We start the year with a new Chairman, Vice Chairman and Treasurer of the Board. On February 17 we will be welcoming our new President/CEO, Sam Bennett. And I have appointed new Chairpersons to lead most of our CSA Board Committees. I am also very pleased that in response to our call for new Committee volunteers, we received over 40 property owner applications to serve on Board Committees. We have placed two dozen new applicants on our Committees this year. I expect this infusion of new leaders and new committee members to provide a nice blend of experienced and new approaches to our Committee discussions.
In discussing our goals and objectives for the coming year, we want to take what makes Sea Pines so special and make it even better. At the very top of the list is finding a satisfactory funding mechanism that will allow us to proceed in fixing, maintaining and upgrading our crumbling critical infrastructure. Staff has confirmed that every year we postpone major projects results in further erosion and higher repair/replacement costs. With an overwhelming majority of property owners recognizing those needs and willing to fund them, your Board will no longer “kick the can down the road.” By the same token, we are not going to adopt funding plans that are imprudent or that would give control of our funding to an outside authority.
We are considering – but we have not yet decided upon — a number of alternatives, including new fees on services we provide, the possibility of another funding referendum to increase our annual assessments, or the adoption of a taxing district. I want to assure you that we are NOT going to proceed with any of these approaches unless and until we are certain that they will satisfy our funding needs and assure total control over our funds to CSA and CSA alone. To that end, I appointed a subcommittee of our Board members to dig deep into the details of a tax district, and the Board will retain attorneys who specialize in these types of legal entities to assist us in this research. If we do choose to move this approach forward, this Board will not act hastily. As a Board, we are committed to considering the many concerns we have heard — and will hear — from the community, before taking action.
Yesterday, your Board voted to continue the $2 surcharge on short term weekly rental gate passes to fund the “Beach Shuttle” during the summer months. We want to assure that those of our guests who are not eligible to park at the Sea Pines Beach Club can still enjoy access to our beautiful beaches there. I understand that not all rental property owners like this fee, but we are working to assure that these funds are used to make the Beach Shuttle experience much improved over last year’s initial test, with better service during peak hours in peak season, a nicer waiting area for our guests, and less dust to endure in the parking lot.
The Board is committed to act in the community’s best interest, and we are best prepared to do so when we know how you are feeling about the issues we are addressing. I ask each of you, please, if you have concerns with, or questions about, any of our actions, or if want to share ideas for improving life in Sea Pines, write to or speak directly with any of our Board members. You can reach me at Chairman@csaseapines.com and I assure you I will read and respond to each inquiry I receive. This is your community and we are committed to making it the best Sea Pines it can be!