From The Blog

Annual Meeting: Association Continues to Expand Focus

Kiawah may be an island, but it does not stand-alone. During the 2010 KICA Annual Meeting, association chairman Paul Roberts stressed the importance of looking beyond our gates and establishing beneficial relationships with the Johns Island community and Charleston County as a whole. The meeting, held on Sunday, March 14, also featured the election of two new directors to the board, a vote on the proposed covenant amendment (PV-10-1) and discussion about the strategic and financial direction of KICA.

Kiawah’s Front Porch
During his three years on the board, Roberts focused a great deal of energy on issues that go beyond Kiawah Island in scope and scale, such as the construction of a greenway across Johns Island to alleviate traffic congestion and increase driver safety. “Most of us believe that a new greenway across Johns Island is key to improving safety and facilitating access,” Roberts said during his outgoing director remarks. “I believe it is also critical to preserving the character of Johns Island itself.”

Roberts continued along this point, stating the importance of Johns Island as a gateway to Kiawah. He further stressed the impact of the surrounding community on Kiawah Island. “We need to exert greater influence with both [Charleston County] and the city of Charleston to make sure that what happens on Johns Island is not detrimental to Kiawah’s future.” Roberts continued, “We should start by having a larger interest in what happens there and a larger presence in determining what happens throughout the entire region.”

Roberts suggested that Kiawah should take and inward-out approach, initially focusing on developing lasting professional relationships with areas immediately adjacent to Kiawah such as Freshfields Village, Cassique and Seabrook Island. He feels that Kiawah should even reach farther out to ally itself with other planned developments along Bohicket and River roads, as well as Maybank Highway.

“They have many of the same interests that we have, starting with improving the traffic situation on the island, but also including active participation in community planning, zoning and future commercial development,” stated Roberts. “Johns Island is our front porch. The way it looks, the way it works and lives, and the way it is developed are all important to us.”

State of the Island
Though the areas surrounding Kiawah are important to the future of the island, Roberts said that Kiawah has internal issues to deal with in the coming years. He noted that as the island continues to grow and develop, there will be additional pressure on amenities accessible to KICA members, such as the Sandcastle, meeting space, swimming pools, etc. According to Roberts, the board is well-aware of the potential need for additional amenities, and will be assessing options in years-to-come.

Roberts also commented on KICA’s financial stability: “Over time I am confident that the real estate market on Kiawah will be restored to good heath and the contributions to reserves from real estate sales will return to pre-recession levels. But we still need additional funding sources to raise the reserve fund to a level that will assure that Kiawah remains the premier residential and resort community in the nation.”

After discussing various ways that KICA could boost its reserves, Roberts ultimately advised the association to take the initiative regardless of the specific plan. “Leaving these planning decisions for others is the best way I know to lose out in the long-run. Once others are making these decisions, our future is not in our own hands.”

Kiawah is in Good Hands
In addition to discussing the strategic direction of Kiawah, Roberts thanked his fellow board members for their support. “I am impressed with their (the board’s) breadth of knowledge, their wisdom and good judgment, as well as their unselfish devotion to the affairs of the association,” said Roberts. “I hope that you will appreciate the fact that they are working for you and for the good of the island. They deserve your respect and forbearance even when you disagree with them.”

Roberts also gave special recognition to KICA board developer director Buddy Darby. “We on Kiawah are extremely fortunate to have a man with his vision, his skill and his determination guiding the development of the island.”

In addition to Chairman Roberts’s remarks, KICA board vice chair Armand Glassman had some additional comments about his board experience. (Note: Dr. Glassman was unable to attend the meeting, however his remarks were delivered by KICA Chief Operating Office Joe Bunting). Glassman thanked the board and association members for the privilege to serve for three years on the board of directors. He gave particular mention to Chairman Roberts, “Paul Roberts has guided us (the board) along this path in smooth fashion and success. Paul’s interest in and advocacy for citizen safety through his work on Johns Island roads has been outstanding and will continue.”

Financial Stability
Despite an ongoing national economic recession and an overall slowdown in the real estate market, KICA is experiencing a relative state of financial stability, according to association treasurer Paul Hilstad during the annual Treasurer’s Report at Sunday’s meeting. Hilstad commented that KICA is predicting an increase in revenues for 2010. Also, the association, as of year ending 2009, currently holds a cash and investments balance of over $9.5 million.

However, during 2010, expenses are expected to increase, while reserve levels will continue to be watched. KICA has taken a proactive approach and implemented several steps to deal with the current economic slowdown.
• Implemented an economic contingency plan
• Reduced 2009 operating expenses by $721,000
• Reduced 2009 major repairs expenses by $942,000
• Accelerated paving of Governor’s Drive, saving $164,000

Hilstad noted that all of the necessary adjustments are being made while still maintaining the high standards of excellence that define the Kiawah Island community.

Kiawah is Special
For the past several years, the KICA board has focused a majority of its attention on strategic planning, and this year is no different. Board secretary Jim Williams discussed some new developments in strategic planning for 2010. “Kiawah has changed and will continue to change, as the resort implements its vision for development; as the developer moves towards build-out; and as our community’s demographics change.” Williams continued: “If the association is to be responsive to changes in our environment and to our members’ requests, we must be willing to continue to be forward looking. We need to make sure our Strategic Plan is understood and committed to by our members.”

To meet the Strategic Plan’s need to evolve, the 2010 Strategic Planning Committee has been expanded to include four at-large members. The committee will have a facilitated visioning session in April, and is committed to expanding member input to strategic planning.” The 2010 committee consists of the seven board members; the committee chairs of Finance (Chuck Davis), Human Resources (Brendon Burke), Major Repairs (Jim McRae) and Member Appeals (Ron Hacker); and the four at-large members, Jim Chitwood, Rich Hulse, Lynn Morganstern and Steve Sotzing. New Board Officers Elected

Following the annual meeting, the new board officers were elected for 2010-2011: Kelly Bragg (chair), Marilyn Olson (vice-chair), Paul Hilstad (secretary), and Jim Williams (treasurer). A schedule of upcoming meetings for the board will be released following the April board orientation. For more information on the 2010-2011 board, including member meeting agendas and minutes (once available), visit www.kica.us.