Emerald Lakes Board of Directors Open Meeting, September 28, 2019

by Kathy Leslie-Whelan

The meeting was called to order at 9:34 AM. All board members were present.  Following the pledge of allegiance, Buz Whelan started his President’s message, stating that this is the first meeting of our political year. On reflection he spoke of two important bylaw changes that were passed last year.  The first being quarterly payments with no fees and the second allowing direct proxy voting. Whelan spoke of the upgraded equipment, outdoor pool and the upgrading currently happening with the indoor pool. He stated we are in a good position to face snow removal.  Looking forward Whelan stated that money is tight and he commends management staff with stretching our dollars but the board has a fiduciary responsibility to request a dues increase in the near future.  Whelan stated he wants to see us as the premier community that we once were.  Whelan stated the rental program is a success.  In 2014, the board decided to make us a rental friendly community. We went from making approximately $20K per year in fees to last year making $120K. This year we have made $131K with 8 months still to go.  Whelan is optimistic for the coming year.  There is a better relationship between the board and the membership.

Bill Baehr, newly elected board member and Treasurer began his report by thanking everyone that voted for him. He believes good things are happening and will continue to happen within our wonderful community.  In reviewing the August report total numbers we operated within budget.  Administrative cost were $7K over budget due to management and accounting fees.  Public Safety costs were $4.4K under budget due to an open position.  Recreation/Lakes/Pools and the Bar and Grill operated within budget.  Maintenance were $2.4K under budget due to no cost for snow removal.  On the income side, dues and fees income is at approximately 50% of the $1.4M projected.  Dues late fees are $52K year to date.  Code Enforcement collections are at $51K YTD, while $60K was budget for the entire year.  Delinquency collections YTD are as follows:

Special Payment Plan collections – $42,430.95

In House collections – $148,708.84

Attorney collections – $63,185.86

Sunrise Collection Agency collections – $49,383.85

Income from the rental program collections current YTD is $131,189.03 while last year’s total is at $120,000.07.  Baehr stated that he is currently working with the F&P chair, the board president and the General Manager on developing a format that will present a clear picture of the finances to the membership.  The new format is expected to be completed for the October newsletter. Bob Leon made a motion to accept the Treasurer’s report.  It was seconded by Steve Kavanagh and passed unanimously.

Bob Leon made a motion to accept the July minutes.  It was seconded by Steve Kavanagh and passed unanimously.

Dave Borsos, board secretary and Judge of Elections reported on the results of voting at the annual meeting.  Both financial resolutions passed. Resolution # 1, which is disposition of surplus funds, votes came  in at 76 to 7.  This allows the board to decide how to apportion any surplus thus allowing the Association to attain preferential tax treatment of any surplus.  Resolution # 2 which is apportionment of annual assessments, votes came in at 72 to 8.   This resolution makes it clear to the IRS that the board is authorized to split the membership assessments between the operating and capital budgets. Direct Proxy voting votes were 67 yes and 16 no. Ange Noonan and Bill Baehr each won a three year director spot and Bob Leon won a one year director spot.  No votes were disqualified.

Under Old Business it was reported:

  • The indoor pool repairs is on schedule.  There is a problem with the decking and ServPro will repair.  Strand pool has started working on the electrical components of the pool and on Monday will start sandblasting the interior of the pool.  This is the last physical component for the work on the pool. 
  • The badging system is operational but waiting on training for the staff.  Training is scheduled for Wednesday, October 3rd.  Staff is hoping that by the 15th they will be ready to go with the new badges for the community.
  • A new surround sound system, under $500 will be installed at the Community Center to replace old speakers that were not worth finding replacements.
  • Joe Gallagher has treated West Emerald Lake, Pine Tree Lake and Deer Lake for excessive lily pads in September.  A new safe chemical was used.  It will take a year before the chemicals work.  Gamble has taken pictures of the lily pads so that he can check next year to see that the treatment was effective. The membership was cautioned that some growth is necessary for a healthy lake.  Joe Gallagher will be invited to an open board meeting in April or May to address the memberships concerns and answer questions.
  • Leaf/branch drop suspension will be October 31st.  Staff need to clean area and prepare for winter.  Branches will not be accepted till spring, however leaves will be accepted till November 15th.
  • The metal container at the compactor was switched out to Mascaro.  There is no longer money to be made on recycling.  The metal container fee is $325 to pull but the Association will get 50% of any profits.  Gamble will watch costs closely.  The Association cannot afford to maintain a loss.  If there is a loss for the metal container a decision will have to be made to either eliminate the container or charge the individual for items thrown away.  Gamble stated that if a member is instructed not to dump an item and he doesn’t take heed of the warning from staff, their information will be turned over to Pocono Regional Police and the Waste Authority for illegal dumping.  A $500 fine will be issued to the offending party from Pocono Regional.  The same fine may be issued by the Association.
  • In October, one more dirt road will be paved at Glade and Seneca Court.  The swalls have been cleaned and corrected.  Rolled patch was used successfully throughout the community.  Dirt road potholes were filled and re-stoned.  a tar buggy will be utilized in Spring.  Gamble will try to winter seal the visible cracks. New speed bumps are being considered.
  • Bar and Grill hours are Friday and Saturday between 5:00 PM and midnight.  They may open for specific Sunday games such as the Super bowl.  Days and times may increase with the opening of the indoor pool.  On long Monday holiday weekends they may open the bar and grill on the Sunday nights to see if there is traffic.  Thursday wing night is also being considered.  It was noted that if an event is successful and people are still at the bar and drinking the hours can be extended till 2:00 AM.
  • A dues increase meeting will be planned for the near future.  This board has gone to school on what the membership has voiced concerns on.  All material will be preprinted for the special meeting.  They want to be as efficient as possible by allowing 15 to 20 minutes for discussion.  Voting should take place within 1/2 hour of the start of the meeting.

Save the Date Reminders:

  • Cancer Bingo and Tricky Tray –  October 13th. Doors will open at noon with bingo slated for 2:00 PM.
  • Comedy Show – October 26th at 8:00 PM in the Community Center.  Tickets are on sale now at the Community Center and the Administration Building.
  • Trunk or Treat – October 31st at 6:00 PM in the Community Center parking Lot.  A small party for children will be held in the Community Center afterwards.

Under New Business:

  • Company that handled our website is defunct. Nicole Clemens can send out email blasts and do limited things.   A new company will soon take over after certain bugs are worked out.
  • A new part time staff member has been hired and will start on October 11th (Carissa).  She is well versed in HOA operations and is familiar with programs that we currently use so training will be minimal.

Director’s Comments

Ange Noonan thanked everyone for her votes at the annual meeting.

Bill Baehr also thanked everyone for voting for him and stated he was honored and humbled that he was elected.

Dave Borsos is looking forward to another good year.

A motion for a RESOLUTION for opening an investing account with PNC bank was made by Bob Leon.  Bill Baehr seconded it.  It passed unanimously.  

Committee Reports

Earl Frank of Finance and Planning requested that the minutes from the committee meeting be sent out to all directors at the same time that they are distributed to the committee members.  F&P is looking for a few more members.  Frank stated that the some items on the balance sheets that are now being generated were combined so it is impossible to compare to last year’s numbers.  He is requesting from our accounting firm a list of our fixed assets and deprecation.  Frank stated that we are doing well with our total income but at the rate we are going at the bar and grill we are falling short and it could cost the Association $50K a year.  Bar and Grill costs need to be controlled.  Frank was told that the board met this morning and are working diligently on a plan to implement a system that deals with scheduling personnel, pricing of items served and appropriate staffing levels.

Ken Shuey  of the Maintenance committee stated that they made Bill Henry Honorary Chairman for life at their meeting.  Under old business they feel that the dams are being ignored.  The Pine Tree valve is not functioning and Mountain Top Lake water levels are dropping due to a dam issue.  The committee feels that spending money now may save us a bigger expense down the road. Shuey stated that speed bumps work and are important.  He also stated that there are too many signs and some need to be repaired.  They are recommending that we hire an agent to inspect our green areas to look out for the spotted lantern fly which could cause a problem for us.  In addition they are recommending that we maintain or remove the old brown shed on Bus Road.  Final recommendation is that we do not purchase a vehicle for the Code Enforcement Officer and add it to the items for maintenance. 

Mary Kavanagh of the Real Estate committee stated that they have two new members that joined their committee.   They are changing their agenda so that they can ask questions or have the General Manager present at the beginning of their meetings.  Kavanagh stated that the landlords had questions on the new badging system for short term renters.  They are concerned that rental properties are in compliance with our rules.

Public Comments

Mary Kavanagh stated that a small rental home in her area had 14 cars parked on the property. She reported it to Public Safety.  She also suggested that coupons be given out at trunk or treat to get the kids into the Community Center.

Linda Shuey thanked the board for the recognition of her and her husband at the annual meeting as Volunteers of the Year.  She stated that we should not be building a dog park/walking park.  We should be taking care of the amenities that we already have instead of adding new ones.

Sixteen (16) new members were welcomed to the Community. This count is from July to present.

Steve Kavanagh made a motion to adjourn. It was seconded by Bob Leon.  Meeting adjourned at 11:52 AM.

Reporters Note: I write these reports based on notes taken during the meeting.  I get no special consideration or cooperation from the board.  I try my best to report accurately, but occasionally mistakes will be made.  I invite correction and have no desire to intentionally mischaracterize any comments or actions.

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Emerald Lakes Board of Directors Annual Meeting, August 17, 2019

by Kathy Leslie-Whelan

The meeting was called to order at 11:08 AM.  All board members were present.  Following the pledge of allegiance, Buz Whelan, President, announced that we had reached quorum. After introducing the board members, General Manager and association auditor, Bill Owens, Whelan addressed a few housekeeping items.  He stated that the meeting was being recorded and live streamed to the membership and that the meeting would be held in accordance with Robert’s Rules of Order.  He stated that according to Robert’s Rules the minutes from the annual meeting should be approved at the next open meeting.  The minutes from this annual meeting will be approved in September. In addition, our bylaws state that any business other than electing candidates must be conducted prior to the elections meeting, so the resolutions will be voted on after discussions at the start of the meeting.

Whelan called for a motion to accept last year’s annual meeting minutes.  Chris Claude made a correction to the total of votes received by Al Leslie last year.  The number was changed from 25 votes to 28 votes. Joe Olall stated that the minutes were incomplete since they didn’t contain the total number of ballots cast and the number of disqualified bids.  Steve Kavanagh made the motion to accept the minutes with the corrections.  It was seconded by Bob Leon and passed unanimously.  Olall objected since the total number of ballots cast were not part of the minutes.

The ballots were explained to the membership since voting would take place on the direct proxy voting (yellow ballot) and the two financial resolutions (green ballot).  The floor was open for member comments.

Joe Olall stated that the total number of votes cast is important, and he wants to know who is voting.  He stated that last year members were voting that had no right to vote. Until we had a better process in hand he was against this resolution.

