Emerald Lakes Board of Directors Open Meeting, September 28, 2019
by Kathy Leslie-Whelan
The meeting was called to order at 9:34 AM. All board members were present. Following the pledge of allegiance, Buz Whelan started his President’s message, stating that this is the first meeting of our political year. On reflection he spoke of two important bylaw changes that were passed last year. The first being quarterly payments with no fees and the second allowing direct proxy voting. Whelan spoke of the upgraded equipment, outdoor pool and the upgrading currently happening with the indoor pool. He stated we are in a good position to face snow removal. Looking forward Whelan stated that money is tight and he commends management staff with stretching our dollars but the board has a fiduciary responsibility to request a dues increase in the near future. Whelan stated he wants to see us as the premier community that we once were. Whelan stated the rental program is a success. In 2014, the board decided to make us a rental friendly community. We went from making approximately $20K per year in fees to last year making $120K. This year we have made $131K with 8 months still to go. Whelan is optimistic for the coming year. There is a better relationship between the board and the membership.
Bill Baehr, newly elected board member and Treasurer began his report by thanking everyone that voted for him. He believes good things are happening and will continue to happen within our wonderful community. In reviewing the August report total numbers we operated within budget. Administrative cost were $7K over budget due to management and accounting fees. Public Safety costs were $4.4K under budget due to an open position. Recreation/Lakes/Pools and the Bar and Grill operated within budget. Maintenance were $2.4K under budget due to no cost for snow removal. On the income side, dues and fees income is at approximately 50% of the $1.4M projected. Dues late fees are $52K year to date. Code Enforcement collections are at $51K YTD, while $60K was budget for the entire year. Delinquency collections YTD are as follows:
Special Payment Plan collections – $42,430.95
In House collections – $148,708.84
Attorney collections – $63,185.86
Sunrise Collection Agency collections – $49,383.85
Income from the rental program collections current YTD is $131,189.03 while last year’s total is at $120,000.07. Baehr stated that he is currently working with the F&P chair, the board president and the General Manager on developing a format that will present a clear picture of the finances to the membership. The new format is expected to be completed for the October newsletter. Bob Leon made a motion to accept the Treasurer’s report. It was seconded by Steve Kavanagh and passed unanimously.
Bob Leon made a motion to accept the July minutes. It was seconded by Steve Kavanagh and passed unanimously.
Dave Borsos, board secretary and Judge of Elections reported on the results of voting at the annual meeting. Both financial resolutions passed. Resolution # 1, which is disposition of surplus funds, votes came in at 76 to 7. This allows the board to decide how to apportion any surplus thus allowing the Association to attain preferential tax treatment of any surplus. Resolution # 2 which is apportionment of annual assessments, votes came in at 72 to 8. This resolution makes it clear to the IRS that the board is authorized to split the membership assessments between the operating and capital budgets. Direct Proxy voting votes were 67 yes and 16 no. Ange Noonan and Bill Baehr each won a three year director spot and Bob Leon won a one year director spot. No votes were disqualified.
Under Old Business it was reported:
- The indoor pool repairs is on schedule. There is a problem with the decking and ServPro will repair. Strand pool has started working on the electrical components of the pool and on Monday will start sandblasting the interior of the pool. This is the last physical component for the work on the pool.
- The badging system is operational but waiting on training for the staff. Training is scheduled for Wednesday, October 3rd. Staff is hoping that by the 15th they will be ready to go with the new badges for the community.
- A new surround sound system, under $500 will be installed at the Community Center to replace old speakers that were not worth finding replacements.
- Joe Gallagher has treated West Emerald Lake, Pine Tree Lake and Deer Lake for excessive lily pads in September. A new safe chemical was used. It will take a year before the chemicals work. Gamble has taken pictures of the lily pads so that he can check next year to see that the treatment was effective. The membership was cautioned that some growth is necessary for a healthy lake. Joe Gallagher will be invited to an open board meeting in April or May to address the memberships concerns and answer questions.
- Leaf/branch drop suspension will be October 31st. Staff need to clean area and prepare for winter. Branches will not be accepted till spring, however leaves will be accepted till November 15th.
- The metal container at the compactor was switched out to Mascaro. There is no longer money to be made on recycling. The metal container fee is $325 to pull but the Association will get 50% of any profits. Gamble will watch costs closely. The Association cannot afford to maintain a loss. If there is a loss for the metal container a decision will have to be made to either eliminate the container or charge the individual for items thrown away. Gamble stated that if a member is instructed not to dump an item and he doesn’t take heed of the warning from staff, their information will be turned over to Pocono Regional Police and the Waste Authority for illegal dumping. A $500 fine will be issued to the offending party from Pocono Regional. The same fine may be issued by the Association.
