Emerald Lakes Board of Directors Annual Meeting, August 21, 2021
by Kathy Leslie-Whelan
The meeting was called to order at 11:00 AM. All board members were present as confirmed by the roll call of the board conducted by Dave Borsos, President. Borsos also introduced General Manager Darryl Gamble, Association attorney, Nick Harros and association auditor, Bill Owens. Borsos also announced that we had reached quorum after confirmation from the outside accountant, Bill Owens. There were 67 confirmed proxy votes and 26 in person voting. Borsos stated that the meeting is to be held in accordance with Robert Rules of Order, except where our by-laws govern. Ange Noonan, Judge of Elections called for anyone that was running from the floor to come forward. No one came forward. Noonan also announced that there were two counters and two witnesses who volunteered and thanked those members (Beverly Fitzgerald, Stefania Johnson, Maria Cita Quinones and Dennis Green). Borsos started his President’s message by stating that it has been a crazy year. He stated that all accomplishments of the board are addressed in the newsletter that was available but he highlighted a few of the accomplishments. He said that the two pools were up and running and some roads have been paved. Bowstring, the last through road, was paved. The parking lot at the outdoor pool was paved, and permanent speed bumps were installed at Main Beach and the outdoor pool. The fishing rodeo was a success this year. Fireworks were at a minimum.
The floor was turned over to Ange Noonan to acknowledge the volunteer of the year. It was given to Kathy Whelan who, Ange said, is always there to help. She helped at the fishing rodeo, always at events, and helps the office staff by helping stuff envelopes or running to the printers. When the greeter program was implemented, Ms Whelan was the first member to join. Ms Whelan has a skill set that has assisted the General Manager with contract reviews. She has also been good to the staff in that when they are out plowing or working hard they come back to the office and find pizza or soda or some food that was sent over. Ms. Whelan has also been on the Finance and Planning Committee. In addition, she has also helped with the feral cats in the community. She has trapped, neutered and released or rehomed at least 12 cats on her own. Ms. Whelan also documents the board meetings and posts them on the unofficial Facebook page for the membership that doesn’t have time to attend or listen to the meetings.
Nick Harros stated that it has been an honor and a pleasure to serve our community. He stated that things were quiet this year with the Association. There was one personal lawsuit case when the wind blew the compactor door onto a member. Due to our General Manager’s negotiations with the trash hauler by including an indemnification clause to the contract, that company handled that law suit. The issue was resolved and is no longer on the books.
Bill Owens of William Owens and Company stated that in his financial opinion our audit report is true and correct. Our operating cash is $1,015,428; prepaid membership dues is $566K: $410K still in bank for the operating funds; restricted capital cash is $602K which is an increase over last year by $273K; revenue expenses in the operating fund was @2.1M which included $1.5M from dues and late fees and $258K for rental fees: expenses in the operating fund were $1.8M: Depreciation of net surplus was $235K while $82K was transferred to reserves: it was noted that $158K was paid back to reserves; $183K were transfer fees which are obtained when homes are sold in the community: $590K were in reserves: $262K were spent on roads: $155K was spent on the Community Center: $14.5K are in reserve surplus. A question came in as to what is percentage rate of collected dues. He was told we are at 70.8%. As to delinquent dues there are aggressive collections in progress. One individual has a judgment against him for $40K. He declared bankruptcy but we are collecting through that plan. We can go after them up to 20 years back. The gentleman that asked this question requested that more money be put into the roads. Stephania Johnson asked how much money we should have in reserves. She was told that we should have $5.6M in the reserves. $11M in assets need to be maintained.
The treasurer’s report from Bill Baehr consisted of an annual summary. Under income, dues are $1.6M; delinquency is $403K; citations and violations are $131K; rental revenue is $292K; compactor card are $66K; permit and access fees are $71K. Under expenses personnel costs are $827K; operating costs are $966K; Project costs are $592K. These numbers are not related to our audit, which is conducted according to accrual accounting procedures. These numbers were given so that the members could get a picture of our cash flow and identify where the money comes from and how it is dispersed.
Buz Whelan stated that three years ago when he ran with the other candidates currently running ran for the board, three promises were made and kept by the candidates. The first was transparency. All meetings and workshops are streamed and archived. The second was to bring back quarterly payments. A by-law change happened so that no future board can take it away. The third promise was proxy voting which was another by-law change. Now all members in good standing can vote by mail if they choose to do so. Whelan said looking towards the future, we are a growing community and we have to keep moving forward. Like a shark, you have to keep moving or you will drown. He is looking to better the community, maintain property values and improve the quality of life. He wants to add a dog park so that dogs have an area to run. He looked into adding a raft on the lakes that includes a slide. Whelan stated that in the last three years over $1M was spent on the roads.