Steve Gotfried encouraged people to vote for the resolution to allow members who cannot attend the meeting a right to vote.

Anthony Denicker stated that he is not a weekend warrior and feels that proxy voting is important.

Larell Marie Mele stated that we have to consider AirBNB.  The owners of these properties are making money on rentals, so now they can mail in their proxy vote.  She is not sure she is in favor that they have a say.

Debbie DeSimone stated that she is a weekend warrior and pays for two lots and wants a vote.  She requested that her right not be taken away.  All property owners have a right to vote.

Darren Johnson stated that he is a proponent for proxy voting.  If you are paying dues, you have a right to vote.  His concern is that the community is not leveraging technological advances.

The membership was allowed to vote on the direct proxy voting and the two financial resolutions at this time.

Whelan started his President’s message, stating that promises were made last year by Steve Kavanagh, Chris Claude and himself.  They kept these promises of transparency by live streaming and archiving meetings.  Only one executive session was held in December and that was to discuss employee bonuses. Whelan stated that the indoor pool should be opened in the next 3 to 4 weeks. The pool will be heated, have a world class dehumidification system, multi colored new lighting and the apron will be refinished.

Whelan handed the floor over to Vice President Chris Claude to award the volunteer-of-the-year award to Linda and Ken Shuey for going above and beyond as chair and secretary of the maintenance committee.  Whelan then awarded Al Leslie a Lifetime Achievement Award for his 11 years of faithful service to the board.  Three of those years, Leslie served as President.  Leslie has also given up his Saturday nights to call bingo upwards of 45 times a year for almost two decades.

Our attorney Nick Haros was detained.

Bill Owens of Williams Owens and Company stated that in his financial opinion our audit report is true and correct. Our operating fund is in good condition; our reserve fund has increased but more should be in the fund; spent more this year on repairs; collection rate went from 60% last year to 73.4%; sound year where expenses were controlled.

Under the Treasurer’s report, Steve Kavanagh stated that it has been an interesting year financially. Money was tight, there was much to be done and the dues increase was denied.  Not all bad news since dues collections has been strong.  Delinquent collections for the fiscal year were $589K in total with $313 being collected in-house.  We were able to function and complete many projects and stretch out our money. Three consecutive auditors have identified the need for a dues increase so we will need to request a dues increase in the future.

Dave Borsos, Judge of Elections was introduced next.  He stated that we currently have three slots open for the board with four candidates running.  Two spots will be three year positions and one spot will be a one year position.  Each candidate was given 5 minutes to speak.  No one opted to run from the floor.  If a ballot is damaged it could be swapped for a clean ballot but if the intention of the vote is clear, it will be counted.

Candidates

Bill Baehr spoke from the heart.  He moved into ELA the Sunday before Christmas, which was followed by an ice storm.  He started coming out to the Community Center and participating in events like bingo and karaoke.  He loves to kayak on the lakes and visit the butterfly garden He loves the community and plans on retiring here.  He sees good things happening and wants to help the community move forward. He recognized his fellow running mates as good people and friends.

Jenn Gonzalez has lived in ELA for over 7 years as a renter and the last year as an owner.  She had a special thank you to Darryl Gamble and Nicole Clemens for all their efforts.  Jenn is a no frills person.  She does not sugar coat anything.  She has seen positive changes with a working outdoor pool and soon to be operational indoor pool. She has served on both the Maintenance Committee and the Finance and Planning Committee for the last year.

Bob Leon stated that 10 years ago he started the unofficial Facebook page.  His future agenda is to work on the roads, bath house for the outdoor pool, paved and extended parking at the outdoor pool and to continue with transparency.

Ange Noonon stated that she has been on the board for the last year and many wonderful projects have been completed or are being worked on.  She wants to keep going with working on making this community move in a positive direction.  She wants to continue with the transparency and hoping to get continued support from the association.

After Candidate Voting ballots (pink) were cast the floor was opened up for questions.

  1. How do we enforce fees for short term rentals?

          Response: We ask for voluntary participation and if the fees are       not paid the tenants cannot get passes.  Most short term rentals         are advertised and those sites are monitored by our Chief Compliance Officer and the Real Estate Committee.

  • Is there any recourse for loud noise or fireworks?

Response:  There is a noise ordinance in our bylaws and in the townships that make up Emerald Lakes.  If there is a problem, security should be called.  A warning will be issued and if it continues the owner or landlord will be given a fine. Fireworks is an internal law within the Association.

  • The Auditor report shows $31K in salaries for the Community Center.  Why?

Response: That figure represents recreational expenses which include community center salaries, pool attendants at the outdoor pool and soon indoor pool, events that require staffing such as breakfast with the bunny and Santa, letters to Santa etc.

  • What happened to our attorney?

Response: He was scheduled to be there but that haven’t heard from him.

Results from Candidate voting:

77 votes cast with no disqualifications

Ange Noonan – 62 (3 Year Term)

Bill Baehr – 50 (3 Year Term)

Bob Leon – 44 (1 Year Term)

Jen Gonzalez – 41

Direct Proxy Voting  Bylaw Change (Passed)

67 Yes

16 No

Financial Resolution # 1 (Passed)

76 Yes

7 No

Financial Resolution # 2 (Passed)

72 Yes

8 No

Reporters Note: I write these reports based on notes taken during the meeting.  I get no special consideration or cooperation from the board.  I try my best to report accurately, but occasionally mistakes will be made.  I invite correction and have no desire to intentionally mischaracterize any comments or actions.

Emerald Lakes Board of Directors Open Meeting, July 27, 2019

by Kathy Leslie-Whelan

The meeting was called to order at 9:35 AM. Six board members were present.  Ange Noonan was absent for personal reasons. Following the pledge of allegiance, Buz Whelan started his President’s message, stating that the minutes in the Call to Meeting are in accordance with Roberts Rules of Order.  The purpose of the minutes is to document what was done, not what everyone said. The board is looking to streamline the process for the annual meeting.  More discussion on this topic is under Old Business.

Under the Treasurer’s report, Steve Kavanagh stated that in June we were $4,600 under budget in the Community Center; $7,000 over budget in Administration due to legal filings: $12,000 over budget in Recreation due to pool maintenance.  Dues income is $45K over last year. Bob Leon made the motion to accept the treasurer’s report.  Dave Borsos seconded it.  It was approved unanimously.

Whelan called for a motion to accept June’s board minutes. Borsos made the motion which was seconded by Leon.  Passed unanimously.

Under Old Business it was reported:

  • According to our bylaws all voting on issues will be done at the onset of the meeting.  Whelan stated that since he has lived here, that was never followed.  The cut off time for getting in line for registration is 11:00 AM where the meeting will be called to order at approximately 11:10 AM.  The first item of business will be proxy voting and will hopefully be completed by 11:30 AM.  At the special meeting in May, 16 ballots were not turned in and the board believes that some of the members did not stay for the voting.  In addition, there are too many people present when the votes are counted.  The accountant will be present for the counting along with two counters and two witnesses.  Ballots will not be disqualified where the intent of the ballot is clear.  Last year the membership was told that ballots will be disqualified for misspelling of the candidates names.  That will not be the case this year.  Dave Borsos, who is the Judge of Elections stated that it is his intention to have a clean, smooth and quick count of the ballots.

          Amenities Update

  • Indoor pool has been drained.  ServPro will start the mold remediation on Monday, July 29th. Strand Pool will be completing some of their contracted work while ServPro is working.  A fuller schedule on this work will be forthcoming once the work commences but it is anticipated that the mold removal will be 21 days, resurfacing the pool will be 3 to 5 days and sandblasting will be 3 to 5 days.  PPL needs to do some final work on the dehumidification system before it can be started up.
  • The dog park and walking areas are pending but still slated to be completed.
  • Due to budgetary reasons the purchase of a vehicle for the Code Enforcement Officer will be put off.  He will temporarily use a Public Safety vehicle.

Save the Date Reminders:

  • Meet the Candidates – August 10th at 10:00 AM in the Community Center.
  • Saturday Night Karaoke – August 10th at 8:00 PM at the Community Center.
  • Annual Meeting – August 17th Pocono Mountain West High School. Registration begins at 9:30 AM.
  • 50’s Dance Party – August 17th at 8:00 PM in the Community Center.
  • Bill Henry Send Off – August 25th at 1:00 PM in the Community Center.
  • Community-Wide Yard Sale – September 6th, 7th and 8th.
  • Comedy Show – October 26th at 8:00 PM in the Community Center.
  • Trunk or Treat – October 31st in the Community Center parking Lot.

Under New Business:

  • Since the rules are not clearly defined for issuing member IDs and guest passes the following was proposed and accepted unanimously by the board:
  • Homeowner (except landlords) will be issued 10 personal/general passes. If a member owns more than one property he will only be issued 10.
  • Landlords will be issued 2 personal IDs. {EDIT: Landlords will get picture ids for immediate family members only, and no guest passes}
  • Long Term Renters who pay $400 annually will be issued up to 6 personal  IDs.  Any passes for guests will have to be purchased.
  • Short term renters can purchase passes ($10 per person for a daily pass; $25 per person for a three day pass; $40 per person for at 7 day pass.)
  • Children 6 and under do not require a pass but must be accompanied by an adult with a pass.
  • Homeowner may purchase as many passes as they want at the above cited rates.
  • Owner’s Ids cannot be shared.  If there is a violation of this the member will forfeit their pass for a period of time as well as be fined.  Rules and Regulations will be tasked with determining the amount for the fine.
  • Short term renters who buy passes will be considered short term associate members and will be able to use the bar and grill.
  • Owner’s guest passes can be used without the member present at the outdoor amenities.
  • Owners must accompany guests at the Community Center and indoor pool.
  • Long term renters get picture IDs for family members only.

(A motion was made by Borsos to accept the above rules which were seconded by Leon.  It passed unanimously.)

  • Outdoor Pool Behavior – Pool attendants will have the authority to stop bad behavior and have an individual removed from the pool area. There were incidents of children jumping into the pool with the chairs that are provided for the membership.  The members should also dress appropriately since there are children at the pool.
  • Additional Speed Bumps will be purchased.  Management will control where these bumps are installed.
  • Mountain Top Lake dam will go up for a tax sale on September 11th if the owner doesn’t pay his taxes by that time. The Association lost control of the property 10 years ago. The Association could buy that property back for $7K or buy it for $800 out of repository later if it does not sell.  Discussions will be held with the attorney.

Director’s Comments

Al Leslie stated that this will be his last open meeting on the board and it was an honor for him to serve.  He has served the community for 11 years.

Bob Leon stated that he is a regular visitor at the outdoor pool and he recommends that the parking area be paved and expanded in the future.

Whelan thanked Al Leslie for his 11 years on the board and stated that for 3 years Al served as President.  In addition, he thanked him for his dedication to Saturday night bingo.  Whelan said that since he has lived in Emerald Lakes, Leslie has hosted at least 600 bingo nights, an incredible record.

