Emerald Lakes Board of Directors Open Meeting, August 1, 2020
by Kathy Leslie-Whelan
The meeting was called to order at 9:34 AM. All board members were present. General Manager Darryl Gamble was also present. Whelan accepted a motion from Bob Leon to accept the minutes from June. It was seconded by Dave Borsos and passed unanimously.
Buz Whelan started his President’s message by welcoming Ange Noonan back from her staycation. He announced that this was the last meeting of the year before the annual meeting. The board was a little hampered by Covid 19 but has accomplished many things during the last few years. Two by-law changes were approved by the membership. One that allows proxy voting and one that makes quarterly payments of membership dues permanent so no future board or management company can take it away. The outdoor and indoor pools were updated and improved with a new dehumidification system being installed at the indoor pool. The new system should last indefinitely if it is maintained. Landscaping was done at the outdoor pool, new furniture and painting was completed at the indoor pool. Whelan stated that the lion’s share of the credit goes to the General Manager, Darryl Gamble. The current board also made the wise decision to make Gamble a permanent position rather than an acting one at their first meeting in September of 2018. Stone work and drainage was done at Pine Tree Beach. The outside of the mail boxes was upgraded at Emerald Blvd. There is total transparency in the board’s actions. All meetings have been live streamed and archived. Whelan stated that the current board has good synergy and works well together and he endorses the two board members that are running to maintain their seats on the board. The board works well as a group and has the same motivation by putting the Association first. The board also has a great working relationship with the General Manager, Darryl Gamble and Assistant General Manager, Nicole Clemens. Going forward he is requesting that the members take care of the lawn at the end of their properties. Most landscapers already do take care of this small strip of land. He would appreciate it if members who mow their own lawn either start or continue to maintain this area. He means to encourage members, and for those who don’t there is no punishment threatened. Whelan further stated that there will be more renovation going on but will leave that topic for Gamble to address. Whelan also said that houses are selling fast and for more money than they have in the past. He concluded his message stating that the board will continue to be transparent and will continue to work for the betterment of the community to attain a premier status.
Bill Baehr, Treasurer, stated that for the month of June the Association operated within budget. Operating costs were at $155K and are within budget. Deposits are at $226K. Code Enforcement Officer (CEO) collections are at $21K year to date and are on track to exceed the budgeted amount. Rental income is at $23K. Dues collections are currently at 59.64%. Income of dues to date are $604,496 which includes delinquency collections. In house collections are at $127K, special payment plan are at $6,826, attorney collections are at $2,250 and collections from Sunrise are at $904. Cash on hand is $547K.
Bob Leon made a motion to accept the Treasurer’s report. It was seconded by Chris Claude and passed unanimously.
Under Old Business:
- Gamble stated that road repair from the outside contractor is underway and has started on Clearview. Our maintenance staff is currently working on Minsi Trail and will move to the Birches next. A lot at Main Beach was paved with a system that is a step up from tar and chip and will be evaluated for wear and tear, water runoff and how well it holds up over the winter. If this is successful all the lots in the community will be paved with this system. In addition, $115K extra was moved to the road budget.
- Renovations at the bar and grill consist of extending the bar, creating a pass through where a grill menu will be displayed poolside. All plumbing and electrical behind the bar will be upgraded. Drinkware will be lucite and be used at the bar and at the pool. Hopefully this will make the experience at the pool more fun and generate more income. If successful, the hours will be extended for this facility. If possible the liquor closet will be opened up via way of an archway. Two sections of the ceiling will be replaced. All lighting will be dimmable. Pricing is coming in on this project.
- Community Center pricing for the drop ceiling will be handled separately from the renovations at the bar. Landscaping was done in the front but more will be completed at the newly installed fencing around the dehumidification system. An opening from the bar to the pool and reconfiguring of the bar will soon commence.
- Annual meeting preparations are underway. It will be held at the Community Center on Saturday, August 15th since the high school is not available due to Covid 19. A rain date is set for Sunday. Any member wishing to attend must wear a mask. A 40 by 20 foot tent has been rented along with 70 chairs to augment the folding chairs the Association owns. The sound system is being upgraded. The audit report will be available for the annual meeting.
- Chris Claude was named Judge of Elections since our secretary, Dave Borsos will be running to retain his seat.
No New Business.
Discussion ensued regarding short term rentals since the membership has concerns. Short term rentals are more popular now on the mountain. Short term rentals are not illegal but must follow the rules and guidelines from ELA and the townships. Currently, Tunkhannock Township requires all landlord to register for a permit which costs $500 annually. Tobyhanna Township currently has a resolution in draft for landlord which would require them to also obtain a permit annually. If Gamble sees an issue such as a leaking septic system or advertizing of excessive number of people for occupancy at a rental, he reports it to the township for handling. Gamble is working on a listing of all rental properties where the landlord listed must give him a workable telephone number with a contact person that is available 24/7. If there is an issue with a rental a warning is first given. If the infraction persists, a citation is issued to the homeowner. First offense fines range from $200 for noise violations to $500 for fireworks.
Dave Borsos, liaison for the Real Estate Committee stated that the committee met and had a list of questions and comments for the General Manager. Gamble responded to them. The next meet is scheduled for September.
The Maintenance committee met and submitted its minutes to the board.
Ange Noonan stated that the bridge at Pine Tree beach is nice. She also questioned why the beach there is always closed. A discussion on the geese and possible solutions was discussed. Some items were an aeration system, introduction of swans and more addling of the eggs during the spring.
Bob Leon stated according to Zillow this morning 14 homes are available for sale, 10 properties are available for sale and there are 21 foreclosures in ELA. 11 properties have sold. Leon questioned if a rules should be added for people with in ground pools requiring them to have water bought in to fill their pools instead of using water from our aquifer.
Dave Borsos thanked the folks on staff for the work they did for Meet the Candidates and the Annual Meeting.
Bill Baehr stated that he officially retires from his full-time job tomorrow.
Buz Whelan stated that he is preparing a special newsletter for the Annual Meeting. It will include messages from the manager, president and a treasurer’s report. The bios of the candidates will also be in this edition. Statistics of violations/tickets issued will also be included. Whelan also invited all the board members to submit personal articles to the membership. All items for the newsletter are due a week from Tuesday (August 11th) so that Whelan and Clemens have time to put the paper together. Newsletter will be printed in house.
Ten (10) new members were welcomed to the Community.
Dave Borsos made the motion to adjourn. It was seconded by Bob Leon. Meeting adjourned at 11:36 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.