Every year at the annual Northwest Landing ROA members meeting the Elected Board of Directors and paid staff present the following:
The five primary responsibilities of the ROA
- Protecting the assets jointly owned by the members of the ROA.
- Enforcing the CC&Rs and Architectural Controls which help maintain property values.
- Establishing the annual operating budget that funds current and long-term maintenance of ROA assets.
- Plan and implement community events.
- General homeowner services.
Maintaining City of DuPont property is not part of the Northwest Landing ROA Responsibilities, nor is maintaining property previously maintained by Northwest Landing ROA that has been turned over to the City of DuPont. As we move into the next decade, Northwest Landing ROA elected board members and paid staff need to continue their stated primary path of managing ROA assets and not the property of the City of DuPont.
Years ago Greg Moore the Quadrant manager for Northwest Landing stated: “That over time the operation costs of the ROA will go down as more of the street maintenance and park strips are turned over to the city. The ROA will still have it’s own parks and greenways to maintain. The workload will decrease with less contracts to manage and fewer new homebuyers moving in to Northwest Landing. The reoccurring or annual planned ROA events will be well-established and will be minimal work for paid staff and volunteers.”
The ROA has reached that point and they should not be taking on more work outside of the ROA guidelines to inflate their value, justify their workloads or positions. The ROA struggles to enforce their CC&Rs and architectural controls and adding something outside of their scope introduces an unnecessary distraction. The time has come to review our present responsibilities and priorities to ensure that we are financially stable moving into the next five to ten years and beyond.
The proposed contract between the city and the ROA is an unfair tax. Historic Village and El Rancho Madrona Village do not pay into the ROA. The ROA 2014 budget process was held behind closed doors and nobody was afforded an opportunity to speak against the proposed ROA contract for the City of DuPont’s parks maintenance proposal. The ROA will email it’s members about any lost dog or cat, lost keys, or a lost bike; but neglecting to email their dues paying members about a contract to maintain City of DuPont property was not provided. The ROA should provide no special treatment to the city nor fund city services. There are hundreds of Homeowner Associations in Pierce County and none of them provide similar relief to their city or town or fund city services.
Instead of working on City of DuPont landscape maintenance or other City of DuPont issues the ROA should work on the items to develop an operation plan that takes the ROA into the next decade without increasing assessments.
- Find a property management company to contract out some of the day-to-day operations.
- Conduct a staff audit to ensure we have the right number of qualified personnel to conduct ROA operations.
- Develop a long-term drought resistant landscape maintenance plan for all ROA properties and see if changing out plants or improving maintenance will maintain cost and keep costs stable for the next decade.
- Develop a Standard of Conduct for ROA staff when dealing with members of the ROA and create a list of all ROA property.
These are the tasks that were requested/suggested at the ROA/COA meetings this past summer and these are what the ROA staff and Board Members should be managing, not City of DuPont issues.
As for the City of DuPont, the city entered into the Civic Center construction phase without a financing plan in 2007 and had exceeded the cities debt limit at the time. The stock market and economy tanked in 2008 and the city still approved the Certificates of Deposit (COP’s) in 2009. The city and residents have been hit hard by the repercussions of having no financial plan for the Civic Center. The city has yet to provide a plan to finance the Civic Center, Public Safety and all other city departments and functions.
Every time a levy request fails, it is because the city has failed to provide a plan. The mayor, council and city staff, both past and present have punished the voters. For example: taking the ambulance out of service and stopping the irrigation and landscape maintenance on Center Drive.
The city has raised taxes and fees on everything (expect the mineral and forestry extraction tax) that the City Council is allowed to without a vote of the people. These actions were to free up general funds that can be transferred to pay the Civic Center debt. The city raised the water rates and the 2014 ROA budget has an increase of $4000 for irrigation due to this rate increase.
For years the citizens of DuPont have been told what outstanding staff we have and that is why they are paid at the Seattle or Bellevue salary rate. The city has budgeted in 2014 a three percent raise for the exempt staff. Yet the public works director cannot adequately maintain the parks, then the public works director’s ability should be questioned. If the finance director cannot propose the proper revenue increases to cover the cities expenses then the finance director’s ability should be questioned. Now is the time for some accountability from the Mayor, Council and the City of DuPont staff.
There is revenue available. The city of DuPont has a decreasing resource, the gravel mine. As each year passes the gravel resource decreases and the opportunity to collect revenue is gone. The city has refused to raise the Mineral Extraction tax. The Citizens Finance Committee recommended increasing the Mineral Extraction tax to generate revenue for the city to cover their expenses and to have a balanced budget.
Stop taxing the citizens unfairly for Mayor, Council and staff mistakes, bad judgments and incompetence. Start serving the citizens. Isn’t it time for some accountability within the City of DuPont?