IVGID Policy needs some improvements

I have been studying Board Policies, Practices and the Ordinances and am finding discrepancies in language and in how reality is compared to policy.  Policies are put in place for a reason and if they need to be changed, then they should be amended to ensure accuracy and clear intent.  

Today I will focus on only one of the discrepancies related to unbuildable lots.  I think the issue of selling the unbuildable lots will resurface, so I am researching in preparation.

Policy 16.1.1 specifically calls out that unbuildable lots are excluded from the Recreation Roll (Section 1.0 item 3).  Therefore, the unbuildable lots of Bitterbrush should have never had Recreation fees associated with them.  But wait.....read on and you find language on the next page (Section 2.0 item 7) that states unbuildable parcels may be removed from the Recreation Roll following the owner's petition. Then later in Section 5 item 1, it explains how an unbuildable lot can be reinstated to the Recreation Roll.  Then there is a diagram showing this removal/reinstatement for unbuildable lots.

So how is it we have a policy that clearly states unbuildable lots are excluded from the Recreation Roll but then language about how to move them on/off the Rec Roll?  We need policies that are well written, clear, and then used for decision making.  How will this one be clarified?

Maybe what I am finding is why Mr. Guinasso is in the process of writing the completely new "IVGID code".  Maybe all of these will be replaced.  I wonder how the Board will decide how this policy is to be understood?

Highlights from the Board meeting

Our Village Voice (Facebook) did an excellent job of highlighting the meeting.  I am sharing their post.


Wednesday, June 13th IVGID BOARD MEETING Brought Some Good and Some Bad News

First, the Good News:

1. The 2017/2018 Community Services Special Revenue Fund budget was amended to reflect $850,000 of additional revenues from Diamond Peak with related expenses of $370,000. The beginning fund balance at July 1, 2017 was also increased by $484,338 due to some extra cash lying around that was not included in the original budget. Budgets every year are done about six weeks in advan...ce of the end of a fiscal year so estimates can be off. Long story short, we apparently have an extra $964,000 of additional funds over and above the budget. *Keep in mind this improvement relates only to the Operations of the recreational venues. It does not reflect any variances which might exist in the budgeted amounts and expenditures for Capital Projects. We will not get that information until sometime in August. Mother Nature has been good to us the past three years providing ample snow to make Diamond Peak successful.

2. A genuinely streamlined meeting – under two hours!

Now, the Bad News:

1. Red White and Tahoe Blue (“RWTB”) Fourth of July events have been drastically cut back. There will be no Parade, and no activities on the fields at Aspen Grove. The Lion's Club breakfast, the Rotary Club duck races and the Beer and Brats will still go forward (added by Sara Schmitz... WINE AND CHEESE AT ASPEN GROVE ON JULY 2 IS ALSO STILL ON!!!. First time a Locals' Discount ($10 off) is being offered.). Fireworks are still on hold due to Washoe County’s concerns with unresolved safety and traffic issues. On June 26th, RWTB is scheduled to appeal the County’s current refusal to provide a Fireworks Permit. We will all have to stay tuned until then.

2) The New and Improved Incline Park Ball Fields next to the Middle School will be delayed for another year. According to Brad Johnson, there were no bids received from contractors for the $1,200,000 project. IVGID will seek bids this fall for an early start of construction in May, 2019 (providing they receive an acceptable bid).

3) Although the Holman Family Bike Park’s Beginners Pump Track is complete, construction of the Advanced Pump Track is delayed until donated funding can be secured.

4) US Forest Service funding of approximately $300,000 for water system improvements to increase firefighting water flows has been cut back and will not be available this fiscal year. It is unknown what IVGID intends to do to continue the program.


June 8th Status Report

While early voting is convenient, the situation at Raley's was less than ideal.  There was a lack of privacy. After 12 days, the Registrar of Voters decided it was best not to have Trustee Horan as a poll worker. While it is legal to have an elected official as a poll worker, the Registrar of Voters indicated Trustee Horan will not be working the polls for the primary and general election. The lack of privacy at Raley's has been an issue I am hopeful will be corrected. 

Last year some of the reasons for the Parasol building purchase were concerns expressed by the GM about radon and ADA issues at the Southwood administration building. Since Chairwoman Wong's largest donors are associated with the Parasol Tahoe Community Foundation, I am concerned the Parasol building issue may resurface. Therefore, I requested all inspection reports and the radon report be provided for review.  I was told no inspection reports exist, and that the ADA audit and the radon report are privileged and therefore not viewable by the public. I was provided the newly created IVGID Privilege Log.  To my surprise, not only are these reports listed, but financial accounts are also identified as privileged and not for public view.  This to me seems inappropriate since this is a public entity.  If any of you are attorneys, I'd love your input. Click to view the IVGID Privilege Log.

As I mentioned last week, upon my arrival to meet with Mr. Eick to obtain answers to my questions related to the budget, he was unable to meet with me.  I have yet to hear from him so my questions remain.

