From The Blog

Annual Meeting: Learn from the Past, Look to the Future

The past can be a great teacher, but success lies in the future. During the 2012 Kiawah Island Community Association (KICA) Annual Meeting, board Chair Craig Weaver stressed that the association is looking forward in 2012. With a strategic plan in place, the board is driving forward and pro-actively taking action to achieve two primary goals: to consistently improve property values and to preserve the Kiawah brand.

The meeting, held on Sunday, March 11, also featured the election of two new member directors, Susan Schaffer and David Schoenholz, and discussion about the strategic and financial directions of KICA.

A Leader in the Community
According to Chair Weaver, KICA should be a leader in the community, both on-island and beyond. “Inside the gate, this requires building strong partnerships between KICA and the town, the developer, the resort, and other groups like the conservancy. This won’t happen by chance, and KICA is committed to taking on this leadership role,” said Weaver.

This role expands past the gate and into the greater Charleston area. According to Weaver, KICA will “continue to fight for safe and sane roads on Johns Island. We will continue to build relationships with other communities for our common benefit. And we are working to have a seat at the table for political decisions.”

Community Revitalization
Part of improving property values and preserving the Kiawah brand involves not just maintaining what we have, but improving on the island as a whole. Two continuing initiatives in place to achieve this goal include a close look at the amenities and services provided on Kiawah and the revitalization of the West Beach area.

The association is committing a great deal of time, thought and research to determine what sort of health, recreational, educational, social and cultural opportunities premier communities offer, what Kiawah currently offers (by any provider, not just KICA), what the island may need now and in the future, and what KICA’s role should be in providing these needs. The Amenities and Services Task Force is working to answer some of these questions. The board expects to present a thoughtful and concrete proposal to members around this time next year.

KICA will also continue revitalization efforts in Kiawah’s aging West Beach neighborhoods. In 2011, KICA launched the West Beach: Looking to the Future Task Force. The task force began with a survey of the West Beach owners to understand current perceptions and future expectations, has since progressed quickly into the planning stages and action stages.

KICA is taking the lead by initiating an $85,000 landscape demonstration project in West Beach that will exhibit the potential for positive change for both individual and neighborhood improvements. The task force proposed a phased improvement strategy that includes enhancements of landscape, graphics, lighting and the trail system along Kiawah Beach Drive, the Straw Market, and key intersections in the West Beach community. Although the visual impact will be seen in West Beach, the ultimate intention of the project is to benefit the entire island by strengthening property values throughout.

For more information on the West Beach revitalization project, including the latest information on the West Beach Demonstration Project, visit www.kica.us (KICA A-Z/West Beach).

Financial Stability
In a time of economic instability “KICA continues to be one of the most financially well-off community associations in the nation,” remarked Weaver. KICA is fortunate to have an incredibly experienced Finance Committee, staff and member base that is able and willing to support the community and the association.

Days before the meeting, KICA received an unqualified or “clean” report from it financial auditors. This is the best type of report a company may receive from an external auditor. Also KICA did not receive a management letter, which is a letter that represents the auditors concerns and suggestions noted during the audit. This is great news for KICA and further represents the association’s exceptional financial status.

Stability ensured, the association did learn a lesson in 2011 regarding Contributions to Reserves (CTR), a fee paid by the purchaser on every real estate transaction and thus heavily dependent upon a robust market.

KICA Treasurer John Connolly reported that signs of an improving real estate market in 2010 led KICA to budget CTRs optimistically for 2011. While CTRs were positive at just over $1 million, additional anticipated sales did not materialize, ending $468,000 short of budget. As a result, KICA has taken a more conservative approach to the budgeted CTR for 2012. Real estate projections for 2012 again look positive, and the coming Senior PGA Championship is anticipated to positively effect sales.

Board Elections
During the meeting, two new member directors were elected, Susan Schaffer and David Schoenholz. Following the annual meeting, board officers were approved at a brief board meeting:

Chair: Craig Weaver
Vice-Chair: Dan Hubband
Secretary: Joan Avioli
Treasurer: David Schoenholz

KICA would also like to recognize the two outgoing directors, Marilyn Olson and Paul Hilstad, and thank them for their hard work and dedication during their time of the board. Marilyn was one of the driving forces behind the West Beach Revitalization Project and continues to be heavily involved in the community. As the former chair of the Strategic Planning and Execution Committee, Paul was a key component in the board’s transition from the planning stages of the Strategic Plan, to the actual implementation of the plan. Both directors will be greatly missed.