IVGID GM’s Corner: Thankful for a wonderful community
November 25, 2016
All of us who get to live in this wonderful environment certainly have a lot to be thankful for.
I'm very thankful to have a great staff that is dedicated to providing the best public service possible for all of our residents.
I say that because I think it is important to emphasize that IVGID is a government entity and in the business of providing service, not profits to its citizens.
As a lifelong civil servant, I'm well aware of the need to gauge the service we provide at a level that is consistent with the demands of the public, and it is my duty to deliver that service as cost-effectively as possible.
I've written about this subject before, but I think it is worth dedicating a column once a year to this concept of service-delivery.
The bundle of services we provide here at IVGID are a combination of must-haves, such as utilities, and nice-to-haves such as parks, open space and recreation. It wasn't IVGID that requested that we provide those nice-to-haves — it was the community.
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When the private sector wanted to sell off our beaches, they convinced IVGID to take on this responsibility. In fact, the original Facilities Fee was created in order to finance and maintain our beaches.
When the private sector was not operating our local golf courses and ski area at a level commensurate with the values of our community, IVGID purchased these venues at the behest of the community. The Facilities Fee became the vehicle to purchase and operate these venues at a level desired by the community.
When the community had the opportunity to leverage county funds to build a Recreation Center, after considerable community dialogue, IVGID agreed to take on the responsibility.
The ongoing operation of our venues has always been a compromise between running venues cost-effectively and operating venues in a manner consistent with the values of the community.
For example, the 1986 Master Plan for Diamond Peak along with later studies identified the need for an expanded Main Lodge and improved facilities for ski rentals and ski lessons.
If Diamond Peak were a purely for-profit operation, those improvements would have been built in the early 1990s instead of 2008-2010. Instead most of the improvements over that 20-year period were focused on amenities important to the local residents, such as new chairlifts and enhanced snowmaking.
In fact, most of our direct competitors were out of business for much of the drought due to their lack on snowmaking capacity.
The ski area also provides residents with lift ticket rates that are the lowest in the region. Despite these constraints to "operating like a business", Diamond Peak consistently outperforms every other small ski area in the Pacific West.
For much of the past twenty years, our Championship Golf Course has attempted to balance the desires of our local golfers — who want high service at a low cost — with the need to have adequate tee times for those willing to pay market rate. I'm very proud of the fact that we've managed to strike a healthy balance between these two competing interests.
With cooperation and support from our local golf clubs, our course requires nominal support from our Facilities Fee and was recently ranked 19th in the country for customer service and golfer experience. I seriously doubt we would be ranked among the top one percent of golf courses in the country if profit was our sole motive for operation.
Whether you are a golfer, a skier, a snowboarder, a swimmer, an occasional user of the Rec Center, beaches or any number of our other recreational programs and activities, I listen very carefully to you.
The vast majority of residents cherish our unique ability to cost-effectively maintain community-owned facilities and programs. I've had citizens note that they pay well over $1000 per year, just for one week's use of their timeshare at the Hyatt. They find our Facilities Fee an incredible bargain.
Tahoe Donner's fee is more than double what IVGID owners pay.
As one citizen wrote to me: "I use our beaches and golf courses, but I think I should support all the other venues, just like I pay taxes to support state and national parks, beaches, etc. It is a quality of life issue."
Yes, we have much to be thankful for this week. For my part, I am thankful to be part of this extraordinary community while working with great people.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!
"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.
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