June 1st Status Report

Kendra Wong's re-election ad in today's Tahoe Tribune, states she spearheaded legal action against Flashvote. So she gave the GM approval to spend $50K of public funds on this lawsuit without Board approval? This lawsuit first appeared before the Board when asking for an additional $25K of funding.  Chairwoman Wong was in the minority and voted to authorize the additional $25K. The Board approved settlement included updating Board Policy requiring the GM be granted Board approval before entering a lawsuit and donating $10K to "We The People" (totaling ~60$K of public funds).  The settlement did not grant IVGID possession of the personal user information citizens provided to Flashvote. This was the information IVGID sued for and was not entitled to receive. I understood this was a misjudgment by the GM.  Looks like it was spearheaded by Chairwoman Wong.

I am continuing to review the budget.  I had a meeting scheduled for today to review my questions with Mr. Eick, however he was called away.  I will highlight a few questions. 

  1. What is the driver and justification for adding 10.7 FTE's this budget year?  From July 2017 through budget year ending June 2019, the FTE is increasing by 17.3 (Over 2 budget years). What is driving this almost 7% increasing in staffing?
  2. Where is the complete Capital Improvement Project budget?  It appears it is broken into sections instead of one prioritized list.
  3. When discussing the privileges of parcel owners (page 46 of last weeks board packet), it states each parcel paying fees can have up to 5 cards. If doesn't mention the ability to request "extended family" cards valid for 1 year for $166. It also states revenue is recognized when punch cards are used, however charges to users are classified as revenue upon receipt of the Facility Fee payment with our taxes. I would like to understand this better. 

May 25th Status Report

The highlight of the week was the IVGID Board meeting where the fiscal year 2018-2019 operating and capital improvement project budgets, the collection of the recreation and beach facility fees, and Central Services Cost Allocation transfers were all approved with a 3-2 split. 

I identified discrepancies between the Utility Rate Study budget approved in April and the proposed 2018/2019 Utility Fund budget and reached out for answers. I learned the Utility Rate Study budget included only revenues and expenses for water and sewer, while the 2018/2019 Utility Fund budget also included sanitation services (trash) expenses. As a result, the 2018/2019 Utility Fund budget had additional expenses of $673,080. What remains unanswered is where the District reported revenues related to the Waste Management franchise fee. Another unresolved difference is the $207,240 cost of insurance in the approved Utility Rate Study budget yet missing from the 2018/2019 Utility Fund budget. While I focused my review on analyzing the Utility Fund budget, others identified additional anomalies in the District's Community Services and Beach Fund operating budgets. I would have preferred everyone had a few more days to review analyze all of the Budget documents to ensure the budget is complete and accurate before the Board approved it on a 3-2 split vote.      

The Board unanimously approved the Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) for Red, White and Tahoe Blue.

Also on the addenda was approval of $3.7M for the Diamond Peak culvert project. The construction project contract was made available for review only ONE day before the meeting.  I enlisted the assistance of a citizen with extensive large construction contract experience and asked for his expert review. He recommended a number of changes be made to the contract to protect the District and our public funds.  I'm not sure if changes will be considered since the Board approved the agenda item.  I had written the Board and GM Pinkerton with my request that this almost $4M contract be reviewed by a construction contract expert prior to approval.  I didn't receive a response. My concerns rests with the Board being pressured to make quick decisions without expert legal opinions and thorough analysis.

This was the third meeting which staff chose to exclude public correspondence from the Board packets, ignoring the direction from the Board. 

May 18th Status Report

Next week's Board meeting has a large, important agenda.  Missing from the agenda and requested by Chairwoman Wong as a General Business item, is the matter of public correspondence being excluded from the publically available Board packets. Instead this item is addressed as a verbal status report by Mr. Guinasso.  Once again, Staff is not taking direction from the Board and this is being accepted by Chairwoman Wong.

Also, on the agenda is the fiscal year 2018-2019 operating and capital improvement project budgets, the collection of the recreation and beach facility fees, and Central Services Cost Allocation.  Other agenda items include the Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) for Red, White and Tahoe Blue, and the approval of $3.7M for the culvert project.  No contract is provided for Board or public review.  The Board is being asked, once again, to relinquish contract review to Mr. Guinasso and Staff. Counsel Guinasso has no construction contract legal experience.  This is close to a $4m contract, wouldn't review by an expert be prudent?  In addition, the Board is being asked to authorize Staff to execute all change orders related to the contract. This approach could allow Staff to exceed budget without Board approval.  The Board is also being asked to authorize Staff to expand the scope of work and expend an additional $160K for design and construction inspection services without the opportunity to review the scope of work or the contract.  Why is Staff asking the Board to relinquish financial and contract review? With this approach, how will the Board exercise oversight?  What purpose is the Board fulfilling? 

This is another Board packet whereby staff has excluded public correspondence received by the District.  This contradicts the Board's direction. I will be reviewing the Board packet in detail before the meeting on Wednesday.  You too, can view the Board Packet.

At the May 9th Board meeting, no contracts or scopes of work were provided for the 3 agenda items whereby the Board approved over $700K of spending.  I have requested these contracts and scopes of work which I am currently reviewing. 

I will keep you informed

Asking questions that should be EASILY answered... We DESERVE financial transparency.

I've been working to understand the basics of our district finances.  They are simple questions to answer, yet they've gone unanwered for weeks.  Here are my questions:

1.  What was the total district expenditure on legal fees and retainers in 2017?

2. What is the current balance of the Effluent Pipeline reserve?  Who is managing the funds, where are they invested and what is their rate of return compared to the industry benchmark?

3. What is the district total indebtedness?