Q and a for seacoast shores association members

 Q: Why do some residents say the Clubhouse was approved by the Board in a vote taken during a snowy winter night in Feb 2007 with few people in attendance?

A: Many things are possible in life but re-writing history is not one of them… nor should it be…  Please pass the following along to your neighbors.  The Clubhouse project was researched, planned, presented and debated over several years during the 2005-07 time frame.   A vote to approve the funds to explore the viability of building such a project over the next year was taken during the 2006 Annual meeting in July.   With over 100 members in attendance the membership overwhelmingly approved the funds to explore the viability and develop plans for the project.   A year later in the 2007 July Annual meeting a large gathering of members listened to the planning team and outside architects present a vision and plan for the project.   Following this presentation the members voted overwhelmingly (3 to 1) to approve the plans, move forward with the project and to proceed with the marketing period to raise the funds for the project.  There was a record number of members present (140+) and their signatures were recorded on the sign in sheets for the meeting.   Over a hundred presentations were conducted in the next 3 years during the marketing period.   The required financial support ($1.2M) was achieved in 2009 in order to proceed with the project.   The Clubhouse opened in 2012 and the pool followed in 2013 with the Tennis Court in 2014.   Capital improvements have been funded every year by generous members.   There are detailed records including many SCANS, meeting minutes, presentations, etc. (including the signatures of all present at the votes taken in 2007) documenting the facts above.  2007 Annual Meeting Minutes

Q: What is included as an Association Member of Seacoast Shores Association, Inc. (SSAI)?

A: Your SSAI Membership includes:

  • Voting Rights at SSAI annual meetings (one vote per household)
  • Access of 15 Right of Ways to the water (ROW) and registered dinghy storage on the Right of Ways
  • Association Beach: measure water quality, trash removal, swim buoys maintenance/replacement, and funding for periodic re nourishment so we don’t lose another beach
  • Additional police patrols paid for by SSAI dues which transformed Seacoast from having one of the highest crime rates in Falmouth to one of the lowest
  • Award winning Front Entrance and Boulevard and Beach lawn maintenance
  • Association social activities: including Welcome Back, Annual Cookout BBQ, Lobster Bake, Bingo, Movies etc.
  • Publishes the SCAN newsletter and maintains electronic SSAI membership directory and the SSAI Website
  • Advantage Partners: many local businesses/services offering % discounts to SSAI  members
  • Jack Way Memorial Scholarship Fund: An education based financial aid to a deserving SSAI member’s student
  • Finances payment for insurance, taxes, legal support and utilities for all SSAI  property and assets
  • Town liaison to attend meetings concerning your community (road pavements, gas line installs, DPW drainage)
  • Clubhouse rental for SSAI members only

Q: What are the Association dues paying for?

A: $90,000 annual budget for 300 Members which includes:

  • Beach Maintenance & Re nourishment, peninsula landscaping
  • Depreciation & replacement to avoid the loss of more Association assets
  • Taxes & utilities, legal, bookkeeping & accounting, insurance
  • Police Details
  • Misc.  (Website, Software, SCAN, mailings, scholarship)
  • **ROW repair, monitoring, signage & refurbishment **

**ROW funds are dependent on paid membership above 300.  In 2015 the Association had 400 members which allowed for the funding of Rights of Way to the water (ROW) improvements.  If we do not reach this level of membership the ROW will be lost to erosion.

Q: As members of the Association do I have any liability?

A: Seacoast Shores Association, Inc. acquires each year an Umbrella Liability Insurance Policy and a Directors & Officers Insurance Policy to protect its interest in the operation of the following components of its property: Beach, Club House and Property, Pools, SSAI ROW.

Q: I don’t use the beach or the clubhouse so why should I pay?

A: You are a resident of this long-standing community; a part of the Seacoast Shores neighborhood.  All of the features that are maintained and monitored here make Seacoast Shores a nicer place to live.  Realtors and Falmouth property analysts have targeted Seacoast Shores as the best value on the Cape!  Your property is becoming more valuable as residents take pride in our appearance and fix up our community.  This all takes money and for too long our community has been operating on a shoestring, passing the hat and going door to door to raise money to fund special needs of the community.  Some examples are for Police details, beach re nourishment, and using volunteers to keep accounting records and mow the blvd and beach lawns and take out trash. The SSAI Board is operating a realistic budget and to be successful requires everyone to support the community by paying their fair share.  If we don’t support all of our assets, we are promoting the loss of the ones we ignore.

