Emerald Lakes Board of Director’s Open Meeting, May 26, 2018
by Kathy Leslie-Whelan
The meeting was called to order at 9:32 am. Six board members were present. Al Leslie was absent. Before the meeting started Diane Caldwell announced that the meeting was being live streamed and will be posted on a new Facebook site that is limited to residents in Emerald Lakes. The stream will be kept live for 1 to 2 weeks. An email was sent out after the meeting which contained the link for this live feed. The membership will have to sign a disclaimer before access is granted. The membership will not be able to comment or share the feed. The link is:
Following the pledge of allegiance, Caldwell immediately called for a motion to approve the April 28th board minutes. After corrections from Dave Borsos and Jake Bower, Bob Leon made the motion to approve the minutes. It was seconded by Gilda Spiotta. The minutes were accepted unanimously.
Caldwell started her President’s message thanking the membership for coming and stating again that we are now live feeding this meeting so there can be no misinterpretation of what transpires at these meetings. She stated that the annual open meeting will be held in August and that any member in good standing that wants to run for the board can fill out an application in the Administration office. A bio must be submitted with the application. There are 3 slots open. Caldwell stated that there were several ways to contact the board; by walk in Wednesday and by emails that are checked daily. She stated that no questions are coming through to elainc.org. Flo Mauri interjected that she sent a message in two weeks ago and got no response. The board seemed surprised and will have Brad Jones from Preferred Management look into why the messages are not going through.
Caldwell continued with her message by stating that there is a lot going on. The beaches are opened and the outdoor pool will open soon. There was a broken pipe that needed to be repaired, the boathouse was condemned, they are looking to purchase a shed for the filtration system and they are renting porta potties. They plan an official grand opening when all this is completed. It is anticipated that the outdoor pool will open in mid June.
Caldwell stated that we received a check for a little over $100K for the indoor pool repair from the insurance company. They are currently taking bids for the repair, mold remediation, sheet rock replacement and painting. They are trying to expedite the delivery of the customized part that was ordered. It is anticipated that the indoor pool will be opened in July.
Stefania Johnson in the Treasurer’s report stated that the numbers that she is reading are preliminary numbers since our outside audit is underway.
(Money is reported on as Fiscal Year to Date)
Administration sub total $25,146 over budget (Doubtful accounts removed, collections, attorney expenses)
Doubtful accounts and collections $53,270 over budget
Public Safety $5,270 over budget
Maintenance $18,442 over budget
Community Center $7,133 under budget
Bar and Grill $24,144 over budget
Delinquent collections December through April are at:
Slusser Law Firm – $178,600
Sunrise Collection $47,487
Amnesty program $68,600
Total in collections $418,197
Johnson ended the treasurer’s report by reading a statement that she read from a year ago. She stated we have large expenses but do not have the funds to address our needs.
Leon made the motion to accept the treasurer’s report. Seconded by Spiotta. Accepted unanimously.
Floor was turned over to Joe Gallagher from Ecological Solutions for a report on the lakes. Gallagher has submitted his annual report which is on fisheries and water quality. Gallagher maintains all six lakes from May to October. They are working on an invasive plant species in Mountain Top lake, and they are still treating with remaining chemicals. Lower Deer Lake is being treated. They are using environmentally safe chemicals so they do not interfere with swimming or fishing. They are out in a gray boat wearing gray shirts and putter along with an outboard motor. This boat is needed to move around the chemicals. Artificial structures are being installed in our lakes so that young fish have a place to hide. They are managing different lakes for different species. They are also moving fish from lake to lake to utilize the resources in our community so that we have a balanced population. Bower asked about 12″ bass that are being purchased and asked why aren’t we buying smaller fish. Bigger fish are needed to balance out the lakes. Bower wanted to know if bids were taken for the fish. Gallagher explained that they do not buy the fish for us but just recommend what is needed. It is also a good thing to buy from local fisheries due the transportation of the fish.
