Did you know you can pay your Tropical Storm Irma Supplemental Assessment online for no additional fee? Payment for this assessment is securely processed by Payment Service Network (PSN).
A statement for this supplemental assessment was mailed to property owners on Friday, Oct. 6. Payments are due within 30 days.
In the required “Client ID” field, enter the “Customer ID” number (C-*****), which is located at the top right of your statement.
Working to clean up and restore the island following Tropical Storm Irma, KICA staff has heard and seen a number of comments about the restoration of Internet and cable service. Members who have service with Comcast are encouraged to contact KICA’s livability director, Ed Monahan, at 843-708-3611 if they are having service issues that aren’t being resolved.
Several years ago, KICA learned that Comcast did not have a right-of-access agreement with the association to operate on Kiawah. (Their equipment is located on and in KICA rights-of-way, and in order to remain there, they needed permission.) Armed with this information, KICA had leverage and the opportunity to seek proposals from various competitors to determine whether better options were available to our community. Comcast was invited to submit a proposal. (As an aside, AT&T did receive an easement over KICA rights-of-way at the onset of development, as the ability to connect a property to the 911 system is prerequisite for development activity.)
KICA talked to several competitors who were willing to provide services on the island, but they wanted exclusive bulk cable and internet contracts. Some members who have lived in condos or apartments may be familiar with this type of arrangement. The provider gives a below market rate, but everyone is required to subscribe, and everyone gets the same service. Comcast made several offers, including a very attractive bulk contract. However, we wanted no part of determining which option was best for each of our individual members, whose needs and desires are diverse.
Instead of a bulk contract, KICA negotiated an agreement with Comcast that provides several key components. First, both parties agreed to some minimal service standards. Some simple but annoying things are no longer allowed, like temporary cable being left above ground for an extended period of time. Service calls are handled within an agreed upon time frame. Most importantly, KICA required a dedicated account representative who could be personally responsible for troubleshooting service issues that aren’t handled appropriately through normal channels. Comcast is the only one contractually obligated to KICA. This Comcast representative interacts with Ed Monahan on an almost daily basis, and those who’ve tapped Ed as a resource have provided very positive feedback.
In exchange for access to its easements, the community receives compensation. At the original execution, KICA received a lump sum of nearly $1 million and continues to receive compensation on a revenue share formula, which increases based on the number of on-island subscribers. This amount has totaled around $150,000 per year for the last couple of years. These two sources of funds are playing a significant role in the ability to upgrade the Sandcastle without a member assessment.
Members who want to learn more about the services that Comcast provides are encouraged to stop by the XFINITY Experience pop-up in the Sandcastle parking lot on Friday, Sept. 29. A representative will be there to demonstrate XFINITY’s features. There will also be snacks, raffles and giveaways.
Dear Fellow KICA Member,
For the third straight fall, our community faces a natural disaster-related clean up. Thankfully, the storm shifted west from its original projected track and we missed the worst of it. Those in Texas who are still reeling from Hurricane Harvey, as well as the people who took direct hits from Irma, face restoration and recovery far worse than anything here on Kiawah.
Despite our good fortune, winds were strong, rain was heavy, and the biggest storm surge since Hurricane Hugo in 1989 flowed back and forth across much of the island. As a result, Kiawah experienced meaningful damage. Some damage was much worse than Matthew, especially the roads, while other things fared better this time. The surge caused major damage to some roads, leisure trails, and our boardwalks. Our KICA team began clean up and repairs the moment the storm passed, and on behalf of the board and all of you, I extend our appreciation for their hard work and commitment to the community. It’s also been heartwarming to see the community spirit of members-helping-members over the last few days.
The KICA Board of Directors held a special meeting yesterday for the sole purpose of discussing storm recovery. Staff reviewed their initial damage assessment, as well as very preliminary estimates on cost. The board then discussed and reaffirmed KICA’s Named Storm Policy, which calls for an assessment of members to cover these unbudgeted expenses. As a reminder, KICA develops reserves to replace roads, bridges, boardwalks, and other infrastructure based on reasonable projections of expected useful life, however we do not have a reserve for natural disasters. Therefore, when material costs are incurred for storm clean-up, they must be recouped by a supplemental assessment.
