2020 Member Survey—More Results

Again, a big thank you to everyone who took the time to complete the member survey. It was great to get 697 responses (forty-five percent of our homeowners). Last month, I reviewed many of the results related to our members’ make-up and the general sentiment regarding our Association and its services, facilities, and amenities. Now let’s dig into some specifics.

First, we asked if you felt the elected Board of Directors strives to serve our community’s best interests as a whole. While the vast majority were neutral or agreed (some strongly) that the Board of Directors does strive to serve our community’s best interests, 147 disagreed (some strongly). Suffice to say, there’s room for improvement here, and this Board is committed to doing even better in serving your best interests and increasing our level of transparency and communication with homeowners:

Q16: Do you feel the members of the elected Board of Directors strive to serve the best interests of our community as a whole?

On that front, a good majority of you (62%) voiced your concerns that our quarterly assessments fees are too high. Only 5% stated that they felt fees were too low (32% thought they were just right).

Setting appropriate fees is a challenging issue—striking a balance between necessary costs and investment to maintain and enhance all that we enjoy owning/living in the Tahoe Keys while keeping annual increases in fees to a minimum. While both second-home owners and full-time residents felt the same about assessment fees, townhome/cove homeowners tended to skew to feeling fees are too high (73%) versus single-family homeowners (59%). This skew is understandable since some of our Coves have quarterly assessments over $2800 (compared to $735 for single-family homes):

Q20: Do you feel the quarterly assessment of $735 for 2021 is too much, just right, or too little?

We were curious whether those that felt the assessments fees were too high would still feel this if they understood that $183 of the $735 assessment fee was for our Water Company that provides all our water. Even taking this into account, 300 (75%) homeowners still felt fees were too high:

Q21: When you consider that $183 of the $735 quarterly assessment is for our Water Company that provides all your water do you still feel it is too much?

So it seems fair to say that most homeowners either feel fees are too high or just right. As we start work on the budget for next year, the Board, Finance Committee, and Staff will need to take this to heart and work to limit the necessary increases in assessment fees for 2022. Labor and service costs go up year-over-year as a matter of course, and we are faced with some pressing issues (our Water Company and the fight against the aquatic weeds, to name two), so there is a headwind against us at the moment.

Next, we wanted to see if our members would be willing to pay higher assessment fees if it meant that we could improve our services, facilities, and amenities. While 193 (31%) would be willing to pay more, the vast majority, 431 (69%), felt fees were already too high, or just right:

Q28: Would you be willing to pay higher quarterly assessment fees in the future if it meant we could improve our services, facilities, and amenities?

Interestingly, single-family homeowners and full-time residents were more inclined to pay higher fees. Second-home owners skewed more to feeling that fees and amenities were just right.

What strikes me is that many homeowners would like to invest more in our Association, and it behooves us to find ways they can do that without forcing increased assessment fees on everyone. To that end, the Board recently appointed new committee members to the Tahoe Keys Waterways Restoration Fund, a 501(c)(3). A year ago, the Board approved setting up this fund to work with our Water Quality Committee to identify projects that homeowners may want to fund through charitable donations to help tackle the challenges we face with our lagoons and the invasive weeds. More on this through the year.

Another possible contention for members is the numerous operating rules and regulations that come with being part of a property owners association. It was gratifying to see that many (48%) of you feel that our rules and enforcement improve owning/living in the Tahoe Keys. Although just as many feel they make no difference, or even worse, detract from owning/living here:

Q13: Do the “rules” of the Association improve, detract, or make no difference to owning/living in the Tahoe Keys?

When asked specifically about our architectural rules and enforcement, 50% felt it improves owning/living in the Tahoe Keys:

Q14: Do the Architectural Control Rules and their enforcement, improve, detract, or make no difference to owning/living in the Tahoe Keys?

Although 163 (25%) homeowners felt the rules and their enforcement detracts from living/owning here. Our Architectural Control Committee members and Architectural Control Department staff are the enforcement arm of the Association in many ways, and no one likes being told what they can and can’t do. Yet, our rules and enforcement help maintain the high standards we all enjoy and benefit from owning/living in the Tahoe Keys. That said, perhaps there is work to be done to minimize the number of rules, to be even fairer in their enforcement, and to endeavor to put homeowners’ wishes first wherever possible.

To that end, it is clear that many of you (314) feel the various fees we charge for applications to the architectural department (that range from $25 to $500) are too high:

Q15: Do you feel the ACC application fees for all exterior improvements are too much, just right, or too little?

I believe that over the years, these fees have been increased during various budgeting cycles. As part of our budget planning for 2022, we will look at the impact of normalizing the different fees so as not to penalize those homeowners who are investing in improving their properties.

On a fun topic, I was pretty surprised at the number of homeowners that expressed interest in volunteering to serve on one of our committees or even to help operationally across our various departments:

Q29: Would you be interested in volunteering?

Of course, the rubber will hit the road when we reach out to those of you that indicated you’d like to volunteer and provided an email address…don’t let us down now.

The Board and our General Manager will be discussing the possibility of leveraging volunteers beyond our usual committees. It might be a way to supplement our staffing levels or possibly reduce costs in some areas. Of course, this is as yet unproven. Still, I believe Greg Hoover (Water Quality Manager) will try experimenting with a volunteer program to help crew our skimmer boats this coming season. And, given the number of you interested in serving on our committees, we’ll see if we can create more opportunities for you to step in this year.

Now to the final question, how likely is it that you would recommend owning/living in the Tahoe Keys to a friend or colleague? This question is an industry-standard way that businesses and brands use to gauge the perception of their customers. It’s a way to calculate what’s called a Net Promoter Score (NPS). You respond by giving a rating between 0 (not at all likely) and 10 (extremely likely).

Those that gave a score of 9 or 10 are called Promoters and are typically loyal and enthusiastic. Passives respond with a score of 7 or 8 and are satisfied but not happy enough to be a Promoter. Detractors respond with a score of 0 to 6, they are unhappy, and in a business context, they are unlikely to buy from you again and may even discourage others from buying from you.

We included this question in the survey to get a measure of how satisfied homeowners are with owning/living in the Keys overall, taking into account all our services, facilities, and amenities, our Staff, and everything the Keys affords:

Q10: How likely is it that you would recommend owning/living in the Tahoe Keys to a friend or colleague?

We scored seven. To put this score in context, a negative score indicates the need for improvement. A score between zero to thirty is considered good, a score of thirty to seventy is great, and anything over seventy is excellent (think brands like Apple and Nike). Overall, the sentiment is that owning/living in the Keys is “good,” but not “great.”

Hopefully, this and future Boards can continue to improve our Association year-over-year, and our Net Promoter Score will go from seven to over thirty.

If you are interested in the complete set of survey results, you can view the overview I put together here: http://bit.ly/tkpoa-results

A PDF version of the presentation is available here: TKPOA Member Survey Results 2020.pdf

Once again, thank you to everyone that participated in this year’s survey; your input is invaluable to the Board as we deliberate and debate our future actions.

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