Dave Borsos announced that he is judge of elections and that we currently gave five declared candidates for three positions.  Two of the positions are for three year terms, while one is for a one year term.

Committee Reports

Earl Frank of Finance and Planning stated that he hopes the Auditor is making progress on the annual audit of the Association.  He requested that in the future either the Manager or Assistant Manager sit in on the meeting to address any questions that the committee may have. Frank stated that out of the $313K collected in dues for current and delinquent members, 75% was collected in-house.   Frank stated that more porta-potties are required at the outdoor pool and that an article should be written to inform the membership of Public Safety’s duties.

Cookie Litwienski of the Nomination/Election committee stated that she had two members on her committee and she planned on letting people ask questions from the floor.  In addition, Nicole Clemons was sending an email blast to the membership to submit questions by a certain deadline.

Linda Shuey of the Maintenance committee stated that they discussed a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) be prepared for lake maintenance. She also felt that we should not be moving forward with adding another amenity (dog park) that needs to be maintained. 

Public Comments

Linda Shuey asked about the valve on Mountain Top Lake.

Bill Henry stated that the committees are getting smaller.  Linda Shuey stated that is because the board doesn’t pay attention to their recommendations so they feel they are wasting their time.  Earl Frank stated he disagreed with Linda and that the board has taken action on many of Finance and Planning’s recommendations.

Mary Kavanagh stated that she has been in the community for 17 years and she feels that this past year has been fantastic.  She has seen improvements and she is hopeful that improvements will continue next year with a newly seated board.

Cookie Litwienski asked if someone could weed the front entrance.

No new members were welcomed to the Community.

Borsos made a motion to adjourn. It was seconded by Kavanagh.  Meeting adjourned at 11:52 AM.

Reporters Note: I write these reports based on notes taken during the meeting.  I get no special consideration or cooperation from the board.  I try my best to report accurately, but occasionally mistakes will be made.  I invite correction and have no desire to intentionally mischaracterize any comments or actions.

Emerald Lakes Board of Directors Open Meeting, June 22, 2019

by Kathy Leslie-Whelan

The meeting was called to order at 9:32 AM. Six board members were present.  Al Leslie was absent for personal reasons. Following the pledge of allegiance, Buz Whelan turned the floor over to our outside Auditor, Bill Owens, who addressed the room on Proxy voting which will be voted on at the annual meeting on August 17th at Pocono Mountain West High School. The presentation was live-streamed and will be available to the membership for viewing until the August meeting.  This will eliminate the need for the presentation to take place at the annual meeting.   Owens has over 15 years of experience handling proxy voting with other communities in the Poconos. Owens firm now handles proxy voting for approximately 50 communities a year. Currently Emerald Lakes votes by paper ballot on the day of the election.  A proxy system would allow a member in good standing to vote by appointing someone to vote for that member at the meeting. Owens explained three types of proxy voting.  (The vote at ELA will be for Directed Proxy voting.)  The three types are:

  1. Directed Proxy votes cannot be manipulated.   Members will be able to mail in their ballots to an independent 3rd party.  Ballots will be turned over at the meeting to an appointed individual who will cast the ballots for the member.  This individual could be the board, the Association Auditor, Secretary, the Judge of Elections or any board designated member. All these votes cast can be revoked by the member who cast the ballot at the open meeting if that individual wishes to change his vote.
  2. Undirected proxy votes give a member’s right away to another member where that individual can cast your vote the way they want.
  3. Absentee ballots are done on a mail in basis and cannot be changed at the meeting by the individual that cast the vote.

The process for the proposed system is that proxies will be mailed to all members of the Association. The proxy would be completed by the member and mailed to an independent third party.  These proxies must be received by the 3rd party prior to a predetermined date.  The independent third party would determine if the proxies received are from a member in good standing based on accounts receivable records at the predetermined date. The independent third party would count the votes received by the members in good standing and will bring the ballots to the open meeting and turn them over to the individual who was appointed to cast the proxy ballots. It was emphasized that the individual designated to cast the direct proxy ballots may not alter the ballots in any way.  In addition, the independent third party would also send a listing of the members that voted to the administration office (without voting information) to ensure that no member that submitted a ballot to the independent third party will receive another ballot if they attend the open meeting. A member can revoke their proxy at any time prior to the start of the meeting.

Questions from the membership:

Cookie Litwienski asked about the people that run from the floor. Owens stated that they cannot change any ballot so they will be submitted as received.  If a member wants to revoke their ballot that they submitted they will be issued new ballots at the open meeting so they can vote in person. Whelan stated that write-in candidates do not have to attend “Meet the Candidates” which is a very stressful but important process. In addition, their 5-minute candidate speech goes unchallenged.  It is justified and fair that those candidates have a slight disadvantage.

John Palmisano asked if any of the communities that Owens handles proxy voting for utilize internet voting, and why are we not using.  Owens stated that his firm only handles one community that utilizes this type of voting.  In this case, an information packet is sent out to only members in good standing.  A pin code is included in these packets only allowing the member to vote once.  A small issue is that not all members have computers so the Association will have to supply a voting station at the Administration office for people to vote.

Bill Henry asked what percentage of the other communities have used proxy voting.  Owens stated that there are always ballots cast under proxy voting. If we get 1/3 of the members in good standing voting, it is a good result.

Linda Shuey thanked the board and Mr. Owens for addressing the concerns that the membership had.  She cautioned the board on the bylaw changes that would be required and asked how the voting would effect quorum.  Owens stated the proxy votes would count towards quorum.

Under the President’s message, Whelan stated that of the three methods presented by Owens, the membership will be voting on “Directed Proxy”.  He further stated that after reading the bylaws carefully, all voting on issues will be done at the onset.  The cut off time for getting in line for registration is 11:00 AM where the meeting will be called to order at approximately 11:10 AM.  The first item of business will be proxy voting.  He also stated that it is an open secret that people fill out that ballots and hand them over to a trusted friend to cast.  He wants to find a way to make that legitimate.

Whelan also announced a special event coming up.  Bill Henry, who is our historian, will be leaving ELA.  Bill served on most committees as well as served on the board. Bill is an integral part of the community since buying his first piece of property in 1968.  On Sunday, August 25th, between 1:00 PM and 4:00 PM a roast will be held in his honor at the Community Center. It will be a covered dish event or a $5.00 fee which will go into a gift for Bill.  Whelan will be roasting.  Henry was present at the meeting and stated that the smartest thing that he did was buying his first property.  The second was buying the property next to his home and building another home in 1982.  He has enjoyed ELA for 50 years.

Whelan further stated that karaoke will now take place on the second Saturday of the month instead of Friday.  A greater number of people will be served by this change.  Bingo will continue on Saturdays.

Under the Treasurer’s report, Steve Kavanagh stated that since only a condensed June report is available due to the preparation of the annual audit he will highlight some significant numbers. For our current fiscal year dues collected so far this year total $247,998.  818 members availed themselves to quarterly payments. $111,445 has been collected from delinquent accounts.  Breakdown for delinquent accounts is $57,926 for in-house, $7,855 under special payment plan, $38,284 under attorney collections and $7,378 for Sunrise collections.  Expenses for the bar and grill totaled $2,179 while revenue totaled $2,645.  Money above expenses totaled $466.  $2,009 was spent to stock the snack shack.  For the two days of May the shack was open it sold $261 of merchandise. Bob Leon made the motion to accept the treasurer’s report.  Chris Claude seconded it.  It was approved unanimously.

Whelan called for a motion to accept May’s board minutes Leon made the motion which was seconded by Kavanagh.  Passed unanimously.

Under Old Business GM Darryl Gamble reported:

  • The outdoor pool is up and running and only a few cosmetic items have to be attended to. The water softener was installed. In addition, Strand pool has set up the equipment for the solar cover.  A line item was added for the snack shack to track expenditures.  All food items that do not sell will be transferred to the Community Center for sale instead of left to spoil.  Soft serve ice cream is now available in chocolate, vanilla or a choc/vanilla twist.  A total cost on all work on the pool will be available when all the invoices are received.
  • Indoor pool is on schedule.  A contract with ServPro is being renegotiated.  Some items are being removed and some added.  Strand pool is ready to start the work on the pool and the roofers will be completing the rubber roof at the Community Center.
  • The dirt road at Gap View road was completed. Clearview will be done in house.
  • Beaches were cleaned up.  Eric Bergstrom is currently helping with installing the buoys.
  • New equipment as been received for the tennis courts and basketball courts.  These facilities will be secured at night and will be opened in the morning.
  • Sign parts have been ordered.
  • The first round of speed bumps have been installed.  More are being ordered.
  • Grass on the side of the road is being cut manually.  Gamble is working with Kubota on correcting the equipment that we currently own.
  • The new truck that replaced big red is on site, registered and insured.
  • We are waiting for the new badging system and web site from the contractor.
  • Annual audit is underway.

Whelan congratulated the General Manager on the work at the outdoor pool.

Under New Business:

  • Annual meeting preparations are underway.  The meeting will be held on August 17th at the local high school.  The “Call to Meeting” must be in the memberships’ hands by July 18th so they hope to have the mailing completed by July 10th.  Whelan stated that we owe a debt of gratitude to Cookie Litwienski for organizing the nominating/election committee.  Anyone who has the time and would like to help her please contact Whelan, Nicole Clemens or Cookie Litwienski.  A picture ID will be required to vote.  Nomination/Election committee chairperson, Cookie Litwienski suggested scheduling “Meet the Candidates” for Saturday August 3rd at the Community Center between the hours of 9:30 AM and 12:00 noon.  One or more of the declared candidates may not be able to attend that date so August 10th has been suggested as an alternative date.  This meeting will be live streamed. 

Director’s Comments

Ange Noonan stated that she has had an exciting and rewarding year on the board and announced that she will be rerunning in August.  She thanked everyone for their support throughout the year. 

Bob Leon also announced that he will be rerunning for the board.  He stated that we are reverting back to the way we were with the 2 pools, new compactors, new truck and equipment. 

Chris Claude stated that he wanted to do a fund raiser for a young man in ELA who is currently battling cancer.  Any ideas would be appreciated.

Whelan thanked Claude for all the work he has done for the Association.  Claude does a lot of work behind the scenes. Whelan also stated that events being held have been successful and are drawing larger crowds.  He feels the community is coming together.  He urged people to come out to events and the Community Center.  He has found the membership warm and welcoming and fun to be around.

Steve Kavanagh announced that on the night of the annual meeting (August 17th), he and his wife will be hosting a ’50s music party.  Come out to dance and have a good time.  He also stated that the Polk Firehouse is having a benefit today for the ELA young man that is battling cancer.

Dave Borsos acknowledged the fishing club that put on the fishing rodeo derby. He stated that we had great volunteers and had a record breaking 45 kids participating.  He thanked the Association for supplying ice cream, Wal-Mart for supplying food and Pocono Boat House for supplying bait. (Please note that Dave and his wife Cathy donated many of the toys that the children won for the various prize categories.)

