Emerald Lakes Board of Directors Open Meeting, September 25, 2021
by Kathy Leslie-Whelan
The meeting was called to order at 9:41 AM. Six board members were present. Chris Claude was absent. General Manager Darryl Gamble and Assistant General Manager Nicole Clemens were also present. After the pledge of allegiance, Buz Whelan, President called for a motion to approve July 2021 minutes. A motion was made by Bob Leon and seconded by Steve Kavanagh. It passed unanimously.
Whelan turned the floor over to Ange Noonan to present a plaque to Kathy Whelan, who was honored with the volunteer of the year at the annual meeting in August.
Whelan started his president’s message by stating that the board has long and short term plans. As to the financial stability of the Association, he would like to move forward with a 10 year dues program. Our last two increases over the last two decades consisted of a $200 increase which was a financial burden on some of the membership. Our membership requested that smaller increments be implemented. The program consists of a $10 a quarter increase, every other year. This will allow for bite size increases instead of a larger dollar amount increase. The plan is to present it to the membership at the end of February, beginning of March. Some of the smaller short term projects are a dog park, completing the Community Center, a kayak rental program and a lake raft/slide for one of the beaches. The kayak rental program will include safety vests and paddles and should be financially self sustaining. Whelan said that the board is responsible for property values and the quality of life for the members.
Whelan also suggests that Rules and Regulation develop a policy for children up to age 14. They should be required to wear safety vests while in a water craft on the lake. Adults will be required to have vests with them in the water craft. Although the Association cannot enforce Pennsylvania or Game and Commissioner Regulations, we could enforce it if it were part of our Rules and Regulations.
Dave Borsos gave the Treasurer’s report. He stated that for the month of August the Association operated within budget. August income was at $318K. Year to date (YTD) income is $787K. These figures include income from dues, prior year’s dues, dues interest, dues late fees and collection fees. Income from public safety, bank interest, rental revenue and compactor cards is $77K for the month and $295K (YTD). CEO revenue, access cards, boat/fishing fees, resale fees, compactor card, newsletter ads and misc is $444K for the month and $1,228,249 YTD. The Association is $177K over budget for income. Under expenses which include payroll, taxes/benefits, outdoor pool heating, road repair, community center repairs and water testing is $216 YTD. Road repair was $340K, however, that figure will go up to $467,571. This includes in house road repair which consists of pot hole repair, roll patching and stone for dirt roads. $23K was spent on storm and drainage issues due to the torrential storms. $96K has been spent to date on the Community Center repairs for the month with $340K YTD. Water testing was $1.5K; cash assets $277.5K; reserve fund $244K; investments $129K. The board postponed the motion to accept the treasurer’s report to verify payroll figures and compactor card dollar figures.
Under Old Business:
- Update on Community Center – The Community Center is being worked on daily. New furniture is being put together. There is no concrete date for opening but the building will open before the bar and grill is operational. Our liquor license is in safe keeping and will be renewed when the bar is ready to open. It will take approximately 30 days for inspection before the license is reactivated. The building will first be opened for meetings, pool and game rooms. New smoke detectors and fire extinguishers are being installed. In addition, more cameras are being added to the facility. This project was a big undertaking. All work is being done properly to ensure longevity. It is anticipated that the building will be opened in time for Trunk or Treat which is scheduled for Friday, October 29th. The bar and grill should be opened before Christmas.
- The outdoor pool was closed for the season.
- Road Maintenance – for this fiscal year is $467,571 was spent. Speed tables (bumps) located at Main beach and the outdoor pool are working out well so more tables are planned throughout the Community for next year. Gamble wants to install 2 to 4 tables per year. The current cost is $3,800 per pair. Signage will be added since these bumps could destroy plows during the snow plowing season. That signage will also warn drivers when they are approaching a table. The temporary speed bumps that were purchased cracked due to traffic and damaged some of the roads so they will not be installed on the roads.
- Gamble made a comment on future project by stating that everyone has different opinions and things that they enjoy. He is requesting that the membership not to be too judgmental when a project is decided on.
- Basketball courts on Glade drive was decided to complete in house. Three contractors were no-shows for giving quotes on the needed repairs. Currently our staff is tied up with road and drainage repair due to the torrential rains.
Under New Business
- Rules and Regulations will have a policy where the manual will be updated two times per year. (End of January, beginning of February and the end of June beginning of July.) An item addressing signage will be added to the manual based on conversations with outside counsel. A sign is anything that conveys information. It doesn’t matter what material the sign is made up as (wood, cardboard, metal, cloth etc,). The only exception to the signage rule is National flags. They are considered symbols. Per our Covenants # 11, no sign shall be displayed without approval from the grantor. Approval can be obtained at the Administration building. In addition, a policy will be developed regarding political signs. There will be time limits as to when they can be displayed and no sign can attack the other opponent.
