Emerald Lakes Board of Directors Open Meeting, February 22, 2020
by Kathy Leslie-Whelan
The meeting was called to order at 9:35 AM. Five board members were present. Ange Noonan and Chris Claude were absent for personal reasons. Following the pledge of allegiance, Buz Whelan started his President’s message saying that the meeting was being held in accordance with Robert’s Rules of Order except where local custom dictates otherwise and that the meeting was being recorded, archived and live streamed. According to Robert Rules of Order no member can accuse another member of lying or ascribe another member’s motive. An example given was that if the discussion is about a dog park, you cannot accuse a member who supports the effort of doing so simply because they have a dog, and the reverse is true as well. It is the issue that is at hand, not the motives of discussion contributors.
Whelan further spoke of a meeting held the past Tuesday where 5 board members and management attended. The main discussion was on the bar and grill and where improvements can be made with cost and effectiveness. A major item discussed was moving forward with opening up the pass through from the bar to the indoor pool and reconfiguring the bar. Coupled with that and a new and attractive menu, the hope is to attract more foot traffic and sales. The work will necessitate closing of the Bar and Grill for two to three weeks. Once the work is completed the bar and grill may be available on Sundays. Currently a public safety individual will be stationed at the Community Center on Friday and Saturday nights. This individual will respond to issues but report back to the Community Center after he responds to the incident. If the traffic flow increases, ELA may look into operating our own vending machines since our current contractor is slow to respond to our request to refill the snacks/drinks. Chris Claude has recommended that more events be held at the Community Center to attract more of the membership. Another recommendation is to add music to the center such as Sirius radio. In the future any rule change or issue addressed by the board will be published in the Emerald News as well as emailed to the membership. The membership was encouraged to sign up for the email blasts. As of March 15th, older ID’s will no longer be valid at our facilities.
Bill Baehr, Treasurer, started and his report stated that for the month of January the Association operated within budget. The Bar and Grill income was $3,606. Supplies were $3,423. Payroll/taxes were $3,785. The cost of operation was $3,602.
Code Enforcement Officer (CEO) collections YTD are $79K while only $60K is in the budget.
Public Safety was under budget due to an open position. Maintenance was slightly over budget by $7K due to snow removal. Trash costs continue to go down. Administration was over budget YTD at $20K due to buying out a former’s employee’s time and a part timer going to full time. Recreation and Amenities operated within budget for January. Utilities went over for propane by $3.5K due the indoor pool. Total cash receipts are $204K while total disbursements were $195K which included $5.1 K for beaver control and $2.5K for lake restocking. Capital expense for January was $48K. Expense of $28K for roof on the Community Center as a down payment. Work on roof will commence when weather allows. Miscellaneous repair was $12K. $5,400 for the new vehicle purchase was for paying off the back hoe. $500K was spent on the club house up to this point in time. In January 8 homes sold resulting in $8k worth of transfer fees going into Capital Reserves. Various rental income is $55K over budget. Dues collections were at 70% but at time of report they are close to 75%. In house collections of dues is $782,307 YTD. For January $105K was collected in house.
Delinquency collections are as follows for the month of December:
- Association Collections $954
- Sunrise collections $ 3,057
- In house collections $42,056
- Special Payment Plan $4,536
- Attorney collections $ 1,420
TOTAL – $52,024
Delinquency collections are as follows YTD:
- Special Payment Plan $66,211
- In-house collections for prior years $265K
- Attorney collections $ 88,275
- Sunrise collections $ 73,125
Bob Leon made a motion to accept the Treasurer’s report. It was seconded by Steve Kavanagh and passed unanimously.
At this point in time, Whelan asked Earl Frank, Chairperson of Finance and Planning to give his committee report. Frank stated that 83% of collections are made by our office. For January equity is $150K down. Total capital available is $162K. Collections are close to 75%. Rental income is $55K and CEO violation collections are $35K. Frank is meeting with Darryl Gamble this week to go over the preliminary budget for the next fiscal year. In addition he has received from our outside auditor a list of Emerald Lakes fixed assets.
Whelan accepted a motion from Bob Leon to accept the minutes from January. It was seconded by Bill Baehr and Dave Borsos and passed unanimously.
