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Letters to Editor

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 Dear Editor,
It is my belief that most residents of the Ranch agree with me-"we are not happy with all the negatives in print about our community. We would like for visitors or prospective home-buyers to read that Holly Lake Ranch is an absolutely wonderful place to live (and it is). To those with differences-I have friends on both sides-you are all great people. Please remember to take the high road. Also why not turn our energies to doing good for our community and the surrounding area. There are so many ways that your energy and talent can be used for good-to name a few:
1. Volunteer at Helping Hands
2. Volunteer at one of the local schools.
3. Help us with a fund raiser for the David Betts and family.
4. Help beautify the Ranch by keeping a common area.
5. Visit the shut-ins.
6. Pick up trash on your daily walk.
Lest we forget-there is so much beauty here on the Ranch-in the scenery and in the people.
Kay Sloan

 Kay, the "puff periodical" that you desire is called the Holly Herald and it is published by Rob James and the Caspers. Grab some copies and mail them to to the people who want to move here. Meanwhile, the Gazette is a serious newspaper that deals with serious topics such as Larry Packs' successful challange of a wrongful conviction, Enough is Enough and many other things such as that. W.C.
To: The Gazette, attn: Wilson Crabtree. Subject: HLR Golf

 The people who complain about the budgeted expense of managing our golf course need to understand Democracy and Taxation.

 We pay city and state sales taxes and that money is used by elected officials to benefit cities across the state which we may never visit.

 We pay County taxes and that money is used by elected officials to improve Wood County roads in Winnsboro which we may never use.

 We pay school district taxes and we don't have any children in local schools but this benefits all of society and our future.

 We pay Federal Income Taxes and that money is used by elected officials for a wide range of things in the best interests of our country whether we agree with their decisions or not.

 We also pay a HLR Association Dues or tax which is used by elected officials to manage and maintain the life style at HLR that we all expected when we came here.
Should we complain because we spend money on roads in Sec. 8 and we live in Sec. 4 and never use the roads in Sec. 8? Of course not, but this sounds like the rationale used by the non-golfers. We are all members of the same community, county, state and country.

 Having visited HLR many times since 1975, and having lived here for the past 4 years, I can assure everyone that the golf course has always been a main attraction whether or not one plays golf. It certainly has attracted quality people, quality homes and significant investments in HLR. It is a major responsibility of our elected officials to manage a budget which maintains the quality of life for everyone here. In principle, it is the same responsibility that the elected officials in the above mentioned entities have.

 Specifically, this year I paid $1149.50 in dues plus $1300 to play golf. To put this in a positive statement, non-golfers are paying less than half of what golfers pay. That should make them feel better. This is a great place and a very low cost place to live with the high quality of living that we have. Let's recognize that and work together to enjoy the HLR lifestyle.

 Bob Linker, 163 Pinewood Ct. HLR

 (Permission to print this is granted)

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This letter is just some of my observations, opinions and questions regarding Holly Lake Ranch golf course, the Fore Seasons restaurant and fiscal responsibility of our boards. I hope someone can help me with some answers.

I have read the letters and articles regarding the outrageous loss we are experiencing from the Fore Seasons (and I hear we can't keep a chef). It's a lovely facility, the food has been good and reasonably priced; it's a nice place to have meetings and to show off to visitors, but I must tell you I was surprised when that construction began because I was expecting a nice little smoke-free restaurant in the old pro shop and just like my own property - I don't start improvements until I can afford them (which, if you have seen my property, is the reason!). So who made the final decision? The previous B board? Rob James? I would think that the only authority of the B board is what is given to them via bylaws.

Being in manufacturing for many years taught me how business should work, i.e., if you are developing a new product, you must have the finances and intelligence to produce it and the customer base to market it successfully. If you check our history, you will find that we have had a few restaurants at Holly Lake that did not make it. I wonder why? Incidentally, have we recovered from the construction costs of the Pro Shop?? Rumor has it that the project went way over the construction bid??

And - I simply cannot understand why there is the slightest consideration for another golf course. How many golf courses could you play in the summer and not have some waiting time and in most instances pay some pretty hefty green fees? So, we are a bit crowded in the summer months, but for what you pay to play golf here, is it not worth it to have to wait for that little old lady in the group in front of you to hit her next 85 yard straight-away shot? People move here for the amenities and the friendly people. My wife plays golf year round several times a week (she's probably that little old lady you are waiting on). We would hate to be priced out of the things we have enjoyed the past several years on the Ranch but I fear we are heading in that direction. One suggestion by another Holly Laker was freezing the dues of Senior Citizens, such as the property taxing authorities do. (I like that suggestion.) Despite what the Harmony School District thinks, Holly Lake Ranch is not a community of only "wealthy" families.

