Emerald Lakes Board of Director’s Open Meeting, March 23, 2019
by Kathy Leslie-Whelan
The meeting was called to order at 9:40 am. Five board members were present. Al Leslie and Ange Noonan were absent for personal reasons. Following the pledge of allegiance, Buz Whelan called for a motion to accept February’s board minutes. Chris Claude made the motion which was seconded by Bob Leon. Passed unanimously. Whelan proceeded to his President’s message by addressing the Special Meeting and Call-to Meeting. The meeting is scheduled for Saturday, May 11th at Pocono Mountain High School on Route 940. This is the available date at the high school. A vote will be held on an annual dues increase of $200, allocation of the dues money (75% for operations and 25% for reserves) and making quarterly payments without fees part of a bylaw change. All dues whether paying in full or quarterly will be due by May 22nd and not May 1st. Whelan stated that following March’s workshop, where Linda Shuey suggested that the board tell the membership why a dues increase was necessary, he prepared his President’s message in the March 2019 Emerald Lakes Newsletter to address why we need the money, where money has gone and where the increased money will go to. Whelan also stated the outdoor pool is on schedule to open on time for the Memorial Day weekend.
Under the Treasure’s report, Kavanagh stated that on a whole, we are under budget $26K. Maintenance is over budget by $13K due to trash pickup, payroll and for snow removal and vehicle repairs. The bar and grill is $600 under budget and had income of $2,400. Collection for delinquent accounts are at $17,600 for the prior year and $24,330 for the current year. Leon made the motion to accept the treasurer’s report. Dave Borsos seconded it. It was approved unanimously.
Darryl Gamble addressed the following items under Old Business:
- Work at the outdoor pool on schedule. Everything is falling into place for the Memorial Day opening. A contract with Strand pool will be signed this week after decisions on materials for the pool are decided on in executive session.
- There is a skeleton crew at the Community Center. Liquor sales are being controlled. When the indoor pool opens the Community Center will be opened more nights to accommodate swimmers. The Bar and Grill will also be open an additional night.
- HT Lyon is working on the new dehumidification system for the indoor pool. They are currently on schedule and will meet within the next few weeks with the other contractors to coordinate their efforts. The smoke shack will be relocated to make room for the cement pad needed for the dehumidification system.
- ServPro is under contract for $109K for mold remediation and work is pending.
- Gamble stated that he is currently looking at a large water conditioner for the outdoor pool. This should ease the strain on the use of the well.
- There are still approximately two miles of dirt roads that need pavement. If a dues increase is successful, Gamble wants to tackle that work. The next two roads they are looking to pave are the through roads. Gap View at $52K and Bowstring at $32K. Work will include drainage and culvert pipes.
- Maintenance staff has started cold patching. They are trying to address the worst roads. The bad road at the end of Clearview by Sullivan Trail may be Penn Dot’s responsibility. Gamble will reach out to Penn Dot. The membership was requested to call in any bad pot holes, down or damaged signage and tree debris. They are maintaining a list and may not have all areas that need to be attended to on their listing.
- Gamble has his eye on certain areas where road repair is going to happen due to excessive water damage. He has earmarked $12,070 for such repairs.
- Dues compliance has gone up. We were below 50% and now we are above 70%.
Under New Business:
- The Kubota unit is in for repair. A side cutter is being looked at. If the unit doesn’t meet our demands, Gamble will look for a trade in and procure a new tractor which will be better suited for work in the community. In addition, a training session will happen with all maintenance staff members.
- The 2019/2020 budget is being finalized this week. It will identify real numbers that are required to keep the community operational. There will be a column that will have provisions for project that are needed and will be completed if the dues increase is passed. The budget will be available for review and comment from the membership before April 1st. Interested members should watch the website, official and unofficial face book pages for notification when the document is available for their perusal and comment.
- Not on agenda but discussed was the Gate House Badging System. The new systems will be installed by April 25th.
Borsos started a conversation on the workshop meeting being held on the second Saturday of the month and proposed that since there is an issue with board member times that these meeting alternate each month between Saturday mornings and Friday nights. It was decided that Borsos would email the board members with his proposed change and all board members would have an opportunity to vote on this scheduled change.
Whelan spoke about the Call to Meeting going out 5 days before the deadline. He encouraged the membership to attend the April open meeting where the membership will be allowed to comment and/or ask questions to the board on the special meeting. The agenda for this meeting is already prepared. The meeting will be held in accordance with Robert’s Rules of Order and the intent is for a productive, not disruptive meeting.
Earl Frank of Finance and Planning is currently working with Nicole Clemens, Darryl Gamble and our accountant Tom Mugan on the budget for our next fiscal year. He reminded the board that the budget must be available to the membership by April 1st. Frank also stated the bar and grill actually made a profit of $460. dollars last month.
Dave Borsos stated that the Real Estate committee debated fees for renters. They are developing a fee structure that includes a fee based on number of days a pass is required and a different fee for children. A major proposed change will be a mandatory and separate fee for trash.
The Rules and Regulations committee has not met since they are waiting for board approval of their proposed changes. The board decided that they will use a version prepared by Borsos. In order to make it easier for administration the board will evaluate all changes proposed at a specific time. The meeting will be held on the second Saturday of next month when Rules and Regulations usually meet. The open workshop will immediately follow. Borsos also stated that he wanted to focus on some of the fines that he felt were excessive and the number of families that allowed in a rental.
Cookie Litwienski stated that the area around the outdoor pool looks nice but since the trees have been removed the area is too bright. She would like to see lower beams of light.
Bill Baehr is new to the community (3 months). He questioned why the dues increase was voted down last April. He was told that people have different opinions that range from quarterly payments being eliminated, crammed into dining area at Community Center, insufficient number of sign in stations, # of days given from the Call to Meeting, threatening to close the compactor and Community Center, no road maintenance, being misled into thinking they were approving budget instead of a dues increase. Baehr stated that he agrees with what the board is doing and he feels the presentations will be helpful. He is discouraged that some people don’t understand the need for a dues increase and talk negatively about any increase. He wished that they would start showing up at meetings.
Baehr also question the 75% dues compliance rate and what is being done that increased that rate. He was told that we are officially at a 72.9% compliance rate and it is on an upswing. The intent is to try to hit 75%. A major reason for the higher dues compliance rate is that the Assistant Manager, Nicole Clemens, has been aggressive with in-house collections. According to studies if a community is at 80% in dues compliance they are doing excellent. Baehr stated that he is pleased that the budget is realistic and feels that the transparency and newsletter that is published are great methods for letting the membership know what is going on in the community.
4 new members were welcomed to the Community.
Leon made a motion to adjourn. It was seconded by Borsos. Meeting adjourned at 11:10 AM.
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.