IVGID GM’s Corner: Paying now, rather than later
September 30, 2015
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Thanks to all of you who attended our Snowflake Lodge Open House this past Friday. We had over 400 attendees enjoy great views, great food, incredible weather and the fellowship of many of our local brethren.
While many of you took advantage of our shuttles, I had plenty of company (human and canine) on the trails as well.
I was thrilled to find out how many of our attendees had never been to Snowflake before. All of them expressed an interest in coming up to Snowflake again.
I also had plenty of property owners express their surprise at the aged condition of the Lodge. Snowflake is one of our oldest facilities and is decades past the end of its useful life.
“In the world of asset management, paying now is inevitably more cost effective than paying later.”
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The expansion and improvement of Snowflake Lodge was identified as an important element in the Ski Area Master Plan — and not just in the current proposed Master Plan, but the 1986 Master Plan as well!
As I've noted in previous articles, the day to day operations of our facilities is only part of what we do. Maintaining our assets for both the short and long term is also a critical aspect of our District as well.
IVGID has hundreds of facilities, pipelines, equipment and rolling stock that must be kept in working condition. It is also our responsibility to ensure that we plan for the future replacement of facilities as well.
In fact, our Recreation Facility Fee reflects the importance of asset management. Less than half of the facilities fee goes toward reducing the cost of lift tickets, greens fees and recreation programs for our residents.
The majority of the facilities fee is dedicated towards the maintenance, planning and replacement of our capital assets.
A part of the fee goes toward smaller "pay as you go" asset replacement projects, while the balance of the fee goes toward paying down debt service for major capital projects such as the replacement of the Chateau, renovation of the Golf Course and Ski Lodge and the construction of the Skier Services building.
Since many of our facilities were built in the 1960s, those facilities had reached the end of their useful life by the late 1990s and were in need of replacement or major renovation.
In the past there had been little or no money set aside over the years for facility replacement. This is one reason why the Recreational Facility Fee was able to stay so low for most of the 1980s and 1990s.
This put the entire burden for facility upgrade on the current owners, which necessitated significant increases in the Recreational Facility Fee beginning with the 1999-2000 budget year.
The good news is that we've now completed most of the needed backlog in facility updates and replacements.
While we have several major "catch-up" projects left, we are getting close to a point where we should be able to include funding for future replacement costs in each venue's budget.
Our water and sewer functions have been doing that now for a number of years.
Besides Snowflake Lodge, some of the remaining "catch-up" projects include the Clubhouse and Maintenance Facility at the Mountain Golf Course, our Administration Building, rebuild of Ski Way and the Diamond Peak parking lot and the aging 72-inch Culvert which diverts Incline Creek under Diamond Peak's parking lot and School Yard run.
In each case, we have worked hard to keep these facilities intact well beyond their anticipated useful life. However, there are building code and safety issues with both the Mountain Clubhouse, its Maintenance Facility and the Administration Building, which necessitates a major renovation or replacement in the next five years.
The Culvert is in a condition where repair and replacement now will likely be much cheaper than waiting for a failure.
In the future, it will also be our goal to keep facilities in top condition for as long as possible in order to ensure the most cost effective operation possible.
By having more funds set aside for replacement and repair on an annual basis, this should help us extend the life of our facilities and keep them in a condition that provides the most value to the residents of Incline Village and Crystal Bay.
In the world of asset management, paying now is inevitably more cost effective than paying later.
We have also budgeted funds this year to update our Recreation Master Plan. This will help us identify priorities for the replacement of facilities, and also identify opportunities to modernize facilities when they are updated.
The Plan will also review opportunities for new facilities as well. We will have plenty of public meetings to get public input on the Master Plan. We look forward to your input!
"GM's Corner" is a recurring column from Incline Village General Improvement Distinct General Manager Steve Pinkerton, who will discuss issues and offer updates regarding various district matters. He may be reached for comment at firstname.lastname@example.org.