It is important to harvest fish. Small fish from West Emerald lake are being moved to other lakes. Darren Johnson stated that there are numerous people that are not being respectful and are overfishing and not releasing. Gallagher stated that it not just ELA but it is in all communities where fish are being over harvested.
The lily pads are being worked on. We need 30% to 40% vegetation for the fish. Any treatment done this year will not be noticed until next year.
Mary Kavanaugh stated that we need to remind people through signage and public safety that this is a private lake. People that live in the area feel that our lakes are for public use.
Gallager will put an article together for the next Emerald News Letter.
Brad Jones gave the manager’s report by stating that he has nothing on the lakes. The weather has put maintenance behind on the lakes, outside pool, grass cutting, etc. The indoor pool insurance issue has been resolved and if we acted fast we would not have gotten so much money. The architectural drawing for the outside pool is with the township for approval and no problem is anticipated. The outdoor pool should be opened by June 16th. Septic areas are being identified and are in good condition. Raised collars were installed so that we do not have to re-dig the area when access is needed. Flood lights at the main entrance are being fixed, the sign in front of the Community Center was moved so that it is more visible and the stage lights are being moved. New mailboxes were installed on Glade Drive and at the Estates. Parcel boxes were also installed.
Dave Borsos started off with the director’s comments by complimenting all that worked on getting the live feed up and operational. Jake Bower stated that he learned a lot on the board especially about people that live in the community. He is trying to address issues that come up and is trying to listen to what we say. Bob Leon stated that they have being trying for a while to find the septic system on Main Beach. Caldwell reminded people of the Memorial Day function that will be held at noon on Monday at the main entrance. She thanked all servicemen for their service. Johnson wished everyone a happy and safe memorial day weekend. She reminded folks that race weekend is coming up so we should keep a low profile. She is looking forward to the pool opening and the board needed to do things appropriately and that right decisions were made. Spiotta stated that she will be at the celebration and that the board has a shared responsibility. She gets frustrated and upset with things. The board has to do the right thing and it is not easy., It takes time, research and patience to do things right.
Committee Chair reports started with Earl Frank of F&P. He requested that the financial statements be made simpler to read. He congratulated the delinquency collections of $408K and said we topped last year’s figure by $130K. He thanked Nicole Clemons for her diligence with the in house collections.
Jake Bower for Real Estate spoke of the landlords’ meeting that will be held next Saturday. Items to be discussed are the responsibility to relay information to renters. Bower emphasized the regulation for fireworks in the community. Fireworks in this community are illegal and can cause fire or harm to people. Chris Claude requested that floating fire lanterns be added. Caldwell interjected that the townships are clamping down on rentals. the number of people allowed in a rental is 2 people per bedroom. They are looking at septic systems. Short term rental will have more rules in place to protect the quality of life for full time residents and are a good revenue stream. If a member sees more than 10 cars in a driveway they should report it to the administration office to ensure that that household is on the list of properties that are short term rentals.
Resolution 1-52619 2018-2019 Operating and Capital Budget Adoption
Borsos made motion to approve resolution. Seconded by Leon. Resolution passed unanimously. No discussion.
Resolution 2-52628 2018 Capital Reserve Study Adoption
Johnson made motion to approve resolution. Seconded by Leon. Resolution passed unanimously. No discussion.
The Kipcom study will be available to the membership online and at the administration office. Margaret Fitzgerald asked what the study cost. Jones responded $3,925.
Bill Henry mentioned that today is fish for free day and that no license was needed today.
