Membership continues to be a high priority goal for Sun City Home Owners Association officials, but it also remains one of their toughest tasks.
There are about 27,000 household in Sun City, with about 17,000 of those single-family dwellings. Yet SCHOA officials struggle to maintain about 8,000 members annually. But they are working to get the numbers up, according to Jim Hunter, SCHOA board president.
“Membership numbers overall have been essentially flat for the past decade,” he stated in an email. “Year-to-date we are on budget with a very slight positive variance.”
He added there are some promising ideas and actions taken by staff recently that he believes will improve membership numbers late this year and in 2021.
One of those ideas, which has been discussed in previous board meetings, is doing more to show non-members the value of SCHOA membership. Membership Committee and board members are working on a number of measures to increase that. There are plans to continue the Thirsty Thursday Club, when the office can open and gatherings are again allowed.
The weekly activity provided visitors with root beer floats in a monthly gathering at the SCHOA office meeting room, 10401 W. Coggins Drive. The group last met Feb. 27, but further meetings were canceled due to the COVID-19 crisis.
Thirsty Thursday meetings are open to all Sun City residents and are intended to give non-members of SCHOA a chance to hear about the value of membership, according to Mary Riemer, Membership Committee chairwoman.
While complying with the Sun City’s covenants, conditions and restrictions is mandatory for all residents, membership in SCHOA is voluntary, according to Pam Schwartz, SCHOA board member.
“Membership in SCHOA is an opportunity for Sun City residents to make a small monetary contribution with big rewards,” according to information in the January SCHOA newsletter. “Members appreciate the work and the commitment by SCHOA to keep the dues for membership manageably priced for all residents, while working to keep Sun City’s property values where they are today.”
SCHOA is the primary entity monitoring and insuring compliance with the community’s CC&Rs, including the age overlay.
“Without that overlay, we risk losing our status as an age-restricted community with the low taxes and high property values we enjoy,” Mr. Hunter stated. “Again, these are benefits to both standalone homes and condos.”
SCHOA officials continue to focus on the value of individual membership, according to Mr. Hunter.
“We continue, even during these troubling and challenging times, to focus on our mission,” he stated. “We continue to protect the property values and way of life through the enforcement of our CC&Rs, and we continue to advocate on behalf of our home owners in matters of government affairs and utility rates.”
SCHOA staff is responding to about 40% more violations of the CC&Rs today than at the beginning of the pandemic, he explained. Compliance officers do not have face-to-face contact with homeowners but they continue to respond to every concern and complaint received, he added.
The SCHOA Government Affairs and Roads and Safety committees, while not conducted public meetings, continue to address homeowner concerns, according to Ms. Schwartz.
“We are expecting a decision on the wastewater consolidation appeal to the Arizona Supreme Court later this summer,” she stated. “We are continuing to work with APS at this time getting light poles repaired and painted in phase one. These are just a couple examples of efforts on behalf of every homeowner in Sun City, be it a standalone home or a condo.”
SCHOA membership is $25 per year. Mr. Hunter believes, because of the variety of services available, the cost is a bargain. SCHOA staff can help homeowners with membership by phone at 623-974-4718 or on the website, suncityhoa.org. Staff can also answer membership questions by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Renewal reminders are mailed out annually.
All new members need to complete a membership application, which is available online. Current members can renew online if not past the expiration date, otherwise payment must be made in person or by phone with a credit card.
SCHOA officials strive to operate on a modest budget, according to Ms. Schwartz. Membership revenues for 2019 were very close to budget and greater than 2018, but SCHOA officials will continue efforts to demonstrate the value of membership, according to Mr. Hunter. With about 10% of Sun City homes changing hands each year, SCHOA officials have a continuing education challenge making new owners aware of the role of SCHOA and the value of being a member, he added.