By Matt Roy, Independent Newsmedia
An eager throng of Sun City West residents braved triple-digit temperatures to attend the Recreation Centers of Sun City West annual meeting last week.
RCSCW officials hosted the annual membership meeting June 22, nearly filling the social hall at the R.H. Johnson Recreation Center, 19803 R.H. Johnson Blvd. Officials used the three-hour event to hear public input, report on the past year’s successes and look forward to the next.
RCSCW General Manager Mike Whiting welcomed the crowd of more than 200, thanking them and presenting details of associations financial situation.
“Thank you for coming out today,” Mr. Whiting said. “This is a great turnout and I thank you for all you do for your community.”
He said RCSCW officials have planned nearly $5.6 million in capital projects for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins July 1 and runs through June 30, 2018. Despite the expense of maintaining and improving amenities and services in the community, the corporation is doing fine, he said.
“Our association has no debt. None. And we have $22 million in reserves,” Mr. Whiting said, reminding attendees the corporation’s annual budget and five-year plan are published and available on the RCSCW website, www.suncitywest.com.
He said the bulk of operating expenses goes to staffing the organization, which serves the community’s more than 27,000 residents.
“How do we spend your money? Mostly on wages and benefits. Why? Because we are a service organization,” he added.
General Services Officer Katy O’Grady oversees information technology for the corporation, among other duties. The organization has seen beneficial technological advancements this year, a trend she said will continue.
“We did introduce online voting this year and it greatly expanded turnout for the election,” Ms. O’Grady said.
The process of registering residents for online voting has opened avenues to greater use of technology to make business easier for owner-members, she said. Online statements and billing will be available and residents can start paying their annual dues online as of July 1. Any who have not yet registered for online billing may still do so, she added.
Other technological wonders on the horizon include a virtual reality program, which will enable residents – especially those whose mobility is limited – to strap on a VR visor and “participate” in a variety of exciting activities in a computer-generated visual environment. Ms. O’Grady said the first classes would start June 23 and, after the initial roll out, the program could be available to a larger audience.
Parks and rec
RCSCW Recreation Activities Manager Cindy Knowlton highlighted the success of her public events planners and volunteers and hinted at another busy year to come.
“We not only have a lot of facilities here, we have a lot of programs as well,” Ms. Knowlton said.
The organization put on 119 events over the past year, averaging more than one event every three days, she said. Planning for those events was accomplished by two full-time staff members, three part-timers and more than 80 volunteers. The organization has also focused on providing more free events for members, funded in part by proceeds from paid events.
“Our fee events help cover our free events,” she said. “Our 40th anniversary starts Feb. 15. Keep that in mind. We will have many more fun events.”
Denise Babirak, human resources and safety officer, touted the role of resident-employees in the success of the corporation, noting that half of RCSCW staff members live in the community. She said positions are available, encouraging attendees to get involved.
“If you’re interested in a job, this is the place,” she said.
Board members Bob Garrett and Tim Hurley also appealed to resident engagement, urging them to join with their committees in the coming year. Mr. Garrett’s Community Relations Committee has struggled to make quorum more than once over the past year and Mr. Hurley said his group could use some new blood as well.
“We’re looking for a few new people to join us and help with the committee’s work,” Mr. Hurley said.
Mr. Whiting expressed his appreciation for the board’s efforts, including a special thanks to those finishing their terms with the panel.
“One of the toughest things in this job is saying ‘good-bye,’” he said. “[President] Wanda Schnabel has done a tremendous job and Jim Young is greatly loved here. They can get 12 months off and then we want them back.”
Board President-Elect Peggy Robbins presented framed certificates to the two outgoing board members. Mr. Young expressed enthusiasm for the coming year, despite his departure from the group, praising the board’s members, new and old.
“As I leave the board, I feel I am leaving it in very capable hands,” Mr. Young said.
On hiatus through the heat of summer, the newly constituted board, including new members Vivien Wallis and Marion Mosley, will reconvene for the new fiscal year with a workshop meeting 9 a.m. Friday, Sept. 8 at the R.H. Johnson Recreation Center lecture hall.