Annual Meeting information
2014 ANNUAL MEETING
CARRIAGE HOUSE TIMESHARE ASSOCIATION, INC.
Saturday, March 15, 2014
The Carriage House
105 E Harmon Ave
Las Vegas, NV 89119
Registration: 8:30AM - 9:30AM
Please let us know if you will need any special assistance during the meeting. Listening devices for the hearing impaired are available upon request.
Carriage House Timeshare Association
Annual Meeting Minutes*
9th Floor of the Carriage House
Las Vegas Nevada
March 16, 2013
The meeting was called to order by President Kriste Mencher at 9:30am. President Mencher welcomed the members and thanked them for their attendance at the 27th Annual Meeting of the Carriage House Timeshare Association (CHTA). She introduced Directors: First Vice President, Mike Lincoln; Second Vice President, Dotty Catanese; Secretary, Robby Frank and Treasurer, Gloria Harpenau. She also introduced General Manager, Amy Lowell and OLS Hotels & Resorts Chief Operating Officer Martti Mannoja and Vice President Corporate Support, Rick Ball.
The first order of business was the approval of the 2012 Annual Meeting Minutes. A motion was made by CHTA Director Mr. Frank, seconded by CHTA member Mr. Brown and unanimously approved by the membership to waive the reading of the 2012 Annual Meeting Minutes. Another motion was made by Mr. Frank, seconded by Mr. Brown and unanimously approved by the membership to approve the 2012 Annual Meeting Minutes that were mailed to the members last June and also available on the CHTA website.
The next item on the agenda was the Election of Directors. The candidates were presented by CHTA owner and Nominating Chair Person David Dean. Candidates introduced were owners Ben Catanese, Robby Frank, Jay Koritzinsky, Craig Spencer, Stuart Sturm and Kathy Wheeler. Mr. Koritzinsky and Mr. Spencer were not in attendance. The candidates were each given the opportunity to address the group followed by an opportunity for the members to ask questions of the candidates. Those present then cast their ballots.
After the election, Ms. Mencher began by stating that it has been her pleasure to serve on the Board of Directors for five years and as President for the past four years. She then reviewed all of the various individuals and companies that support the CTHA so that it functions smoothly. To begin, Amy keeps the staff and the Board of Directors apprised of changes in the industry through trade magazines, ARDA, and a network of industry wide resources. Then there is the Board of Directors, which is made up of Carriage House owner volunteers who give their time, each bringing a unique perspective to the position. The Board of Directors has hired OLS Hotels &Resorts, a professional management company that has managed the day-to-day operations for over 20 years. Today and at all Annual Meetings of the CHTA, there are representatives from OLS. Rick Ball, Vice President Operations and Martti Mannoja, COO/CFO, are here today and John Fitts, President of OLS, has been here in the past as well. Rick attends all Board meetings and Martti attends two out of the three Board meetings each year. They are an invaluable resource not only for Amy and her team, but for the Board of Directors. With their number of resorts around the country, they can offer advice and suggestions for a smooth running operation at The Carriage House.
OLS is able to offer the benefits of being part of a larger organization by offering support to our manager and Board with advice and services, including obtaining better rates for property and liability insurance policies.
The CHTA also utilizes the professional services of Chris Van Ruiten of Comerica who provides investment advice for our operating and reserve accounts and Dave Lewis of HEB Certified Public Accountants who advises on budget matters. He also audits the finances on an annual basis to make sure all legal mandates are met. In addition, he recently advised the Directors on an accounting matter which will save The Carriage House on future taxes. A professional company to review and perform the Annual Reserve Study is also hired. CHTA attorney Joan Wright, a well respected attorney in timeshare issues, has provided The Carriage House with legal advice for over 25 years. RDP, the company that provides the software for the computer system, provides updates and technical support to keep the reservation and front desk systems working properly.
Recently the CHTA has contracted with ADPTotalSource a company that provides payroll, workers’ compensation, group insurance and human resources services. It is estimated that this will save the CHTA $100,000 in the current fiscal year. General Contractor, Fong Construction, makes sure our property is in good repair and meets all federal, state and local building codes. ADA consultant, Suzanne Thomas has assessed our property for over twenty years and provided guidance to best serve the legal and physical requirements of our disabled guests.
Our manager, Amy Lowell, has created a workplace atmosphere where employees feel valued. They are trained for their job, and cross-trained for future advancement. With that in mind, The Carriage House has a very low rate of employee turnover and keeps the services offered our guests consistent. In addition, the Annual Maintenance Assessments at The Carriage House remain among the lowest in the industry. She concluded by thanking Amy and her staff for doing an outstanding job.
General Manager Amy Lowell then gave her report by answering “Frequently Asked Questions.”
