Emerald Lakes Special Board of Directors Meeting, March 10, 2018
Emerald Lakes Special Board of Director’s Meeting, March 10, 2018
by Kathy Leslie-Whelan
The meeting was called to order at 9:35 am. Four board members were present with Diane Caldwell joining the meeting by phone. Absent were Stefania Johnson and Jake Bower. Following the pledge of allegiance, Al Leslie immediately turned the floor over to Brad Jones who explained the association’s dire need for a dues increase. If no dues increase is approved by the membership, Mr. Jones stated that there would be no major road repairs or infrastructure work. The bar and grill would be eliminated and less money would go into the reserves. Instead of $500K, less than $250K would be going into reserves. After reworking of the numbers, the budget includes provisions for keeping the compactor open.
Mr. Jones highlighted the preliminary budget figures as follows:
Item w/Increase w/o increase
Maintenance $613,900 Same
Public Safety $152,410 Same
Rec/Pools/Lake $109,502 Same
Administration $477,746 Same
Community Center $213,483 $56,840
Insurance $88, 845 Same
Utilities $65,800 Same
Real Estate Tax $4,000 Same
TOTAL $2,302,495 $1,908,695
On April 14th, a special meeting will be held to address the dues increase. On Monday, March 12th a call to meeting notice will be mailed to the membership which will include a copy of the preliminary budget approved by the board, a copy of the board approved collection policy and payment plan. In addition to the mailing of this notice, numerous email blast will go out as well as various posting in the community. All board members present gave their reasons for the need for this increase.
Under new business 5 resolutions were passed. They are:
Resolution 1-31018 Preliminary Operating and Capital Budget Approval
Bob Leon made the motion to approve this resolution. Dave Bursos seconded the motion. Four members voted yes and the motion passed.
Resolution 2-31018 Collection Policy
This resolution approved the 6 month payment plan with a $150. delinquency fee. This policy eliminated the quarterly payments and set the payment schedule at $200/month for the first 6 months with a monthly administration fee of $10. If any payment is late a $150 delinquency fee will be added with 1.25% per month interest fee. The $50/year discount for paying up front was eliminated.
Bob Leon made the motion to approve this resolution. Diane Caldwell seconded the motion. Three board members and the Chair, Al Leslie voted yes on this resolution with Dave Bursos abstaining from the vote.
Resolution 3-31018 Payment Plan
This resolution established dates for the 6 month payment plan having the first payment due on May 30th, 2018. All payments must be received by October 30, 2018. This plan includes a $10/month administrative fee, $150. delinquency fee and a 1.25% interest fee. If a member keeps up with the payment plan his total dues would add up to $1,260. Bob Leon made the motion to approve this resolution. Diane Caldwell seconded the motion. Three board members and the Chair, Al Leslie voted yes on this resolution with Dave Bursos abstaining from the vote.
Resolution 4-31018 Notice and Call to Special Meeting to Vote on 2018-2019 Fiscal Budgets
This resolution set the date for the special meeting as April 14th. Bob Leon made the motion to approve this resolution. Diane Caldwell seconded the motion. Four members voted yes and the motion passed.
Resolution 5-31018 Establish the Date of Record for Members in Good Standing for the Special Meeting to Vote on the 2018-2019 Fiscal Budgets
This resolution established a date of record as March 31, 2018, for members to be up to date on paying their dues to be considered a member in good standing. This resolution follows our bylaws, which state that the member must be paid up to date 15 days prior to the vote. Bob Leon made the motion to approve this resolution. Diane Caldwell seconded the motion. Four members voted yes and the motion passed.
Vanessa Saunders-Hamilton asked if there were any mismanagement problems with the budget and was that why they eliminated the quarterly payments. According to Mr. Jones, the 6 month payment plan gave the board the ability to accomplish certain work where there was a small window of time to complete. This included road and drainage work, outdoor pool and lake work. Jones stated that the bulk of work that needed to be completed was done before November and that they had a 4 to 5 month window of opportunity to complete work.
Buz Whelan said he and most of the people in the room agree there is a need for a dues increase and perhaps Mr. Jones is correct that it really should be as much as $500. But that is not doable so the $200 is fine. But, Whelan added, in spite of all the talk about fiscal responsibility, he questions certain numbers. Last year maintenance salaries were budgeted at $208,925, this year $255,000. This is an increase of 22%. As of December 31, 2017 the bar made $17,682.95 while the grill lost $39,334. Yet in the new budget the grill salaries and benefits total $88,243 with the total cost at approximately $113,000. This is no small number and could significantly contribute to reserves if we close the grill. Should the increase fail, it makes no sense to close both the bar and grill since the bar actually makes money, as much as $23,000 this year. Whelan added that from 1975 to 2012 we operated without a grill. Mr. Jones agreed that this was something to look at.
Eileen Avrich commented on the pot luck dinner that were held at the Community Center (CC) and that the costs of planned functions should be coming out of the Event’s committee budget and not the CC budget. She further stated that we should charge a fee to the membership that has garbage picked up at their properties since the trucks were driving on and damaging our roads. Mr. Jones stated that he sees the value in that idea, however, there is a gray area in the legal system. Finally, Avrich requested that we increase our maintenance staff to plow and mow membership homes for a fee. Mr. Jones stated that there were insurance issues with that idea.
Mr. Wharton wanted to know what guarantee would the board give that there will not be another request for a dues increase next year if this increase passes. Mr. Jones stated that there was no guarantee. A reserve study by an Engineering firm is currently under review by the board which addresses the conditions of our infrastructure. Currently our annual dues should be around $1,700.
Chris Claude wanted to know when a hard copy of the budget would be available to the membership Mr. Jones stated it would be included in the call to meeting notification. Claude further asked if line item on the budget would be included. He was told no since it contain sensitive items such as salaries. A copy of last year’s budget will be included in the mailing so that the membership can understand the budget and where the money was going. Mr. Jones stated that the budget is based on a 75% compliance rate.
Carol DeMarco wanted to know when she can see the package for the special meeting and was told 30 days prior to the meeting date. She also told Mr. Jones that the roads this winter are aces over last year and that it was a pleasure to hear from the board.
Kathy Leslie Whelan inquired if there was still going to be an open board meeting in March since we have the special meeting today and the special meeting on April 14th. Al Leslie responded that there will be an open meeting on the fourth Saturday in March.
Tom Thomason from Blueberry Estates stated he was on a budget and cannot afford to pay an increase. He said that the distribution of money is not fair for the people living in his area. Caldwell responded that the court ordered his area to be part of the association and although she is sympathetic to his concerns, he and his family can enjoy the amenities if they choose to. Since he lives on township roads the association cannot supply security or maintenance to the roads. Caldwell said that we are all in this together and we need to keep up the infrastructure and home values intact.
Eileen Avrich stated that when we have a dues increase meeting, sometimes the crowd is argumentative. She recommended handing out index card to the membership to ask any questions they had.
Hector Gonzales wanted to know where we were at with the delinquent accounts. Mr. Jones stated that the collection agency collected $60K in the first two months and that last year $285K was collected. Mr. Gonzales stated that we must work together and work with the budget you have. Mr. Jones responded that the budget was bare bones and that all the fat was cut out of the budget.