Guest Column: Diamond Peak Master Plan example of poor trustee oversight
October 1, 2014
When my husband Bill and I selected Incline Village as our retirement destination in 1989, it was a perfect fit for us. The well-kept, all-inclusive, small residential community was a gem on the edge of a pristine alpine lake.
The recreational amenities were outstanding — plus, churches; a hospital; library; post office; schools for all ages including a college; fire and police protection; adequate shopping; and a General Improvement District Board of Trustees to keep a watchful eye on the growth, protection, improvement, regulation and management of a small, near-perfect mountain town and all its facilities? Could anyone ask for more?
Many changes and additions have been made over the years, as well as in our town's chosen leaders who have a role of responsibility to property owners to truthfully inform us, listen to us and do what is best for the community at large. Property owners also are responsible to keep themselves informed, and have a voice. When there is honesty and trust between these two groups, as well as compromise, things can run smoothly and amicably.
In the past few years, there seems to be increasing dissension in the ranks and less trust in our leaders because of non-fulfillment of promises and false dissemination of information. Where is the trust going in the name "Trustee" and where are the voices of the property owners? Are we all conforming to the increasing behavior pattern of being afraid to stand up for what we truly believe in, stand for and want?
Currently, we are looking at several issues of change, and, more importantly, an expenditure of huge amounts of money, essentially property owners' money. If my memory serves me well, when there was controversy over the remodeling/reconstruction of The Chateau, property owners were told that the costs would not be passed on to them.
That proved to be false. Bonds have been purchased for improvements over the years, have been fully paid off by property owners' bills going up, but never going down, upon fulfillment of payment. Then one bond after another for various reasons — a recreation center, beaches, ski and golf course improvements and additions, etc., and the property owners continue to pick up the tab.
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Where and when does this stop and begin to payoff? Where are we going? My concern is that we are at a point of going too far too fast, for no good reason.
I believe the proposed Diamond Peak Master Plan will only have a detrimental effect on our community and our pocketbooks. Our beaches are already overcrowded, streets and parking lots full, too many continuous competitive events, the post office is jammed, and grocery shopping has to be planned around tourist influx.
It is true that this magnificent location is a tourist attraction, but it is also our home. If, in fact, the residents were getting some benefit from this increasing presence of people, I could understand moving forward, but that is not the case. We continue to lose money on our current attractions and it will eventually cause many long-time residents to relocate, and it will change the entire profile of this charming community.
I ask our current trustees, elected at the last election, to remember what you promised us: to take control of our district, eliminate financial waste, operate our facilities on a break-even or positive cash flow basis, reduce our recreational and beach fees, make staff accountable for the operation of our facilities, and save our community.
After three years, I've not seen any of these promises fulfilled. In fact, the monetary losses at all of our recreational facilities continue, our water and sewer bills have increased, and now some of you are proposing to increase our trash rates as much as 30 percent.
Fortunately, because of public outcry, you have not opened our beaches to everyone.
This community has been my home for 25 years and I intend to stay here unless I can no longer afford the living expenses or enjoy the beauty and amenities for which I came. I urge trustees to carefully listen and consider my opposition to the Diamond Peak Plan for increased recreation.
Doris L. Spain is an Incline Village resident.