1. If I make my reservation six months in advance, why can’t a specific room be guaranteed at the time of booking?
The inventory and availability is constantly changing at The Carriage House. The Carriage House is a floating week/floating unit property which means that an owner does not own a specific week or a specific unit. Therefore the owner has the ability to book a reservation within their unit type and season up to one year in advance. The CHTA staff makes every effort to honor special requests and for the most part is able to do so. However, in some cases, it is just not possible as rooms may be placed out of order for maintenance or renovation and in-house reservations that overlap another owner’s reservation request.
2. Why does the Carriage House still provide maid service? Many RCI properties don’t offer any type of service when I exchange into their resorts.
In years past, The Carriage House provided full maid service with a complete linen change on the third day of a guest’s stay. However, today due in part to cost saving measures limited daily maid service which includes the beds being made, trashed removed and clean towels is now provided. Servicing the room each day also allows the staff to physically see what the condition of the room is. By going into the room on a daily basis, this allows any damage to the room during the guest’s stay to be noted. Once a guest has checked out and damage is discovered, it is sometimes difficult to prove who is responsible. Finally, it is important for the staff to make sure that all guests are fine. There have been situations at other hotels where a guest had a medical emergency and because no one from the hotel entered the room during their stay it resulted in further injury and in some cases death to the guest.
3. Does the Carriage House offer a rental program?
The Carriage House has a very successful rental program which has earned millions of dollars for the CHTA. All rental revenues earned are put back into the Operating Account for the benefit of all CHTA owners. This in turn helps to reduce the amount owed by the owners for their Annual Maintenance Assessments. The only rooms that are rented are those still owned by the CHTA or those not being used by the owners. Rental reservations are typically allowed only 30 days prior to an arrival date especially during high occupancy periods so do not impact an owner’s opportunity to book a reservation.
4. Since The Carriage House does not offer a rental program, can I rent my week?
As an owner, your week is yours to do with whatever you would like. It can be used for yourself, exchanged through one of the exchange companies, given to a friend or family member or rented. All you need to do is check availability and advise the Carriage House reservationist that you are renting your week and give the name of the guest. Your rental guest will receive the same benefits that you would receive if you were occupying the room. It is your responsibility to collect the money from the guest. At check in your guest will be asked to provide a picture ID and credit card to cover any damages or incidental charges.
5. Why do I have to pay my current year fees to use my carryover time?
All fees regardless of the occupancy year must be paid in advance of an owner checking in. This is stated in the rules of the property.
6. Will The Carriage House ever be purchased by the MGM or another hotel developer?
It is unlikely that The Carriage House will ever be bought out by the MGM or other developer. The Carriage House has over 7,000 owners and technically it would require a majority of owners to approve such a transaction. There would also be massive title issues that may prevent a developer from wanting to become involved in this type of real estate transaction. Also, there are many “off strip parcels of land” still available for sale in Las Vegas.
7. Why do my Annual Maintenance Assessments keep going up?
The Annual Maintenance Assessments are based on the actual expenses necessary to operate the building. Over the years expenses have increased such as insurance, payroll and payroll taxes and for the past four years there has been a decrease in the rental contributions. However efforts are made to aggressively control expenses and there have been decreases in utilities, real estate taxes and staffing.
8. Why do you send two Annual Meeting Notices for my two weeks but only one Newsletter?
Hopefully in the not so distant future, the majority of correspondence to the CHTA owners will be sent via e-mail, which will result in significant cost savings. However, for now, the rules state that a separate Annual Meeting Notice for each interest owned as well as for each Annual Maintenance Assessment billed must be mailed. Efforts to combine mailings to avoid duplication are made.
9. Do I have to join an Exchange Company?
No, you are not obligated to join an Exchange Company. Many owners use their week exclusively at The Carriage House. If you want to exchange your week, you can join one of the exchange companies. The two largest companies are RCI and Interval International although there are smaller companies that some of owners use as well such as “Dial and Exchange” and “Red Week.com”.
10. I am confused by RCI's new "points" system for The Carriage House. I thought The Carriage House was a floating week based exchange property.
The Carriage House is a floating week/ floating unit week property. This means that a Carriage House owner does not own a specific week or a specific unit. Ownership is based on a Unit Type and a Season: Bronze, Silver and Gold.
This type of ownership was commonly sold in the early days of timeshare.
However, in today’s environment the majority of timeshare properties are based on owning a number of points. What RCI has done is to assign “a point’s value” to our Carriage House weeks. Typically the points range from 16 – 22 points within the RCI system.
