap the benefits of the golf course yet pay for its continued existence.
        With regard to my Monday morning quarterbacking, I made no bones about running for the Board because of the current direction and decisions of the Board. I have commented before about some of their decisions before they were made and they were ignored so now I am running to provide whatever experience I can to get more logical decisions that benefit the majority of people. That will require some tough choices, compromise and mostly open communications to correct our current state of affairs.

        1. Craig, thank you as well. Your former occupation as in the state budget office is well suited for reviewing proposals and making hard line decisions as to funding projects that specifically met the criteria issued through bidding, RFP (Req for Proposals) and the like. I’ve done the same countless times managing cities and towns. Strong financial management is my skillset as well. During the Great Recession, the hard cuts that were made reduced our workforce by over 30%, 70+ people lost their jobs. I’ve been part of making the hard calls a long time. This current great economic expansion that we’re experiencing, and Reno is well-capitalizing on, is not going to last forever, in fact, we should see a recession in the coming year or so – if anyone can predict those things

          There is no argument that both the HOA and SGCC (and any other association ) should be well-managed beginning with its finances. As you know, it’s a fairly simple numbers game in terms of revenues, expenses and, with strategic thinking and applied ethical principles, I’ve seen quite a few organizations turn around that were thought to be on the down-and-out.

          We agree on financial principles.

          However, your statement, “the current animosity between the country club members and the rest of Somersett…” asserts a view that is not based on any fact or opinion poll or survey. Perhaps we are each in our relative ‘bubble’ if you will, but I don’t ever hear of “animosity” whatsoever. I support the golf club because it’s a fantastic amenity — in my view and opinion, which is essentially meaningless. It’s just my opinion. Perhaps that opinion is shared by a few hundred people and perhaps a few hundred disagree and a few hundred others don’t have an opinion or aren’t aware.

          But if there is animosity, THAT is what needs to stop. We are one community.

          And I disagree with your response you are not pitting “us” vs “them.” Throughout the comments, it’s exactly what you’re saying.

          In the CA budget office, if this issue came before CA – that is, a contractor build a rockery wall and it failed before the life-expectancy of the product should have – that “hard line” might be taken against the construction company. the merits of a claim in this case are generally down to the warranty express and implied, contractual terms, state law and case law.

          Instead, the focus seems to be “SGCC should pay for it and if they don’t , take back the land!” That is certainly creating animosity, stirring things up, not building relationships.

          We are one community. It’s so unfortunate the wall failed – SGCC didn’t fail, HOA didn’t fail, the wall failed. Focus on the issue: the wall failed and it should not have.

          It’s fixed, and beautifully so.

          The HOA stepped up to pay for it and sue the contractor. Case lost – variety of reasons (yes I read that case, thanks for posting, very interesting). Now, appeal or not? I’d get a second legal opinion from some of the best. And perhaps file the appeal timely to ensure our place in line, amend the appeal after the second opinion if need be,or withdraw.

          Then, time to decide how the SGCC and HOA should either share or not the costs. Develop a plan and implement it.

          Build relationships with all of us. “SGCC” is comprised of people, our neighbors, our community members. HOA is comprised of the same.

          What about the next wall failure? Or the next serious economic downturn, or natural disaster? Do our agreements need revisiting to spell things out more clearly? The responsible party should be very clear.

          Let’s support each other. I’ll be voting for people with that approach, it achieves the best outcomes.

          1. Nancy Kerry

            I am not sure if you are one and the same with the other Nancy!

            I was an owner of a small chemical business ($25 million turnover) and I agree that our HOA is a small non-profit, running it efficiently should not be too difficult.

            Planning for the future! The use of the $280K (cost) empty lot for additional amenities/offices should be the highest priority for any board member. Then there is the money losing Canyon 9 (which makes us a Public Golfing community), which costs Homeowners +$300K per year ($8/month per owner), what should be done here? No one gets upset about this neglected part of our expenditures/assessments !!!

            Now to the animosity you mention. The SGCC is not a part of Somersett. It is not a fantastic amenity! – Yes, we own the land (and water) on which a golf course has been constructed. To me a lease is a lease – we only leased the land under the golf course – the “infra-structure” is owned by the SGCC – grass, sand, fairways, putting greens, and yes walls and trees. All this stuff was erected/placed/grown on land formerly owned by the SGCC. A leasehold improvement is just that… and in NJ where I come from, the leaseholders responsibility! The Tolling agreement clearly spells out the debt owed to the all the Homeowners. $680K…
            I don’t think that the current $500 a month is fair, and certainly not good business on the part of the Board/Management company!

            So let me sum this up, with interest we paid, we are invested way over $700K (at least) in repairs for a Private non-HOA owned golf club. We have been threatened with further repair costs (basically to maintain the major well, located in Sierra Canyon). Apparently, the private country club could possibly lose their water rights which we actually own….again this is specifically leased “property” by a private country club with specific obligations to fix and maintain

            Not getting paid causes many small businesses to fail! We should be collecting our $680K as soon as the Tolling agreement expires – what a lousy deal that was for the SOA! If the Private Country Club is insolvent; the SOA should be finding out now if a Golf management company thinks that it can be viable as a Public Course… hopefully it will be. If not we need to incorporate the land into our PUD and re-purpose it, sell of some of the water rights (200AF should raise just over a $1,000,000) enough to do something to enhance the amenities on our newly acquired open space!

