Emerald Lakes Board of Director’s Open Meeting, December 8, 2018
by Kathy Leslie-Whelan
The meeting was called to order at 9:30 am. Six board members were present. Gilda Spiotta, former board secretary closed on the sale of her home on November 29th so she is no longer on the board. Her spot will be filed by Al Leslie who received the next highest number of votes at the August annual meeting.
Following the pledge of allegiance, Buz Whelan handed the floor over to Mark Hagerman from H.T. Lyons for a presentation on a new dehumidification system for the indoor pool. On November 19th H.T. Lyons co-authored a solution with Falcon Engineering to address the many issues facing our indoor pool. Hagerman stated that the current duct work which is under the pool and was installed in 1975, is filled with water from all the rain that occurred over the last few months. He explained why the current duct work could not be used and it is just best to seal up that area. He proposed using duct socks. He came prepared with pictures as well as drawings on the community center. The system will be installed within 6 ft of the building so there will be a shorter throw for the air flow. It is proposed to be behind the smoking shack at the Community Center and anyone can now see the physical outline that defines where the unit will be placed. The duct work will sweep the perimeter of the pool and will be pressurized to reach the domed ceiling. The fans will be running 24/7. There is a one year warranty from H.T. Lyons and a 5 year warranty on the compressor. Hagerman recommends having a maintenance contract in place once the system is installed with an authorized and certified repair person for the system being installed. Since the system is a customized unit, some parts are unique, however, most are common parts that are easy to obtain. Most indoor pools have customized units to meet the individual needs of the pool. Case studies have shown that the life span of these units is 15 years but with proper and proactive maintenance you can extend the life span. In addition the system can be remotely monitored and any problems can be identified promptly. The lead time to manufacture this unit is 14-16 weeks. During the manufacturing a cement pad and electrical work will be completed. Once the unit is in place it will take approximately 2 weeks to install completely. H.T. Lyons has made a commitment to the association to introduce this project to the township and have the approval by January 14th at which time a proposal will be given to the board for review. It can take up to 30 days to receive all permits. In addition, they will be working with the duct sock contractor to assure proper installation.
In addition to the installation of the dehumidification system, a contract is in place with Strand Pool to drain, scrub and repair the pool.
Whelan started his President’s message by stating that the October minutes were approved at the last workshop. He wished all of the members a Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanza or Happy Holidays. He publically thanked Gilda Spiotta for her service and wished her well. Al Leslie was welcomed to the board but he had personal issues to attend to so was unable to attend today’s meeting. Whelan met with Leslie for over two hours brining him up to speed on all that the board is working on. Leslie has also agreed to replace Spiotta as liaison to the Appeals Committee. Leslie will be a full participant and looks forward to being on the board again.
Whelan also spoke of a task for Rules and Regulations dealing with vehicles that are parked on the road during a snow storm. A steeper fine will be imposed on vehicles that are parked blocking the plow trucks. These vehicles are a danger to the plow driver as well as to the equipment. If a member is stuck it is incumbent upon them to notify the 24/7 telephone number. ((570) 643-3385) An after action meeting was held after the last snow event and adjustments will be made to improve responses and issues that occurred. The new upgraded badging system was proposed. This system is the only system compatible with TOPS and will only allow access to members in good standing at our amenities. The board is currently planning for a special meeting for March 16, 2019 for a dues increase. The membership will also be voting on where dues money is to be allocated. (75% for operations and 25% for reserves.) The membership will also be voting on a bylaws change which will make quarterly payments without fee a permanent part of the way we do business. It has been almost 8 years since the last dues increase. The board hopes to bring this community back to the first class status it once had.
Steve Kavanagh gave a report on the dues collection but could not give us a report on our finances since the new numbers are not available at this time. He stated that he would get them out though social media once they became available. In November dues collections was at $38K. $98K went into reserves. Bob Leon made a motion to accept the Treasurer’s report. It was seconded by Chris Claude and Dave Borsos. It was accepted unanimously.
Darryl Gamble started his manager’s report by stating that he got positive feedback from his memo updating the community on snow removal. He will continue to keep the membership updated. The snow plowing schedule was tweaked. There are 4 sectors. (Birch, the Estates, Cricket and the Main Sector). There is a storm board. It is important to clear the Community Center lot. The center can be opened in the case of a power failure where a member can go to get warm and get a cup of coffee. The lot has also been used to helicopter a serious sick resident. If a member finds themselves stuck, maintenance can get the cat to the parking lot and get that member home. In addition, Gamble has two outside plow people who have submitted their insurance certificate. They will be called only when absolutely necessary. If a road falls through the cracks, it can be reported by calling VanHorn answering service at (570) 643-3385.
Positive feedback has come in on the holiday decorations. Maintenance is trying to get to the Estates to decorate but there is no power available. Staff decorated the Community Center and many compliments came in.
