Monthly Archives: January 2021

Emerald Lakes Board of Directors Open Meeting, January 23, 2021

by Kathy Leslie-Whelan

          The meeting was called to order at 9:35  AM.  All board members were present.  General Manager Darryl Gamble and Assistant General Manager Nicole Clemens were also present. Following the pledge of allegiance, Dave Borsos, President wished everyone a happy New Year.  Borsos stated that there is a lot going on between Covid, the economy and the political turmoil.  He encouraged everyone to go out and get a vaccine for Covid.  He has had his first shot and is scheduled for his second shot in two weeks.  He is hoping that things will soon get back to normal.  Borsos stated that he wanted to respond to a question on the unofficial facebook page on “where is all the money going?”  He invited the membership to go to the Administration office to review the current budget.  He stated that there were fixed expenses as well as snow plowing overnight.  He mentioned the insurance, electric and cable bills all need to be paid.  He stated May 1st was the beginning of our fiscal year and that the budget is currently being put together.  Borsos also stated that the board is encouraging members to join committees.  He stated that the committees serve at the pleasure of the board and members are needed on the Maintenance, Finance and Planning, Rules and Regulations, Real Estate, and Communications Committees. Finally, Borsos encouraged all to be informed and that the board tries to be transparent through email blasts, newsletter, and video streaming of monthly open board meetings.  He also tries to respond on the unofficial facebook page.

          Buz Whelan made a motion to accept the December’s 2020 minutes.  It was seconded by Bob Leon and passed unanimously.

          Bill Baehr gave the Treasurer’s report.  He stated that for the month of December the Association operated within budget.  Operating costs were $154K and are within budget.  Receipt deposits were $102K.  Code Enforcement Officer (CEO) collections were $74K year to date and are on track to exceed the budgeted amount. Public Safety citations were $1.2K.  Compactor card revenues were $4.6K.  Rental income was $21K.  Reserve income was $218K and $419K year to date.  Current cash assets are $657K.  Dues collections are currently at 69.08%.  Dues collected for December were $38K.  Income of dues to date are $1.3M which includes dues income, prior year’s dues, dues interest, dues late fees, payment plan income and collection fees.  Delinquency collections year to date are $3.4 K under special plan collections, $46.5K under in house collections, $1.2 K under Sunrise Collections and $1K under attorney collections.

          Bob Leon made a motion to accept the Treasurer’s report.  It was seconded by Chris Claude and passed unanimously.

          Buz Whelan asked to be recognized on the Treasurer’s report and to add to the comments on the President’s message concerning the comment on the unofficial face book page regarding saving money on the Community Center since it is closed.  He stated that Lola Lauri gave a beautiful response on the thread.  He also said that the Community Center still needs to be maintained.  The building and pool still needs to be heated and the dehumidification system needs to be running.  We are only saving a small amount of money on personnel salaries. Whelan stated that all the members are stakeholders in the Association and the board is charged with protecting their interests, and among these is the Community Center and pool.  Baehr added that the average monthly salary at the Community is $2,000.

          The floor was turned over to Michael Peters.  Mr. Peters retired in January of last year. He was an SPCA police officer and currently lives with his wife on the lake in Lake Naomi.  He wants to bring his family up to join them so started researching different developments.  He found Emerald Lakes to be vibrant and amenity-filled.  He currently owns 4 lots in Emerald Lakes. Homes will be built for his daughter, a caretaker’s home, a guest house and for one lot for which there are no current plans, but he did state that he is not a fan of rentals. Mr. Peters has also purchased 135 acres of property adjacent to Emerald Lakes. It is located between the Birches and Emerald Lakes Estates.   He wanted to be a good neighbor and let the Association know what his plans are for this acreage.  Since it falls under Act 319 it will be maintained as a nature preserve.  His is building a home and a barn to be used as an animal sanctuary and rescue for small animals. (cats and dogs) His intent is to build alliances with other rescue agencies.  He anticipated that the animals he takes in could be from overflow situations at other rescue facilities.  No hunting will be allowed on this property so that animals will not be disturbed.  There will be no trespassing.  Deer stands are being dismantled.  No gas or diesel vehicles will be allowed, only electric.  Nature trails developed will be only accessed by appointment. All access will be through Hunter Lane in our development.  Mr. Peter’s anticipated timeline is to be up and running by the end of summer or early fall. Two questions came in from the membership from the live feed broadcast.  Will this be a business?  No it won’t.  How will you dispose of dog waste?  It will be composted.

A break was taken and the meeting resumes at 11:18 AM.

Under New Business

  • Buz Whelan made a motion to remove the Property Sale Proposal from the agenda and table for future consideration.  It was seconded by Steve Kavanagh.  Passed unanimously. 
  • Budget Construction for 2021-2022.  The process has been started.  A prioritized project list is being developed.  Covid cleaning supplies have been over budget in the current budget.  More money will be added to the draft budget since it is anticipated that covid cleaning will continue in the new fiscal year.  Items for the budget include the Clover Rd bridge, dams, more dirt road paving, parking lot paving and crossing areas road work. 