Pat Galderisi wanted to know what happened with the petition that was handed in at the last meeting. Jones stated that it was under review. Galderisi also stated that Classic Home Builders has been in ELA for 18 years. She stated that Ralph Musto had to go to court with his paystub when Classic challenged the Association on permit fees. She asked what was in settlement. Jones stated that a permit will be granted in 3 days and will be simultaneous with the township permit process. Classic will pay dues and permit fees. Classic was given 10 free building passes. Galderisi stated that Classic is here to sell properties and shows the Community Center to prospective buyers. Appraisals on homes do not go up due to the amenities. Classic owns over 200 properties and they cast a lot of votes at the open meeting. Galderisi also requested for a second time, a copy the engagement letter sent to the auditor. She questioned where was the hot dog cart. Galderisi asked how many landlords are in ELA and was told about 163.
Flo Mauri stated she did not know where to begin. She does not live near the lakes and stated we are in austerity mode. Why are we putting money into the lakes? She wanted to know what was budgeted for the lakes and felt we were spending too much money on the lakes. She was told that $1,000 was used for restocking and that the budget has not changed for lake maintenance. Mauri further stated that the septic tanks are failing since they are not being maintained. Classic Home septic systems are failing and are causing harm to the community. Classic sells properties in this community that go into foreclosure. He then resells these properties. It is affecting the value of our homes. Our community is depressed. We are not bouncing back or addressing these issues. Caldwell stated that we have not recovered from the 2008 crash. She stated that it is just not ELA with these issues and that homes for sales take 18 month to 2 years to sell at reduced costs. She stated that this is a nationwide issue.
Darren Johnson stated that the streaming is good. It cuts down on 3rd party mouth pieces. Three months ago, he witnessed a lynch mob mentality. He doesn’t want to be an elitist but he had to listen to nonsense and ignorance.
Mary Kavanaugh stated that when she went to pay her dues she saw the budget. She was disappointed that the events were down to only 4. She stated that the Halloween and New Year’s Eve party have always been successful and she hopes that we can still have these functions. She is willing to pay more for the event since it will defray the costs.
Kavavaugh also stated that not everyone gets the email blasts and that pine trees that came down from the last storm were dumped in an vacant area. Kavavaugh also asked about the policy on farm animals. There is a property that has these animals. Johnson responded about the events. She stated that she was big on children’s events. The 4 events on the budget may not be accurate or true as to what events will occur.
Buz Whelan stated the budget has $108K line item for Management services. Our current contract is expiring at the end of this month and was the board planning on extending the contract. Jones stated that the board was addressing this at the executive session. Whelan also stated that there are currently 3 board positions up for grabs. Currently a director has their house up for sale. In the past when a board member did this they tendered their resignation before the annual meeting even though there is no obligation to do that. That information would be helpful to know and it may have an impact on the annual meeting. Caldwell stated that she has no knowledge that anyone is leaving. Whelan further stated at the F&P meeting he was informed that payment plan deals were made for members with large delinquencies. He asked if those members were able to use the amenities or vote. Laura Jones told him that they were allowed to use the amenities and could vote. Whelan stated that according to our bylaws, which are clearly defined, they were not allowed to vote. He questioned if the board was ignoring our bylaws. Whelan stated that the board holds dominion over the amenities but not over the bylaws. Jones stated that under the Planned Community Act members in good standing are allowed to vote. Jones stated that this Act trumps our bylaws. Whelan stated that he was incorrect and that in the act it stated that proxy voting should be available to the membership yet we do not allow it. Our bylaws trump this act. Pat Galderisi reinforced this by stating that our bylaws are our bylaws and that we are grandfathered in. Jones will research this issue.
Margaret Fitzgerald stated that Whelan covered a lot of her questions but she is recommending that we do not renew the contract with Preferred Management. Our community is falling apart and Preferred Management is not doing their job. Darren Johnson interjected at this point that if his car is not working properly and if it cannot be fixed, he would replace it. Fitzgerald stated that at the special meeting, Jones said that money for the roads was being cut. As a member she cannot take his wise ass attitude.
Pat Galderisi spoke again by complimenting the board for including the budget in the mailing for the special meeting. She requested that we have more special guests at the meeting such as our auditor and attorney.
19 new members were welcomed to the community.
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.