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GRF Board Approves 2024 Operating Budget

GRF portion of coupon to increase 1.45% next year

By Sam Richards

Staff writer

(Friday, Sept. 29): The GRF Board on Sept. 28 unanimously approved a $26,813,025 operating budget for 2024, about 5% higher than this year but which includes a 1.45% coupon increase for 2024.

That means the 2024 GRF portion of the coupon, which applies to all homeowners, will be $334.69 a month, up from $329.82 this year. It will be up to each Mutual’s board to determine its specific portions of the 2024 coupon.

The 1.45% increase is also below the August Consumer Price Index of 3.7%.

GRF Board President Dwight Walker credited department heads’ efforts to trim budgets, create new revenue streams (including fee increases) or both as a “valiant effort” to help counter expected major jumps in insurance premium costs, primarily for property insurance. Rossmoor’s insurance broker, A.J. Gallagher, has said GRF’s property insurance premium is expected to go up by 34.6% in 2024, with the worldwide insurance industry in crisis because of a plethora of expensive disasters nationwide and globally. Walker and others have called property insurance increases “the biggest issue facing our community.”

That 1.45% coupon increase, a total of $4.77 per manor, improved slightly on the 1.64% figure announced at a Sept. 12 to 13 joint meeting of the GRF Board and its Finance Committee. Department heads were told then to continue doing what they could to pare down budgets, and the last of those changes were approved shortly before the operating budget approval vote Thursday.

In addition to the cuts and revenue increases, some saving will be realized by reducing GRF’s earthquake insurance coverage from $10 million to $5 million.

These budget numbers, minus the last few minor adjustments, had been approved in a 4-0 vote of the Finance Committee on Sept. 26 (three members of the committee were absent that day).

Speaking of insurance …

The Board voted unanimously on Thursday to raise the annual broker fees paid to A. J. Gallagher, Rossmoor’s insurance broker since 2009, from $275,000 this year to $350,000 in 2024, and further annual increases taking the fee to $435,000 in 2027. GRF General Manager Jeff Matheson said the firm’s fee had not increased since 2015.

Gallagher brokers all GRF insurance coverage, which has been increasingly difficult to get, and even harder to afford, given the challenges mentioned above. Walker said the GRF Board needs Gallagher’s expertise to get the best and most coverage possible in an increasingly difficult insurance environment.

Fitness Center fees

The Board on Thursday approved fee increase for personal training and reformer Pilates classes at Tice Creek Fitness Center.

Fees for 30-minute personal training, now $35, will go up to $40 next year. The fee for a 60-minute training session will go up from $60 to $70, and the fee for a reformer Pilates class from $20 a session to $22.

Buying a “10 pack” of 30 – or 60-minute personal training sessions or reformer Pilates sessions – however, will lock in the old per-session price.

Those increases follow a series of other Rossmoor fee increases across multiple departments for 2024. The increases were approved earlier this month by the newly formed Aquatics and Fitness Advisory Committee at its inaugural meeting.

Committee member Harriet Crosby told the Board the fee increases were “long overdue,” not having been raised in five years, and that the merger of the Aquatics Advisory Committee and the Fitness Center Advisory Committee appears to be a good idea. “I think it’s going to be very efficient,” she said.

Landslide repair

Mark Heptig, Rossmoor’s director of golf, told the Board on Thursday that landslide repair above Hole No. 5 of Dollar Ranch Golf Course is scheduled to begin this coming week, Oct. 9 through 13, when the heavy equipment needed to do the work will be moved to the site.

The hillside above that hole became a mudslide during a rainstorm in early January. An outside contractor, Silicon Valley Paving, will be doing the work, Heptig said. It’s likely the hill will be reinforced with some sort of mesh to help prevent another failure during heavy storms in coming years.

Medical Center update

Early indications are that it will be possible, and practical, to turn the vacant former John Muir Health medical building into GRF office space, Ann Mottola, Rossmoor’s director of community services, told the Board.

While some physical settling of the building has occurred, it isn’t “prohibitive” of turning the building into Mutual Operations Department offices, which could replace the old and cramped facilities on Rockview Drive. A transformed medical building, which GRF owns, could house a variety of GRF offices, and perhaps become what Mottola termed “a Rossmoor City Hall,” combining multiple functions. That likely is at least a few years away, she said.

Food and beverage study

Mottola said she expects Rossmoor residents will be taking part in market surveys, focus groups and other info-gathering efforts, starting in January as Rossmoor investigates whether to seek restaurant/food service operators to do business in Rossmoor.

Eight vendors responded to a request for proposals, Mottola told the Board, and she expects four of those firms will be interviewed. The goal, she has said at previous meetings, would be to see whether any restaurants, caterers or other food preparers want to, or can, do business in Rossmoor. In addition, the fitness of Rossmoor’s various kitchen facilities will need to be analyzed to see if they can handle such vendors.

SMART Board goals

Promoting community involvement (volunteerism), water conservation and working to increase resident awareness of GRF Board actions were approved on Thursday as the Board’s three top goals for 2024. They use the acronym “SMART” to reflect the “specific,” “measurable,” “attainable,” “relevant” and “time limited” nature Board goals should have.