Borsos also stated that he is in favor of getting in and out of the annual meeting but at the same time it is a good time for us all to come together and be informed citizens.  It would be worth staying for the meeting.  Borsos also asked if there was a cost for Owens to do the proxy voting.  Gamble stated it will be at their hourly rate and the work will be completed in certain blocks of time so it would be easy to keep track of that time.

Committee Reports

Ken Shuey of the Maintenance committee stated that they met this past Thursday but had no recommendation.  They submitted questions for Gamble and are trying to be effective on identifying ways to save money.  He also requested that co-chairs be reassigned to the committees.

Cookie Litwienski of the Nomination/Election committee asked if she could hold meeting at her house since many of the items they discuss are confidential.  The board had no problem with this.

Public Comments

Linda Shuey spoke as a member of Rules and Regulation. She requested that notification to the membership go out of all changes recommended and accepted by the board. She stated that maybe something can be sent out in the “Call to Meeting” so that everyone is aware of the changes. Shuey also thanked for the donations received from the outside vendors for the fishing rodeo.  She also had a shout out to Bonide Co for supplying the ELWAY club with 4 gallons of Repels All, valued at $225. for the milkweed at the butterfly garden. This donation was based on a letter that Ms. Shuey sent out to this manufacturer.

Ken Shuey asked a question pertaining to membership passes.  All members are issued 10 passes but renters can have an unlimited number of passes that they pay for.  Can the membership pay for additional passes if they need them?  The response was yes, members can purchase more passes.

Mary Kavanagh stated that she felt it was great that the board was moving forward with proxy voting. She requested that email blasts go out for karaoke which she and her husband do on a voluntary basis. She stated that Latin night was a success and she hopes people will come out for the ’50s music night.   Kavanagh also inquired if anything can be done about a vacant house across the street from her that has grass that is very high.

Bill Baehr stated that karaoke and bingo is fun.  He has met so many new friends.  The community is beautiful and when he walks around he is proud to be here. Baehr took the time to announce that he will be running for the board in August.

Four new members were welcomed to the Community.

Leon made a motion to adjourn. It was seconded by Kavanagh.  Meeting adjourned at 11:26 AM.

Reporters Note: I write these reports based on notes taken during the meeting.  I get no special consideration or cooperation from the board.  I try my best to report accurately, but occasionally mistakes will be made.  I invite correction and have no desire to intentionally mischaracterize any comments or actions.

Emerald Lakes Board of Directors Open Meeting, May 25, 2019

by Kathy Leslie-Whelan

The meeting was called to order at 9:36 am. Six board members were present.  Al Leslie was absent for personal reasons. Following the pledge of allegiance, Buz Whelan made a statement that a grace period will be given to the membership until June 15th to pay dues in full or for the first quarterly payment. He explained that TOPS, the current system that generates the bills, was confusing to the membership.  The membership that paid their dues in advance, had ($750) on the statement.  This represents a credit of $750. Every quarter TOPS will deduct $250 from this credit. 

 Whelan  stated that the board of directors represents the Association and must do what is in its best interest. While members can speak for themselves and act in their own best interests, the association has only the board to look out for it.  The Association would deteriorate if every members wish was taken into consideration.  The Association needs $300K to operate to keep the amenities, roads and facilities in good condition.  The board has a fiduciary (legal) responsibility to ask for this amount again.  The board has an obligation to ask for what is needed.

The Association is changing the way we are currently investing.  Our investments are costing more in management fees than we are gaining, and if money is needed from the account for an emergency, there are penalties for taking out the money.  This investment was cashed out without penalty and will be put into a money market account without fees or penalty for early withdrawal. 

Under the Treasurer’s report, Steve Kavanagh stated that for April we are over budget $7.9K. Maintenance was the highest area that was over budget due to required maintenance on vehicles.  For the fourth month in a row the bar and grill is has taken in more than it spent. Collection for delinquent prior year dues is at $22K for the month of April.  Bob Leon made the motion to accept the treasurer’s report.  Dave Borsos seconded it.  It was approved unanimously.

Whelan called for a motion to accept April’s board minutes.  Kavanagh requested that his name be spelled correctly. Leon made the motion with the correction which was seconded by Kavanagh.  Passed unanimously.

Under Old Business:

  • Whelan stated that a dues increase will be requested again from the membership, probably in the fall. 16 ballots from the Special Meeting were not turned in.  He feels this is because meetings run too long. Whelan has been studying the by-laws and will consult with the attorney regarding changing the way votes are cast.  He stated that there is nothing that he can see in the by-laws where it states that you cannot give your ballot to a trusted friend to put in the ballot box.
  • GM Darryl Gamble reported the outdoor pool is up and running and opened on time for Memorial Day weekend. The water softener for the pool will be installed at a later date and will not affect the pool opening. New picnic tables, umbrellas and chairs were purchased.
  • Outdoor grills for Pine Tree and Main beaches are being refurbished or replaced.
  •  At Pine Tree beach the original well pump burned out and had to be replaced for $10K.  Work on this beach will be done in stages. All safety hazards have been removed so folks can still enjoy the beach. Underlying water issues will be addressed before the retaining wall is replaced and sand added to the beach.  All sand will be beach sand and not septic sand.
  • Main beach is up and ready to go.
  • Gap View road work was started on May 25th. Water damage on Clearview will be corrected before paving is started.  Gamble stated that he hopes to have the roads by Main beach corrected.
  • New equipment was ordered for the tennis courts and basketball courts and should be here within 3 weeks.  The old equipment is still up so that the membership can still use these facilities. In addition, these courts will be secured at night and will be opened in the morning.
  • Gamble explained that trees were removed at the main entrance due to blocking vision of drivers.  Also, there will be additional parking added to the Main entrance mail center.

Under New Business:

  • Summer preparations and underway.  Sand has not been delivered yet.  Currently the sand is wet due to all the rain and it cannot be delivered until it dries.  Main Beach will be sanded first and Pine Tree will be sanded after certain repairs.  As stated above sand will be beach sand as opposed to Septic sand and will be laid at a 3″ thickness.
  • New ropes and buoys will be installed.  Gamble is looking for some fishing guys to help out with the placements.  A flat bottom boat is under consideration so maintenance can have access to do certain tasks in the lakes.
  • K&B completed the well pump work at Pine Tree beach and the outdoor pool. Water testing was completed by Microback.  Microback also takes care of the back end work by reporting any issues to the Board of Health.
  • The dehumidification system for the indoor pool will be delivered on May 31st. Cranes will be showing up the week before.  Since school is still in session, Gamble will reach out to the membership to inform them when the work is starting so they are aware since children will be getting off the school buses.
  • A Rules and Regulation amendment to include replanting of trees when a healthy tree is removed and requirements for driveway paving was approved by consensus.  Borsos made the motion to accept the changes made by the general manager and CEO.  It was seconded by Ange Noonan. Rules and Regulations will be reconvening on June 8th at 9:30 AM in the Administration building.  Since it is a living document it was requested that the changes be sent to the board in sections for approval.  Whelan asked Leon to request the Chair of the committee to come to the open meeting to address the changes and reasoning behind the changes.  Leon stated that a letter should be sent to all chairs of committees to attend open meetings.
  • Under Annual Meeting Agenda, Whelan wants to add Absentee/Proxy Voting.  He stated that everyone’s right to vote is important.  People have family obligations, work issues or physical issues and should have the same rights.  Surrounding communities already have procedures in place that are secure.
  • Whelan alerted the board that a Judge of Elections needs to be appointed for the annual open meeting since the current secretary’s term is up and he will be rerunning.
  • Whelan discussed voting procedures not clearly defined in the bylaws.  He suggested shortening the agenda prior to voting so that the membership can cast their ballots before public comments.  Discussions ensued on disqualified ballots and that if the voter intent is clear it should not be disqualified.  In addition, any member who accidently marked their ballot incorrectly should be allowed to trade in their ballot for a new one since if they cross out an item, that ballot is disqualified.
  • A dog park with a walking path which is not a large investment will be installed on the grass area at the Administration building.  Dogs will be allowed to run.  The member will be responsible for the dog’s behavior and for cleaning up after their dog.
  • A motion by Kavanagh for a 4 day weekend for full time staff for July 4th was seconded by Noonan passed unanimously.  A skeleton crew will be at the Administration building.
  • A community wide garage sale is proposed for the second week of September.

Director’s Comments

Dave Borsos stated he was thankful for the efforts of the men and women working for the community. He also stated that he heard people state that “why would we give you a dues increase to put it into already deteriorating amenities”. Borsos also requested clarification on the mailing of the quarterly dues payments. He was told there would be no future mailing at $2K a pop and that the TOPS system only allows to bill with money paid as a credit.

Steve Kavanagh asked about the badging system.  He was told that it not ready yet.

Chris Claude stated that if anyone remembers the reasoning that members gave for not approving the dues increase at the April 2018 meeting was that the indoor pool was closed.  This year the reason was we are putting too much money into the indoor pool. The board is more fiscally responsible for finding solutions to fix what we have.

Ange Noonan stated that we are fortunate to have the management team that we have.  She reminded Whelan of the Memorial Day function.

Whelan thanked Noonan and stated that on Monday, Memorial Day there will be a 15 minute ceremony to remember all who died for our country at the Main entrance flag pole at 11:45. In addition the compactor will be open on Monday.

Committee Reports

Earl Frank of Finance and Planning stated that the board has to make decisions on how they want to proceed with going back to the membership for a dues increase. Reserves are at $389K.  New capital is at $74K. Equity is at $1.3M. The bar and Grill was $350 over expenses.  Third months in a row the Bar and Grill revenue has exceeded the cost of operation.  F&P recommended that the board put an article in the newsletter and email blast about public safety and what role they play in the community.

Public Comments

Louise Leon stated that this was the best board and that management was wonderful.

Mary Kavanagh stated that the community was going in a good direction and she was sad that the dues increase did not pass.  She was proud that the Latin night in the community center was successful.  She met new people and that the event did not cost the community a penny.  The following Saturday karaoke night was successful also.  Every board member attended.

Whelan bought up the comedy shows that were held in the past and how they were very successful.  Tommy Gooch reached out to Whelan about doing another show in the fall.  Gooch is a headliner in many comedy venues such as the Borgata in Atlantic City.  It was a unanimous agreement to proceed with the show.

No new members were welcomed to the Community.

Leon made a motion to adjourn. It was seconded by Kavanagh.  Meeting adjourned at 11:38 AM.

Reporters Note: I write these reports based on notes taken during the meeting.  I get no special consideration or cooperation from the board.  I try my best to report accurately, but occasionally mistakes will be made.  I invite correction and have no desire to intentionally mischaracterize any comments or actions.

Emerald Lakes Board of Directors Open Meeting, April 27, 2019

by Kathy Leslie-Whelan

The meeting was called to order at 9:38 am. Four board members were present and one was present by phone.  Al Leslie and Chris Claude were absent for personal reasons. Following the pledge of allegiance, Buz Whelan made a statement about the dues increase special meeting to be held on May 11th. He stated that the due date for dues this year will be May 22nd, however, a grace period will be given to the membership until June 15th. 