North Eastern Financial Services who handles employee 401K plans and our investments is charging for handling our affairs. PNC offers more services so we are moving our investments to PNC in February. Finance and Planning will look into what to do with the $119K that we have invested in bonds.
Nicole Clemens has been researching the new badging system from Gatehouse which will be instantaneous on reporting. The system updated every 3 seconds. Once you pay your dues it will be recorded immediately…and once you miss a payment it will immediately disable your card. There will be two permanent stations located at the Community Center and the compactor. A portable unit will be used at the outdoor pool and the beaches. Public Safety will be inspecting people’s badges at the beaches. The badges will be designed so that you can be identified at first glance. Owners and associate members will have different colors. Traffic will also be tracked so that it shows when an amenity is most active.
Gamble is looking at other alternatives for trash hauling. Right now we are $20K over budget. He is also looking to change the recyclable container so that members can throw their trash out on the right and their recyclables on the left. A new propane company is being researched. The leaf drop off in November was successful so it will be done again in the Spring. There will be an area for branch cleanup. Branches will be chipped and used throughout the community’s landscaping.
A contract for roof replacement at the Community Center is in place and work should be commencing shortly depending on weather. The dehumidification system proposal should be received by mid January. The mold removal contract is in place and will commence once dehumidification system is in place.
The outdoor pool will open on Memorial day weekend. Work on the well pump, pool repair, landscaping and tree removal will happen before the opening. Bridges are scheduled for Spring. A report on the dams is forthcoming. One dirt road was completed and Contractor is drafting an estimate on doing the rest of the dirt roads in the community. In the future any driveways being paved will be inspected by the Association so that culverts and drainage doesn’t affect our roadways. Beaver relocation is pending. A road trip to Atlantic City is being planned to look at a backhoe.
The membership was reminded that all financial statements, audit reports, Kipcon report is available to the membership. Walk-in Wednesday is still available. Gamble thanked everyone for their continued support.
Committee Chair Reports/Recommendations
Earl Frank, chair of F&P that the financial statements are now available on a cash basis. We have $838K in checking and $581 in reserves. He believes it is a good idea to move investments to a money market. A money market is more predictable, liquid and there are no fees. We lost $2K between May to October. F&P will be busy in January with the start of the budget preparation.
Bob Leon spoke on behalf of Rules and Regulations. In addition to the task listed above, Leon will request that this committee look at a rule for times that construction companies can start and end work in the community.
Mary Kavanagh spoke for the Real Estate committee. They were shocked that their article made it into the paper. They are looking at a tiering system for penalties for renters who do not register their guests on time. They wanted to know what was collected on the fines that were imposed for these venalities. Whelan asked if they could look at pro-rating fees, for a one-time basis, for any one that wants to start renting their property. The $250 annual dues is due in mid February. If someone wants to rent their home today, they are charged $250 now and $250 in mid February.
Under old business Whelan stated that the status of Association members and Associate members is clear under our bylaws. If one’s deed does not identify you as an owner, you cannot vote. The board holds dominion over the amenities but not the bylaws. An individual that lives in ELA but is not a member can use the amenities if they pay the full dues.
Under new business a bylaw change will be presented to the membership that will require a Director to resign if they put their home up for sale. Another Bylaw change for term limits is also being considered for presentation to the membership.
Ange Noonan stated that Darryl Gamble and Nicole Clemens are doing a great job.
Bob Leon spoke of a pot luck luncheon at the Community Center for Sunday, December 16th between 1:00 and 4:00 PM. All members wishing to participate should bring a dish and a place setting.
Chris Claude commended Darryl Gamble for the last snow event. Gamble was present for the whole event and was driving around in the public safety vehicle assessing the situation and helping where needed. In addition Gamble is often seen cooking at the Community Center and Nicole Clemens is bartending. Both are always willing to help out where needed.
Dave Borsos stated that he has been living here for 14 years and there has always been talk about fixing the indoor pool. Now there is a mindset that it will be fixed and it will be fixed right. He also stated that social media is a useful tool but not the only way to get information out. He is not on Facebook but he gets the scoop from his wife.
Bill Henry stated that the last dues increase in 2011 was a 25% increase. The increase we are asking for in March is only a 20% increase.
Mary Kavanagh thanked the maintenance staff for the ice melt on her street and requested that the notifications for karaoke go out earlier. She asked what were the plans for New Year’s eve and was told that they are trying to square away some entertainment. There will be an event.
Louise Leon asked about doing an event for the Clymer Library and was told to speak to the General Manager.
Jenn Gonzales stated that this board is different so she has no comment to give. She stated that the board is transparent and the thoroughness of the reporting is fantastic. She was amazed at the board turnaround in such a short time and she is sure that there will be more positive things going forward. In addition, her son had a blast at the tree decorating and preparation for Santa. He is excited for Santa to visit.
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.