Meet the Candidates: Jim Stivers

Village homeowners will elect a new board on Wednesday, October 14 for the 2015-2016 term.  There are 12 candidates for five positions.  Each candidate’s statement has been posted to the blog in alphabetical order by last name.  

Here is Jim Stivers’ Candidate Statement:

1. Why are you interested in serving as a director and what goals do you want to see accomplished within your term as director?

My vision for the Board is as follows:

  • Explore revising our governing documents to support PRESERVING the current physical character of the Village; and implement changes to governing documents if appropriate.
  • Support revitalization of the Coto Valley Country Club.
  • Critically review HOA revenue and spending.

The biggest threat to the character of the Village, a mature community, is a possible future residential development of the Clubhouse, Tennis College, tennis courts and common area property. As there is less and less open land in Orange County, there will be developers who see opportunity in converting our recreation and common areas into residential housing; this probably means condos, not luxury homes.

Strengthening our By Laws and CC&Rs would go a long way to erect barriers that developers must overcome to actually convert our recreation and common areas to residential uses. Accordingly I would explore what can be done to revise our governing documents to slow or stop such residential development. If it makes sense I would sponsor a vote by the homeowners to amend these governing documents.

One example of strengthening the governing documents is to increase the CC&R revision threshold from a simple majority to a 75% super minority. Since land use is stated in the CC&Rs, any change to land use must involve a change to the CC&Rs. A 75% threshold means that 300 of the 400 residential lot owners, up from 201 out of 400, must vote for such a change.

The Clubhouse, Tennis College, and tennis courts; the original properties of the former Coto Valley Country Club, are an extremely valuable asset for Village homeowners. However, these properties are owned by three entities with different agendas. The Board should take an active role to encourage all these owners to improve and open their facilities to the public in general; and Village homeowners in particular.

It is important that the Village HOA assessments remain relatively low to maintain home values. In 2006 assessments were $70 per month. During the 2 years I served on the board, the HOA annual income was increased by $70,000, or almost 20%, through a $40,000 reduction in fees from the then management company (Merit Property Management), and a $30,000 income increase (annualized over 20 years) from a renegotiation of a 20 year cell tower ground lease extension with Verizon.

But a 20% revenue increase was apparently not enough and assessments themselves have increased by $30 monthly since 2006. This assessment increase plus the increased Verizon income and reduction in management company costs works out to provide an extra $224,000 in annual revenue available to the Board during a time of basically zero inflation and zero interest rates:

$30 x 428 members x 12 months=  $154,080
Saving and Increased Revenue =     $70,000
Equals = $224,080

The extra $224,000 annual revenue works out to be an approximate 60+% increase over 2006 levels. Again, this huge increase has taken place during a time of stable prices for goods and services.

The HOA may be over collecting and the Board needs to justify the $224,000 annual additional expenses/reserves; or reduce HOA assessments to be in line with reasonable expenditures reserve requirements. I intent to take a critical look at expenditures, and where appropriate, question their value to the overall Village.

2. What is your background and experience? Have you served as a committee member or director for a community association? If yes, please elaborate on this experience.

I served as Treasurer on the Village Board from 2007 to 2009. During that time mail boxes were repaired and replaced at 50% under budget. This savings was achieved by providing a detailed work statement to various contractors as opposed to allowing the management company award a contract and oversee the work. Also during that time I encouraged the Board to compete the management company service contract and invited bids by 2 other companies. Ultimately, the then current management company (Merit Property Management) lowered their fee by $40,000 annually. Note that a competing management company offered a lower cost, but Merit was retained over my objections.

Finally, I used public information to develop a successful negotiating position with Verizon with regard to their 20 year ground lease extension. This information resulted in a $30,000 annualized rent increase from Verizon over the 20 year period. Verizon’s original offer was half that increase.

Professionally, I have negotiated contracts and business deals for Boeing, Hughes Aircraft, and other major aerospace companies during my 40 years of employment. I am now retired; but I know how to manage suppliers, like management companies and subcontractors, and to specify only needed and necessary tasks thus avoiding extras costs and adding value for my customers.

3. Are you currently an owner in the association, and if so, for how long?

I have lived in the Village since 2003.

4. Have you served or are presently serving on any committee(s) for the association? 

I served as Director from 2007 to 2009

5. Any other information you would like to provide.

I am not a member nor affiliated with the Silver Bronze Corporation

Jim Stivers Candidacy Statement (PDF)

 

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