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Mike Burnett's picture
Joined: 07/31/2007
Posts: 183
Jack's Cable

We need to start a new thread and label Jack Cooper's Cable to give the attention it deserves.  The "grass isn't always cheaper" is not a good lead in. 

The only comment I heard about the vote on the survey was when the RMA President, Jack Cooper seemed to refuse to understand that majority rule is a major principle in a democracy!  Rather, he only seemd to care about the minority vote and somehow in is ill fated logic believes this in the principle point they need to focus on. 

The RMA BOD refuses to address this issue.  They all believe, excluding Dick Cox, that "if they build it we will come".  what they fail to realize is that even if they contracted to have a completely new network installed, the RMA would still drive it into the ground through poor maintenance.  Additionally they would provide even less maintenance when it comes to services outside the RMA Boundaries or to non-members as they have in the past.  The Country Club doesn't use RMA's service and the Villages stop using the service when RMA failed to respond to their Letter. 

The RMA is in violation of our governing documents for failing to disclosed the contents of the letter from the Villages to the RMA's members!  They can't keep this letter a secret.  It is over  a year old, the Villages stopped pressing the issue with RMA, and now have their own Cable Service.  We should demand to have RMA produce this letter and post it on this website.  This goes to the crux of the matter, they are incompetent in managing these services. 

RMCSD is supposed to be providing oversight management as the Franchise Authority.  the Sacramento Metropolitan Cable Commission turned over the oversight autority with the same rights provided to them by the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors back in the early 1990's.  The RMCSD has the authority to force the RMA to comply with FCC regulations, answer the question of mandatory subscription by the RMA membership, and ensure that RMA is managing the funds properly and fairly.

So maybe we have been knocking on the wrong door and need to present these concerns to the RMCSD?

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Mike Burnett's picture
Joined: 07/31/2007
Posts: 183
What are the actual costs of Cable Service to the membership?

I just heard about the Pro Forma Budget watching Channel 5 last night.  That is a good step to compare what the cost would be without the Cable Television Service.  The pro-forma budget does not reflect the RMA costs to provide Cable Service and so you can’t correlate the pro-forma budget to real time costs.  It simply shows how RMA would reset their operating costs without the Cable Service.

Everyone following this issue, should be well aware, there are many hidden costs year over year to keep this system going.  Why can’t anyone present these numbers to properly educate the membership on the total costs?  For example:

  1. Approximately $500k was spent on projects in 2007, which equates to roughly $18/month/RMAmembership.
  2. General Maintenance Labor, Equipment, and Materials used on Projects = $/month/RMA membership.
  3. Deferred Maintenance Costs caused by item 2 = $/month/RMA membership.
  4. Deferred Cable Service Maintenance caused by lack of support services = $/month/RMA membership.
  5. Deferred project and Maintenance costs for Cable plant outside of RMA = $/month/RMA membership.
  6. RMA Staff Administrative Services – did you downsize staff with the reduction in Cable Services or simply remove just the direct labor being charged to the Cable Budget?
  7. Fiber Cable Costs – we received free cable ??? We are not going to receive free materials going forward.  This costs should be included in the analysis at the fair market rate. = $/month/RMA membership

This is just a quick response without the advantage of having access to RMA's books.  In the pro-forma budget, I understand that RMA wouldn’t reduce general maintenance costs for personnel such as Rod, because that would allow him to actually focus on his job and not work nights and weekends on the cable service.  However, when the general maintenance staff is not working on general maintenance tasks, who is getting that work done.  This is what I mean by deferred maintenance. 

I know from first hand experience that the RMA Staff is not performing requisite preventative maintenance on our cable service.  This is deferred maintenance and is real hard dollars and cents.  RMA can’t dismiss costs that aren’t being performed because our staff isn’t focusing resources on the right activities.  Is RMA filing the requisite reports with the FCC yet?  To file these reports requires annual testing and analysis by a competent company.  When I was on the Board, they weren’t and intentionally misinformed the Communications Committee.  The last test they did by Phil Jarvis identified many deficiencies that required corrective work requests, which is deferred maintenance.

Does RMA even have a line item in the budget for deferred maintenance?  So until someone has the information and the guts to produce year over year actual costs. I don’t buy into the “blue plate special” version of what the monthly cable service costs are.  My best guess tells me it is closer to $60/month/RMA membership

Bill Duncan's picture
Joined: 08/07/2007
Posts: 38
Time warp....

