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The Village in Review: 2019

The year 2019 proved to be one filled with productivity, efficiency and service for Laguna Woods Village and Village Management Services, and the New Year promises to be even greater, as we continue to build upon our successes. Please see below for a list of achievements from our VMS departments and divisions, all in effort to ensure residents enjoy the utmost in active living.

BROADBAND

  • Voted by the GRF board to not renew Fox Sports West and Prime Ticket programming effective January 1, 2020, which saves GRF $1.5 million in annual programming fees. Major programming fee hikes from these channels could have meant a further increase of more than 25% in programming fees to residents’ monthly assessments. 
  • Implemented an alternative for Fox Sports West and Prime Ticket sporting events (Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Angels, Clippers and Kings) to be broadcast at Village Greens’ 19 Restaurant and Lounge. 

FINANCE

  • Formed and chartered an investment task force to conduct an in-depth analysis of investments on behalf of GRF, United and Third to ensure exceptional service from a professional investment manager, maximize yields within board-approved investment policies and minimize fees; issued a request for qualifications and reviewed proposals from various firms
  • Boards selected a new advisor, made revisions to the respective investment policies and directed a transition to a portfolio of index funds
  • Executed contract with SageView for investment management services, established accounts with Fidelity, liquidated existing accounts for a net gain for each corporation
  • Reinvested proceeds with target allocations that include Fidelity and Vanguard index funds for U.S. treasuries, U.S. mortgage-backed securities and investment-grade bonds

LANDSCAPE

  • Eliminated the use of Roundup throughout the Village, opting for an effective yet safer weed-control option
  • Introduced plant growth regulators to reduce labor hours 
  • Purchased smaller and more efficient mowers to better address specific turf areas
  • Instituted a replacement program for small engine equipment, significantly reducing maintenance costs and inefficiencies
  • Created a new customer service process and implemented two ticket crews and a coordinator resulting in faster response time to resident requests
  • Developed a Village-wide, five-year, species-based tree-trimming program that will begin in 2020 
  • Refined ongoing management of slope renovation, turf aeration and reduction projects
  • Performed fire-risk reduction under the direction of the Orange County Fire Authority
  • Worked with VMS Department of Information Services to update the ArborPro program to gather Village tree population data so that care and maintenance is immediately available to view, including number of trees by common name, trees by required maintenance, trees by pruning frequency, trees by condition, trees by street name and more

MAINTENANCE AND CONSTRUCTION

  • Closed more than 53,000 service tickets 
  • Completed more than 16,000 plumbing tickets in less than 30 days from first report (the Village employs one plumber for every 800 residents) 
  • Completed more than 90% of all service tickets in less than 30 days from first report
  • Captured a $180,000 grant to install four new state-of-the-art electric vehicle chargers at the Community Center
  • Analyzed budgets, provided variance explanations and updated projections to be within 6% of the operating budgets in both mutual (2019 began with the heaviest rains in recent memory and resulted in teams experiencing significant differences between the actuals and expected expenses)
  • Tasked with three goals to upgrade community infrastructure: Completed Clubhouse 1 assessment; working with TEC consultant to complete an energy infrastructure audit; and began the initial process to develop an infrastructure improvement plan to address drainage needs in the mutuals, create a budget to obtain the improvements and address the causes of drainage problems
  • Increased the wasteline and copper epoxy lining programs to $3.3M to help combat the community’s greatest challenge: plumbing.  
  • Implemented new automated security gates throughout the community
  • Designed and built new pickle ball and paddle tennis courts

MEDIA AND COMMUNICATIONS

  • Expanded its weekly and monthly electronic communications to reach 56% of Village residents for a total of 11,875 subscribers 
  • Developed targeted communications to special user groups, including swimmers, garden plot holders and bus riders, to share timely news, events, schedules and other important information
  • Provided clear, simplified messaging to help educate residents about eliminating Roundup use in the community, trash recycling and bulky-item pickup, fumigation procedures and the enhanced 2020 transportation program
  • Expanded the docent program to feature a dedicated group of experienced volunteers who escort visitors to popular community destinations while expertly highlighting all the Village’s many amenities
  • Created a comprehensive docent brochure highlighting history and key selling points to give visitors a detailed look at life in Laguna Woods Village

