For over 36 years, SAMLARC has cultivated a premier community that blends welcoming amenities, high-quality services, and recreational experiences. The volunteer Board of Directors is committed to guiding SAMLARC in a manner that protects the Corporation’s value, relevance, and viability. The Board oversees SAMLARC’s operations as a whole, including its financial practices, in accordance with SAMLARC’s governing documents and Civil Code Section 5600 (a).
Under the guidance of the Budget and Cash Flow Committee, the annual budget is built to address the costs associated with managing the Corporation, anticipated expenses, insurance requirements, high-quality services, and long-term success. These factors shape the annual assessment rate. As approved at the October 11, 2022 Budget Workshop, the 2023 assessment rate will be $81.00 per month, effective January 1, 2023.
Key drivers of the 2023 assessment rate include impacts from the following sectors:
SAMLARC’s largest asset is its landscape footprint, which requires careful maintenance as it ages in a worsening drought climate. In addition, the landscape industry battles labor shortages that impact wage and contract rates. SAMLARC must realistically budget for landscape management in order to protect the health of the overall landscape.
Portions of SAMLARC’s property border wildland. To mitigate the risk of wildfire and remain in compliance with mandates from the State and Orange County Fire Authority, SAMLARC is proactively modifying landscapes in high-risk areas. These projects are outside of SAMLARC’s routine landscape services, but are subject to the same industry impacts as noted above.
Water & Utility Rates
As California’s drought increases in severity, water service providers are raising rates, implementing restrictions, and cutting back on rebate programs. Though Santa Margarita Water District is exploring the feasibility of recycled water in the community, SAMLARC’s budget reflects the projected expenditures for SAMLARC’s current irrigation infrastructure. Additionally, new laws in California related to waste separation and collection have increased these service costs.
Maintaining appropriate insurance coverage for the Corporation is imperative. In mid-2022, the insurance market experienced never-before-seen premium increases for umbrella policies such as SAMLARC’s. Based on professional forecasting of market dynamics, SAMLARC has budgeted additional funding for insurance coverage in 2023.
Rising minimum wage tiers and the residual effects of COVID-19 continue to affect the availability and output of the workforce – not just at SAMLARC, but nation-wide. As SAMLARC’s service providers adjust to these impacts, many vendors must increase contract rates in order to continue providing services.
A critical component of SAMLARC’s management is reserve funding. This savings program sets aside funds to replace or enhance various assets throughout the Corporation, from parking lots to pool furniture. Thanks to proactive maintenance, vendor relationships, and strategic project execution, SAMLARC’s reserve funds are within a healthy range for a community of this size. However, continued contributions to reserves are critical to SAMLARC’s stewardship.
The Board has a fiduciary duty to the Membership to create and publish a budget that accurately portrays SAMLARC’s forecasted and contracted operational costs. Realistically examining the budget each year allows the Board to make informed decisions in guiding the community forward.
Per California Civil Code 1365, SAMLARC’s annual Member documents, including budget documents, will be available in November 2022 for Member review in the Resident Portal. Please visit SAMLARC.org/homeowners for more information.