Emerald Lakes Board of Director’s Open Meeting, June 30, 2018
by Kathy Leslie-Whelan
The meeting was called to order at 9:34 am. All board members were present.
Following the pledge of allegiance, Diane Caldwell started her President’s message thanking the membership for coming and reminding them to stay hydrated and to take care of our pets during this hot weather that we are having. She stated that there are many yard sales throughout the community this day and reminded the membership of the 4th of July celebration at the outdoor pool. There will be a grand reopening pool party and food will be available to the membership for $5.00 per head. Meet the candidates is scheduled for August 4th between the hours of 9:30 am and 12:00 noon. July 2nd is the last day to sign up to run for the board. The open annual meeting will be held on August 18th where registration will begin at 9:00 am.
Caldwell proceeded to give her observations on the community. She stated we are operating under deferred maintenance which caused unexpected delays in opening the outdoor pool. Several items had to be completed to get the pool operational. Maintenance staff had to run new pipe lines and install a new shed. New electrical boxes, filters and heating system were installed. Road maintenance will start next week. The indoor pool has run into problems, and it will not open on the anticipated date of July 15th. Although a check was received for over $100K to fix the pool, bids are coming in the $150K range. Our attorney is going back after the two insurance companies (boiler installer and temporary dehumidification system installer) to get the additional money needed to do the repairs. Mold remediation will require that scaffolding be installed. Additional money for the scaffolding is $48K. The insurance company stated that they do not want a temporary fix but a new dehumidification system installed. They will not pay out on another claim. Caldwell spoke of giving a down payment to a contractor to start with the new dehumidification needed. It may be a while before the work starts. The front entrance has work on the lighting and maintaining the shrubbery, new toilets were installed at main beach, all septic tanks have been pumped, mapped out and risers installed. The administration building needed to be rewired. The community center needed a socket installed on the outside of the building. Lawnmowers need to be repaired and the parts are coming in next week. Grass cutting should resume at that time. 38 citations were issued to the membership due to uncut lawns but they were all rescinded since the association has been unable to cut the common area grass. No citation will be issued until ELA mows the common areas. All work being done now is due to deferred maintenance which has been happening for the last 20 years. Caldwell stated that our biggest assets were our homes and we will lose value if we do not maintain the community.
Caldwell further stated that when she first moved to ELA there were an abundance of people in the community and on the committees and it is sad that people lost interest. There are 1,975 homes (actual properties) in the association and there are fewer than 20 people that attend meetings and yet there is a lot of bitching and moaning on social media. People only show up when there is a dues increase.
Caldwell stated she was going to call out two committees. Finance and Planning doesn’t do planning. They focus on finances. F&P needs to map out a plan of everything that has to be done within our finances. A plan needs to be mapped out based on the reserve study. Maintenance committee should not be giving a list of what they want done but what planning is being done. Maintenance wants a solar cover, they want the front entrance redone, but what is their plan to get this done. Caldwell asked for volunteers and not just the select few. We do not have an events committee. We do not have an ARC committee. We do not have a communication committee. Caldwell stated that August is coming and there may be new faces on the board. This is a good and beautiful community and people need to get involved.
Caldwell called for a motion to approve the May 2018 board minutes. After corrections from Stefania Johnson, Gilda Spiotta made the motion to approve the minutes. It was seconded by Dave Borsos. The minutes were accepted unanimously.
Stefania Johnson, in the Treasurer’s report, stated since we are in the process of an audit and the unaudited financials were given to her late last night which did not have the budget numbers she did not want to relay inaccurate information to the membership, so she did not have a report ready for the meeting. Johnson did report the following delinquent collections received from the management company for the month of May.
Sunrise Collection $2,655
Payment Plan $54,662
2nd Payment Plan $6,793
Total in collections $216,547
Johnson recommended that the board review their decision to hire Sunrise since they are not collecting what was anticipated. She also stated she will have more information after the audit report.
Leslie made the motion to accept the treasurer’s report. Seconded by Leon. Accepted unanimously.
Laura Jones started the Manager’s report stating that an email reminder was sent out to the membership regarding the dues deadline of June 15th for members on the payment plan. If dues were not received by June 16th a $150 late fee will be applied to the account. Our attorney advised us not to cash the check for the claim for the indoor pool until he has reviewed all the documentation so that we are protected for any damage that does not impact our ability to further pursue this claim. The money collected is insufficient to complete the work at the indoor pool. The original quote for the repair to the dome came in at $76K. This contract cannot start until a new dehumidification system is installed. Falcon is currently redrafting the bid specifications to parse out work that was completed in the temporary system that was installed. The bid specifications are due back in two weeks on July 15th. Once approved by the board the document will go out to bid. The bids will go out to large contractors and they will be required to obtain a performance bond. The system to be installed should last for 20 years. A date for completion cannot be given at this time.