Steve Kavanagh stated that he has been living here for 20 years and has been involved in all aspects of the community. He stated that the board has been transparent and there is better communication. Board members do comment on the unofficial Facebook page. Road work is being completed and the last through street has been paved. Kavanagh said that he has seen the community center and it is looking good and it will soon open again. We can go back to activities and events again.
Chris Claude stated that he has lived here since 2017. He has been a marine for 9 years and has 10 years of experience in construction management. He wants to see increased infrastructure. He has a school age child and wants to see more activities for children making this place a true community. Some suggestions are pool table and dart tournaments, swimming classes, soccer field, and family movie night.
After ballots were cast the floor was opened up for questions and comments.
Cliff from Beaver Dam Rd
What can be done about the non-residents speeding cars? Someone hit a baby deer in front of his house by speeding. The deer had to be put down.
Response: The speed limit is 25 miles per hour but you will always have people that don’t follow the rules. Not everyone that speeds is a visitor. Some members of the community also speed. Permanent speed bumps were placed at Main Beach and the outdoor pool. If they work out, more will be installed.
Nick from Lower Deer Lake
He has been here for 2 years and he can attest that speeding is not from the short term rentals. He also stated that better signage is needed at each entrance with the speed limit posted and the fine for fireworks.
Response: We have 13 entrances for community when you look at the whole community. The community consists of the Birches, Jack Frost, the Estates, Blueberry Estates, Cricket Lane as well as the main section.
Darren Johnson from Clover Rd
He has been here for 14 years and this is the lowest attended annual meeting that he has attended. He gave Kudos to the board that gets lots of complaints. He feels there should be more aggressive ticketing for speeders.
Connie Simpson from Gap View
Scanners are needed at main beach. There are times when she cannot get onto the beach because it is too crowded. There were 20 people on the beach that once rented in the community but come back to the beaches because nobody checks. She has only witnessed security checking badges once. In addition she stated that boats are not being sprayed before they are put into the lake.
Response: An additional 5 scanners and computer were ordered so that scans can be done by the attendants and Public Safety.
Monica from Lower Deer Lake
She has witnessed multiple campers pulling in off Long Pond Rd. between East and West Emerald Lakes and fish.
Response: – We are aware of the situation and hopefully with the additional scanners and computers being purchased, it will curb this issue.
Clara from Granite
Trees need to be trimmed for safety reasons. The pool attendants should be split up. We do not need more than one at any location. In addition we need structured programs for the kids. We need outside cafes, outside games and boat/bike rentals.
Response: Cutting back trees, especially around stop signs will be done in the Fall. If maintenance can’t keep up with it an outside contractor will be bought in to assist.
Phyllis Shedlock from Mountain Top Rd.
Every night she looks forward to the fireworks show. She hopes that numerous fines were issued.
Response: It has been quieter this year with the fireworks. The membership should reach out to local officials to stop selling fireworks in the Poconos.
Joe Shedlock from Mountain Top Rd.
90% of people don’t stop at stop signs. In 1995 we had 8 or 10 people at Main Beach. Now we have 100.
Darren Johnson from Clover Rd
We should consider doing a survey of the community to determine what everyone’s interests are.
Response: We are not there yet. We have a lot to do with fixing our current infrastructure.
Index Card questions:
When will Tumbleweed be paved?
Response: Maintenance will go down and check out that road and patch pot holes.
What are our plans for back-up snow removal?
Response: When we had the 31 inches last season we used Locust Ridge to help us clear the roads. We also used local ELA plow drivers to help with the push back and clean up.
Results from Candidate voting:
Chris Claude – 87 votes (63 proxy votes and 24 in person votes)
Buz Whelan – 84 votes (62 proxy votes and 22 in person votes)
Steve Kavanagh – 82 votes (61 proxy votes and 21 in person votes)
Financial Resolution # 1 (Passed)
Distribution of Surplus Operating Funds
Approvals make clear to IRS that the members of the Association authorize the Board to decide how to apportion any surplus.
Financial Resolution # 2 (Passed)
Apportionment of Annual Assessment
Approvals make clear to IRS that the members of the Association authorize the Board to decide how to split the assessment between the operating and capital budgets.
Buz Whelan made a motion to adjourn. It was seconded by Bob Leon.
Meeting Adjourned at 12:42 PM.
New officers are as follows:
Buz Whelan – President
Chris Claude – Vice President
Dave Borsos – Treasurer
Steve Kavanagh – Secretary
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.