Shirl Mendonca: Have a say in where the money goes | TheUnion.com

Shirl Mendonca: Have a say in where the money goes

Shirl Mendonca
Lake Wildwood Columnist

The Union photo/John Hart

Are you curious what your LWW assessment will be this year? Do you know how much you pay for the different amenities, for administration, and for reserves … and how each of those line items in the budget are determined before being added to your assessment?

With the new clubhouse, the planned changes to the golf course over the next few years, and culvert repairs, there are a lot of budget challenges ahead of us. This affects your pocket book so now is the time to get involved and ask questions. An informed and involved community will only add to our wonderful lifestyle.

The 2018/2019 Budget Development Guidelines were approved at the Jan. 23 board meeting and preliminary draft budgets are in the works between the different departments, management, and the Finance Committee. In February, there will be a series of workshops /Public Forum Presentations at the Community Center, Oak Room, and all members are encouraged to attend.

Each workshop will be a review of unique budgeting areas so you can pick and choose those that interest you. Feb. 16 at 1 p.m. will be a review of fees; Feb. 20 at 1 p.m. will be a review of the operations budget; Feb. 23 at 1 p.m. will be a review of reserves and community improvement funds; and Feb. 26 at 2 p.m. will be a review of the consolidated budget.

There will also be a finance committee meeting on Feb. 22 (check E-Bits to confirm final date, time, place) where members are always welcome to come and ask questions. There will be a special board meeting on March 6 to approve the budget for publication.

Reserve funding and reporting is a complex part of the budgeting process. If you want to dig deeper and get a better feel for the reserve reporting, funding, and spending (how we fund for big-ticket items over a period of years and why assessments are going up), there is a public meeting being sponsored by members of the community on Feb. 10, from 2-4 p.m. at the community center.

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The agenda will include a short overview of present reserve rules and the changes under consideration by the board.  That will be followed by an interactive dialogue on questions of interest.

For example, the March 2017 Reserve Study (on LWW website, P.18 of the Report) projects that $3.9 million will be spent on golf maintenance over the next five years (unrelated to fees paid by golfers); do you know where these numbers come from, how they end up on the reserve schedule, and how they affect you?

If the answer is no, this may be a good meeting to attend. If you do plan to attend, please email By Maynard at bymaynard@gmail.com so the organizers can ensure sufficient seating.

Just as an aside, I did a road trip a couple of years ago with a Michigan couple who were looking for a new community for their family when the husband retired. We covered Ohio, Georgia, Tennessee and the Carolinas … nothing compared to LWW in terms of natural beauty, price of homes, number of amenities, and annual dues. Our fees may go up each year as we upgrade facilities and get better at planning reserves but, hands down, we are lucky to be here. An informed and involved membership will help this "luck" to continue.

Got a tip about someone or something in Lake Wildwood or Penn Valley? Contact Shirl Mendonca at shirlmendonca@gv.net.

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