Guest column: Evaluating Incline GM’s performance (opinion) | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Guest column: Evaluating Incline GM’s performance (opinion)

Mr. Pinkerton dusted off his March 3, 2016 GM column comparing IVGID and Tahoe Donner/Truckee and republished it last month as “A Quick Comparison.”

I gave him a D for his deceitful statements the last time around (see my special to the Bonanza on March 9, 2016). This time it’s an F.

He FAILS to acknowledge the many significant differences I covered in my 2016 column. He FAILS to admit the Rec Fee remaining at a “flat” $830 was actually a negative, not a positive for property owners. And he FAILS to recognize that the biggest factors that boosted revenues were Mother Nature’s snow, together with a long overdue increase in non-resident lift ticket prices at Diamond Peak.

Ten years ago nearly a third of the rec fee (about $2 million per year) went for bond payments. But as bonds were paid off, the property owners never received the reductions they were promised. Instead IVGID’s director of finance convinced a guileless board that it would be better to avoid fluctuations in the fee (and the resulting stress they inflicted on us poor homeowners) since capital expenses varied year to year. He dubbed the practice “smoothing.”

So, rather than presenting projected income and expenses and calculating the rec fee each year, IVGID extracts the same amount from property owners, even in a good year. Increased revenues at Diamond Peak didn’t reduce the rec fee. Diamond Peak, like the beaches, has become another overcrowded venue we have subsidized for years and can now only enjoy at carefully selected hours and days.

Since the Rec Fee is no longer based on any particular need, IVGID has built up a sizable slush fund. That might be fine except that they have been using it for the projects, they, not the residents and property owners, have chosen.

In the five years since Mr. Pinkerton became GM, he has FAILED to even start a single major recreation project. He has FAILED to address the beach overcrowding. All we have are a few new bathrooms and hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on master plans and preliminary designs for dozens of projects, most of which the community doesn’t even want.

And now, finally accepting the reality that our existing facilities are in need of updates and repairs, Board Chair Kendra Wong conceded we can likely only do “one or two” new projects in the next five years.

Our community is proud of our amenities and wants to maintain them. If given the opportunity, we will select the best choices. But it now seems paying the Rec Fee is like writing a blank check. We don’t know how the money will be spent. Staff seems to be making all the decisions.

The community should determine budget and priorities for capital projects. The Rec Fee’s $6.7 million is still a large portion of the Community Services/Beach budget. There was no survey of property owners before spending nearly $1 million on the Diamond Peak Master Plan or before “reserving” another million plus in the capital budget for the “entitlements” or before the last-minute change to the FY19-20 budget for upgrades to the Tennis Center and Mountain Clubhouse totaling approximately $2.75 million, projects that should have been prioritized with others in all of those master plans.

These were initially smaller projects that mushroomed into major ones. The community and the board should be informed well before the May budget deadlines of such large proposed expenditures.

And with the recent passage of Nevada AB86, unless the board modifies its current policy prior to July 1, we can expect even more consultants to help us plan for future projects we don’t want and/or can’t afford.

The bill will increase the amount of a purchase the GM can make without coming to the board for approval from $50,000 to $100,000.

Mr. Pinkerton’s annual performance evaluation is just around the corner. Should he get a passing grade?

Judith Miller in an Incline Village resident.