President's Update 10-27-2021

By John Holmquist
President, The Landings Association

The Landings celebrates its 50th anniversary next year. It is a remarkable accomplishment of which we should be proud. As we celebrate this achievement, we should be thankful to those who were here before us and who set this community on a course for success. The concept of paying it forward has benefitted our community.

The success of our community for the next 50 years is dependent upon how we address the issues we face. While there a number of issues to be addressed, I will focus on three -- infrastructure and capital assets, water, and renovation.

We each live in our own piece of The Landings, and we can forget the magnitude of our community. We have 91 miles of roads; 30 miles (22 paved) of community paths; 715 acres of common property; two deep-water marinas; and 11 bridges. We also have 151 lagoons that cover 265 acres of water, with 49 control structures. This is what we see. What we don’t see are the approximately 80 miles of drains and 1,500 inlets.

TLA is responsible for assets located on common property as well as TLA’s buildings and their component systems and all the equipment and vehicles used in TLA’s day-to-day operations. Unlike Elsa in Frozen, we can’t “let it go” and leave it for future residents to handle. (If you are not familiar with the character, movie, or song, ask anyone who was born after 2013.)

Fortunately, we have a Capital Reserves Fund to pay for our capital reserve projects. Money that goes into the Reserves Fund is restricted for the cost to repair and replace capital assets and cannot be taken out or used for operational expenses. Most of the money that goes into the Reserves Fund comes from our Annual Dues. The Association’s Board will periodically direct funds from other sources into the fund as well.

TLA has a Capital Asset Management Plan (CAMP), which is the basis for determining when and for what money is spent. In December of 2019, a Level 1 Full Reserve Study was conducted by a Professional Reserve Analyst during an onsite visit. The Study provided a revised inventory of major components above a threshold value set by TLA that requires regular replacement. Each year, the Reserves Subcommittee of the Finance Committee meets to review our reserve methodologies and cash flow projections and makes recommended changes with input from the Professional Reserve Analyst.

Our culture of paying it forward in the creation of the Capital Reserve Fund has positioned us well to take of our community into the next 50 years and keep it as vibrant as it is today. Our Reserves Fund makes routine special assessments for capital expenditures unnecessary and has enabled our community to be debt free.

Our water comes from the Upper Floridan Aquifer. The increase in population in coastal Georgia has been accompanied by an increase in demand for water. Withdrawal in one area impacts saltwater intrusion in other areas. This is occurring in Hilton Head.

The Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) determines the amount of potable water withdrawn by issuing permits. Its determination of the amount of water to be allowed is based in part on the development of a water conservation plan; a conservation-oriented rate structure; and a policy requiring customers to abide by an outdoor watering schedule.

In 2010, the EPD cut the potable water amount by 35%. In 2020, Skidaway Island received no cut in its withdrawal. The next determination of any changes in permits will be made in 2025 to take effect in 2030. TLA works closely with Utilities, Inc. to establish effective conservation measures to put the island in as good a position as possible for the next EPD review.

As you drive around our community, you see permits on mailboxes and dumpsters in driveways. While the pandemic had an impact on renovation, our residents continued to renovate and overcome the challenges that we now face in terms of supply chain issues. We are a community that is committed to taking care of its houses.

It is critical to our future that renovation remains a part of our culture. Our community is now 96% built out. The only way we will continue to attract buyers is to have a renewed housing stock.

In TLA’s proposed Strategic Plan, The Landings Company has been designated as the entity that will have the primary role in promoting renovation in our community and to prospective buyers. TLA will support the Company’s mission to promote renovation of homes as it markets our community nationally.

Our community is well positioned to face the challenges of the next 50 years. The importance of having a Capital Reserves Fund cannot be overstated. This source of funds enables us to maintain our infrastructure and capital assets. Paying it forward has benefitted us and will benefit future residents.

This article was originally published by The Landings Association on their website.

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