The question to ask yourself is: Is it a good example to your neighbors, friends and family to sit on the sidelines as a non-dues payer and use community resources that takes money to support?

Q: What do I get for my $300? I don't see the value. Why should I join?

A: This is a community and a neighborhood with many common resources shared by all who live here.  Supporting the Association is supporting your community.  Your financial support allows the Association to clean, plant and mow common areas, to offer community events, to work with local law enforcement to patrol our streets in the off season and dead of night, to meet with Town Managers to act as a voice for Seacoast Shores, and much more.  All of these efforts are managed by volunteers and make our peninsula a beautiful place to live.  Your support is appreciated. SSAI already lost a beach at “the point” and a tennis/swimming recreation center on Atwater/Hartwell because of community apathy and the lack of funds.  Deeded rights to use common assets without any responsibility to pay for the maintenance and repair of those common assets are worthless.  The assets will continue to disappear.

Q: My deed says “it is expressly understood and agreed that (the buyer: me) is entitled to all privileges as boating, bathing and fishing.”  So I can recreate on the Seacoast Shores peninsula per my deed so it's free for me.

A: In order to fish/shellfish you must buy a license every year.  State and National parks charge a fee to visit because all of the recreational areas require funding to maintain and keep clean.  Seacoast Shores is no different.  Your Falmouth taxes ensure that you have access to Falmouth beaches and yet as a taxpaying resident you still must pay for a sticker.  SSAI owns many Rights of Way to the water (ROW)’s, a beach and the clubhouse property.  There are expenses to maintain these assets which are solely funded by membership dues.  SSAI Members pay for the goods and services necessary to support all of Seacoast Shores, a community with over 900 homes.  As more Seacoast residents join the more we can accomplish as a community.

Q: Why can't Association Members eat at the clubhouse once in a while?  We will be paying for the food.

A: The clubhouse dining is open to all Association Members in May, June, Sept, Oct and Nov.   Access is plentiful and we encourage Association Members to take advantage of this benefit.  The clubhouse is also open to all Association Members for the July cookout and the August lobster dinner.  Please remember the Investment Members risked the capital it took to build the clubhouse so are extended small benefits for doing so.

Q: $300 is too expensive.  I can't afford it.  You've priced me out.

A: The current dues equate to $.82 a day.  The dues are affordable by many of the non-paying residents who choose not to support their community.  If a financial issue exists, contact the Association and all will be kept confidential.  We will make every attempt to find a way for anyone who wants to become an Association Member to do so including up to 6 monthly payments.

Q: I will pay for what my family uses: The Beach and Rights of Way.

A: This is a resident community for all.  The services and benefits that are covered for Association Members are in support of all services maintained by SSAI.  Lawns need to be mowed, taxes and insurance need to be paid etc.  This is not an “a la carte” menu to choose from and if you are a resident and neighbor it is really important to support the community by becoming a paying member.

Q: I Did not purchase one of the clubhouse investment plans so I won’t pay for the clubhouse/pool/etc by paying these high dues.

A: All Association members pay a portion of the maintenance and depreciation cost for the clubhouse.  These funds ensure that your Association clubhouse will not be lost to lack of funds as was the case with the previous clubhouse.  A portion of the dues has always supported the clubhouse utilities, taxes, insurance, repair and maintenance in the past.  It provides a place to go for SSAI meetings, functions open to all Association Members and the opportunity to rent a significantly improved facility.  We do not want another clubhouse to fall into disrepair in the neighborhood as it promotes illicit behavior.

Q: I hear the Association Dues subsidize the clubhouse which means the Association is financially unstable?

A: The financial status of the Association (and therefore our common assets) in years past was very unstable.  This was evident by the fact that door to door solicitation of funds (by well intentioned volunteers), above and beyond Association Dues, was required just to keep the beach in existence and pay for recurring expenses.  On the surface it appeared that things were fine as there appeared to be a small positive income.   However, SSAI was naively & probably unintentionally understating real expenses related to the true costs of assets and other items. The Association, due to the financial stability the clubhouse provides, was able to secure a line of credit through Martha’s Vineyard bank.  Other banks were also willing to give the same benefit to the Association.  These banks perform a full due diligence on the financial health of the entity looking for this level of security.  The Association is now in such a strong position, multiple banks are willing to lend at rates afforded to the strongest of customers.