Sorry Michael, I started a new thread just as you did.  Maybe Karen can combine the two.  Is it just me, but the time seems to be one hour off.

Bill

Bill Duncan's picture
Joined: 08/07/2007
Posts: 38
Let's hear something from the RMA board about cable TV ... now

Mr Gaylor makes some good points about the relative cost of the RMA cable TV product.  The other thread seemed to be getting a bit long, so I thought I would start another so we can all have a chance to comment on this very important issue.

My family subscribes to RMA cable and broadband and premium channels.  We live in the south and have usually received acceptable quality signals.  We are not TV wonks, so HD, special stuff and more premiums are not important to us.  We now pay, what we think is, a fair price for the product we receive. I also understand that we are supported by the residents who pay for, but do not use the RMA cable.  We recognize that the nature of a homeowners association makes uneven contribution from members the rule rather than the exception. But...

There are two things that I want to make very clear to the RMA directors. 1) YOU are making a bad situation worse by not giving us some straight talk now.  We need to know exactly where you are going and how fast.  Wilbur points out the the second guessing, conjecture and rumor is very destructive. Tell us the truth so we can all get on the same page.

2) I am not interested in any other services that will cost extra.  As I said earlier, our TV needs are pretty simple.  You already get more from us than the average resident.  DO NOT expect to sell us any new services.  I know I don't speak for others, but those who already have a dish on their roof are probably satisfied with what they have.  Unless you can offer a less expensive service, you won't get many takers from that group.

I hope you have found someone with professional experience to think these possibilities through. Do you have plans on paper, in front of each of you?   If you haven't, we are all in even more trouble than I thought.   

RM.com's picture
Joined: 06/19/2007
Posts: 27726
Combined the two threads, as requested

And yes, the clock's off by an hour.

Ryan Fogleman's picture
Joined: 07/30/2007
Posts: 125
Mike speaks the truth

Listen-up folks ! The secret to getting this done is CSD, NOT RMA ! Listen to what Mike says, we don't always agree on everything, but he is spot on regarding this issue and I know for a fact he has spent a considerable amount of time carefully researching it.

Ryan Fogleman's picture
Joined: 07/30/2007
Posts: 125
Frank can !

If anyone can explain these numbers to the membership, it's Frank Pamillia. I'm not sure if Frank has the patience to take on this task, after taking on countless hours of trying to make sense of this rats nest of an accounting system, but if anyone can Frank can !

Mike Burnett's picture
Joined: 07/31/2007
Posts: 183
Cable Costs

I agree Frank Pumilla can identify what these costs are, but as a member of the Committee, he would need BOD approval to release this information. I think this task rests with Dick Cox as the Director of Finance.  

RMA is a multi-million dollar corporation.  In my experience and opinion, no company would stay in business running their finances the way RMA is being run now.

If memory serves me correctly, in 2000, the BOD's realized that past boards had depleted reserves and deferred maintenance to keep dues artificially low to the point that our streets were falling apart.  The 2000 BOD's began a 5 year program to catch up with deferred maintenance and build up the reserves.

Right now, my concern is this BOD's is deferring costs from general maintenance and reserves to support their agenda for the Cable Services.  Should my concerns be correct, this is gross negligence in the financial management of RMA and deserves a response from the BOD.

John Weatherford has been criticized by the BOD, General Manager, and specifically the President everytime he has appeared at a Board meeting with his charts and graphs.  John has tirelessly been the Associations Advocate in an attempt to keep us informed by holding the General Manager and BOD's accountable.  The information John presents at these meetings is the type of information that the General Manager should be providing in his monthly report to the Board and membership. 

The BOD and the General Manager build an annual budget, share it with the membership and then treat the actual spend like it is privileged information throughout the year.  They should send a variance report monthly to the membership by line item.  This would shows the BOD's and membership how the staff is performing. 

Running the RMA's daily business requires a good business manager that understand how to leverage resources, drive cost efficiencies and mitigate rising costs.  In my opinion we don't have that.  Combine those qualities with misguided goals focusing on trying to make the Cable System a profit based business, subsidized by mandatory subscription, is mind boggling.

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