Under New Business:
- The special meeting that is scheduled for March 7th at Pocono Mountain West High School (PMWHS) on Route 940 can be bumped if a PMWHS function on February 29th gets snowed out. In that case the meeting will be held at the Community Center. Notification of the meeting being moved will be done by website, official and unofficial face book pages, email blast or for those that do not have access to these mediums, they can call the administrative office during normal business hours. A number of direct proxy votes have already been received by our third party designee. Five sign up stations will be available. The meeting will be brief with introductions, short opening statement and an explanation of the ballots by the Judge of Elections, Dave Borsos. Call to order will be approximately at 11:10 AM and the ballot box will be open around 11:25 AM. Public comments will commence during counting of the ballots and for anyone not planning on staying, results will be on the website. If dues increase passes it will be used to hire one or two maintenance staff and additional staff for public safety. Pot holes are fixed with in house maintenance staff. Since many of the board members took over 19 months ago, many of the amenities have been bought up to speed. The board plans on focusing on road repair and Public Safety.
- Community Center Greeters program has been a success. The greeters have identified areas that need attention as well as disbursed information to the membership that enters the Community Center. Some potential buyer of homes in the association are awed by the indoor pool and learn about the other amenities that would be afforded them. In addition, the greeters advise the membership of policies and events that are occurring at the center. Julian, a greeter, also recommended that we do more events to bring in more foot traffic such as a monthly birthday bash to celebrate those that had birthdays that month, pool league, DJing etc.
- The membership was encouraged to sign up for email blasts. There was a glitch in the system where preset emails were not going out. Nicole Clemens is working with the software provider to fix this issue.
Save the Date Reminders:
- Special Meeting March 7th at Pocono Mountain West High School. Registration begins at 9:30 AM.
- Karaoke Night – March 14th at 8:00 PM in the Community Center.
- Trivia Night – March 20th at 8:00 PM in the Community Center.
Bill Baehr stated that he hopes we get a good count on the people using the amenities with the new badging system. He also stated that we should consider opening up the bar and grill on Sundays if the foot traffic is there. Baehr also stated that we have not had a dues increase since 2011 and the cost of road maintenance has increased tremendously. If the Association followed the Consumer Price Index (CPI) since 2011 our dues would be at $2,100. A $200 increase is sorely needed.
Bob Leon stated according to Zillow this morning 47 homes are available for sale in ELA with a price range of $72k to $430K. 135 members watched the January streamed meeting. He also recommended that the Rules and Regulations resume meetings.
Dave Borsos acknowledged the work of Whelan, Clemens and Gamble with getting the Call to Meeting out on time. He further stated that he has a pet peeve with using initials for things since not everyone is savvy as to their meaning i.e. Code Enforcement Officer (CEO). Borsos also inquired as to where all the paperwork is kept with the work in progress and contracts that were put in place. He was told that current project paperwork is kept with Gamble and Clemens. Last year’s is in file room and all other years are organized in the attic at the Administration building.
Linda Shuey for the Maintenance committee was present. She encouraged the board to read their minutes but did not want to talk about the meeting until all committee members approved the minutes.
No other committee present to report.
Linda Shuey likes the larger print in the Emerald News. She asked if we were notified of foreclosures and was told that we usually hear after that home changes hand. Shuey also inquired about the cost for the pass through between the bar and the indoor pool. She was told the estimate is between $30K and $35K but all work that can be done in house will be done by our maintenance staff (demolition, etc.)
Julian who is a volunteer greeter asked about the trash that was dumped at the mailboxes on the holiday. He asked if fines were given and how we combat it. He was told that if the individual is identified, they are given a $500 fine and are reported to the Waste Authority where additional fines are issued. Our staff members physically go through trash and individuals are sometime caught on our security cameras. Whelan stated that if you see something, say something. Not to the offending party, but report any car make, model, color, license plate number, description of offender to the Administration office. Julian also inquired about fireworks that are being set off at all hours of the day and that he feels that when he calls to complain that he should not have to give his name. Gamble stated that he likes to let the member know what actions were taken and if necessary follow up. He understands the membership’s concerns and will instruct Vector, who handles these calls, that the caller does not need to leave their name.
Cathy Borsos recommended progressive fines for members committing the same infractions.
Louise Leon thanked the board for the pool and water aerobics. She inquired about a fundraiser to purchase equipment for the pool tournaments.
One (1) new member was welcomed to the Community.
Steve Kavanagh made the motion to adjourn. It was seconded by Dave Borsos. Meeting adjourned at 12:05 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.