Jones stated that the outdoor pool project is completed. With every step forward there were 4 steps back. New plumbing and piping was installed. Transformer was blown so a new electrical system was installed. Well pump and filters are all new and blue water was pumped in. By Friday at 4:00 pm before the opening it looked like a resort pool. Currently the pool is at 76 degrees since it is so warm out. The solar cover legs snapped so new legs are ordered and will be in by July 7th. Jones thanked staff for all their hard work. Considering all the problems the pool only opened 1 week late. Total project cost $35K.
Jones verified with legal counsel that any member on the payment plan or the hardship plan is consider a member in good standing and can use the amenities. The board approves any hardship payment plan in executive session. If one of these members misses a payment they are given 5 days to make their payment. If no payment is received they are no longer considered a member in good standing.
A concession agreement is in place with Square Fare. They have all the necessary permits to operate in Long Pond. This truck will operate at the outdoor pool, Main beach and Pine Tree Lake on a rotating basis. They will not be here on July 4th since the association is throwing the pool party and will have hot dogs, hamburgers and ice cream. The concessionaire is paying ELA $300/month to operate on the premises and the contract runs from June to August.
Jones stated that they are prepping for the annual meeting, to be held on August 18th. The call to meeting will be mailed on July 18th. Jones urged the membership to attend the Meet the Candidates so that you can make an informed decision and ask questions now. This session will be live streamed and can be seen on Facebook. Cookie Litwienski is looking for volunteers to help with this selection process.
The draft audit report should be completed in time to be reviewed at the July meeting.
Unpaved roads and road repair is budgeted at $300,300. They have good intentions on paving all unpaved roads and will repair what they can. Work will commence on July 10th, weather permitting. The membership is cautioned to drive carefully over the new tar and chip pavement.
Jones stated the 4th of July party will be between 1 and 5, and will be $5.00 per head for food. Those not paying can still enjoy the pool and join in the games. There is a 165 person limit at the pool area. When that number is reached, people will have to be turned away. The rain day for this event is Saturday July 7th. Pool hours are from 11:00 am to 7:30 pm. The lakes are open from dawn to dusk.
Jones stated that the petition submitted at the April open meeting for proxy voting is currently under law review. All language for proxy voting will become part of the by-laws if passed so they are ensuring that the language is legally correct. After the attorney approval, the board will review. This item will be included in the call to meeting mailing and will include an explanation.
Walk in Wednesdays is still in effect between 1 pm and 3 pm. Articles are being accepted for the ELA newsletter. Please send your articles or recipes to email@example.com. No inappropriate article will be published.
Spiotta opened the director’s comments stating that she is delighted to be retired this month. She is doing walk abouts where she picks up trash and welcomes anyone that wants to join her. We live in a beautiful community, and she is proud to be a member.
Johnson wished all a happy 4th and hoped that we were enjoying the pool and the lakes. She echoed Caldwell’s request that we need help on committees. We need people to be engaged. She will be a regular association member after August and will participate in committees.
Caldwell wished everyone a wonderful 4th of July and encouraged all to spend time with their families. She recently lost her step dad and Al Leslie lost his wife Virginia. She stated that none of us are promised tomorrow so enjoy today.
Leslie thanked everyone that reached out to him and his family with their sympathies.
Leon had no comment since he is still recovering from a hospital stay.
Bower (without an S) wished everyone a happy holiday. He stated that we have a lot of divides and we need to start fresh. We should not create anger. He stated we need a plan to take care of issues. We also need a solution to get volunteers out.
Borsos wished everyone a happy 4th and thanked Laura Jones for putting up the pool party idea being open to everyone and the fee is just for food. He stated that he appreciates the young lady that submitted the petition for the proxy voting and wanted to point out that it required a by-law change and requires board approval. He stated that 50% was required but Pat Galderisi stated that she only needed 5% of the membership to have something added to the agenda. Borsos questioned why the treasurer did not include regular dues in her report. Johnson responded that it was for past collections. Borsos further asked why we only had the food truck till August 31st. He was told that the pool closes after Labor Day and that ELA will probably have an event. In addition, he was told that the schools were starting earlier this year. He lastly asked if a rope was installed in the pool delineating where the deep end was and was told that it was.
Earl Frank as chair of the Finance and Planning committee stated that there was a $35K budget for the pool repair and asked what were the actual numbers. Jones stated that those numbers were not in yet. As for planning he asked if the board has received the minutes from F&P which included 10 recommendations. He further stated that the $152K in delinquent collection in-house just blows his mind. He requested to see the internal numbers and get a number of how many collections comprised this figure. He was promised these numbers for the next meeting. Frank also stated that our budget only accounts for $150K in delinquent collections and a recommendation by F&P was to put all money in excess of that number into reserves. Jones stated that that money would be transferred into reserves. Frank had a little bit of constructive criticism on the new format for the financials. He stated that they were confusing and did not match with our previous financials. He gave an example of the bar and grill losses being listed as $35K one way and $140K using a different approach. He was told that the new report format was in accordance with general accepted accounting principles. Frank asked what the breakout of $80K for supplies for the bar and grill were. Frank stated that with the new reporting structure we have accounting services at $42K while the old report had that figure at $10K. Frank stated that every year we have a lawn mower break down so he hopes we are checking the winter equipment so that we do not run into any issues in the winter. He was told that the lawn mowing equipment was operational but broke down during use. The unit we have now is not big enough to hold the flail arm so the piston keeps on breaking. A larger size piston is currently on order. Frank further stated that F&P is planning but it is hard when you don’t have the money to make the repairs. We can do a 25-year range plan, but there is no money.
