The Unity Referendum

 

Perhaps the best thing that can be said of the recent failed referendum is that it was a necessary first step to get where we need to be.

Misunderstanding of those that opposed the referendum is widespread. The fact is that individuals on both sides of the vote share the desire to provide adequate funding for CSA and needed infrastructure improvements. But the details of how to achieve that are important in order reach the required 75% threshold.

We’ve always believed a referendum is the right way to fund our community. And we’ve all learned from the recent vote and the feedback regarding specific parts. So here are the core components of a financial “Unity Referendum” that should satisfy a broad consensus and bring us together:

  • Accept the financial contributions in the previous referendum of 0.75% for the Resort and the new formula for other commercial entities
  • A $150 permanent increase in the annual assessment for all RPOs
  • A $150 special assessment on RPOs for three years to fully fund infrastructure needs
  • Requiring all rental properties not owned by the Resort be subject to the weekly gate pass fee established by CSA

A referendum based on the above would pass easily. If you voted for the previous referendum you should like this one better. And if you voted against – while these terms leave much to be desired and unresolved issues – it is vastly better by providing a degree of fairness and protections missing in the previous referendum language. And it would accomplish exactly what CSA successfully sold to the community.

RPOs should be warned that other funding methods are being fast tracked in an attempt to bypass our protective covenants. One is a Special Tax District that creates a permanent new broad taxing authority which can be approved by just 50% of registered South Carolina voters only. This would certainly alienate and cause resentment among the nearly 70% of RPOs that are non-residents. This is not a solution that will heal wounds.

Sea Pines property owners should simply ask CSA to do the right thing. Present us a referendum that will pass. Let’s all come together in making that request.

 
Scare Tactics & Propaganda
 
By now most residential owners have received – if not read – the 32-page glossy brochure from CSA.  It presents a case study of what is wrong with Sea Pines governance and demonstrates the extent commercial interests have overtaken those of Residential Owners – with the active support of CSA.  They are using every means at their disposal to force their opinion on unsuspecting residential property owners (RPO’s).

The brochure offers a well-produced but one-sided argument for why RPOs should permanently raise taxes on themselves by over 50% and fund about 95% of the new spending plan they want.  But the more you know – or care – the less likely you are to support the referendum they so desperately want to pass.

Sea Pines isn’t crumbling and property values aren’t dependent upon passing this referendum.  There is plenty of time and better, more achievable ways of supporting community infrastructure needs while balancing residential and commercial interests. The solution to any financial shortfall is a referendum that is fair to RPO’s and thus has a good chance of passing.  This referendum is neither.

The referendum is unfair to RPOs and deserves to be defeated.

We encourage you to vote NO in the upcoming referendum and equally important, please ask your neighbors to do the same. 

CSA has announced it will be getting periodic vote counts and intends to make telephone calls encouraging every homeowner to vote YES through the new CSA “Get Out the Vote Committee.  Every NO vote counts. Not voting is the same as a YES vote.

In the next few days, we will provide you with additional information on why to vote NO to share with your neighbors. 
 

MESSAGE TO CSA

 

Below is a direct quote from an exchange from Alliance President Greg Morris to Charlie Miner:

"Alliance is not your enemy. You could have had our endorsement of a simple referendum for additional funding. But you refused to stand with us on even the simplest of issues -- equity of weekly gate pass collections -- which wouldn't have cost the Resort one penny or any meaningful marketing advantages. 

You had all the power and chose this course. But now it's too late.  And it's not about blame. I just hope the next set of leaders will learn from this failure and do something else."

 

CRITERIA FOR REFERENDUM APPROVAL

 

  • Equal treatment of rental properties between residential and commercial property owners
  • Enforcement of the existing covenants pertaining to gate fees and assessments
  • Financial obligations should be matched proportionally with those benefiting from the expense
  • Short-term problems should not be funded by permanent tax increases.
  • Funds are earmarked for specific use only. Unused funds are returned.
 

ALLIANCE NEEDS YOUR HELP

 With CSA making every effort to thwart our ability to reach other homeowners, we need your help. Please consider making a donation to help with postage to reach our non-resident neighbors. Every dollar helps. Thank you!

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