            That is a simple business decision. An HOA is not in the business of subsiding two money-losing golf courses!

            I presume that you agree with my logic … By the way the beauty of Somersett is from its Sierra Mountain vistas – not grass … Just take a look at Whisper Rock homes on the failed Northgate GC and ask the owners who live there (they love their views)!

            Anyway, if the Private club members have any conscience, they would be paying the SOA now, showing everyone how community minded they really are!

            1. Geoffrey Books, Very well stated ! Bottom line is SGCC wants a private golf course/country club, but the 300 members expect the other 2800 SOA members to continue subsidizing it.

          2. Nancy, The issue with SGCC is not solely the wall failure, The issue is after more than 15 years SGCC is not financially independent, but has continuously relied on SOA for support via misdirection of SOA dues and selling their land and water rights to SOA putting SOA further in debt. It’s a reasonable expectation that you and those that think the golf course is “a great amenity” should pay for it and not expect everyone else to continue to support your luxury.

            1. Ed, one’s decision to play golf, might be the opinion of another as a luxury – but that criticism is intended to belittle, separate and continue the “us vs them” divide. Most people have activities they do, some ski, boat, kayak, bike (I happen to love biking), craft (I love that too), mountain bike, hunt, ride those ATVs and razors and in the backcountry, I know a guy who has his own plane and he absolutely loves flying, some people like quiet river fishing. If I bought a home built on a mountain bike course, I wouldn’t start hating the mountain bikers and the events they held to enjoy the course surrounding the place we lived. I would expect the agreements we made between that association and the homeowners to be honored.

              Somersett is titled , “Reno’s Award-winning, master-planned golf community.”
              http://www.somersett.com/homes/

              To try and re-brand Somersett as something else, it would need, “something else.” We are not anchored by retail – and why there isn’t a fabulous restaurant at the Town Center is beyond understanding – with a built-in clientele, a fairly good restaurant should do well there. SOA needs to address that and get the GM to start focusing on diversifying it’s economic development strategy so we Are NOT 100% dependent upon golf as our primary master-planned community asset. A diverse economic development strategy could increase our bring financial position.

              As I understand it, some people don’t like the agreements between SGCC and SOA, but the agreement terms are being honored. Not liking the decisions of the elected board members, results in what we have now, decisions to elect people more in line with the thinking of who is casting the vote.

              The failure of the rockery wall, is not the fault of SGCC or SOA – and it appears to have highlighted a poorly defined agreement between SGCC and SOA – that problem lies with the attorneys, but that is not an uncommon issue either (that an Agreement doesn’t spell out every possible and potential issue because no one can absolutely foretell the future. Agreements often have undefined terms, which are brought to light during a conflict and difference of opinion).

              By the way, it doesn’t matter, but I am not a golfer. I love playing (hacking at it), so that George and I can spend time together in the outdoors. It surely isn’t some kind of luxury, any more than our home is, here in Somersett. I’ve had many people say “Somersett” is the luxury – it’s all a matter of perspective.

              My hope is SGCC and SOA’s financial positions are strengthened significantly. We are large enough group of homeowners comprised of people who can come up with a variety of strategies and solutions to bring in our collective areas of expertise to help our community, which generally results in better outcomes that fighting, dividing, pointing fingers and accusations. Let’s work on solutions.

              1. Nancy, I have many of those hobbies you mention, but don’t expect my neighbors to pay for them. I don’t hate golf or golfers and am not to trying to divide the community. As stated previously, I lived in a subdivision with a private golf course for over a decade. Unlike SGCC the golf course did not seek financial assistance from the HOA. Everybody was content. I and I believe most SOA members did not sign any agreements to subsidize a SGCC. The basis of the discontent is the insolvency of SGCC and there continuously being bailed out by SOA You have a few interesting points, but most of them are a deflection of the main issue.
                That being SGCC is either not able or not willing to make the changes necessary to sustain itself as an independent entity. Hopefully future boards will not have the over representation of SGCC members that has occurred.

              2. We own the Canyon 9, which is open to the public , this is in the PUD – nothing changes if the Private Golf Course closes.

                Your logic escapes me! Why do I have to pay to strengthen a money losing private (not in the PUD golf club)?

  7. Maybe a solution would be to force any new homeowner in Somersett to be also a golf member.

    This would quickly increase membership into the golf course without forcing current homeowners to pay for the golf.

    1. Bronco,
      Exactly how would you implement this plan ? Do you think the builders or anyone wanting to build would agree to this ?

    2. Ha Ha Ha!!!

      It’s an idea, lets have a community wide vote.

      We would not have bought here for retirement if that had been the case.

      I would vote no…but I am one among 3200. If it is yes vote, I would pay up, but not play.

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