At this point in time Caldwell stated that no plan was submitted and that we all know that we need a dues increase. Whelan stated that we have been planning and as an example of planning in the past Whelan stated there was a 5-year plan to pave the roads that he presented back in 2013 to plan unpaved roads. Caldwell interrupted him and said that that plan was from 2007 when Rich Houston presented it. Whelan said it was not. Caldwell stated that was a collective plan developed by 7 board members, which she was on and that it actually was Bob Lauri’s idea. Whelan challenged her on that by saying that it was part of his candidate speech in 2014 when he stated we are a community of haves and have nots.
Bower spoke on behalf of the real estate committee. The next meeting is scheduled for September. Plans are moving forward with the landlords to set stronger rules when it comes to fireworks and safety.
Johnson spoke on behalf of events. She stated that we need members. 4th of July executed by the management company but would like to resurrect committee to plan further events.
Darryl Gamble spoke about projects in the community center. The main entrance was rewired and signage is installed on the side of the building. Stage lights were corrected. If anyone wants to participate in an event please contact Darryl.
Jones offered to assist in the long range planning term of 1 to 20 year.
19 new members were welcomed. Leslie made the motion to accept the new members. Johnson seconded it and it passed unanimously.
Resolution 1-63018 Removal of Uncollectable Accounts
Leslie made motion to approve resolution. Seconded by Leon.
This resolution removes $253,301.14 in accounts that are deemed uncollectable. Some of the accounts are 14 to 20 years old and are no longer members in ELA. Statute of limitations has expired. No levies can be attached to these delinquent accounts.
Resolution passed unanimously.
Resolution 2-63018 Food Truck Concessionaire Agreement
Borsos stated that the contract is air tight on protecting the community and the concessionaire has all licenses and permits. He stated that the man seems responsible. Caldwell stated that he is an independent contractor that the board will not promote so no schedule or menu will be posted. He will operate between the hours of 10:00 am and 8:00 pm. It was also recommended that he take out an ad in our newsletter where he will receive a discount.
Leslie made motion to approve resolution. Seconded by Leon.
Resolution passed unanimously
Kathy Leslie Whelan stated that a performance bond is good and it is probably a good idea to have in our bids, however, they are hard to collect on and could be costly. It could add 10% of the cost to the bids so we have to include that in our bid estimate. The cost of a performance bond will be passed on to the association. These bonds are also very difficult to collect on. Audience member Brian Coe who has worked in the insurance industry for 20 years said that these bonds could be as low as 1% and it depends on the client if they have a good rating.
Jones responded that it will be part of the bid and the estimate is $300K. The engineering company will receive bids, evaluate the bids and make a recommendation to the board.
Buz Whelan commented on the problem with committees. He questioned what is different now. He stated that it could be because the volunteers do not feel appreciated. Committees need to feel important. For example, back in 2008 Bob Lauri, Maintenance committee liaison initiated a program of assigning usage logs to vehicles and major equipment. These were kept for a time, then abandoned. Lauri also criticized the way out-of-season equipment was stored. Whelan said he had a conversation with Lauri within the last month that equipment was still not properly stored. We need to resurrect the volunteer appreciation events which Pat Galderisi and the ELDAS group ran for many years.
Flo Mauri spoke on the outdoor pool. She questioned if the outdoor bathhouse was on the table. Jones spoke of installing a modular unit on a cement slab and tying it into our current septic system. These units can be purchased used between $20K and $30K. Mauri questioned why we do not mention people’s names when we welcome the new members. Jones stated it was not a good idea to release names and address. Sometimes new owners don’t want their name released. Finally Mauri stated that a policy book should be given out to new members that references ELA history so that they do not reinvent the wheel and stay in the same place.
Pat Galderisi commended the board and Johnson on writing off aged accounts. She asked if the board was being interviewed and will the report be clean qualified or disclaimed. Response was that they do not know yet. Galderisi stated that eliminating the ARC committee was a mistake and allowed Classic to not follow the rules. Galderisi has asked numerous times about Classic and not once has she got a straight answer. Galderisi questioned about our database and was told that it ran with TOPS. The badging system is handled by TEM Gatehouse. They are trying to update that system into TOPS. Galderisi asked if a dues increase is being presented to the membership in August and was told no.
Brian Coe questioned the committees and the demographics of the 19 new home owners. He stated that younger people communicate in a different way. His home is on Gap View and asked if there were homes on his road that were not part of the association. Jones stated that some of the homes are not on ELA property and do not belong to the association. Whelan asked if we could invite them to join. Jones stated that we could charge them a road access fee if they are not part of the association.
Ange Noonan stated that there is too much fighting. She stated we have a good board and we should be good neighbors.
Adjournment at 12:09 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.