Emerald Lakes Board of Directors Open Meeting, May 25, 2019
by Kathy Leslie-Whelan
The meeting was called to order at 9:36 am. Six board members were present. Al Leslie was absent for personal reasons. Following the pledge of allegiance, Buz Whelan made a statement that a grace period will be given to the membership until June 15th to pay dues in full or for the first quarterly payment. He explained that TOPS, the current system that generates the bills, was confusing to the membership. The membership that paid their dues in advance, had ($750) on the statement. This represents a credit of $750. Every quarter TOPS will deduct $250 from this credit.
Whelan stated that the board of directors represents the Association and must do what is in its best interest. While members can speak for themselves and act in their own best interests, the association has only the board to look out for it. The Association would deteriorate if every members wish was taken into consideration. The Association needs $300K to operate to keep the amenities, roads and facilities in good condition. The board has a fiduciary (legal) responsibility to ask for this amount again. The board has an obligation to ask for what is needed.
The Association is changing the way we are currently investing. Our investments are costing more in management fees than we are gaining, and if money is needed from the account for an emergency, there are penalties for taking out the money. This investment was cashed out without penalty and will be put into a money market account without fees or penalty for early withdrawal.
Under the Treasurer’s report, Steve Kavanagh stated that for April we are over budget $7.9K. Maintenance was the highest area that was over budget due to required maintenance on vehicles. For the fourth month in a row the bar and grill is has taken in more than it spent. Collection for delinquent prior year dues is at $22K for the month of April. Bob Leon made the motion to accept the treasurer’s report. Dave Borsos seconded it. It was approved unanimously.
Whelan called for a motion to accept April’s board minutes. Kavanagh requested that his name be spelled correctly. Leon made the motion with the correction which was seconded by Kavanagh. Passed unanimously.
Under Old Business:
- Whelan stated that a dues increase will be requested again from the membership, probably in the fall. 16 ballots from the Special Meeting were not turned in. He feels this is because meetings run too long. Whelan has been studying the by-laws and will consult with the attorney regarding changing the way votes are cast. He stated that there is nothing that he can see in the by-laws where it states that you cannot give your ballot to a trusted friend to put in the ballot box.
- GM Darryl Gamble reported the outdoor pool is up and running and opened on time for Memorial Day weekend. The water softener for the pool will be installed at a later date and will not affect the pool opening. New picnic tables, umbrellas and chairs were purchased.
- Outdoor grills for Pine Tree and Main beaches are being refurbished or replaced.
- At Pine Tree beach the original well pump burned out and had to be replaced for $10K. Work on this beach will be done in stages. All safety hazards have been removed so folks can still enjoy the beach. Underlying water issues will be addressed before the retaining wall is replaced and sand added to the beach. All sand will be beach sand and not septic sand.
- Main beach is up and ready to go.
- Gap View road work was started on May 25th. Water damage on Clearview will be corrected before paving is started. Gamble stated that he hopes to have the roads by Main beach corrected.
- New equipment was ordered for the tennis courts and basketball courts and should be here within 3 weeks. The old equipment is still up so that the membership can still use these facilities. In addition, these courts will be secured at night and will be opened in the morning.
- Gamble explained that trees were removed at the main entrance due to blocking vision of drivers. Also, there will be additional parking added to the Main entrance mail center.
Under New Business:
- Summer preparations and underway. Sand has not been delivered yet. Currently the sand is wet due to all the rain and it cannot be delivered until it dries. Main Beach will be sanded first and Pine Tree will be sanded after certain repairs. As stated above sand will be beach sand as opposed to Septic sand and will be laid at a 3″ thickness.
- New ropes and buoys will be installed. Gamble is looking for some fishing guys to help out with the placements. A flat bottom boat is under consideration so maintenance can have access to do certain tasks in the lakes.
- K&B completed the well pump work at Pine Tree beach and the outdoor pool. Water testing was completed by Microback. Microback also takes care of the back end work by reporting any issues to the Board of Health.