While we don’t have final costs yet, we expect the amount to be similar to last year’s assessment for Hurricane Matthew, which was $250/improved residential property (commercial entities such as the resort pay substantially more). Final costs and the amount of the assessment are expected by the end of next week, and will be billed on Oct. 1.
Chairman of the Board
Kiawah Island Community Association
Join KICA and the Kiawah Conservancy for a community Q&A session at the Sandcastle on Thursday, Aug. 24 at 2 p.m.
Ways to View the Q&A
-In person at the Sandcastle
-Via Live Stream – Visit kica.us/livestream at the start of the meeting. The page will display all KICA videos, with this session first, marked “LIVE NOW” in red. Just click that display to join.
-Watch a Replay – A replay of the session will be available immediately following the meeting at kica.us/livestream.
Livestreaming allows you to listen live to the session, and is not interactive. However, if after reviewing the detailed materials and FAQs you still have questions, you may email them to email@example.com.
Proposal materials, including maps of the properties in question, a message from the chair and updated FAQs, are available for review at kica.us/parceltrade.
Information and ballot packets were mailed and emailed last week to all primary members. If you have not previously voted, you may vote in one of the following ways:
–Mailed Ballot – USPS mail was postmarked Aug. 14, though some locations are just now seeing delivery. If by the end of the week you have not received a packet, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
–Online Voting – An email with personalized voting codes was sent on Aug. 15 to all primary household email addresses on file with our office. If you have not received an email, please check your spam/junk folder or with other email holders in your household. The email subject is 2017 Kiawah Island Community Association Property Vote Ballot Link, and it was sent from email@example.com. To have an email resent or to update your email address contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
–In-person or by proxy – At the Sept. 22 special meeting
Because quorum is required to conduct the vote, online voting is preferred and encouraged. Online and phone voting are open until 5 p.m. on Sept. 13. At this time, proxy voters will be contacted to cast the votes assigned to them. All other voting after this date must be done in-person at the Sept. 22 meeting.
Please note that the Vote-Now ballots are anonymous and cannot be responded to. If you have a question/comment, or are the primary member of a property and haven’t received your email or ballot, contact Holly Newman at email@example.com.
Our community is made up of a diverse group of homeowners. Association members range from full- to part-time residents, single family owners to condo and villa owners, club members to non-club members, renters to regime owners, etc. Regardless, we are all members of KICA, and if our board of directors reflects our community, it will be better positioned to understand the different perspectives that exist among our membership.
The KICA Nominating Committee was formed for this very reason, to help build and maintain a board with the skill and diversity to provide effective governance for the community. The committee, consisting of a small group of volunteer members, works with the board and chief operating officer to evaluate the most important candidate qualifications and characteristics needed for incoming board members .
All interested members are urged to attend an informational session after the regularly scheduled board of directors meeting in September (NOTE that this meeting has been postponed due to potential impacts from Hurricane Irma). The board meeting begins at 1 p.m. and the information session will begin directly following. (The brief presentation and Q&A portion of the program will be available on the KICA website after the meeting.)
Any member may run for board service by submitting an application package, which includes background information and a statement of focus. These statements will be published along with other election materials. To view the board application and to learn more about board service, visit kica.us/about/board. The application deadline for all candidates is Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017. For specific filing details or to obtain application materials and assistance with completing the process, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Diverse board leadership is vital to the continued success of our Kiawah community, and the board thanks you for your interest in making an impact on the future of the island.
KICA Nominating Committee
Lynn Morgenstern, Chair
KICA has been presented with a unique opportunity to gain important land, for both KICA and the Kiawah Conservancy, at no cost, in an exchange with Kiawah Partners.
Such an exchange requires a vote of the membership at a meeting, which KICA will hold on Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, at 3 p.m. at the Sandcastle.
Information and ballot packets were mailed from Vote-Now by USPS on Aug. 14 to all primary members. Vote-Now is KICA’s independent voting service which has conducted our annual meeting votes the past several years.
