SETTING IT STRAIGHT
There have been many mass emails circulating currently. Some contain misleading and even incorrect information. Here is the Board’s take on many of the points:
The Board is irresponsibly promoting a Masterplan without renderings and specific details, including specific pricing.
While the Board has many of the details, clearly it has not effectively communicated them. We will certainly strive to do so in the future. The estimated prices on this website and in other Board communications have been supplied by experts in the appropriate fields for each specific project; in fact, we continue to solicit more refined estimates from experts. To get more rigorous estimates, details and renderings, the community must first decide whether the proposed additional space is needed. There are many options – renovation or new construction and what location – all of which, as well as inflation, impact costs. Once UP indicates, by way of the upcoming survey, if and how it wants to proceed, we can narrow the options and have plans/renderings developed with quite accurate – but not contractually committed – cost estimates. If the bond passes, then bids, hopefully with not-to-exceed clauses, can give us the final details we all want.
We, as a community, should get to vote on each individual project on the Masterplan list!
That sounds simple, but there are inherent difficulties. Except for dining, there is no single amenity a majority of membership uses. At some point each amenity at our Club will need capital improvement. If people only support those they use, it would be virtually impossible for a majority vote to approve each specific improvement. We try to look at the Club as a network of synergistic amenities that deserve to be supported in line with the desire for a viable, thriving country club.
“Cheap money” is driving the Board to rush for a second bond.
In the spring, when Phase 2 was presented, the Board had hoped to take advantage of the very low bond interest rates. To minimize the costs of borrowed money is fiscally responsible. However, in response to the initial feedback, the Board slowed down and down-scaled that initial proposal and, now again, is slowing down to scrutinize each project. We recognize the community must support the Masterplan concepts before a bond is presented, even if waiting means higher costs.
The Board is using country clubs across the country as the standard instead of developing a plan that uniquely fits University Park.
The Masterplan is completely unique to UPCC, addressing its current shortcomings and adding amenities that support the lifestyle of UP residents. The successes and pitfalls of other country clubs are valuable insights to ensure we use the best practices and remain competitive with other country clubs in our immediate area.
The Board is not coming out with a meaningful survey to truly find out what our residents want, need and are willing to pay for.
Residents – not on the Board – with substantial professional experience are developing the survey. As of July 8, 2022, the Board has not seen a draft but is committed to ensuring the objectivity and pertinence of the survey. All results and analysis will be made public to the community.
The addition of the Board’s proposed 15,000-16,000 square footage (for activities/meetings, staff offices and fitness/wellness) more than doubles the current indoor space for the Country Club.
The current indoor space on the UPCC campus is about 30,000 square feet. While the proposed increase is substantial, it does not approach that magnitude.
The Board has not planned for the additional costs to furnish the additional space nor the operational costs, including staff to run and maintain it. To do so will require future assessment or even more bonds.
The Board and the Club administration has, in fact, taken these other costs into account. Financial proformas show these expenses should be readily covered by the Club’s operational surplus. While it is impossible to forecast unexpected catastrophic events, neither assessments or future bonds are envisioned for capital or operational expenses for at least the next ten years and conceivably much longer.
The Club administration is already overwhelmed with Phase 1 projects and staff shortages. Starting Phase 2 will overwhelm them.
Staff shortages caused by Covid, primarily in food service and golf course maintenance, have begun to stabilize. Despite staff shortages, the Club administration has efficiently managed Phase 1. Should a second bond to pass before the end of 2022, Phase 2 projects would not begin for almost another year. Key staff managers have been consulted about the implementation of Phase 2 and all are comfortable staff will continue to function efficiently during the transitions.
The Board has planned to hold the referendum in the summer when most residents are out of town because non-votes will count as yes votes.
The original target was to hold the referendum in August with the intent of achieving a favorable interest rate. Since developing the timeline, the Board has been very concerned about reaching homeowners to maximize the number who vote. We have made many overtures to reach the community about the bond and the referendum of homeowners through Town Hall meetings (in person and by zoom), this new website, regular notices in the Club Weekly, eblasts, urging Neighborhood Chairs to offer smaller neighborhood meetings with an RD Board member. We are pleased that more people are now giving the Masterplan some attention!
Non-votes are NOT counted as yes votes. But Florida’s rules for such a referendum require only a majority of those who vote to pass a bond.