- The dehumidification system for the indoor pool will be delivered on May 31st. Cranes will be showing up the week before. Since school is still in session, Gamble will reach out to the membership to inform them when the work is starting so they are aware since children will be getting off the school buses.
- A Rules and Regulation amendment to include replanting of trees when a healthy tree is removed and requirements for driveway paving was approved by consensus. Borsos made the motion to accept the changes made by the general manager and CEO. It was seconded by Ange Noonan. Rules and Regulations will be reconvening on June 8th at 9:30 AM in the Administration building. Since it is a living document it was requested that the changes be sent to the board in sections for approval. Whelan asked Leon to request the Chair of the committee to come to the open meeting to address the changes and reasoning behind the changes. Leon stated that a letter should be sent to all chairs of committees to attend open meetings.
- Under Annual Meeting Agenda, Whelan wants to add Absentee/Proxy Voting. He stated that everyone’s right to vote is important. People have family obligations, work issues or physical issues and should have the same rights. Surrounding communities already have procedures in place that are secure.
- Whelan alerted the board that a Judge of Elections needs to be appointed for the annual open meeting since the current secretary’s term is up and he will be rerunning.
- Whelan discussed voting procedures not clearly defined in the bylaws. He suggested shortening the agenda prior to voting so that the membership can cast their ballots before public comments. Discussions ensued on disqualified ballots and that if the voter intent is clear it should not be disqualified. In addition, any member who accidently marked their ballot incorrectly should be allowed to trade in their ballot for a new one since if they cross out an item, that ballot is disqualified.
- A dog park with a walking path which is not a large investment will be installed on the grass area at the Administration building. Dogs will be allowed to run. The member will be responsible for the dog’s behavior and for cleaning up after their dog.
- A motion by Kavanagh for a 4 day weekend for full time staff for July 4th was seconded by Noonan passed unanimously. A skeleton crew will be at the Administration building.
- A community wide garage sale is proposed for the second week of September.
Dave Borsos stated he was thankful for the efforts of the men and women working for the community. He also stated that he heard people state that “why would we give you a dues increase to put it into already deteriorating amenities”. Borsos also requested clarification on the mailing of the quarterly dues payments. He was told there would be no future mailing at $2K a pop and that the TOPS system only allows to bill with money paid as a credit.
Steve Kavanagh asked about the badging system. He was told that it not ready yet.
Chris Claude stated that if anyone remembers the reasoning that members gave for not approving the dues increase at the April 2018 meeting was that the indoor pool was closed. This year the reason was we are putting too much money into the indoor pool. The board is more fiscally responsible for finding solutions to fix what we have.
Ange Noonan stated that we are fortunate to have the management team that we have. She reminded Whelan of the Memorial Day function.
Whelan thanked Noonan and stated that on Monday, Memorial Day there will be a 15 minute ceremony to remember all who died for our country at the Main entrance flag pole at 11:45. In addition the compactor will be open on Monday.
Earl Frank of Finance and Planning stated that the board has to make decisions on how they want to proceed with going back to the membership for a dues increase. Reserves are at $389K. New capital is at $74K. Equity is at $1.3M. The bar and Grill was $350 over expenses. Third months in a row the Bar and Grill revenue has exceeded the cost of operation. F&P recommended that the board put an article in the newsletter and email blast about public safety and what role they play in the community.
Louise Leon stated that this was the best board and that management was wonderful.
Mary Kavanagh stated that the community was going in a good direction and she was sad that the dues increase did not pass. She was proud that the Latin night in the community center was successful. She met new people and that the event did not cost the community a penny. The following Saturday karaoke night was successful also. Every board member attended.
Whelan bought up the comedy shows that were held in the past and how they were very successful. Tommy Gooch reached out to Whelan about doing another show in the fall. Gooch is a headliner in many comedy venues such as the Borgata in Atlantic City. It was a unanimous agreement to proceed with the show.
No new members were welcomed to the Community.
Leon made a motion to adjourn. It was seconded by Kavanagh. Meeting adjourned at 11:38 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.