On Aug. 15, Vote-Now also emailed primary members who have a valid email address on file, with specifics about the proposal and information on how to vote, including registration codes. If you are a primary member, have a valid email address on file and did not receive the email, please first check your spam folder for an email from Vote-Now.
When you receive your information, you may vote online, by phone, or live or by proxy at the special meeting if you have not previously voted. Because quorum is required to conduct the vote, online voting is preferred and encouraged.
Please note you cannot vote until you receive either the email or the USPS packet from Vote-Now, since you will need your personalized voting codes. However, you can review the materials online at kica.us/parceltrade.
After you have received and reviewed the materials, please contact KICA with questions. Voting will be open until 5 p.m. on Sept 13.
Primary members are the designated members who receive votes when a property is owned by more than one person. Non-primary members may receive informational emails from KICA but will not receive emails from Vote-Now or a ballot package by mail. If you are the primary member of a property and haven’t received your email by Aug. 15, contact Holly Newman at email@example.com.
If you see vehicles shining lights into ponds around the island over the next two nights, don’t be alarmed! On Monday, July 24 and Tuesday, July 25 from 9 p.m. – 12 a.m., Town of Kiawah Island and KICA biologists will be performing alligator spotlight surveys. Members may notice town or KICA vehicles behind their homes shining spotlights into the ponds during these hours. During these surveys, biologists shine spotlights into Kiawah ponds. The light reflects off of alligators’ eyes, giving the biologists a count of the approximate number of alligators in each pond.
If another hurricane strikes South Carolina, Rep. Mark Sanford wants residents in private communities and neighborhoods with homeowners associations to be eligible for help cleaning up debris.
Congressman Sanford introduced a bill in early July – the Disaster Assistance Equity Act – that would allow common interest communities – neighborhoods, condominium complexes, and cooperatives that share amenities and infrastructure typically owned by an homeowners association (HOA) – to receive Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) aid following a natural disaster.
“I find it strange that FEMA treats the 70 million Americans who live in common interest communities differently than it does those who live in other types of communities,” said Congressman Sanford. “In my experience, storms don’t discriminate between different kinds of communities. As such, it seems to me that FEMA should treat them all equally when it comes to the assistance available in the wake of a disaster. The simple aim of the bill is to treat taxpayers the same.”
Under current guidelines, Kiawah, like other HOA’s throughout the country, is not eligible for FEMA assistance following a natural disaster (i.e. hurricane, fire, earthquake, etc.). KICA COO Jimmy Bailey believes this should change and supports this proposed bill as a step in the right direction.
“Residents in private communities or neighborhoods with homeowners associations are citizens who pay the same federal taxes as everyone else. This is an issue of equity.”
Sanford’s bill is cosponsored by a bipartisan group of New York congressmen: Democrats Jerry Nadler and Eliot Engel, and Republicans Peter King and Lee Zeldin.
The Disaster Assistance Equity Act has been referred to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure for discussion and a recommendation.
“I urge association members around the country to contact their elected officials expressing their support of this bill,” said Bailey. “We were lucky that Hurricane Matthew resulted in only a modest supplemental assessment for clean-up and repair, but a bigger storm could create a huge financial burden. Fixing this flaw in the current guidelines would prevent that from happening.”
KICA operates under a Policy Governance Model, which is critical for a community that has a constantly rotating, volunteer board. Policy Governance is intended to provide the board, staff and community clear understanding of who does what, along with philosophical continuity from one board to the next. Any board can change a policy, but it can’t ignore an existing policy. With effective policies in place, all stakeholders should know what to expect, unless a policy is changed. Thus, to change direction, a majority of board members must vote to rescind the existing policy.
Over the last few months, the Finance Committee and the Board of Directors have discussed the creation of a Debt Policy. As the association doesn’t currently have such a policy, the board wants to formalize its debt philosophy so the community will know what to expect if the association ever considers borrowing to fund expenditures. After several iterations, a conceptual policy was approved by the board as presented below (along with a brief explanation of financial terms, as well as some of the beliefs and assumptions that were considered during policy development). However, before final adoption, community input is being sought on the substance of the policy, and can be shared by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org by Sept. 16. A report on feedback will be shared at the regularly scheduled Sept. 11 board meeting.