- Financial Stability –See above President’s message.
- Under discussion are two by-law changes that will be presented to the members at the next annual meeting. The first change is to add “on or about 30 minutes” for the polls to be opened for in person voting at the meeting. Currently the polls are opened for 30 minutes so the membership cannot move on with the meeting until that 30 minutes is expired. This past meeting showed that voting was completed within 10 minutes. The second change deals with the reducing the 2/3 votes required for a by-law change to a simple majority. It was stated that every yes vote only counts as a vote where the no votes can carry more weight. If 100 people vote yes and 51 people vote no, the motion fails. Every vote should carry the same weight.
- Personnel – An operations manager was just hired. He will report directly to Darryl Gamble and Nicole Clemens. He will be in charge of all projects and will be able to size up the job to determine what materials are needed. He will also pick up materials. He is proficient in carpentry, electrical and plumbing. Our Chief of Maintenance staff individual will report to this individual where the rest of the team will still report to the chief. The new individual will be training other staff and will be on call 24/7. He will deal with any emergency that arises. There should be a cost savings to the Association since we will not have to call in contractors for plumbing and electrical needs.
Rules and Regulations had nothing to report.
Appeals had nothing to report.
Buz Whelan stated that although he could not attend the last Real Estate meeting, the committee had concerns over lighting and signs. The signs are subject to vandalism and they want to try to get vandal proof signs or catch the individual(s) that are destroying the signage. The new chair for this committee is Mike Camino and the new secretary is Maria Cita Quinones. These individuals replace long time serving members Loretta Schneider and Cari Jacobs. Both Loretta and Cari will remain members of the committee.
The Finance and Planning committee made two recommendations. The first was to move the Association money into different accounts since only $250K is insured. This was a recommendation by the outside auditor. The second recommendation was that any time money is moved the board should give their consent in writing. They were told that at least one board member and the General Manager or two board members usually signs a check when money is moved from one area of the budget to another. Earl Frank, former chair, is working with the new committee to assist with reviews. The review of the latest financials (August 2021) which represents 4 months into our fiscal year are as follows for cash:
- Rental income is over budget by $50K and should beat annual projections.
- Compactor card has no budget since these fees were built into the rental tier program.
- Code Enforcement Officer (CEO) violations are $35K over budget which equates to 70% of budgeted amount of $100K. This is due to the CEO identifying rental properties that are not registered.
- Access card income is $48K where annual budget is $38K.
Expenses for 4 month are as follows:
- Under administration credit card fees are $11K while the annual budget is $15K
- Legal services are under budget. They are at $2K while $40K is budgeted
- Public safety is under budget by approximately 50% due to payroll. Currently we are understaffed,
- Compactor is over budget $78K for first 4 months. $200K is in budget. (Money from compactor cards will offset this figure.)
- Community Center and Recreation under budget by $68K since salaries are not needed while closed. Pool maintenance is over budget by $9K. Spent to date $24K while $15K in budget. Issue was the fitting blew on the pump system and spewed water all over. The item had to be repaired and the water cleaned up.
- Capital budget (Reserves) over budget by $335K (4 months). $185 left for remainder of fiscal year.
- Community Center expenditures are $184K
- Road paving at $340K.
- Equity is at $1.3M down from Audit report.
- Collections are at 64%. 80% of collections were made by Administration.
Bob Leon stated that $19,200 was collected by the Association in transfer fees. 22 homes are currently under contract so that be an addition $26,400 that can be collected in transfer fees. According to Zillow this morning 19 homes are currently for sale in ELA with a price range of $169K to $900K. 1 home has been on the market for more than 352 days, 6 have been on the market between 84 and 180 days and 12 are on the market under 45 days.
Borsos asked Leon if he could identify homes that are up for sheriff’s sale.
Whelan commented that money from fees, fines and transfer fees can be used for new capital projects such as a dog park or any new amenities. Any new amenity cannot come out of dues.
Ange Noonan stated that she would like to see meeting times regulated. There are times when discussions are off topic.
Bill Baehr agreed with Noonan that meeting times should be regulated.
Buz Whelan stated that the off Broadway troupe that was originally scheduled to perform at the Community Center will be moving from November 20th of this year to January 15, 2022. The bar and grill should be functioning by then.
Sixteen (16) new members were welcomed to the Community.
Bill Baehr made the motion to adjourn. It was seconded by Steve Kavanagh. Meeting adjourned at 12:01 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.