Under the Treasure’s report, Kavanagh stated that on the whole, we are under budget $28K, however the money we have not spent has been committed and eventually will be paid out for various projects that are in place. Maintenance is over budget by $8K and public safety is $6K under budget. This is because the GM was the security chief and is now paid under Admin. For the second month in a row the bar and grill is $364 under budget. Collection for delinquent prior year dues is at $12K for the month of March and at $341K year to date.  Ange Noonan made the motion to accept the treasurer’s report.  Dave Borsos seconded it.  It was approved unanimously.

Whelan called for a motion to accept March’s board minutes.  Ange Noonan made the motion which was seconded by Dave Borsos.  Passed unanimously.

Darryl Gamble addressed the following items under Old Business:

  • Work at the outdoor pool on schedule. A new well pump was installed as well as additional work being done now so that the pool will open on time.  Gamble wants to also install a water filtration system at the pool which will only run while the pool is open. This system will save the pool 5 years of wear on the pool filtration system and pump. Our contractor, K&B will ensure that at the end of the season all pipes are drained and that the unit will be disconnected and flushed.  This water filtration system was just installed at the administration building.
  • Strand Pool is under contract for the indoor pool.  Gamble has put 50% down to lock in scheduled time with this firm. Service Pro is under contract for mold remediation and approximately $18 to $19K in excess insurance will be rolled into the contingency fund to have other work completed such as doors, etc. The dehumidification system will be completed by May 5th but will not be delivered until the cement pad is cured and ready to accept unit.  The unit will take approximately 2 weeks to install, however, the membership was informed that other work was still required before the pool becomes functional.
  • There is still a skeleton crew at the Community Center since the indoor pool is not opened.
  • Water drainage problems on Archer have gotten worse, so that is the first area that is being corrected.  Clearview will also be corrected.  New signage will alert drivers that men are working. Homeowners will be notified when work is commencing.
  • Speed bumps with signage will be installed at various areas in the community such as at the outdoor pool.  These speed bumps and signage will be portable.
  • Gap View, which is a dirt road, will be paved.  All culverts and drainage will be addressed.  Cost is between $52 and $53K. Bowstring is next on the list to be paved. The two roads are through roads.  If a dues increase is successful, Gamble wants to tackle more work on the roads. The estimate to pave all dirt roads is $480K.  An email blast will go out when work is being performed on the roads.
  • There is a new rental fee schedule and policy which was recommended by the Real Estate Committee.  This committee is comprised of residents and landlords.  Short term renters generate more garbage as well as use of the amenities.  The compactor fees will be $20 for up to 3 days and $40 for 4 to 7 days.  Any landlord who has a private pick up will be responsible for any trash that is left by the can being over-turned.  The daily fee to use an amenity went from $5 to $10. Full-time renters will go from a mandatory fee of $350 to $400. Any fine issued will be greater than the fee itself so it should encourage compliance with the fee structure.  The will be a $200 fine for any landlord who does not register their renters and a $35 fine for a late registration.  The landlord will be given 4 passes and the above stated fines will be increased based on the number of violations. May 1st is the start date of these fees and fines.  Once the new badging system is in place, there will be no exceptions especially in the compactor area. 

Whelan called for a motion to accept the new Rules and Regulations document that was submitted by the committee.  The board discussed this document at many meetings with Dave Borsos putting on the “final shine.” Dave Borsos made the motion to accept the revised Rules and Regulations document.  It was seconded by Ange Noonan and was passed unanimously. 

Under New Business:

  • A new truck with a new engine, new tires and oil change was purchased for $48K.  The truck is a 2012 International and will replace “Big Red”.   The new color is black. A brand new 10-foot plow was also included with this purchase.
  • The 2019/2020 budget was available for review and comment from the membership for 30 days. The budget was prepared by our GM, Assistant GM, Accountant and Finance and Planning chair.  It was prepared taking into consideration that dues are $1,000 per property.  If the dues increase passes, there is a list of projects that will be done with the additional funding. Whelan called for a motion to accept the 2019/2020 budget.  Noonan made the motion which was seconded by Borsos.  Passed unanimously.  The budget is now available for anyone that wants a copy at the Administration building. 
  • Whelan stated that the special meeting will be on May 11th at the Pocono Mountain High School.  Doors will open at 9:30 AM.  A presentation has been prepared which addresses what the board/management has been doing, how they are spending money and why we need a dues increase.  Whelan thanked the last year board for terminating the management company and promoting Gamble and Clemens into their Manager and Assistant positions.  Those actions put the current board on the right track to correct actions by the poor management company   Whelan stated that there has been no dues increase since 2011 and we are looking to maintain a substantial community without reduced services and deferred maintenance. Whelan asked that the membership listen to the presentations and that everyone will be given a chance to speak.  There will be a soft 2 minute rule. No one will be cut off in the middle of a sentence and will be allowed to complete their point.

Questions were as follows:

  • What is the cost to rent school? Response $1,000 to $1,200.
  • What is the compliance rate for dues collection? Response last year we were at a 49% compliance rate.  We are now at 73% but are anticipating it to go to 75%.

Director’s Comments

Ange Noonan asked the membership come to the special meeting with an open mind.  She requested that you give us the opportunity to complete presentations.

Whelan stated that when Steve Kavanagh, Chris Claude and he ran for the board their platform was one of transparency so that the membership knew what was going on.  He feels that the membership is more unified when things are done out in the open.

Borsos recognized Linda Shuey for all the work that she completed on the Rules and Regulation document. Shuey went over the document with a fine tooth comb.  Borsos stated that we are going for a dues increase that is really needed.  If it doesn’t pass we will manage but there will be things that will not be done.  All projects being completed today are being done the right way.  The board is trying to get projects into a regular schedule instead of doing things when problem arise.

Committee Reports

Earl Frank of Finance and Planning stated that for two months in a row the Bar and Grill revenue has exceeded the cost of operation.  He also wanted to recognize Gamble, Clemens and Mugan for the work they put into the 2019/2020 budget.  Frank stated that our legal bills are at $51K but $35K came in because of legal actions where we took delinquent home owners to court. The $35K is an initial payment from 4 members who were put on payment plans, so additional funds will be coming in over the next 12 to 30 months. Frank will be presenting at the May 11th special meeting and he thanked Clemens for preparing his charts electronically.  He will be addressing about a dozen things that need to be done and a dozen things that we like to get done.

Public Comments

Connie Simpson asked if we were going to include AirBNB’s in the rental fee and fine schedule.  She was told yes.  Currently our management staff have identified 73 properties that advertize online that are not registered under our rental program.  All will be contacted.  So far settlements with a number of them are completed and approximately $20K has be collected for fees and fines.

Cookie Litwienski stated that her neighbor may be renting rooms.  Management will look into. She also pointed out that there were two additional big pot holes on Glade Drive.

Eric Bergstrom stated that he likes the strategy for the dues increase meeting. He also likes that when we use contractors that are familiar work tends not to be shoddy.  He also asked whether the new engine was actually new or was a used engine installed.

Alex stood with 4 points. 1) We can collect more money if we check badges on the beaches on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. 2) Do we search for houses that are being rented? (Yes, we do) 3) If we want dues increase we have to finish pool.  Only 4 communities up here have indoor pools. 4) We should have a class action law suit against Tyler Tec who has done the tax assessments on our properties.  He had a 60% increase in his home value.  He feels we should unite and go against this company.  On July 1st you will be given an assessment and will have 21 days to respond.  Carmen Broadnax suggested that he go to the county commissions and lodge a complaint.

Don Atkiss stated that our butterfly garden is doing well. There has been a 150% increase in monarch butterfly migration and much success was credited to the way stations, like ours, that were installed.  Our way station is officially registered (#16266) and a Certificate of Appreciation was presented to Darryl Gamble to display at one of our facilities.  There is a meeting next Saturday at Don’s house for this group to discuss what we will do this year. Some ideas include a photo contest, tagging program for the kids (may be able to track flight of butterflies at our site) and a program to watch them develop in cages.  Also thanks went out to Linda Shuey for her weeding efforts.

Alan Shaddler wanted to know what maintenance plans there were for the pot holes.  He was told that we are currently cold patching and within the next two weeks we will see stone being laid.

Bill Baehr stated that if you factored the cost of living adjustments (COLA) since 2011 when our last dues increase occurred, our annual dues would be $2,105.51 which is way higher than the $200 being requested.  He feels we should be looking towards the future instead of complaining.

Bill Henry added that in 2011 the dues increase was 25%.  If we get the increase today it would be a 20% increase.

9 new members were welcomed to the Community.

Noonan made a motion to adjourn. It was seconded by Borsos.  Meeting adjourned at 11:44 AM.

Reporters Note: I write these reports based on notes taken during the meeting.  I get no special consideration or cooperation from the board.  I try my best to report accurately, but occasionally mistakes will be made.  I invite correction and have no desire to intentionally mischaracterize any comments or actions.

Emerald Lakes Board of Director’s Open Meeting, March 23, 2019

by Kathy Leslie-Whelan

The meeting was called to order at 9:40 am. Five board members were present.  Al Leslie and Ange Noonan were absent for personal reasons. Following the pledge of allegiance, Buz Whelan called for a motion to accept February’s board minutes.  Chris Claude made the motion which was seconded by Bob Leon.  Passed unanimously. Whelan proceeded to his President’s message by addressing the Special Meeting and Call-to Meeting. The meeting is scheduled for Saturday, May 11th at Pocono Mountain High School on Route 940. This is the available date at the high school.  A vote will be held on an annual dues increase of $200, allocation of the dues money (75% for operations and 25% for reserves) and making quarterly payments without fees part of a bylaw change.  All dues whether paying in full or quarterly will be due by May 22nd and not May 1st.   Whelan stated that following March’s workshop, where Linda Shuey suggested that the board tell the membership why a dues increase was necessary, he prepared his President’s message in the March 2019 Emerald Lakes Newsletter to address why we need the money, where money has gone and where the increased money will go to. Whelan also stated the outdoor pool is on schedule to open on time for the Memorial Day weekend.

Under the Treasure’s report, Kavanagh stated that on a whole, we are under budget $26K. Maintenance is over budget by $13K due to trash pickup, payroll and for snow removal and vehicle repairs.  The bar and grill is $600 under budget and had income of $2,400.  Collection for delinquent accounts are at $17,600 for the prior year and $24,330 for the current year.  Leon made the motion to accept the treasurer’s report.  Dave Borsos seconded it.  It was approved unanimously.

