September 24, 2016 Monthly Open Board Meeting
by Kathy Leslie-Whelan
The meeting was called to order and following the traditional Pledge of Allegiance, President Diane Caldwell called for a moment of silence to honor recently deceased Paul Capozzoli, a former board secretary and highly respected community member.
President’s Comments: Caldwell remarked that it had been a tough week in the community with the death of Mr. Capozzoli and the drug-related shooting on Glade Drive. She cautioned that in light of local, national and world events, community members should stay vigilant. She then spoke “on a better note” referring to the changing foliage and said that positive efforts will continue to move things forward. Speaking generally of the board, she said that every member has a passion for something, citing Bob Lauri’s efforts on road maintenance as an example. She also spoke of the beautification of the association by the maintenance staff and her expectation that we will keep on this path. President Caldwell welcomed the two newest members of the board, the recently-elected Bob Leon and Gilda Spiotta.
Treasurer’s Report: New Treasurer Stefania Johnson reported on the year-to-date variances of the major cost centers. Administration was approximately $3,000 under budget when collection fees and doubtful accounts are discounted. Public Safety is approximately $6,600 under budget. Maintenance is over budget by $7,000 and the Community Center is about $2,000 over budget. Reporting on the bar and grill, the treasurer said the cost of operation was over $11K for the first 4 months of the fiscal year. She also reported that dues collection of $760K was down $16K vs. the same period last year. Delinquency collections of $127K were up approximately $66K over the previous year, an “amazing” increase in the treasurer’s view. Following a motion to accept the Treasurer’s Report, Director Buz Whelan asked that the report be amended to include cash on hand figures. In round numbers, Operations is at $457K, down $56K from last year, Reserves are at $223K, down $149K from last year and New Capital was at $39K, down $64K from last year. Most of the decreases can be explained by the road repair, new paving and Community Center upgrades, according to Whelan. He then mentioned the $53K no longer in the Contingency Fund, and Ms. Johnson stated that this had been transferred into reserves to cover the extensive projects now nearing completion. The board then voted to accept the Treasurer’s Report, as amended.
Management Report: On-site Manager Judy Kennedy opened her remarks by noting management’s sadness at the passing of Paul Capozzoli. He was always ready to assist management and the board and conducted CPR classes, as well as arranging for the Red Cross Bloodmobile to post outside the Community Center periodically. She then went on to tell what is known about the shooting on Glade Drive, assuring members that it was not a random home invasion, as was first falsely reported by the victim, who was trying to conceal his involvement in drug dealing. She further stated that management cannot respond to complaints on social media, that they must be addressed directly to the manager or on the website under ‘address the board.’ Kennedy announced that the audit report is finalized. She also reported that the liquor license has been renewed, at a cost increase due to the passage of Act 39. An abstract company (Judy Picollo, Independent Title Searcher) has been selected to title search properties whose membership in Emerald Lakes is in doubt. The initial cost is a one-time fee of between $200 and $400 for a “master” tracing from the developer back 60 years, with a fee of $100 per searched property added on. She is in the process of setting up interviews with auditing companies to select the next auditor. On the lakes, lily pads will be reduced by treatment. A memo has been sent to Joe Gallagher of Eco Solutions. Also, the crack in the Pine Tree Lake spillway will cost about $6,000 to fix. Management is also seeking bids to line stripe the roads and crosswalk. On the GOE dam inspection reports, the mix-up in lake names has been corrected. The HVAC system being installed by Button in the CC will take quite a few weeks. Hallet will finish road maintenance by putting down roadside stones the week following. Paving on the tennis and basketball courts is finished. Coloring hasn’t been finalized and perhaps the tennis courts only need lines painted. Wrapping up, Kennedy said preparations for the winter season are underway, Code Enforcement is doing a great job, the outdoor pool has been closed and Winter hours for the CC and Admin Office are in the process of being set to go into effect Oct.1. AWA members are requesting earlier hours for the pool as DST ends and darkness falls sooner.
Directors’ Comments: Bob Leon brought up the problem of high humidity in the pool area. He pointed out that mold has already appeared on furnishings and pool apron areas. While it has been removed several times, it returns. Director Leon’s concern is that if the humidity continues eventually the mold will take hold in concealed areas, such as behind the drywall and would necessitate a very costly removal project such as the one two years prior. A lively discussion ensued, including an estimate that installation of the new dehumidification system will take 5 to 6 weeks. Finally, a motion to turn off the pool heat until the new system is up and running was passed unanimously.
