Association prepares budget for challenging times ahead

RANCHO SANTA FE — The Association board of directors approved the Preliminary Budget for 2009-2010 on May 7, which will now be printed and mailed to all voting members for review.
Chief Financial Officer Steve Comstock presented the board with the Preliminary Budget. “This is the most conservative budget I’ve published,” Comstock said. He described the budget he began in January as an “arduous task.” He worked with staff and the Finance Committee, going through each item line by line, page by page. Still, given the uncertain economic climate in which we live, Comstock has prepared a budget that keeps the Association in the black with a surplus in reserves.
“The Finance Committee went through it,” Board Director Bill Beckman, who serves on the Finance Committee, said. “It’s well-thought out. It’s an amazing process.”
“This is the beginning of the end,” Comstock said. “It’s now available for the residents’ scrutiny.” After the mailing, members will be given a chance to review the budget and a budget hearing will be held at 6 p.m. May 28 at the Association Office. After receiving member input, the board will be asked to adopt the final budget at its regular meeting June 4.
At the May 7 meeting, Comstock also received board approval to retire $300,000 of debt toward the Osuna property. The monies will be taken from the Open Space funds bringing the principal balance to $2.4 million. The Osuna Ranch was purchased in
June 2006 for approximately $6.8 million. Each year the Association has committed substantial funds to retire the debt. The goal this year is to retire a total of $800,000 worth of debt.
In other Association news, Patrol Officer Joe Brown received recognition for 20 years of service. Chief of Patrol Matt Wellhouser said that Brown has been “a Boy Scout leader, football coach and all around great guy.” Brown, formerly of the San Diego Police Department, received a gift of appreciation from the Association and President Lois Jones thanked him for his service.
Association Administra-tor Ivan Holler reported that the Historic Site Board unanimously approved the Osuna Adobe to be a historic site. According to Holler, the designation opens up the possibilities that the property will now be eligible for grant funds.
During member input, resident Richard Marr said that during the removal of vegetation from the Dacus property, vegetation was also removed from a neighboring property. Marr objected to the “bull in a china shop management style” of the Association. Manager Pete Smith and Holler both addressed Marr’s concerns, but the item will be placed as an agenda item and discussed at the next Association meeting, which is scheduled for May 21.

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