By Sam Richards
The GRF Planning Committee on Nov. 10 voted to recommend the GRF Board approve a list of capital projects for 2023 that includes $600,000 in additional pickleball court funding, pedestrian access control measures for the front gate, $125,000 for tennis court resurfacing at Buckeye and $175,000 toward improvements to the Dollar Clubhouse patio.
The planned recommendations also include approving $916,000 for the capital needs portion of the replacement of Jenark, GRF’s main software for records management. The operating funds for this project were approved in September.
Last month the GRF Finance Committee confirmed that the Trust Estate Fund had enough money for all the capital projects on the proposed 2023 list. But before reaching agreement on what to recommend, committee member Carol Meehan suggested eliminating $400,000 to give the Board a cushion of $1 million.
The committee agreed that this was prudent given the uncertainty with the housing market. The Member Transfer Fee, now $12,000, is paid by new residents buying a manor in Rossmoor; an average number of such sales is about 450. The MTF funds the Trust Estate.
GRF Board President Dwight Walker said that with higher mortgage interest rates in this region and in all parts of the U.S., there could be a downturn in home sales in Rossmoor, and thus less money for capital items.
“That (450) number could be soft; we need to be conservative,” Walker said.
The Planning Committee, having been given a staff-generated priority list of various capital needs, unanimously recommended cuts to four of 16 proposed capital projects, including those billed as the Golf Drought project ($200,000, leaving $350,000); a Public Safety project to add more speed readers along Rossmoor Parkway (all $60,000); replacement of 12-year-old clubhouse chairs at Creekside (all $55,000) and Bocce court improvements (all $20,000). Other recommended cuts came from a separate “machinery and equipment” list – $90,000 for two proposed utility vehicles.
The Nov. 10 recommended reductions – most of them actually delays to future capital budgets – took $425,000 off the proposed 2023 capital projects and machinery budgets, which as recommended to the GRF Board, total just under $6 million. The total recommended 2023 capital budget, including about $2 million in debt service, is about $8.44 million.
The list of capital project budget items that will come before the GRF Board on Dec. 1 for final approval also includes needed maintenance on existing infrastructure: repaving for Skycrest Drive and for Golden Rain Road between Skycrest and Entry 15 ($600,000); a new roof for Peacock Hall ($20,000); carpeting replacement at the Rossmoor News building ($50,000); replacement of one of 12 golf course bridges, ($150,000) and replacement of worn sections of the golf cart path ($15,000). Repeated issues of clogged pipes at the Event Center also prompted the committee to recommend $20,000 for restroom hand dryers in the clubhouse.
The machinery and equipment items on the recommended capital budget include replacing existing equipment, such as golf equipment, including a new $150,000 fairway mower ($175,000); custodians’ truck ($50,000) and a MOD landscaping truck ($75,000). Other recommended items include dust control improvements for the Woodshop ($75,000); a “Barracuda Backup” to replace an older, smaller device that enables restoration of an entire computer server – or just one a file that someone accidently deleted ($70,000); three new and improved host servers ($60,000); five PC laptops and accompanying equipment for the Rossmoor News ($10,000); and a replacement pool water heater for the Dollar pool ($15,000).
Planning Committee members made no effort to reorder the “suggested prioritization” list provided them at the start of the Nov. 10 meeting, instead making targeted reductions in the four aforementioned areas, plus the two motor vehicles, to cut $400,000 from the total 2023 capital expenditures. The recommended reductions from that preliminary list ended up going beyond that, to $425,000.
Committee members, and other GRF Board members in attendance on Nov. 10, expressed concerns about trust finpances, and uncertainty as to whether the trust fund will be replenished by the average number of Membership Transfer Fee payments will come in this year. The MTF, now $12,000, is paid by new residents buying a residence in Rossmoor; an average number of such sales is about 450.
There was a fair amount of discussion about “Access Control Phase three,” which would include adding sidewalk pedestrian gates at Rossmoor’s entry and exit. The gates would have 100 feet of decorative fencing on both sides designed to funnel pedestrians toward the gate and make it more difficult for unauthorized people to simply walk into Rossmoor. That situation has taken on greater significance recently, after the suspects in two recent thefts at MOD – of an RV and of tools taken from GRF trucks – allegedly walked into Rossmoor.
This access control will not be impenetrable, said Jeff Matheson, director of resident services, but should make it significantly harder for suspects to simply walk in and cause trouble.
The Event Center hand dryers, Matheson said, are in response to the restroom pipes there having been repeatedly stopped up there in recent months by people putting paper towels down the toilet. Fewer paper towels in the bathrooms, he said, should translate to fewer expensive visits from plumbers.
Committee member Ted Bentley said he resented that this $20,000 had to be spent because of “people not doing the right thing” and putting the wrong things down the public toilets.
“That is the reason we have to spend their money,” he said.
The proposed list of prioritized projects will be published in the Nov. 23 and Nov. 30 editions of the Rossmoor News and is expected to be finalized by the GRF Board at its Dec. 1 meeting, its last meeting of 2022. To see a list of the projects as detailed in the Nov. 10 Planning Committee meeting agenda, go to https://tinyurl.com/2p9wjmwk