Under Old Business:

  • Gamble stated that he will be working through the Community Center room by room.  The ceiling work in the dining room and bar as well as the hallways will be contracted out.  The Community Center will probably open up without the bar and grill being completed.  The Community Center will also be an Administration hub where staff will work to assist with trash and amenity passes. The insurance claim offer should come in early next week.
  • Snow removal is going well.  All vehicles are back up and running.  There are plenty of supplies such as salt and sand in house.
  •  Gamble will be looking into a new insurance policy for next year.
  • Issuance of new ID cards will continue on Sundays.  Friday evenings are being eliminated since no one was taking advantage of that time slot.
  • There will be new signage at the mail boxes with announcements of activities in the community.  The two bath houses at the beaches will also have signage.  Repairs to these structures will commence in the spring.
  • The trash cans at the mail boxes are for mail paper trash only. The individuals dumping trash are parking out of camera range and covering their faces so it difficult to identify them.  New cameras with better resolution are being researched. A number of black garbage bags were dumped in our woods recently.  Our maintenance staff went through these bags and identified an individual from Stillwater Lakes.  The Waste Authority fined this individual $5,000.  Buz Whelan requested that sign be installed at the mailboxes warning the people of a fine for dumping trash.  He recommended a $300 fine and that, if a dumper is reported by a member, that member get $100 of the fine. A member may be able to get a picture of the offender or of their car.
  • All committee members must sign a Confidentially Agreement and a Code of Conduct form to participate in a committee.  These forms are for the protection of the volunteer as well as encouraging opening discussions.  The board liaisons shall address these documents with their committee members.      

Director’s Comments

                   Bob Leon stated according to Zillow this morning 13 homes are available for sale. 4 homes have been on the market for more than 90 days and 1 for more than 120 days.

                   Chris Claude asked about the new basketball hoops and the speed bumps.  He was told that the hoops and the speed bumps are in storage.  The new hoops and speed bumps will be installed in Spring.  Claude also recommended that when the next email blast goes out for the open board meeting, it gives the membership a way to submit question for the board in advance.  Nicole Clemens stated that she will add a sentence to the email blast and members will be able to submit their questions by responding to the email.

Public Comments

          Kathy Leslie Whelan complimented the actions of one of our Public Safety officers, Daryn Christopher.  He responded to a post on the unofficially facebook page about suspicious activity on Cedar.  Not only did he relay the correct telephone number to call for Public Safety off hours but he identified the location and drove around to investigate the incident.  Pocono Mountain Regional Police was also there patrolling.  In addition, he relayed all the information to the concerned homeowner and reassured her that if any additional activity happened that night to call the dispatch office and he will respond immediately.  Kudos to our staff.

          Seventeen (17) new members were welcomed to the Community.

          Bob Leon made the motion to adjourn.  It was seconded by Steve Kavanagh.  Meeting adjourned at 12:31  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.

In Memoriam Eileen Avrich


Eileen Avrich exercises her democracy, at an ELA annual meeting

by Buz Whelan

     On Tuesday, December 23, 2020 the Emerald Lakes community lost one of its most beloved members. After a long and valiant fight, Eileen Avrich left us, taking with her a piece of many of our hearts.
     I feel a personal loss as Kathy and I have long considered Eileen and John good friends. We partied together, we dined together, we even went to concerts together. They were wonderful companions, whatever we might be doing. The conversation was always lively and filled with laughter.
     Eileen was born in Brooklyn and raised mainly by her father, her mother having passed away when she was just five years old. She went to a Catholic boarding school until high school and then switched to public school. She had several jobs when her children were young that allowed her to spend time with them. She was a mini bus driver, she taught arts and crafts at a day camp and worked as a pharmaceutical tech at a local pharmacy in Centerport. She followed that up by working at a Target pharmacy in Stroudsburg before retiring in 2010.

Eileen Avrich, center

     Eileen met her future husband John while both were working at Singer Sewing. They married on Earth Day, April 22, 1972. The young couple honeymooned at the Summit, back when the Poconos were the honeymoon capitol.  According to Eileen’s daughter Denise, the honeymooning couple had a rifle shooting contest which Eileen won in spite of the fact that John was a military veteran.
     Denise provided more details. Eileen was always crafty and enjoyed cooking and baking as well. One friend nicknamed her Martha because of her expertise. She loved clearance sales and would come home with unneeded items like holiday plates and napkins, cleaners, beauty items, knives, home decor and even a karaoke player. They seemed like a waste, until one day when they were needed.
     Prior to moving to Emerald Lakes, the family lived on Long Island and were active in a bowling organization that ran tournaments and such events. Denise said she was almost raised in a bowling alley.  The family also went to the Finger Lakes where there was a big wine party for relatives, a party that grew from year to year with the expanding extended family.
      Eileen was a volunteer. Anything she could contribute to, there she was. If you needed help planning or running an event, you could always count on Eileen. She was active with the Women’s Club, the 50+ Club and served on multiple committees after moving to Emerald Lakes in 1998. Right up until the time she became too ill, she served as the chairperson of the Appeals Committee. She wasn’t reluctant to volunteer her family as well, getting her husband to play Santa and her daughter to play the Easter Bunny. BTW, outside the community she was active with the Monroe County League of Women Voters.
     Eileen was a proper lady…almost all the time. I remember one night at a party at my house, we were playing a risque adult game supplied by Lola Lauri, Cards Against Humanity. Eileen drew a card and blurted out a term so naughty I can’t write it here. It was so out of character that the room erupted in gales of laughter. Eileen just sat there with a ‘What?’ look on her face.
     Denise tells me that Eileen was as selfless at home as she was with friends and colleagues. What you saw was who she was. She loved anything Irish, including Irish music, especially if bagpipes were involved. And while she wasn’t a huge drinker, she did enjoy a good hard cider and Lambic’s Framboise.
     There was only one Eileen Avrich (nee Hurley), and I doubt I’ll meet her likes ever again. She will be sorely missed.
     (Note: A huge thank you to Eileen’s daughter Denise Avrich Stowers who provided much of the personal background material for this article.)

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