OLS Hotels & Resorts COO Martti Mannoja began by commenting on the improving visitor statistics in Las Vegas for 2012. There was an increase of 800,000 passengers arriving at the airport, which represents a 2.1% improvement over last year. Regarding occupancy, weekend occupancy well outperformed weekdays, with an overall occupancy of 90.8%, which was slightly lower than the prior year at 90.9%.
Many years ago when OLS first became involved with the CHTA it was the "dream of dreams" that the rental program could create more than $1 million in revenue. In 2012 rental revenues were earned of just under $1.2 million. This is an improvement of $285,000 versus the prior year at $906,000 which is a 32% increase in one single year. As far as total rental rooms occupied, that number came in at 13,000 versus 10,500 in 2011 for a 2,500 room night positive variance, which equates to almost 24%. Not only were more rooms rented the Average Daily Rate increased from $86.00 in 2011 to $93.00 in 2012, a 8% improvement. He then thanked Amy, Lenora and the entire team that worked so diligently in making this happen. It means the CHTA is once again in a position of providing additional funding to the reserve fund which will allow for many continued capital items and issues to be addressed.
The report of the officers began with First Vice President Mike Lincoln and an update on the investment strategy for The Carriage House funds. Mr. Lincoln began by reviewing the primary objectives of the CHTA investment strategy.
- To ensure preservation of capital for all of the CHTA’s financial assets.
- To maximize the rate of return on investments while minimizing risk.
- To assure that the goals of the CHTA are being met and to insure that needed cash flow for the day –to-day operations and capital projects are available.
- To establish and maintain a relationship with a competent financial advisor who can make recommendations and help manage the funds.
- To act with care, including seeking advice from experts when appropriate.
Currently the CHTA investment portfolio includes the following:
- Certificates of Deposit with multiple banks.
- Indexed market linked CDs, which are insured on the principal with the opportunity to have higher yields.
- FDIC Insured Bank and Money Market Funds
Mr. Lincoln concluded his remarks by stating that the Directors take their fiduciary duty very seriously and he is proud to be associated with such a quality team. On a personal note, as a Financial Planner of almost 40 years he believes that the indicators have
been building for some time, especially in Las Vegas, that economic recovery seems to be in the right direction.
Second Vice President, Dotty Catanese then reported on some of the changes and upgrades that were made to The Carriage House in the past year. In 2012, close to $1.3 million dollars was spent in renovations. A large portion of the money was spent on the complete renovation of 16 one bedroom master units including two of the lock out floor plans. The rooms are beautiful and this same design theme will be carried through to the remaining rooms. As of now 60 rooms have been completed with 95
remaining. Improvements were also made to the building’s heating, air conditioning and plumbing systems, the computers and elevators.
Going forward in 2013, ten rooms will be remodeled as well as improvements to some of the older rooms including furniture, draperies and carpet. Upgrades to the air conditioning, computers, elevators and common areas will also be made. The goal of the CHTA Directors is to keep the property in outstanding condition for the enjoyment of the owners. She concluded her remarks by thanking the owners for allowing her to serve as a Director for the past 10 plus years. She has considered it an honor.
Secretary Robby Frank then spoke on the process when an owner at The Carriage House can no longer use or no longer wants their Carriage House timeshare week. In the past there have always been a small number of owners each year that were unable to pay their Annual Maintenance Assessments. Their week came back to the CHTA in the form of a deed back or through a foreclosure action. For the most part, these weeks were able to be resold to a new owner. However, since 2006, due in part to the economic situation there has been an increase in weeks coming back that have not been able to be resold. This means that today there are fewer owners sharing the expenses of operating The Carriage House.
In 2011, an agreement was entered into with a company called Preferred HOA Solutions. Their primary goal was to sell The Carriage House weeks that had come back through the deed back or foreclosure process. They gave it their best effort but were unable to make it a profitable business venture and closed their 9th floor office last summer. This problem of owners giving up their weeks is not unique to The Carriage House but is shared by virtually all other timeshare properties throughout the US.
To help insure that the CHTA remains a financially healthy homeowners’ association, the goal is to eventually resell these weeks to individual owners or possibly timeshare vacation clubs that are looking for inventory in Las Vegas. In the meantime, they will continue to earn money for the CHTA through the rental program. Mr. Frank asked that all owners help promote the sale or rental of CHTA weeks to friends, family and business associates. He concluded his remarks by reminding all members to never get involved with any type of timeshare resale or advertising company. In most cases, they
are not legitimate and money will be spent with no results. Always contact Amy Lowell or Yvonne Brown for assistance in selling or deeding weeks.
