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President's Update 7-3-2020

One of The Landings Association’s Board’s goals this year is to continue improvement in communications. As indicated at our annual meeting, we want the community to have the facts when an issue of concern arises.

Since the Annual Dues proposal was announced, I have heard two “facts” being circulated in the community which first arose during the debates over incorporation. The claim has been made that TLA misused money intended for other purposes during the time period that incorporation was being considered. As discussed below, these “facts” are not true.

The first allegation is that TLA took money designated for playground equipment and used it to promote incorporation. At the time of last Annual Dues vote, there was money in the restricted Capital Reserve Fund to replace old playground equipment with new playground equipment…basically a trade. The proposed Annual Dues increase included enhancements beyond the budgeted replacement cost to the playground. When the vote failed, the money stayed in the Reserve account. No playground designated funds were used during the three years of incorporated-related spending.

After the Annual Dues increase did not pass, staff and TLA’s Board discussed what steps should be taken with respect to the future of the playground and athletic field. In August of 2019, the Athletic Field Complex Committee was formed to create a plan that would benefit the entire community. Its members represent all age groups of the community. TLA’s Board adopted the plan, and it is a part of this Dues increase proposal.

The money which has been in the Reserve Fund and designated for playground equipment will be used if the dues increase is approved. The current equipment was installed 22 years ago and is at the far end of the useful life of playground equipment.

The second allegation is that TLA needs the Dues increase to replace the money that was spent over the three years that the incorporation study and vote encompassed. To place this issue in the proper context, some factual background is necessary.

The issue of incorporation had been discussed for years even before it was added to TLA’s Strategic Plan in 2014-15 to explore incorporation. The Strategic Plan was discussed at a Town Hall in May of 2015, and was reported in the June Landings Journal. TLA’s decision to engage the Andrew Young School of Government to perform a feasibility study was reported in the Journal. The retention of Hughes Public Affairs for legislative support was noted in the February 2017 Journal. A series of five Town Halls at the end of 2017 attracted more than 1,000 attendees, who, through a show of hands, expressed the desire in having the opportunity to vote on the issue of incorporation in November of 2018.

Then, TLA conducted a survey in 2018 to get a sense of whether the community desired to continue toward a vote. A total of 1,692 households participated, with 66% saying they’d be  inclined to vote in favor of incorporation, based on what they knew at that time.

The spending which occurred over the period of 2016 to 2018 was not taken from the restricted Capital Reserve Fund. Monies in the Reserve Fund cannot be spent for operational issues. The spending was included in the operating budgets for each of those years. I have set the amounts spent out below:

Year

Item

Cost

2016

Andrew Young Feasibility Study

$30,000

2017

Legislative Advocacy and Consulting

$55,000

2018

Legislative Advocacy and Consulting

$75,000

2018

Flood Insurance Review

$14,800

2018

Oliver Maner Legal Reviews

$12,000

2019

No Additional Funds Will Be Spent

$0

Total

 

$186,800

While you may have agreed or disagreed with the incorporation proposal, various TLA Boards determined that it was in the best interests of the community to enable residents to vote on the issue in keeping with the Strategic Plan. TLA’s actions were not concealed from the community. Funds were spent to achieve that end. The incorporation issue was truly a one-time event. No money was spent on the issue after 2018. Just like incorporation, the spending issue is literally history.

The current Annual Dues proposal has nothing to do with incorporation. It has everything to do with the present and the future of our community.