Emerald Lakes Board of Director’s Open Meeting, February 24, 2018
by Kathy Leslie-Whelan
The meeting was called to order at 9:40 am. All board members were present. Following the pledge of allegiance, Caldwell immediately called for a motion to approve the January minutes. The minutes were accepted unanimously.
Caldwell did not give a President’s message, stating the meeting would be held off agenda. Stefania Johnson started with the Treasurer’s report.
(Money is reported on as Fiscal Year to Date)
Administration $41.9K [sic] over budget
Public Safety $1,500 over budget due to camera expenses
Maintenance $10,600 over budget due to purchase of salt and truck expenses
Community Center $9,600 over budget due to maintenance
Bar and Grill $21,200 over budget due to food and beverage purchases, printing of new menus and additional food purchases for the holiday functions.
Delinquent collections December through January are at $37K for Sunrise Collection and $30K attributed to the amnesty program.
Cash on Hand – $203,200
Al Leslie made the motion to accept the Treasurer’s report, Bob Leon seconded the motion and it was approved unanimously.
At this point in time Brad Jones and Laura Jones (no relation) addressed the room. Mr. Jones stated that we were not going to talk about the budget today since they needed to hammer out certain details. He would like to see the budget up to 100% accurate mathematically. The discussion on the budget was tabled for a couple of days. The board would meet in a few days and then it would be given to Finance and Planning (F&P) for review. The meeting for the membership was postponed to early April. The dues assessment date may also be moved to May 15th. Mr. Jones stated that they are trying to stretch our dollars. At this point in time Dave Borsos interjected that since the board wanted to take into account the feedback received from the membership during the two preliminary budget meetings.
A member, Mr. Reed from Glade Drive, asked what the board was doing about delinquent accounts, and what was the increase being voted on. He has been in the community for 14 years and enjoys the amenities. He was told that the dues increase being requested is $200/yr and that the board is aggressively looking at collections.
Christine Robertson of Minsi Trails stated she was new and asked if the board could introduce themselves when they addressed the room. At that time we went into Director’s comments.
After Dave Borsos introduced himself, director Jake Bower also introduced himself and stated that everyone on the board is a volunteer and that we need more volunteers to make this community successful. Al Leslie introduced himself and stated that he has been on board for 10 years and yes, there will be bingo tonight.
Diane Caldwell stated that she appreciates everyone that comes out. She said that everyone on the board works hard doing everything to draw people out so that you will know what is going on. Her seat is coming up in August and she has not made the decision as to whether she will run again.
Treasurer Stefania Johnson stated that she has been the treasurer for two years, and it is a difficult position. She said that at every open meeting she conveyed to the membership that our financial condition is at a critical stage. She further said that our home values are affected by our amenities. Her position is also up in August and she has not decided if she will run again. Johnson further went on to urge the membership to be open and to get the facts and not others’ perception. Membership should be looking at the actual facts and all questions should be directed to the board to obtain the facts.
Gilda Spiotta stated that she moved here in 2004 and loves this community. There is good, bad and ugly but she focuses on the good. She is not a full time resident yet but she spends her weekends here. She is open to intelligent communication. She further stated that she heard our concerns at the preliminary budget meeting, and changes are being made. She also hoped to see people at the Valentine’s Day festivities later that night.
Bob Leon stated that new mailboxes were being ordered where the post office will install locks. They will be at Glade Drive and the Estates. Currently there are 29 families that need mail boxes.
Under the Manager’s report, Laura Jones thanked everyone for coming out to the two preliminary budget forums. She stated that we listened and heard the membership and will make changes to the budget. Our small game of chance application was denied due to the guidelines that are set but she feels that we fit in under the civic group category. She is asking our attorney and plans on appealing that decision.
Currently the reserve study that was prepared by an engineering firm is being evaluated and a meeting will be held to go over the items. Ms Jones explained that a reserve study is a living document and changes all the time. The example she gave was that if a roof had to be replaced every 20 years, that item would be changed to 20 years out once the work was completed.
On February 20th, Ms. Jones was notified by our insurance carrier that a new inspection will be done on March 7th on our pool area and we were instructed we could not touch that area. Our insurance carrier is trying to subrogate the claim and hold the installer of the air hauling system responsible for the damage. Jones further stated that they had a problem with the phones in the administration building and were not able to change the outgoing message. Frontier was called in and they were able to change the message that identifies the correct hours of operation and staff names and extensions. Jones updated the membership on the collections. Between December 4th and January 3rd, Sunrise Collections collected $37K and $33K was collected under the amnesty program. In addition, 11 delinquent members agreed to a payment plan due to the amnesty program. These 11 members are now in good standing. Jones reminded the membership that walk-in Wednesday is between the hours of 1 and 3 pm. If you cannot meet with her on a Wednesday she will still meet with you via an appointment. The membership was urged to keep that appointment, especially if Jones has to stay past her regularly scheduled hours.
At this point in time Leon requested that we start to receive numbers for the people who are on plan, have paid through Sunrise etc. He also requested that the 4 digit phone extensions be made public.
Darryl Gamble spoke on the specifics of the new mail boxes that will be installed. There will be three clusters ordered at $1,200 each. Each cluster box has 16 mail slots so we will have extra boxes for any new residents. Two clusters will be installed at Glade Drive and one installed in the Estates. Our maintenance team will install the units with the post office installing the keys. The units will be color coordinated to match the current clusters.