Treasurer Gloria Harpenau then gave the Financial Report. The Carriage House ended 2012 in sound financial condition. Two separate accounts are used to fund all of the expenses of The Carriage House: The Capital Reserve Account and the Operating Account. The Capital Reserve account is used exclusively for making repairs and
improvements to the property. It is funded by a portion of the Annual Maintenance Assessments, usually between 10%-25% of the total and is listed as a separate line item on the billing statement each year. At fiscal year-end 2012 the CHTA had over $1.9 million dollars in the Capital Reserve Account even after spending nearly $1.3 million dollars on significant improvements. Going forward in 2013, the renovation plans are not quite as aggressive. Nevertheless, $800,000 is planned to be spent in continued capital improvements, which Ms. Catanese previously outlined.
The Operating Account covers the expenses that keep The Carriage House running on a day-to-day basis. This includes salaries, office supplies, equipment, taxes, insurance, utilities, building and grounds maintenance. Operating revenue comes from several sources; the two primary sources being the Annual Maintenance Assessments and the rental revenue from rooms not occupied by owners or exchange guests. The Annual
Maintenance Assessments for 2013 increased between 3% - 6%. Even with this increase, the CHTA fees continue to be some of the lowest in the industry.
Ms. Harpenau continued by reporting that after four years of decreased rental revenue, there is continued improvement in the rental program. In fact 2012 was the best year since 2008, and the outlook for 2013 is equally bright. As of today, all of the CHTA bills are paid, and there is sufficient money set aside for future capital improvements.
Each month, the Board of Directors and management consultants, OLS Hotels & Resorts, review the financial reports for the previous month and keep a close eye on revenues and expenses to see that they conform to the approved budget. A review of the financial situation for the current year is conducted during the fall Board meeting. This gives the Board a foundation from which to budget for the upcoming year. A copy of the 2013 budget was included with the Annual Maintenance Assessment invoice that was mailed last December. Additionally, the Board of Directors hires an outside accounting firm to conduct an annual audit of the financial operations. Thursday, the Directors received the final Annual Audit Report for Fiscal Year End November, 2012. The report included an “unqualified opinion” from the auditors. This means that all accounting practices are sound and the financial statements fairly represent in all material aspects the financial position of the CHTA as of November 30, 2012.
On an annual basis, the Board and the Management Team also update the Long Term Capital Reserve Study. This study is conducted by an outside firm that specializes in
forecasting improvements that will need to be made over the next 30 years. The 2013 Operating Budget, and the 2013 Long Term Capital Reserve Study, as well as the
Investment Policy were all reviewed and approved by The Carriage House Timeshare Association Board of Directors. Article 4, Section 16c, of the Bylaws require that these
three important documents be ratified by the membership.
In the past the CHTA owners have been asked to ratify these documents at the Annual Meetings. However, in 2012 there was a unique financial situation that occurred. For the past 15 plus years the CHTA has leased out space on the roof top for cell site towers to Sprint and Verizon. Over the years the CHTA had been approached by companies wanting to purchase the income stream from these leases. After extensive negotiations last summer, the CHTA was able to sell the cell site leases to a company called Landmark Dividend. In return for assigning them the leases they paid the CHTA $450,000. As the 2013 budget was prepared last fall it was decided to allocate the money for the Capital Reserve expenses. However, recently on the advice of the CHTA accountant, to help mitigate future possible tax issues the Directors would like to authorize an amendment to the 2013 budget, wherein the reserve assessment is increased by $300,000 and the operations assessment is decreased by $300,000. There would not be an overall change in the total assessment. This simply is a transfer between accounts and will not change the overall amount that was billed to the owners. Ms. Harpenau made a motion that The Carriage House members ratify the amended 2013 Operating Budget, the 2013 Long Term Capital Reserve Study and the Investment Policy that were all reviewed and approved by The Carriage House Timeshare Association Board of Directors. The motion was seconded by CHTA member Bea McCaulson and unanimously approved by the owners.
Mr. Dean then announced the election results. The winners of the election were Mr. Catanese with 1,325 votes and Mr. Koritzinsky with 890 votes. Mr. Frank may serve as an alternate director with 572 votes.
There was no Old Business to address so the agenda moved to New Business with a question and answer session. President Mencher also thanked Ms. Catanese for her many years of service to the CHTA and provided her with a gift certificate for a week’s vacation. A drawing was then held for three complimentary seven night stays in a One Bedroom Suite at The Carriage House. The winners from the meeting were Daniel and Diane Vanden Heuvel of Las Vegas and Al and DeAnn O’Neal of California. The owners that won from the Mail-In Ballots were Robert and Delores Chandler from California. There being no further business to discuss, the meeting adjourned at 11:15am. The owners were invited to enjoy a box lunch with the Directors and The Carriage House and OLS staff.
*Minutes to be approved by the CHTA members at the 2014 Annual Meeting.