Opinion: IVGID’s Steve Pinkerton gets a D grade — for Deceit
Special to the Bonanza
Mr. Pinkerton should receive a D grade (for Deceit) with regard to his recent Bonanza column — “The differences between IVGID and Truckee” — on IVGID services and costs for sewer and recreation compared to other allegedly similar providers.
Once again, Mr. Pinkerton uses his GM Corner to spread propaganda. He has become so notorious for his deceptive columns, he has garnered the name of “Pinkerspin” among the more informed members of the community.
Over the years, IVGID GMs have made similar comparisons to Tahoe Donner, in an attempt to demonstrate their own superior management skills. Although there are some similarities, the differences make any comparison inherently flawed. For example:
Tahoe Donner is a homeowner’s association, not a government agency, and provides other services (like architectural review) that have nothing to do with recreation but are included in the annual fee.
$826 of Tahoe Donner’s annual fee goes to capital reserves. IVGID has no separate fund for capital reserves and has been using its so-called reserves to subsidize operations.
Tahoe Donner HOA receives no property tax nor c-tax revenue.
Tahoe Donner’s Marina, Rec Center, Tennis Center and 68 miles of trails are all private.
There are provisions in the HOA covenants to limit use of even the public HOA amenities.
The HOA is required to charge sales taxes to its customers, so all of its taxable sales have to compete with IVGID’s tax-free offerings.
The HOA has to pay taxes on its equipment and goods, whereas IVGID is tax exempt.
Pinkerton’s comparison is even worse. The difference in the Rec Fee and the HOA assessment wasn’t enough, so he apparently decided to mix in selected property taxes to come up with a bigger number.
He compares the amount of property taxes and rec fees we pay “to support” sewer and recreation to the taxes and HOA assessments of a Tahoe Donner homeowner.
This is such an obvious attempt to work the numbers and confuse the public when you consider:
Mr. Pinkerton’s comparison doesn’t include user fees, so we don’t have the full picture.
He discusses how our rec fee hasn’t gone up in 5 years. He fails to mention that several bonds were paid off during that period, yet the rec fee that was raised to specifically to cover those bond payments did not go down!
He makes note that Tahoe Donner’s HOA assessment went up 70% in the last 10 years. But does he point out that our rec fee went up over 300 percent between 1998 and 2008 when homeowners finally had enough?
And just wait until IVGID starts trying to bond for the planned $50 million of improvements over the next 5 years. Do you think the Rec Fee will remain the same?
Is this a fair comparison? It’s like comparing apples to rutabagas.
His claim that IVGID homeowners pay $1,000 “to support” the same services for which Tahoe Donner owners pay $2,650 is absurd.
Even if I agreed they were the same services (which I don’t), without telling us the various user fees required to actually receive any services, how can he dare make his self-aggrandizing claim that IVGID’s budget numbers are superior?
Putting all that aside, look at what homeowners in Tahoe Donner receive if they opt to pay a mere $250 “rec fee” in addition to the $1,900 HOA assessment.
For $2,150, the owner receives 4 cards for unlimited free access to private amenities: a marina, a recreation center and tennis center (plus a network of 68 miles of private trails).
Here in IVGID, the only technically “private” amenities are the beaches. We have to pay more for most other venues, and they are all open to the public.
For example, to get unlimited access to Tennis and the Rec Center similar to what a Tahoe Donner family gets for $2,150, a family of four with IVGID picture pass has to pay an annual rec fee of $830 — plus $970 (annual pass-holder family rate) for access to a public rec center and $700 (annual pass-holder full season family rate) for the public tennis center. That totals $2,500.
I still prefer to live here in Incline Village (we have the incomparable Lake Tahoe), but certainly not because of Mr. Pinkerton’s numbers games. They don’t compute.
It may not be easy to find anything comparable to IVGID, so instead of trying to deceive the public with flawed comparisons, why not provide clear, complete, and honest financials (see bit.ly/24R3c2t for a great example) that not only give the Board and the public the true cost of providing services, but will help them decide what changes need to occur in future budgets.
Judith Miller is an Incline Village resident and a member of the Incline Village/Crystal Bay Citizens Advisory Board. She may be reached for comment at email@example.com.
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