Q: Can you pro-rate the dues?

A: Our taxes, insurance, police details etc are paid annually and there is no proration of dues.  Dues should be paid by February 15th of each new season, so that financial obligations and planning can be implemented.

Q: How can I access to the financials of SSAI?

A: The financials are reviewed annually by a professional accounting firm.  The balance sheet and income statement are prepared by our bookkeeper and Treasurer and posted monthly on a password protected web site for Association Members.  The Board of Directors is available to answer questions regarding the financials.

Q: Is the Board of Directors made up of Association Members, or are non-members prospective candidates?

A: The longstanding bylaws of the SSAI disallow non-members to vote or hold office of SSAI.

Q: Is the scholarship available to non-Association Members?

A: The scholarship is only awarded to an Association Member as Association dues supply the scholarship funding.

Q: Is children’s bingo available to all Association Members?

A: Yes, Children’s bingo is available to all Association members and is one of the many membership benefits.  This is confusing to some residents as many years ago unpaid residents would participate in various functions (bingo, Lobster bake, BBQs, etc) because membership enforcement was very lax.  These were ALWAYS member only events.   This was one of the many reasons that the Association ended up in financial trouble from which we are now recovering.

Q: I am confused about when I can access the clubhouse?

A: Access is as follows:

  • An Association member (anyone who pays $300)
    • Access to clubhouse dining May, June, Sep, Oct and Lobster bake, Annual Meeting BBQ, Welcome Back, Kids’ Bingo and Movies.  No access to pools or tennis court.
  • Clubhouse member – Full access to dining.  Access to pools and tennis vary by clubhouse plan.
  • Target Member – Full access to dining.  Access to pools and tennis vary by clubhouse plan.   

Q: Please define the different membership types & terminology since I am confused.

A: The various terminologies are:

  • Resident - Own a home in Seacoast and your name is on the deed
  • Association member - A Seacoast resident who has paid their annual Association Dues
  • Investment member - A Seacoast resident who has made a one-time capital investment (currently $7750) into the Clubhouse which enables them to become a Clubhouse Member each year
  • Clubhouse member - An investment member who pays the annual Clubhouse Fee & associated food minimum
  • Target member – A non-investment member that pays a Target plan Fee and food minimum to use the Clubhouse

Q: How do I become an Investment member?

A: You must be a homeowner in Seacoast Shores.  An Investment member is one who makes a capital contribution to the clubhouse.  This membership is “attached” to the home and will be transferred to any subsequent owner at no cost.  It can not be transferred to another address.  The membership is registered with the town of Falmouth.  The payment options are:

  • One time payment (in 2016 $7750 but prices are increased periodically)
  • JNP Program which offers a 2 OR 5 year payment plan with various premiums and requirements
  • If special financing is needed please contact James Demopoulos of the Operating Committee (james.demopoulos@brcap.com) Additional details can be found at www.seacoastshores.com

Q: I am confused about all of the different clubhouse plans offered to residents?

A: Investment members have the annual option to participate in following plans:

  • Clubhouse Unlimited - $1600 – Provides unlimited access to clubhouse dining, pools, tennis and events including unlimited guests.  Allows for account designees.  Discounted clubhouse rental.
  • Clubhouse Limited - $1375 – For two people provides unlimited access to clubhouse dining, pools, tennis and events.  Allows for unlimited dining guests.  Guests may utilize the pools and tennis for a per diem fee.    

Both plan prices include a clubhouse fee, a food minimum and the required annual Association dues.  Additional details can be found under the membership tab

A: Non-Investment member residents have the annual option to participate in following plans:

  • Target Unlimited - $2000 – Provides unlimited access to clubhouse dining, pools, tennis and events including unlimited guests.  Allows for account designees.  Discounted clubhouse rental.
  • Plan prices include a clubhouse fee, a food minimum and the required annual Association dues

These plans are at the discretion of the Operating Committee and can be discontinued in any year.  Additional details can be found under the membership tab