Darryl Gamble addressed the following items under Old Business:

  • Work at the outdoor pool on schedule.  Everything is falling into place for the Memorial Day opening.  A contract with  Strand pool will be signed this week after decisions on materials for the pool are decided on in executive session.
  • There is a skeleton crew at the Community Center. Liquor sales are being controlled.  When the indoor pool opens the Community Center will be opened more nights to accommodate swimmers. The Bar and Grill will also be open an additional night.
  • HT Lyon is working on the new dehumidification system for the indoor pool. They are currently on schedule and will meet within the next few weeks with the other contractors to coordinate their efforts.  The smoke shack will be relocated to make room for the cement pad needed for the dehumidification system.    
  • ServPro is under contract for $109K for mold remediation and work is pending.
  • Gamble stated that he is currently looking at a large water conditioner for the outdoor pool.  This should ease the strain on the use of the well.
  • There are still approximately two miles of dirt roads that need pavement.  If a dues increase is successful, Gamble wants to tackle that work. The next two roads they are looking to pave are the through roads.  Gap View at $52K and Bowstring at $32K.  Work will include drainage and culvert pipes.
  • Maintenance staff has started cold patching.  They are trying to address the worst roads.  The bad road at the end of Clearview by Sullivan Trail may be Penn Dot’s responsibility. Gamble will reach out to Penn Dot.  The membership was requested to call in any bad pot holes, down or damaged signage and tree debris.  They are maintaining a list and may not have all areas that need to be attended to on their listing.
  • Gamble has his eye on certain areas where road repair is going to happen due to excessive water damage. He has earmarked $12,070 for such repairs. 
  • Dues compliance has gone up.  We were below 50% and now we are above 70%.

Under New Business:

  • The Kubota unit is in for repair.  A side cutter is being looked at.  If the unit doesn’t meet our demands, Gamble will look for a trade in and procure a new tractor which will be better suited for work in the community.  In addition, a training session will happen with all maintenance staff members.
  • The 2019/2020 budget is being finalized this week. It will identify real numbers that are required to keep the community operational.  There will be a column that will have provisions for project that are needed and will be completed if the dues increase is passed.  The budget will be available for review and comment from the membership before April 1st. Interested members should watch the website, official and unofficial face book pages for notification when the document is available for their perusal and comment.
  • Not on agenda but discussed was the Gate House Badging System.  The new systems will be installed by April 25th.

Director’s Comments

Borsos started a conversation on the workshop meeting being held on the second Saturday of the month and proposed that since there is an issue with board member times that these meeting alternate each month between Saturday mornings and Friday nights.  It was decided that Borsos would email the board members with his proposed change and all board members would have an opportunity to vote on this scheduled change.

Whelan spoke about the Call to Meeting going out 5 days before the deadline.  He encouraged the membership to attend the April open meeting where the membership will be allowed to comment and/or ask questions to the board on the special meeting.  The agenda for this meeting is already prepared.  The meeting will be held in accordance with Robert’s Rules of Order and the intent is for a productive, not disruptive meeting.

Committee Reports

Earl Frank of Finance and Planning is currently working with Nicole Clemens, Darryl Gamble and our accountant Tom Mugan on the budget for our next fiscal year. He reminded the board that the budget must be available to the membership by April 1st.  Frank also stated the bar and grill actually made a profit of $460. dollars last month.

Dave Borsos stated that the Real Estate committee debated fees for renters.  They are developing a fee structure that includes a fee based on number of days a pass is required and a different fee for children.  A major proposed change will be a mandatory and separate fee for trash.

The Rules and Regulations committee has not met since they are waiting for board approval of their proposed changes.  The board decided that they will use a version prepared by Borsos.  In order to make it easier for administration the board will evaluate all changes proposed at a specific time.  The meeting will be held on the second Saturday of next month when Rules and Regulations usually meet.  The open workshop will immediately follow.  Borsos also stated that he wanted to focus on some of the fines that he felt were excessive and the number of families that allowed in a rental.

Public Comments

Cookie Litwienski stated that the area around the outdoor pool looks nice but since the trees have been removed the area is too bright.  She would like to see lower beams of light.

Bill Baehr is new to the community (3 months).  He questioned why the dues increase was voted down last April.  He was told that people have different opinions that range from quarterly payments being eliminated, crammed into dining area at Community Center, insufficient number of sign in stations, # of days given from the Call to Meeting, threatening to close the compactor and Community Center, no road maintenance, being misled into thinking they were approving budget instead of a dues increase.  Baehr stated that he agrees with what the board is doing and he feels the presentations will be helpful.  He is discouraged that some people don’t understand the need for a dues increase and talk negatively about any increase.  He wished that they would start showing up at meetings. 

Baehr also question the 75% dues compliance rate and what is being done that increased that rate.  He was told that we are officially at a 72.9% compliance rate and it is on an upswing.  The intent is to try to hit 75%.  A major reason for the higher dues compliance rate is that the Assistant Manager, Nicole Clemens, has been aggressive with in-house collections.  According to studies if a community is at 80% in dues compliance they are doing excellent.  Baehr stated that he is pleased that the budget is realistic and feels that the transparency and newsletter that is published are great methods for letting the membership know what is going on in the community.

4 new members were welcomed to the Community.

Leon made a motion to adjourn. It was seconded by Borsos.  Meeting adjourned at 11:10 AM.

Reporters Note: I write these reports based on notes taken during the meeting.  I get no special consideration or cooperation from the board.  I try my best to report accurately, but occasionally mistakes will be made.  I invite correction and have no desire to intentionally mischaracterize any comments or actions.

Emerald Lakes Board of Director’s Open Meeting, February 23, 2019

 

by Kathy Leslie-Whelan

The meeting was called to order at 9:34 am. Six board members were present.  Al Leslie was absent. Following the pledge of allegiance, Buz Whelan started his President’s message by addressing the Call-to Meeting for the special meeting which was delivered past the 30 day notification that is required in the bylaws. He stated that the vendor that handled the printing and mailing originally informed us that they needed two days to complete the printing which meant that if they received the material on Monday morning they would have it at post office on Tuesday afternoon.  ELA forwarded the document to the vendor on Saturday which gave them ample time to meet our needs.  When the Call to Meeting was not delivered to the membership, Nicole Clemens followed up with the vendor and was told that it went out on Wednesday morning.  Clemens followed up again on Friday and was told that it went out on Thursday.  They ran out of paper and due to the weather, a paper shipment was delayed. Some of the membership did receive their notice on the following Tuesday, however, it was not postmarked.  The vendor apparently sent the mailing out via bulk mail instead of first class. The board took responsibility for the lateness and promised that it would not happen again. A cancellation letter will be going out to the membership.  The replacement date for the special meeting is May 11th, which is the available date that the high school has.  All future mailings for special and annual meeting will be handled in-house so there is more control over the process.  During discussion Bob Leon recommended for streamlining and simplifying purposes that payments for the annual dues be moved to May 22nd.  This included members paying in full and quarterly.  The members paying quarterly would be responsible for the other payments on August 1st and November 1st of this year and February 1st of 2020.  Leon made a motion to accept his recommendation.  Kavanagh seconded it and it passed unanimously.

Under the Treasure’s report, Kavanagh stated that on a whole, we are under budget $12,955 for January and $208K year-to-date. Maintenance is over budget by $12K due to $6K in vehicle repairs and supplies for snow removal.  The bar and grill is $3,500 over budget but had income of $2,700.  Collection for delinquent accounts are at $88K with $61,567 coming in for January. Leon made the motion to accept the treasurer’s report.  Borsos seconded it.  It was approved unanimously.

Whelan called for a motion to accept January’s minutes. Bob Leon made the motion which was seconded by Dave Borsos.  After a correction from the F&P chair, Earl Frank, the motion passed unanimously with the adjustment to the collection for delinquent accounts for the month of December.  It was changed from $37,128 to $11,470.

Gamble addressed the following items under Old Business. If there was no change the item was marked pending with no schedule change:

  • Work at the outdoor pool is pending. Gamble wants to get a contract and deposit to Strand pool so that we can get on their calendar to ensure that the pool will open on time.  A contract for approximately $38K was presented to the board. Chris Claude made a motion to accept the contract. It was seconded by Leon.  It passed unanimously.
  • The work on the roof of the Community Center has had all the rotted wood and shingles replaced. Bulk heads have been repaired. Work so far has been excellent and drone pictures were taken. The flat rubber roof still needs to be replaced so we held back $19K for that portion of the contract.  An additional $15K was needed for the rotted overhang. $5K for materials and $10K in labor.
  • HT Lyon is working on the new dehumidification system for the indoor pool. We paid a down payment so the new system has been ordered. The unit will take 9 to 14 weeks to manufacture.  4 to 5 weeks have passed since the contract was signed and the unit ordered.
  • ServPro is under contract for $109K for mold remediation and work is pending.
  • Gate House Badging System is now at $13K, down from $40K. The original system had features that are not required at this time.  The new systems will have 4 scanners. One will be at the compactor, one at the community center and 2 mobile units which will be used to check the membership’s badges at the outdoor pools and lakes.  This system will also be able to report traffic patterns. Everyone will be getting a new badge. On January 30th a call is set up with the vendor to go over detail and it will take approximately 4 to 6 weeks to get the units in.  The system should be operational at the end of March.
  • The Grill is food in food out. Gamble is still monitoring that expense.  We are not buying more food than we are selling.
  • There is a skeleton crew at the Community Center. Currently the Association cannot afford to have staff idly standing at the front desk to check in visitors. The person attending bar will check IDs as well as proof of age if warranted.
  • Roads are pending. Waiting on cost estimate for dirt and water damaged roads.
  • We are understaffed and sometimes they work through the night for snow removal. We do not want drivers over fatigued. We are on top of the mountain and should expect snow as well as freeze and thaw cycles. Salt does not work when the temperature is 15 degrees or below.  In addition, it needs sun as well as traffic to work.  The membership is advised to drive cautiously.
  • The truck is a work in progress. Gamble is working with Chris Claude on this procurement.
  • Work on the bridges and dams are pending.
  • Joe Gallagher has a proposed schedule for work on the lakes. He will be submitting a yearly manager’s report on lakes.  Gamble is currently waiting on a proposal from Joe Gallagher on water testing. The fishing club is currently assisting with gathering information on our lakes to be used as an educational tool.

 

Under New Business Claude described the used back hoe that was procured. It came from Cleveland brothers/Caterpillar and was delivered on Friday, February 22nd. The vehicle is a 2013 and is currently garaged on site.  It was a rental unit so has low hour usage. The unit cost approx $63K and came with a 3 year/2,000 hours maintenance contract which can be renewed.  We also got free delivery and 1 day training from Caterpillar.   Our old unit will be used in the yard only.

Committee Reports

Earl Frank of Finance and Planning stated that our minutes from last Saturday’s meeting contained a few questions which he is already receiving responses to. Our total cash on hand is $556K and when you add in insurance we are at $685K. We have $501K in reserves and $36K in delinquent collections for January. The bar and grill expenses were $4,700 with receipts at $2,700. Year-to-date we are operating at a $15K loss/cost.  Frank stated that the Pocono Record ran an article for Air B&B rentals in Monroe County.  Emerald Lakes was mentioned as one of the top three developments where this service is available.  Currently Frank is working with Nicole Clemens, Darryl Gamble and our accountant Tom Mugan on the budget for our next fiscal year.