Committee Chair reports started with Earl Frank of F&P. He had no comment at this time since he just received the December statement. Linda Shuey spoke for the maintenance committee. This committee had two recommendations to the board. First motion pertained to the humidity in the indoor pool area. The committee recommended that the humidity be monitored and the data analyzed. Actions need to be taken to limit the humidity. Application of ‘cover free’ was recommended based on information obtained by Strand Pool. A physical cover was researched but the cost for this cover was $10K. Caldwell asked for safety information on this product before the board takes up the discussion on utilizing this product. Spiotta had concerns that this chemical was safe for women. The second recommendation was that the H coil for the pool should be ordered, since we need the part, and not wait for the insurance company to conclude their research. Ms. Jones stated that since it is a custom piece it is not wise to order since the insurance company may deem that this part is not a correct part and may have caused the damage. Right now the insurance company is stating that they believe the cleanup of this incident is covered but not the air handler itself.
Jake Bower for Real Estate spoke of the landlord’s responsibility to relay information to renters and that another landlord meeting will be scheduled so that the committee can hear their concerns.
Chair Diane Caldwell recognized Buz Whelan to speak on F&P issues. Mr. Whelan said he had three points. The first was that our bylaws clearly state that the notification of special meeting and the annual meeting be in member’s hands no later than 30 days prior to meeting date, not post marked 30 days before. Brad Jones agreed saying this was part of his reasoning to move the meeting to April. Whelan then said that most speakers at the Saturday – Monday meeting prefaced their remarks by saying they supported the budget increase or grudgingly supported its need. The main complaint was on the cancellation of quarterly payments and the excessive charges for the pay over time plan. Whelan suggested that assuming the dues increase passes, a small surcharge could be added as administrative costs. Members could be charged $10 for each payment or $310 total. This would be reasonable. At this point, Brad Jones said that Buz was getting into his head and he agreed with a similar policy. Whelan’s final point was on the reactivation fee of $25 per membership card for delinquents being restored to good standing. That would be a total of $250 since we are issued 10 cards. Laura Jones said she would change the wording to $25 per household, one fee for all cards.
New members were welcomed to the community there were 11 new home purchases and 5 foreclosures and sheriff sales.
Under Old Business Al Leslie made a motion to approve Resolution 2-12718 – Rental Policies, Short and Long Term. It was seconded by Spiotta. Borsos made an amendment to the resolution under short term rentals that it stated 30 days or fewer. Resolution passed unanimously with the amendment.
Under New Business all resolutions were tabled since they pertained to the budget. They were:
Resolution 1-22418 Preliminary Operating and Capital Budget Approval
Resolution 2-22418 Collection Policy
Resolution 3-22418 Payment Plan
Resolution 4-22418 Notice and Call to Special Meeting to Vote on 2018-2019 Fiscal Budgets
Resolution 5-22418 Establish the Date of Record for Members in Good Standing for the Special Meeting to Vote on 2018-2019 Fiscal Budgets
Linda Shuey stated she was in favor of the $200 increase but she had a problem with the budget and payment plan. She stated that the bar and grill should pay for itself. She further stated that Bob and Lola Lauri got the bar and grill to where it cost us a little over $100 a month, so expenditures need to be controlled. Treasurer Johnson said that the budget included staff. Electricity and propane were included on other lines. There is $87K budgeted for the bar and grill. Johnson conceded that the cost should be covered by what is an acceptable cost to operate that amenity.
Donna Brown stated that they had their property since ’76 and have always voted for a dues increase. She fears that some of the comments on Facebook are mean spirited and that we need to work together. Some Facebook comments seem to be coming from petulant 12 year olds. She further stated that she understands what it’s like to have a thankless job and that she still cleans up the mailbox area on Glade Drive.
Chris Claude announced that he will be running for the board in August. He had three recommendations for the board. 1) Board should over communicate what is going on. Meeting should be videotaped and put on website. Time to act is now. 2) It would be nice to know the number of delinquent accounts with Sunrise. What are the number of people who are not paying their dues? The board needs to be more transparent. 3) Since the budget distribution is being delayed since it is not approved, how long will it take to get approved? Mr. Jones commented that it would take 7-10 days.
Christine Robertson thanked all for volunteering and she would also like to see videotaping since so many of the membership cannot attend meetings. In addition she would like the meeting held down to a couple of hours. Caldwell responded that she tries to be fair and let people speak so she limited it to two minutes. She is damned if she does, damned if she doesn’t. She gets criticized about social media but she was advised not to speak out on the unofficial Facebook page. She does not want to create a libelous situation. She would like to video tape the meeting so that the membership can hear what is said instead of someone’s perception. They are looking into the videotaping but they also need a legal opinion.
Buz Whelan stated that a meeting should be as long as it takes to do the business that has to be done. He stated he felt that part of the meeting is ideas from the membership. As long as a member doesn’t repeat themselves and remains decorous, they should be allowed to speak.
Chris Claude added a comment that he was having difficulty stopping payments on his credit card for automatic quarterly payments. There was no easy way to terminate credit card payments.
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.