“Rain, rain, go away” could certainly have been our theme for the last several weeks of July. Adding the rainfall totals from Tropical Storm Elsa and the numerous tropical-like downpours we suffered over the past few weeks, Sea Pines has received well over 15 inches of rain this month. And because the aftermath of Elsa left considerable debris along roads and paths, some of which was clogging our drainage system, the amount of road and lawn flooding we all saw in Sea Pines was particularly troubling.
The flooding we’ve seen this month simply highlights our community’s two most pressing problems – the need to fund and expedite repair and replacement of our aging infrastructure and the need to provide the funds needed to recruit and pay the expanded staffing (at competitive compensation levels) we need to accommodate a “fully occupied” Sea Pines. I am very proud of the success our maintenance team achieved in quickly clearing our roads and leisure paths of debris and unclogging drains under extremely trying circumstances. While I understand the consternation some property owners may feel about the time it has taken to clear away the significant amount of debris created by Tropical Storm Elsa, the fact is that our current staffing levels – even if all positions were filled, which they are not – could not be expected to take on this task. And our ability to hire outside contractors to supplement our staff has been limited by the overall labor shortage facing the Lowcountry in general. At the end of the day, since we know that our annual property owner assessments are not sufficient to fund the operations of Sea Pines with a sufficient level of security and maintenance staffing, we must – and will – be seeking additional revenue sources to fill the shortfall.
As always, we are being guided by outside legal counsel to assure that whatever decisions the Board makes are consistent with our legal authority, so that those decisions will survive any litigation that may be brought by a disgruntled property owner, even when they are supported by the general population. This is not a “hypothetical” concern -- as I discussed at last month’s Board meeting, notwithstanding the 88+% approval for the Critical Infrastructure Referendum from property owners, CSA’s actions in pursuing the Critical Infrastructure Referendum have been challenged in federal court by one property owner, Ms. Jill Jinks, based on her belief that CSA did not comply with Sea Pines Covenants in calling for the Referendum. We will continue to defend our actions in that lawsuit and fully anticipate a successful affirmation by the Courts.
Just as we must assure that the funds we anticipated from the Critical Infrastructure Referendum are available as anticipated by the community, we have a similar urgency for finding additional revenue resources to fund our expanded operational requirements. The influx of new property owners, more guests and more short-term renters over the last several months has strained our security resources well beyond any reasonable limits. Unless we have the funds needed to acquire and retain the personnel to enforce reasonable regulations, we will have great difficulty retaining the quality of Sea Pines lifestyle I know we all desire. So I hope we can count on your understanding, and acceptance of the actions we will take to develop the added revenues we will need to maintain Sea Pines as the premier community on Hilton Head. Although there are no Board or Committee meetings scheduled for next month, I can absolutely assure you that the Board will be working on these issues throughout the summer.
As always, I welcome your questions and comments at Chairman@csaseapines.com. Thank you for your support of our efforts to maintain and improve Sea Pines lifestyle.