Dave Borsos stated that the next Real Estate committee meeting is scheduled for March 16th.  The January meeting was cancelled due to bad weather.

The maintenance committee did not meet due to bad weather.

Linda Shuey stated that the Rules and Regulations committee has not met for the last three months.  They are waiting for the board to approve their submitted changes of the document.  Since the board is waiting for a redlined version of the document so that they can see where changes are being made, Shuey made those changes based on her notes and gave to Clemens to distribute to the board. In addition, Shuey submitted recommended changes to the document pertaining to burning in the community.

 

Director’s Comments

Dave Borsos complimented the maintenance staff on ice and snow removal and urged the membership to be patient.

Ange Noonan complimented Claude and Gamble on the maintenance plan.  She is pleased with the response for restarting the Women’s Club and would like anyone interested to reach out to her at ange.noonan@gmail.com.  She hopes to have this club started in the Spring.

Public Comments

Linda Shuey recommended changes to the Call to Meeting that was sent out.

Louise Leon stated that Preferred Management was not preferred by her.

Mary Kavanagh asked if there was damage to a snow plow since it hit and damaged a lip in the road at her home. Gamble made note of her issue.

10 new members were welcomed to the Community.

Bob Leon made a motion to adjourn. It was seconded by Steve Kavanagh.  Meeting adjourned at 10:53 PM.

Reporters Note: I write these reports based on notes taken during the meeting.  I get no special consideration or cooperation from the board.  I try my best to report accurately, but occasionally mistakes will be made.  I invite correction and have no desire to intentionally mischaracterize any comments or actions.

 

Emerald Lakes Board of Director’s Open Meeting, January 26, 2019

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by Kathy Leslie-Whelan

The meeting was called to order at 9:30 am. All board members were present.  Following the pledge of allegiance, Buz Whelan called for a motion to accept December’s minutes. Bob Leon made the motion which was seconded by Dave Borsos.  Passed unanimously.

Whelan started his President’s message by thanking the maintenance staff for the terrific job that was done on snow removal. He stated that staff worked tirelessly and that Nicole Clemens, who after working a full shift in the office rode in the plow truck with staff all night to see how the operation was run. He further said that the community responded well with the no street parking and that because of Darryl Gamble’s organizational efforts the operation ran smoothly and better.

Whelan also said that the agenda format would change.  There would be no Manager’s message since most of his items are covered under old and new business.

Steve Kavanagh gave the Treasurer’s report by saying that overall we are under budget by $8K.  Maintenance was over budget by $9K but that was due to trash removal and snow.  Bar and Grill were $5K over budget.  Collection for delinquent accounts for the month of December was $37,128.

Bob Leon made a motion to accept the Treasurer’s report.  It was seconded by Chris Claude.  It was accepted unanimously.

Gamble addressed the following items under Old Business:

  • Gate House Badging System is now at $13K, down from $40K. The original system had features that are not required at this time.  The new systems will have 4 scanners. One will be at the compactor, one at the community center and 2 mobile units which will be used to check the membership’s badges at the outdoor pools and lakes.  This system will also be able to report traffic patterns. Everyone will be getting a new badge. On January 30th a call is set up with the vendor to go over detail and it will take approximately 4 to 6 weeks to get the units in.  The system should be operational at the end of March.
  • Work at the outdoor pool is pending. A well pump may need to be installed.  A contract is in place with Strand pool that will start in Spring so that the pool will be opened on the Memorial holiday weekend. Trees will be removed and some of the projects may overlap into the new year.  Once the pool is opened and with the proper maintenance it should be good for the next 15 to 20 years.  A maintenance contract/plan will be put into effect so that all required maintenance can be performed.  The last project at the pool area will be looking into a used trailer for men’s and ladies’ rest rooms. Gamble will see if the trailer can be hooked up to our septic system.  If it can’t then the units will have to be pumped on a regular basis. A snack shack may also be part of the planning.  Until that can be worked out the food truck will be available.
  • The work on the roof of the Community Center is underway. Rot on the plywood was uncovered so that will be corrected.  The vent on the roof will be removed since it will no longer be in use. A meeting is currently being set up with the roofer, Falcon Engineering, HT Lyon and ServPro (Vendors working on the indoor pool), so that everyone is on the same page.
  • Falcon has developed a new plan for the pool and was instructed that any work they did required approval. They were paid $3K to obtain 3 bids for the new dehumidification system and were unsuccessful so we received a credit for that money, along with a new engineer.
  • HT Lyon is working with Falcon on the new dehumidification system for the indoor pool. We paid a down payment so the new system has been ordered. The unit will take 9 to 13 weeks to manufacture.  Gamble will receive a construction schedule next week with timeline.  The contract was awarded for $329K.
  • ServPro is under contract for $109K for mold remediation. $128k was received from the insurance company and the balance of the money will be used where needed with a general contractor for doors and windows.
  • Strand Pool is the last leg of project to get the indoor pool up and running. The pool will be drained and pressure tested.  This will include testing the drains and checking and repairing leaks.  The pool will be sandblasted and coated with color or repainted.  The lights will be replaced with LED lights.  The total scope of work will unfold after the inspections.  A maintenance contract will also be put into place and the indoor pool should be good for the next 15 to 20 years. Whelan recapped the indoor pool projects by stating that the roof should be completed within 1 month.  The dehumidification system will be completed in 9 to 13 weeks.  Four weeks before the completion of the unit a concrete pad will be laid, the smoke shack moved.  The mold remediation will take 2 to 3 weeks.  Work by Strand will commence once all work over the pool is completed. It is anticipated that the pool will be opened by early summer.  With proper maintenance the life span can go on indefinitely.  A maintenance contract will be put into place where the pool can be remotely monitored.
  • The Grill is food in food out. Gamble is monitoring that expense.  We are not buying more food than we are selling.  Work was done on the refrigeration and freezer units.  The fireplace was replaced.  The ice machine was fixed twice. Smoke heads and fire extinguishers have been serviced.  The hinges on the front door were replaced since it fell off its hinges.
  • The purchase of a used backhoe and truck are a work in progress. Gamble is working with Chris Claude on these procurements.  The backhoe is the first priority and Gamble wants to up our requirements so that he can get a warranty on the unit.  All of our vehicles are caught up with tune ups and required maintenance.  A maintenance plan is being developed and all vehicles have a jacket to track maintenance. Gamble stated that snow removal is working in large part due to communications.
  • Dam inspections are $950 per dam. We have three.  They will be scheduled weather permitting.
  • The lakes are now dormant. The fishing club is meeting on February 1st and Gamble plans on attending.  Joe Gallagher will be at this meeting to discuss our cambomba situation and what maintenance is needed on our lakes.  Future projects in the spring will be at Main and Pine Tree Lakes. The fishing club has dues for its membership.  They host the fishing rodeo and help restock.
  • Maintenance has filled in a few holes that have opened up in our roads by adding stone and tamping it down. All unpaved roads are currently having a cost calculated so that a plan can be developed to finish all paving.  There are drainage problems on roads that must be addressed.  In the future a permit will be required for any new paving of driveways to see that proper drainage is installed.
  • Whelan talked about the dues increase meeting that will be held on March 16th at the high school. He explained that there are a number of speakers that are preparing the following topics:
  • explanation of ballots
  • why we need increase
  • how money was saved
  • what was done and what needs to be done
  • discussion of equipment and vehicles
  • how much we improved on delinquent accounts
  • how much in bank and how much disbursed (availability of information)
  • reserves
  • discuss cost of living increase
  • importance of amenities on home values.

 

Under New Business there was discussion on changing our trash hauler to JP Mascaro and Sons.  At the end of our fiscal year we will be approximately $30K over budget.  That is a conservative number.  This new contractor will be 21% less in hauling fees.  Gamble wants to award a new contract within the next 7 to 10 days.  In addition, we will start leasing the compactor where the hauler will be responsible for all repairs.   The units will also be moved so that you can throw your trash and recyclable out through the middle drive through.  The metal container will remain the same but there will only be one open top.

 

Rules and Regulations has submitted changes for approval.  Whelan would like to see the document highlighted with all changes before he renders an opinion on the document. Claude would like to see the document more consolidated with redundancies eliminated.  Borsos made a motion to table the discussion until a new document with tracked changes are submitted to the board. Kavanagh seconded the motion.  It was approved unanimously.

 

Not on agenda but discussed was a procedure for events.  If anyone would like to have an event they may present it to the board with a plan.  A form will be developed.  Information must include how it will be paid for, entertainment, decorations etc. The board or management will still have events that mark occasions.  The board will be frugal with expenses for events.

Director’s Comments

Ange Noonan thanked the snow team and encouraged everyone to come to the March 16th special meeting.  She pointed out that members who are against any increase regardless of necessity always attend.  People who care about the condition of the community and its amenities should make sure to cast their vote. She is thinking on restarting the Women’s Club and would like anyone interested to reach out to her at ange.noonan@gmail.com.  Noonan also stated that she ran for the board because she didn’t like the discord that she saw but is now happy with the amazing change with the board.  There has been much accomplished in a collegial way.

Dave Borsos commented that there is a change in the tenor of the meeting, postings and emails.  He likes the philosophy of the board to do it right the first time.

Chris Claude would like to see a bylaw change for term limits for the special meeting.

Bob Leon complimented Gamble on doing a fantastic job.  He is on top of everything and nothing is falling through the cracks

Al Leslie stated it was good to be back on the board and he is thankful that we have Darryl Gamble and Nicole Clemens on staff.

Committee Reports

Earl Frank of Finance and Planning stated that he is still looking for a list of our fixed assets from our accounting firm.  F&P has reviewed contracts and would like to review the new contract with the trash hauler before it is signed.  At the end of December we had $625K in reserves.  Frank suggested that a list be developed of projects that need to be done with associated costs.  Trash removal is currently at $112K and will get to $170K at the end of the fiscal year.  Our legal expenses are high. Gamble stated that some of those expenses were for court filings and expenses to take 25 delinquent accounts to court.  It costs $650 plus fees to file these cases.  If we are successful we will get these expenses back.  Frank stated that the budget should define those expenses.  Frank also stated that in the future the board should consider a bylaw change for an automatic annual dues increase.

John Palmisano spoke on behalf of the maintenance committee. The committee discussed some items that Claude already bought up. In addition, they discussed cars parking on the septic system at Main beach; installing rocks by the dry hydrants to protect them; continued cleaning of the debris from the ice storm; Pine Tree beach bulk head/retaining wall; addling of geese eggs; recreational vehicles parked on homeowners property.

Public Comments

Connie Simpson wanted to thank staff for fixing the road on Gap View Drive.  She also stated that see was pleased to hear a recap of what is going on in the community and she thinks that projects are being done right,

Cookie Litweinski spoke about the excess water that is at the corner house across from the Administration building and the ice buildup in the road.