OFFICE OF THE CEO

  • In January, Jeffery Parker was appointed new CEO of Village Management Services. Mr. Parker had been city manager for Tustin since 2011; prior to that, he was city manager for Claremont, Walnut and Patterson. Under his leadership, changes in management duties and responsibilities that will result in continued efficiencies go into effect January 1.
  • In October, California Senate Bill 754, which amends how common interest developments manage elections to fill vacant board seats, was approved by Governor Gavin Newsom. SB754 was sponsored by the Village in the interest of saving unnecessary expenditures and reducing unnecessary elections and their related expenses. If the association includes 6,000 or more units, the bill allows for election of board members by acclamation when the number of available director nominees does not exceed the number of vacant positions. 
  • VMS resident meeting and education efforts helped stall the I-5/El Toro Road interchange project, which would have affected noise levels and traffic patterns significantly within immediate proximity to the Village. 

RECREATION

  • Coordinated more than 75 different classes and 130 events (this year’s July 4th celebration and Bonanza Arts & Crafts event enjoyed record attendance!)
  • Brought in almost $46,000 in sponsorship revenue to offset expense
  • Implemented first department-wide comprehensive staff training day
  • Made numerous enhancements to clubhouse facilities, the library and pools
  • Provided Restaurant 19 with new patio furniture
  • Implemented at Garden Centers a community gathering project, engaged in weeding and tree removal projects, completed sidewalk repair and implemented new rodent control measures 
  • Installed composting bins at all clubhouse commercial kitchens 

RESIDENT SERVICES

  • Experienced approximately 80,000 kiosk check-ins
  • Answered more than 225,000 phone calls
  • Processed 90,000 work orders 
  • Accepted more than 200,000 in credit card payments by 500 residents

SALES AND LEASING

  • Reengineered the resale package process to reduce turnaround time, resulting in residents being able to move into the Village more quickly than in the past 
  • Implemented an updated For Sale and For Lease sign policy, resulting in a more attractive sales marketing aesthetic for the Village

SECURITY

  • Completed the Village gate security project, resulting in enhanced security for the convenience and safety of all who live, visit and work in the Village
  • Upgraded all Village gates with radio frequency identification decal (RFID) technology for quick and easy community access for residents, improved guest access management, simplified identification of unauthorized vehicles and investigative tools necessary to maintain the Village’s high safety standards 
  • Completed gatehouse renovation project in August, featuring new gate arms, cameras and license plate reader technology to greatly enhance community security measures (Gate 11, not part of the original plan, will be completed in 2020)
  • Worked toward greater disaster preparedness in by hosting a successful Earthquake Expo in September and participating in the Great ShakeOut disaster drill in October
  • Enrolled 4,331 residents in the Village-wide CodeRED alert system 

SOCIAL SERVICES

  • Increased staff to better serve residents—all at no cost thanks to various partnerships, including with MemorialCare and the Council on Aging 
  • Dedicated program coordinator for the Friendly Visitor Program helps ensure more active volunteer residents are trained to develop the compassion and skills necessary to become welcome companions to less-active residents 
  • Experienced 1,800 home visits/office visits, managed an average number of 530 open cases, fielded 10,300 social worker phone calls and 5,800 intake coordinator phone calls/walk-ins 

TRANSPORTATION

  • Evaluated the Village transportation system to discover more efficient routing and operations, improve customer satisfaction, attract more riders and engage the community for mutual benefit 
  • Received approval of a plan to address issues while adhering to the approved 2020 business plan 

  Effective January 2020:

  • Redesigned fixed-route system incorporates neighborhood, commercial and wellness routes with pickups every 30 minutes
  • Expanded fixed-route service to include Saturdays
  • Established a new JOURNEY program will provide on-demand scheduled service for preapproved riders with medical needs
  • Provide on-call ride service via a partnership with Lyft rideshare to offer rides to residents during nonfixed route hours within the same range covered by Plan-A-Ride
All of us at Village Management Services wish you peace, happiness and joy in 2020!

DISCLAIMER

Unless otherwise stated, all meetings, events and amenities are for the use of Laguna Woods Village residents and their authorized guests only.