Lake Tyee property owners just say no

Board-backed electrical upgrade project assessment voted down; board to consider long-term financing
By Jason Miller (posted 1.11.10)

A Dec. 12 meeting at the Lake Tyee Recreational Community clubhouse drew hundreds of property owners, some from as far away as Minnesota. Not many were happy campers.
On the agenda was a controversial idea proposed by the Lake Tyee Board of Directors: a one-time, $4,470 assess-ment to cover crucial upgrades to the community’s electrical system, which is badly in need of repair.

Most meeting attendees seemed to be spoiling for a fight, since the assessment was largely viewed as too much all at once. “I’m all about the upgrade, they just need to spread it out over a reasonable period,” one attendee remarked before the meeting.

Facilitated by board President Peter Coates, the meeting began with Barb Thibert, a Lake Tyee lot owner and volun-teer on the community’s Budget and Finance Committee. Thibert explained the budget as of Oct. 31, 2009, calling it a “pretty gloomy financial picture.” With both its reserve fund and operating accounts in the red because of unexpected power outages and road repairs in 2008, Lake Tyee’s failing electrical system should be dealt with as soon as possible, she proposed, speaking on behalf of the Board of Directors.
At an estimated $4,409,940, however, the project’s price tag was daunting, especially if its financing was spread out over several years. Better to pay it all at once, said Thibert.

The one-time, $4,470 proposed cost per lot included a “delinquency contin-gency” of $895, which also rankled lot owners, even though Thibert stated that contingency fee would be credited back to lot owners if the costs didn’t escalate, “which they will if we delay,” she added.

Small comfort, many responded. With a delinquency rate already hovering at 18 percent, the plan’s bump to an estimated 25 percent after the assessment was wishful thinking at best. “I think you’ve severely underestimated how many people can afford this assess-ment,” said lot owner Tanya Smith. “Every time you increase fees, you run the risk of increasing delinquencies.”

Lake Tyee is a recreational community, but some residents live there year-round. Those residents felt the proposed assess-ment would cost them their homes. Doug Lynes, a recreational owner, reminded attendees of the intent of the community. “This is an ‘extra.’ If you can’t afford to borrow $5,000 over 10 years, you probably shouldn’t have property in a recreational community,” said Lynes, eliciting loud shouts and boos.

The assessment went up for a vote, along with the 2010 budget. The assessment failed by a vote of 453 to 106; the 2010 budget failed by a vote of 388 to 174, but was later said to have passed. Stay tuned for a follow-up article that will discuss that development.

Board President Peter Coates said at the close of the meeting that the board would “go back and revisit this issue,” referring to the electrical system upgrade.

Board members and property management representatives refused to comment further.

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