Pool proposal too vague to support
We will vote “no” on the as-yet incomplete swimming pool initiative.  Here’s why.
We are disappointed that the LMOA Board has chosen to ask residents for permission to spend nearly a million dollars on a new swimming pool without giving us any information about the location, size or features of the pool.

Everyone remembers that we were given very detailed plans regarding the proposed renovations of the Ashlawn clubhouse and replacement of the Eagle’s Nest and golf cart barn – before we were asked to vote for a dues increase. Now, we are being told, “The money has to be approved by the residents. Then we can get plans going.”

The Board assures us that the cost estimate includes a generous reserve, even though no definitive plans are available on which to base the estimate. We have been told it is less expensive to dig a new hole in a different location rather than remove the existing pool and build there, even though no engineering studies and utility surveys have been done and even though the deck and several feet of the existing pool wall would have to be demolished and toppled into the existing pool before it is buried.

The Board assures us that they will “hold surveys and town halls for community input.” Well, there goes the reserve. Experience has taught every successful project manager that open-ended plans consume all available resources, if not more.

Why is the Board making this so difficult? Had they proposed a direct replacement of the pool at the same location, we would have voted in favor of the proposal. It is simply unthinkable and unacceptable to move the pool to a new location, even elsewhere on the Ashlawn clubhouse grounds, that is any closer to residential dwellings than the existing pool, or any closer to vehicular traffic, which would endanger child safety.

We accept the analysis that a new pool is needed. We encourage the Board to return to their past practice of being good stewards and develop a definitive plan that we can support, before they ask for our money.

Denny & Nancy Avers
Lake Monticello

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Insist on intelligent health care change
In a recent study for the Progressive Club, I uncovered numerous facts about our American medical culture that may be of interest.  I present it here in brief, hoping this will further inform public discussion.
Health care is complex, a $3 trillion expenditure of our $18 trillion annual GDP, or about 17 percent of all goods and services in this country as of 2015. Warren Buffett called medical costs “the tapeworm of American economic competitiveness.” That averages about $9,000 per capita annually, more than twice the $3,600 spent in the average OECD countries (Western-oriented industrial economies; Canada $4,608, France $4,407, all in equivalent purchasing power).  Yet we don’t live as long, have more chronic conditions, and have poorer health outcomes despite spending so much more.

The Legatum Institute in London developed a prosperity index – a composite measure of wealth, education, economic growth and personal wellbeing. In 2016 the U.S. ranked 32nd, just below Thailand and Kuwait, and far below most European countries.  Japan ranked fourth, Sweden sixth, and Canada 16th.  So despite our wealth, our wellbeing is lower than many “almost peer” countries, with our average age at death being 73 years, a ranking of 43rd.

Importantly, we can learn from other countries that are doing better at lower cost. The numbers prove it. Our health care system is wasteful, unfair, inefficient, and unethical, and denies resources to other national priorities.  The Peterson Foundation reports costs result from greater use of technology and unwarrantedly high prices, not the number of doctor visits or hospital admissions. Others add uncompetitive pricing, multiple payers (federal, state, private, public, insurance companies, employers and out-of-pocket sources), and unneeded services as causes. Add a comment


Editor’s note: The following refers to a letter written by John Holt, titled “Don’t shake down residents for pool,” printed in the April 20 edition.

Spend money as if it were your own
Mr. Holt’s letter underscores the problem we face resolving the issue of a new pool. I was away on travel for two weeks and found the survey closed before I could respond. A search of the Lake Monticello Owners’ Association website, and its associated site map, yielded no swimming pool survey. Has our website been scrubbed of all relevant survey information?
Our community has 4,635 lots, nearly 4,200 homes, and approximately 12,000 residents, yet only 1,374 surveys were tabulated. The survey presented only three options, all requiring payment for a new pool. A “no” option was not available. Are the directors presenting a fait accompli?

A total of only 510 survey respondents were in favor of the 50 percent reserve funds/50 percent new $100 assessment choice for payment, 442 for a new $195 assessment, and 422 for all reserve funds. Is the choice of only 11 percent of our property owners binding? Add a comment


Criticism should be informed
Regarding John Holt’s letter last week, “Don’t shake down residents for pool,” it is okay to express informed criticism of how Lake Monticello Owners’ Association (LMOA) is managed, but was his criticism informed? I am writing as an LMOA member and volunteer and not on behalf of the Board or staff.

No, Mr. Holt, you do not pay the Board of Directors nearly $1,000 each year for them to “figure these things out,” nor do any LMOA members; Board members are volunteers who give untold hours on LMOA owners’ behalf. You seem to think the pool funding survey didn’t get enough responses, at 30 percent of owners. Every owner who has provided an email address (requested multiple times in recent years) was able to take the survey in several minutes on their computer, and every owner who lives at the Lake was notified in Lake Views that they could take the survey on paper at the LMOA office. What would you have done to get more responses? Did you answer the survey? Thirty percent is actually a very high percentage for a survey of any kind, and it is about the percentage of LMOA owners who vote in most of our annual meetings/elections.

Do you think LMOA should spend less on snow removal? How much less? Do you even know how much is spent annually on snow removal? How do you know that the Board did not consider “other funding possibilities” for the pool? Are you familiar with the LMOA budget, which is posted on LMOA Voice? Do you read the financial reports which are generally posted on LMOA Voice with monthly Board meeting materials? Have you signed up and accessed the LMOA Voice website? Have you attended any meetings of the (also volunteer) finance committee (which I chair)? Can you name another community in our region which has the amenities ours has and dues as low as ours? Add a comment


Congratulations on VPA awards

To editor Christina Dimeo,

What a wonderful sweep of the awards you and your colleague, Ms. Lisa Hurdle, made in this year’s press awards!  It is just great to see your skillful reporting rewarded. Your energy as a journalist shows through like a thousand watt bulb!

Felicitations to you and Ms. Hurdle!

Jeff James
Lake Monticello Progressive Club
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