Jenn Gonzalez stated that people need to realize we had a poor management company which led to wasteful spending and the board making bad decisions and contributing to the wasteful spending.  The budget we are working with was incorrect so we will be over budget in areas.  She is happy that the new board and general manager are trying to take action to correct problems.  Whelan stated that he and his fellow board members have been careful not to blame past boards.  Each board is faced with their own set of problems because that is the nature of the beast. This board is forward looking and not looking back.

John Palmisano commented on legal fees that we get a subjective benefit when people see us taking action on delinquent accounts.

7 new members were welcomed to the neighborhood.

Kavanagh made a motion to adjourn. It was seconded by Noonan.  Meeting adjourned at 12:30 PM.

Reporters Note: I write these reports based on notes taken during the meeting.  I get no special consideration or cooperation from the board.  I try my best to report accurately, but occasionally mistakes will be made.  I invite correction and have no desire to intentionally mischaracterize any comments or actions.

Emerald Lakes Board of Director’s Open Meeting, December 8, 2018

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by Kathy Leslie-Whelan

The meeting was called to order at 9:30 am. Six board members were present.  Gilda Spiotta, former board secretary closed on the sale of her home on November 29th so she is no longer on the board.  Her spot will be filed by Al Leslie who received the next highest number of votes at the August annual meeting.

Following the pledge of allegiance, Buz Whelan handed the floor over to Mark Hagerman from H.T. Lyons for a presentation on a new dehumidification system for the indoor pool. On November 19th H.T. Lyons co-authored a solution with Falcon Engineering to address the many issues facing our indoor pool. Hagerman stated that the current duct work which is under the pool and was installed in 1975, is filled with water from all the rain that occurred over the last few months. He explained why the current duct work could not be used and it is just best to seal up that area.  He proposed using duct socks.  He came prepared with pictures as well as drawings on the community center. The system will be installed within 6 ft of the building so there will be a shorter throw for the air flow.  It is proposed to be behind the smoking shack at the Community Center and anyone can now see the physical outline that defines where the unit will be placed. The duct work will sweep the perimeter of the pool and will be pressurized to reach the domed ceiling.  The fans will be running 24/7. There is a one year warranty from H.T. Lyons and a 5 year warranty on the compressor.  Hagerman recommends having a maintenance contract in place once the system is installed with an authorized and certified repair person for the system being installed.  Since the system is a customized unit, some parts are unique, however, most are common parts that are easy to obtain.  Most indoor pools have customized units to meet the individual needs of the pool.  Case studies have shown that the life span of these units is 15 years but with proper and proactive maintenance you can extend the life span. In addition the system can be remotely monitored and any problems can be identified promptly.  The lead time to manufacture this unit is 14-16 weeks.  During the manufacturing a cement pad and electrical work will be completed.  Once the unit is in place it will take approximately 2 weeks to install completely.  H.T. Lyons has made a commitment to the association to introduce this project to the township and have the approval by January 14th at which time a proposal will be given to the board for review. It can take up to 30 days to receive all permits.  In addition, they will be working with the duct sock contractor to assure proper installation.

In addition to the installation of the dehumidification system, a contract is in place with Strand Pool to drain, scrub and repair the pool.

Whelan started his President’s message by stating that the October minutes were approved at the last workshop.  He wished all of the members a Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanza or Happy Holidays.  He publically thanked Gilda Spiotta for her service and wished her well.  Al Leslie was welcomed to the board but he had personal issues to attend to so was unable to attend today’s meeting.  Whelan met with Leslie for over two hours brining him up to speed on all that the board is working on.  Leslie has also agreed to replace Spiotta as liaison to the Appeals Committee. Leslie will be a full participant and looks forward to being on the board again.

Whelan also spoke of a task for Rules and Regulations dealing with vehicles that are parked on the road during a snow storm.  A steeper fine will be imposed on vehicles that are parked blocking the plow trucks.  These vehicles are a danger to the plow driver as well as to the equipment.  If a member is stuck it is incumbent upon them to notify the 24/7 telephone number. ((570) 643-3385) An after action meeting was held after the last snow event and adjustments will be made to improve responses and issues that occurred.  The new upgraded badging system was proposed.  This system is the only system compatible with TOPS and will only allow access to members in good standing at our amenities.  The board is currently planning for a special meeting for March 16, 2019 for a dues increase.  The membership will also be voting on where dues money is to be allocated. (75% for operations and 25% for reserves.)  The membership will also be voting on a bylaws change which will make quarterly payments without fee a permanent part of the way we do business.  It has been almost 8 years since the last dues increase.  The board hopes to bring this community back to the first class status it once had.

Steve Kavanagh gave a report on the dues collection but could not give us a report on our finances since the new numbers are not available at this time.  He stated that he would get them out though social media once they became available.  In November dues collections was at $38K.  $98K went into reserves.  Bob Leon made a motion to accept the Treasurer’s report.  It was seconded by Chris Claude and Dave Borsos.  It was accepted unanimously.

Darryl Gamble started his manager’s report by stating that he got positive feedback from his memo updating the community on snow removal. He will continue to keep the membership updated. The snow plowing schedule was tweaked.  There are 4 sectors. (Birch, the Estates, Cricket and the Main Sector).  There is a storm board.  It is important to clear the Community Center lot.  The center can be opened in the case of a power failure where a member can go to get warm and get a cup of coffee.  The lot has also been used to helicopter a serious sick resident.  If a member finds themselves stuck, maintenance can get the cat to the parking lot and get that member home. In addition, Gamble has two outside plow people who have submitted their insurance certificate.  They will be called only when absolutely necessary.  If a road falls through the cracks, it can be reported by calling VanHorn answering service at (570) 643-3385.

Positive feedback has come in on the holiday decorations.  Maintenance is trying to get to the Estates to decorate but there is no power available.  Staff decorated the Community Center and many compliments came in.

North Eastern Financial Services who handles employee 401K plans and our investments is charging for handling our affairs.  PNC offers more services so we are moving our investments to PNC in February.  Finance and Planning will look into what to do with the $119K that we have invested in bonds.

Nicole Clemens has been researching the new badging system from Gatehouse which will be instantaneous on reporting.  The system updated every 3 seconds. Once you pay your dues it will be recorded immediately…and once you miss a payment it will immediately disable your card.  There will be two permanent stations located at the Community Center and the compactor.  A portable unit will be used at the outdoor pool and the beaches.  Public Safety will be inspecting people’s badges at the beaches.  The badges will be designed so that you can be identified at first glance.  Owners and associate members will have different colors.  Traffic will also be tracked so that it shows when an amenity is most active.

Gamble is looking at other alternatives for trash hauling.  Right now we are $20K over budget.  He is also looking to change the recyclable container so that members can throw their trash out on the right and their recyclables on the left. A new propane company is being researched.  The leaf drop off in November was successful so it will be done again in the Spring.  There will be an area for branch cleanup.  Branches will be chipped and used throughout the community’s landscaping.

A contract for roof replacement at the Community Center is in place and work should be commencing shortly depending on weather.  The dehumidification system proposal should be received by mid January.  The mold removal contract is in place and will commence once dehumidification system is in place.

The outdoor pool will open on Memorial day weekend.  Work on the well pump, pool repair, landscaping and tree removal will happen before the opening. Bridges are scheduled for Spring.  A report on the dams is forthcoming.  One dirt road was completed and Contractor is drafting an estimate on doing the rest of the dirt roads in the community.  In the future any driveways being paved will be inspected by the Association so that culverts and drainage doesn’t affect our roadways.  Beaver relocation is pending.  A road trip to Atlantic City is being planned to look at a backhoe.

The membership was reminded that all financial statements, audit reports, Kipcon report is available to the membership.  Walk-in Wednesday is still available.  Gamble thanked everyone for their continued support.

Committee Chair Reports/Recommendations

Earl Frank, chair of F&P that the financial statements are now available on a cash basis. We have $838K in checking and $581 in reserves. He believes it is a good idea to move investments to a money market.  A money market is more predictable, liquid and there are no fees. We lost $2K between May to October.  F&P will be busy in January with the start of the budget preparation.

Bob Leon spoke on behalf of Rules and Regulations. In addition to the task listed above, Leon will request that this committee look at a rule for times that construction companies can start and end work in the community.

Mary Kavanagh spoke for the Real Estate committee.  They were shocked that their article made it into the paper.  They are looking at a tiering system for penalties for renters who do not register their guests on time.  They wanted to know what was collected on the fines that were imposed for these venalities. Whelan asked if they could look at pro-rating fees, for a one-time basis, for any one that wants to start renting their property.  The $250 annual dues is due in mid February.  If someone wants to rent their home today, they are charged $250 now and $250 in mid February.

Under old business Whelan stated that the status of Association members and Associate members is clear under our bylaws.  If one’s deed does not identify you as an owner, you cannot vote.  The board holds dominion over the amenities but not the bylaws. An individual that lives in ELA but is not a member can use the amenities if they pay the full dues.

Under new business a bylaw change will be presented to the membership that will require a Director to resign if they put their home up for sale.  Another Bylaw change for term limits is also being considered for presentation to the membership.

Director Comments

Ange Noonan stated that Darryl Gamble and Nicole Clemens are doing a great job.

Bob Leon spoke of a pot luck luncheon at the Community Center for Sunday, December 16th between 1:00 and 4:00 PM.  All members wishing to participate should bring a dish and a place setting.

Chris Claude commended Darryl Gamble for the last snow event.  Gamble was present for the whole event and was driving around in the public safety vehicle assessing the situation and helping where needed.  In addition Gamble is often seen cooking at the Community Center and Nicole Clemens is bartending.  Both are always willing to help out where needed.

Dave Borsos stated that he has been living here for 14 years and there has always been talk about fixing the indoor pool. Now there is a mindset that it will be fixed and it will be fixed right. He also stated that social media is a useful tool but not the only way to get information out.  He is not on Facebook but he gets the scoop from his wife.

Public Comments

Bill Henry stated that the last dues increase in 2011 was a 25% increase.  The increase we are asking for in March is only a 20% increase.

Mary Kavanagh thanked the maintenance staff for the ice melt on her street and requested that the notifications for karaoke go out earlier.  She asked what were the plans for New Year’s eve and was told that they are trying to square away some entertainment.  There will be an event.

Louise Leon asked about doing an event for the Clymer Library and was told to speak to the General Manager.

Jenn Gonzales stated that this board is different so she has no comment to give.  She stated that the board is transparent and the thoroughness of the reporting is fantastic. She was amazed at the board turnaround in such a short time and she is sure that there will be more positive things going forward.  In addition, her son had a blast at the tree decorating and preparation for Santa.  He is excited for Santa to visit.

 

Reporters Note: I write these reports based on notes taken during the meeting.  I get no special consideration or cooperation from the board.  I try my best to report accurately, but occasionally mistakes will be made.  I invite correction and have no desire to intentionally mischaracterize any comments or actions.

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