My wife and I have played golf and eaten in restaurants in Europe, Mexico and several states in the U.S. and many of them had special rates for "super seniors." We played on two fine courses in Colorado recently for guest green fees of $25 each, $7.50 for cart and no range fees. We have also visited courses where people could walk around the course at certain times of the day and there were places around the lakes where they could sit and watch the geese or just relax. Why not? During the summer months I am often unable to play 9 or 18 holes but I would like to be able to go out in the evening and practice two or three holes (without interfering with any golfers) but I cannot do that unless I check in at the pro shop where I am charged a green fee (or get caught and pay a hefty fine - I'm told). Why is that?

Respectfully, Dick James

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My name is Barbara Henderson. I am a resident of Lake Hawkins and am writing this letter in reference to a recent County Commissioner's Meeting that I attended on August 24, 2007. For the last month, a petition has been circulating to attempt to convince the County Commissioners that the $25,000 that has been allocated for the Hydrilla problem for 2008 for Lake Hawkins is not enough. I believe for 2007 the treatment cost was $50,000, which covered about one third of the Lake. The treatment has helped with the Hydrilla Problem. My goal is to ask the commissioner's to treat Lake Hawkins as a whole, and to put enough money in the budget ($50,000 as they did this year.)

I don't know if attending the meeting with the Petition of about 400 signatures has helped the cause or not. I will see when the budget is made public. My land value in 1 year has escalated from $7,220 to $55,000.00 for almost two acres on Lake Hawkins. Many of us feel like when we look out at the lake we do not want to see masses of lily pads and growth in the water that prevents many of us from putting our boats, Jet Skies, etc., in the water. There are families that live on Lake Hawkins that cannot get out in the lake from their boat docks because of the growth in the water.

In ending, I would like to thank the Commissioner's for the recent treatment in 2007. Please put enough money in the budget to give Parks and Wildlife sufficient funds to properly and consistently treat the entire lake on a yearly basis.

Sincerely, Barbara Henderson

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IS IT TIME TO PULL THE PLUG ?????????????

Wilson, your comments in the August 4, 2007 editorials of the Gazette concerning the Fore Seasons needs a little more explanation.

 Losses at the Fore Seasons for the first 6 months of 2007 are $185,000. Losses for Golf for the same period are $172,000, if you amortize the Golf Card revenues.

 For the same period, the new homeowners Initiation Fee revenues are $165,000. ALL, not "most" of the Initiation Fee is being "soaked up" by just the restaurant and is short $20,000. Combined, the restaurant and golf loses are $357,000 for the 1st half of 2007.

 I want to concentrate on just the Fore Season's losses for now, more on golf later.

 To cover these losses we are using Initiation Fee revenues and money from "other" places. Was this revenue meant to cover LOSSES for this or any other amenity? I do not think it was....when we analyze the situation at the Fore Seasons we need to look at it on a stand-alone bases. We should not look any further than expenses verses revenue. The fact that we have some money over here or over there that can be diverted to cover losses is fortunate, but it is not what we should use in making decisions about operating the restaurant.

 Look at it this way.....IF the Fore Seasons was an independent restaurant on the side of FM 2869 and lost $30,000 in a month, the owner [not having an "Initiation Fee" fund to cover the loss] would have to go to his "friendly" banker [probably his brother-in-law] and borrow $30,000 to cover his loss. If his banker was crazy enough to loan him the money he could stay in business for another month .........Now, he has to make $60,000 next month just to break even if his losses continue at $30,000 a month. Oh, his banker is a relative and is not charging him any interest !!!!!!!!!, at least not yet.

 And the spiral goes on and on. It is costing each of us about $16.00 a month to cover the losses at the Fore Seasons. If we shut it down it cost each of us about $5.00 a month for 40+/- months. If the restaurant continues to lose $30,000 a month we will have taken $360,000 out of Revenues to cover the loss by year end. Last year we took $436,000 out of Revenues. "Fish Hawk", on Lake Hawkins, did not shut down because the owners made all the money they wanted...... Just because it's there does not mean we must continue to operate it....

 So Wilson, I agree with you completely, "these are serious times and we cannot keep our heads in the sand". Admitting that we have made a mistake is never easy but before we mention things like "surcharges" or assessment fees or anything that would add to our monthly Fee Structure (Dues) let's look at the whole picture. Just for the record...I cannot say that I was against the restaurant in the beginning. I, like some of you thought it would do better financially but, it has not. How long do we wait, how long must we allow red ink to flow to see if the losses can be overcome?

 Maybe HLR property owners should vote on whether or not we want to continue to pay for these losses or shut the restaurant down. Let the "PEOPLE" (residents) speak! If there are not substantial changes by year end my vote would be to shut it down. Two years of these kind of losses is enough............

 I have a question for the current and/or past "B" Boards.......Did the "A" Board/ Silverleaf have any influence on our building the Fore Seasons? I will leave the reason for asking that question to your imagination. As always, Bill Orrender.

 

Last Updated on Friday, 24 April 2009 15:24  

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