Stefania Johnson offered a motion to lower the association flag to half-staff for 5 days to honor the memory of Paul Capozzoli. There followed a discussion on the legitimacy of that action. Director Buz Whelan stated that while there is flag etiquette that he, as a veteran, supports this motion completely, and it violates no laws, rules or regulations regarding the display of the flag. Rulings by the United States Supreme Court 50 years ago stated that flag display or abuse, no matter how repugnant to some, is a First Amendment issue, i. e., protected speech. Therefore the association is within its authority to decide when to lower the flag and for how long. Preferred Management representative Brad Jones suggested that a board resolution on flag policy be prepared for the next meeting. The board then voted unanimously to lower the flag for 5 days beginning 9/25/16 to honor Mr. Capozzoli.
Committee Reports: John Palmisano, filling in for new the new chairperson, Ken Shuey, reported for the Maintenance Committee. The committee recommends against using Pocono Spray Patch for small area road repair, as they are judged to be substandard by the members. They would also like to be given access to bids and contracts on any maintenance-related projects. They would like appropriate signage at crosswalks and new road line painting. (Later in the meeting board liaison Buz Whelan added that there should be side line painting on Bus Road due to the unfortunate positioning of a telephone pole within the paved area. Whelan also reported a suggestion that boulders be place at the end of Hunter Lane to prevent access by non-members to adjacent land-locked property.)
For the Events Committee, Chairman Dan Glasgow thanked CC Manager Karina D’Angelo and Chef Pam for their assistance before and during events. He said Biker Night had been successful, especially the music of Long Time Coming. October is Cancer Awareness Month and there are requests for donations for the Bingo event. He is looking to have the biggest and best Tricky Tray ever associated with the Cancer Awareness event. A party is being planned for Halloween, and Trunk or Treat will be held on Monday, October 31st in the CC parking lot.
Reporting for Finance and Planning Committee Earl Frank stated he had been re-elected chairperson and liaison Gilda Spiotta was serving as secretary, at least for the time being.
Unfinished Business: Northeast Financial has been selected to assist in managing association investments and employee 401(k) accounts.
New Business: Committee Goals and Objectives should be available for discussion by the next board workshop.
Resolution 88 was passed naming the new signors of checks. There was one ‘no’ vote by Director Bob Lauri who stated simply that he was objecting to the naming of VP Al Leslie based on the previous negative comments on his integrity by Diane Caldwell. (See Reporters Note at the end of this article)
Public Comments: Mary Kavanagh reported that the ceiling fans in the pool area are not working. Darren Johnson suggested that due to the recent crime event, herein discussed earlier, the CrimeWatch Committee should be resurrected. He also suggested a gun safety course be offered. Bill Folger asked that an email blast to the membership accompany any decision to lower the flag so that individual members who have their own flag poles, as he does, will be able to follow suit.
One humorous moment occurred at the end of the meeting. Apparently anxious to get on with her day, President Diane Caldwell exclaimed, “I make a motion to adjourn.” Director Buz Whelan said laughing, ” You’re the chair!” Everyone in the room burst out laughing, including Ms. Caldwell herself. Whelan then said, “Motion to adjourn,” and with that Caldwell banged her gavel.
Reporter’s Note: When questioned at the conclusion of the meeting about his comment about Leslie during the vote earlier, Director Lauri explained that Diane Caldwell had said 2 years previously that she did not trust Mr. Leslie.
Mr. Lauri was most likely referring to a workshop meeting of the board wherein Millie Bishop resigned as Treasurer after only 2 weeks, citing health concerns. When Al Leslie was suggested as a replacement due to his earlier term as treasurer, then-Secretary Diane Caldwell objected vigorously. It was at this time that many in the community were questioning Mr. Leslie’s role in the shredding of a huge cache of association documents, including his signature on the check to the shredding company, which cast serious doubt on his integrity. The reason for the shredding has never been made clear, and the precise extent of the document destruction is unknown. Neither has it ever been explained why the documents were not put on microfiche before destruction.