- In October, one more dirt road will be paved at Glade and Seneca Court. The swalls have been cleaned and corrected. Rolled patch was used successfully throughout the community. Dirt road potholes were filled and re-stoned. a tar buggy will be utilized in Spring. Gamble will try to winter seal the visible cracks. New speed bumps are being considered.
- Bar and Grill hours are Friday and Saturday between 5:00 PM and midnight. They may open for specific Sunday games such as the Super bowl. Days and times may increase with the opening of the indoor pool. On long Monday holiday weekends they may open the bar and grill on the Sunday nights to see if there is traffic. Thursday wing night is also being considered. It was noted that if an event is successful and people are still at the bar and drinking the hours can be extended till 2:00 AM.
- A dues increase meeting will be planned for the near future. This board has gone to school on what the membership has voiced concerns on. All material will be preprinted for the special meeting. They want to be as efficient as possible by allowing 15 to 20 minutes for discussion. Voting should take place within 1/2 hour of the start of the meeting.
Save the Date Reminders:
- Cancer Bingo and Tricky Tray – October 13th. Doors will open at noon with bingo slated for 2:00 PM.
- Comedy Show – October 26th at 8:00 PM in the Community Center. Tickets are on sale now at the Community Center and the Administration Building.
- Trunk or Treat – October 31st at 6:00 PM in the Community Center parking Lot. A small party for children will be held in the Community Center afterwards.
Under New Business:
- Company that handled our website is defunct. Nicole Clemens can send out email blasts and do limited things. A new company will soon take over after certain bugs are worked out.
- A new part time staff member has been hired and will start on October 11th (Carissa). She is well versed in HOA operations and is familiar with programs that we currently use so training will be minimal.
Ange Noonan thanked everyone for her votes at the annual meeting.
Bill Baehr also thanked everyone for voting for him and stated he was honored and humbled that he was elected.
Dave Borsos is looking forward to another good year.
A motion for a RESOLUTION for opening an investing account with PNC bank was made by Bob Leon. Bill Baehr seconded it. It passed unanimously.
Earl Frank of Finance and Planning requested that the minutes from the committee meeting be sent out to all directors at the same time that they are distributed to the committee members. F&P is looking for a few more members. Frank stated that the some items on the balance sheets that are now being generated were combined so it is impossible to compare to last year’s numbers. He is requesting from our accounting firm a list of our fixed assets and deprecation. Frank stated that we are doing well with our total income but at the rate we are going at the bar and grill we are falling short and it could cost the Association $50K a year. Bar and Grill costs need to be controlled. Frank was told that the board met this morning and are working diligently on a plan to implement a system that deals with scheduling personnel, pricing of items served and appropriate staffing levels.
Ken Shuey of the Maintenance committee stated that they made Bill Henry Honorary Chairman for life at their meeting. Under old business they feel that the dams are being ignored. The Pine Tree valve is not functioning and Mountain Top Lake water levels are dropping due to a dam issue. The committee feels that spending money now may save us a bigger expense down the road. Shuey stated that speed bumps work and are important. He also stated that there are too many signs and some need to be repaired. They are recommending that we hire an agent to inspect our green areas to look out for the spotted lantern fly which could cause a problem for us. In addition they are recommending that we maintain or remove the old brown shed on Bus Road. Final recommendation is that we do not purchase a vehicle for the Code Enforcement Officer and add it to the items for maintenance.
Mary Kavanagh of the Real Estate committee stated that they have two new members that joined their committee. They are changing their agenda so that they can ask questions or have the General Manager present at the beginning of their meetings. Kavanagh stated that the landlords had questions on the new badging system for short term renters. They are concerned that rental properties are in compliance with our rules.
Mary Kavanagh stated that a small rental home in her area had 14 cars parked on the property. She reported it to Public Safety. She also suggested that coupons be given out at trunk or treat to get the kids into the Community Center.
Linda Shuey thanked the board for the recognition of her and her husband at the annual meeting as Volunteers of the Year. She stated that we should not be building a dog park/walking park. We should be taking care of the amenities that we already have instead of adding new ones.
Sixteen (16) new members were welcomed to the Community. This count is from July to present.
Steve Kavanagh made a motion to adjourn. It was seconded by Bob Leon. Meeting adjourned at 11:52 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.