KICA’s debt policy will comply with the following principles:
– KICA may use debt for four main purposes: (i) to fund seasonal cash flow needs; (ii) to fund projects that KICA fully insures against natural disasters; (iii) to fund projects that cannot be insured against natural disasters: (iv) uninsured cleanup and major repairs and replacements following a natural disaster.
– Type (i) loans must be repaid within one year; type (ii) loans must be repaid in equal installments over the shorter of the useful life of the project or 15 years; type (iii) and type (iv) loans must be repaid in equal installments over no more than five years.
– Before drawing down any type (ii), (iii) and (iv) loans, the COO must provide the board a schedule which includes the source of funds for repayment, showing that sufficient funds will be available from this source to repay the loans as required by the repayment schedule.
– Type (i) loans may be executed without notifying the members, but any type (ii), (iii) or (iv) loan will require an advance communication to all members, including the purpose, the amount, the funding source, the key terms, the primary sources of funds for repayment, and the repayment schedule.
– With the exception of unplanned borrowings for type (iv) loans, the maximum outstanding total debt will not exceed the prior year’s revenue derived from Annual Assessments.
Type (i) loans are to cover needs related to seasonal spending and income patterns. This type of need could occur because most revenue comes all at once when annual dues are paid, while many expenses are spread evenly through the year, and others may come in large, sometimes unpredictable chunks at different points during the year.
KICA can obtain cost effective insurance for some assets, like buildings, but cannot for other assets, like beach boardwalks or docks at Rhett’s Bluff. If we borrow money to pay for uninsurable assets (type iii loans), it is important to repay these loans relatively quickly, to limit the risk of having to borrow to replace the asset while the original loan remains outstanding. Repayment for loans for insurable assets (type ii loans) can be stretched longer. This is because the cost of storm damage would be covered by insurance, thus we would never have the situation where the debt exceeded the value of the asset.
If a major storm does serious damage to KICA’s uninsured assets (roads, bike paths, docks, boardwalks, etc.) we need to be able to borrow money to replace the assets – type (iv) loans. The amount of these loans should not be limited, as we need to have flexibility to replace whatever is damaged. However, these loans must be repaid relatively quickly, as another storm could damage these assets. The goal of these loans is to spread the cost of a storm over a few years, if the board decides this is better than an assessment to cover the damage all in one year.
The debt principles are geared to provide KICA with the tools to fund its operations and projects, while maintaining sufficient borrowing capacity to fund uninsured storm damage, and provide reasonable borrowing limitations and accountability to members.
KICA has a $2.5 million line of credit to provide liquidity if needed, though it has never been advanced.
The board’s borrowing authority is limited only by the policies of organizations that would consider making loans to KICA. This limitation is generally a function of excess cash generated by KICA after collecting current revenues and covering current costs. Based on 2017 annual cash flows, KICA’s current borrowing capacity is probably less than $5 million.
KICA can increase its borrowing capacity without a member vote by increasing the annual KICA assessments to the maximum available under our existing restrictions. This would currently deliver about $300/year per KICA member (approximately $1.25 million/year) adding almost $9 million to our borrowing capacity.
Borrowing capacity can be increased further if members vote to allow a dues increase beyond the current maximum. For example, the board could generate approximately $30 million of total borrowing capacity if members voted to allow an additional $1,000/year in KICA annual assessment.
KICA’s debt capacity is limited by its cash flow, which is limited by its ability to raise annual fees more than about $300 more per year without a member vote. Because Kiawah is a barrier island with the constant risk of uninsured storm damage, we remain at risk of an unexpected funding need that exceeds our ability to fund via a one-time assessment of members. It is important to limit borrowings to provide sufficient unused borrowing capacity for storm damage. This will allow us to borrow to fund the uninsured repair and replacement costs and allow us to collect from homeowners over several years to minimize the burden to our members.