Emerald Lakes Board of Directors Open Meeting, February 26, 2022
By Kathy Leslie-Whelan
The meeting was called to order at 9:34 AM. All board members were present. Bill Baehr joined in via Zoom. General Manager Darryl Gamble and Assistant General Manager Nicole Clemens were also present. After the pledge of allegiance, Buz Whelan, President started his message calling for a motion to approve January’s open board meeting minutes. The motion was made by Bob Leon and seconded by Dave Borsos. It passed unanimously. Whelan opened his President’s message by stating that enforcement of rules and regulations will be stricter. Scanning of badges at the amenities will be enforced. He also stated that the General Manager with working up a budget on projects so that the board can make a decision on which project or projects will be completed this year. Some of the projects mentioned were a dog park, kayak rental program, beach and pool facilities, expanding Pine Tree Beach. Whelan said that these projects will improve the quality of life as well as upgrade the value of homes.
Dave Borsos gave the Treasurer’s report. He stated that for the month of January dues income, prior year’s dues, dues interest, dues late fees and collection fees is $1,235,678 Year to Date (YTD) and is $90K under the budgeted amount. Other income is at $444K YTD which includes Public Safety citations, bank revenue, and rental revenue. (Rental Income was $435K). Code Enforcement Officer (CEO) revenue, access card, boat and fishing fees, resale fees, compactor cards, snack shack and misc totals are $23K bringing the income totals to $1,907,029 YTD. Expenses for different cost centers YTD are as follows: Administration $413K; Public Safety $82K; Maintenance $730K; Community Center/Recreation $136K; General/Professional $26K; Utilities $75K; Insurances $92K. The total YTD expenses are $1,555,410. Cash Assets are $759K YTD and Reserve Fund is $491K YTD.
A motion was made by Steve Kavanagh to accept the Treasurer’s report. It was seconded by Bob Leon and passed unanimously.
Under Old Business:
- Signage Regulations and fine schedule, water safety rules and formalizing escalating fines was completed and will be reviewed at the workshop meeting on March 12th.
- Annual budget preparations are underway. Finance and Planning will be meeting twice in March to go over the budget. The board will approve the preliminary budget at the next open board meeting where it will than become available to the membership for viewing and commenting for 34 days. The final budget will be approved at the April 30th open board meeting.
- Spring and summer projects were discussed during the President’s message.
- Update on Community Center (CC) –The kitchen and boiler room have been completed. The room next to the kitchen needs to be set up. The health inspection was fine but there were a few minor issues with the water inspection that need to be corrected. Some items to be repaired are a depression by the well that needs to be filled and a well cap replacement. Whelan again invited the membership to come in and look at the CC when it is opened.
- Ice Fishing – The problem with ice fishing is enforcement of the rules. It is not known if all ice fishermen are part of the Association and are throwing back any bass that they catch. One director voiced concerns over the holes in the ice and it being a safety issue for children who may venture out on the lake. Various members of the fishing club attended the meeting to voice their concerns over losing the right to ice fish. Eric Bergstrom of the fishing club presented various solutions which included:
- Alternate the lakes for ice fishing. Designate one lake per year.
- Limiting fishing to two days per week and fishing would only be allowed during the hours of 9AM to 4PM.
- Security would have to cover the lake and check that the fisherman isn’t taking bass from the lake. $100 fine should be implemented to anyone that has tried to take bass from the lake.
- All ice fishermen must enter lake at designated area. No one will be allowed to enter lake from their home if they live on the lake.
Chris Claude and Eric Bergstrom are forming a subcommittee to create a resolution for ice fishing (resolution was tabled to next open board meeting). The ice fishing may be limited to Deer Lake since it is a small lake and more easily manageable by Public Safety. All required licensing and permits must be carried by the fisherman as well as their Emerald Lake photo ID and guest passes if they have visitors. If these items are not shown to public safety, Pocono Mountain regional police will be called so the individual can be cited for criminal trespassing.
Other topics discussed were:
- Complete catch and release of all fish.
- No shacks on the lakes.
- Long Pond Rd access to East and West Emerald Lake may have boulders or fencing to discourage outsiders from accessing the lake.
- Rules to include that fishermen wear life vests and to check the thickness of ice.
- Don Atkiss spoke on the butterfly garden. He thanked the membership who volunteered to tend the 4 quadrants that have milkweed that is food for the monarch butterfly. Volunteers include Randy and Donna Kopp, Don and Sally Atkiss, Ken and Linda Shuey and Lola Lauri. Special thanks went out to Eric and Pat Bergstrom. They donated flowering trees and the use of their equipment. Currently Don Atkiss has 15 milkweed plants in his basement that will be planted at the garden in the spring. In addition, spice plants will be added to attract the bush butterfly and two mason bee houses. The bees are not an aggressive variety. Whelan also thanked Cathy Borsos for the beautiful butterfly wings that she created that are at the garden where many people take picture of their families with the wings.
Under New Business
- No new business since resolution on ice fishing was tabled till next open board meeting.
Real Estate Committee is scheduling a public workshop for March 19th. It will be on-line.
Finance and Planning will have a special meeting on March 4th to discuss the budget. They will also meet on March 19th for their regular meeting to discuss the financials and to ensure that the budget is ready for the board to review.
Bob Leon gave a shout out to maintenance for the roads in the community. They did a great job after yesterday’s ice storm. Bob Leon stated that there are 7 homes for sale in Emerald Lakes. They are:
- $900K listed for 220 days (Lake front) *
- $499K listed for 24 days (Repeat listing)
- $275K listed for 23 days (Under Contract)
- $450K listed for 5 days *
- $260K listed for 1 day (Repeat listing)
- $225K listed for 1 day *
- $270K listed for 1 day (Repeat listing)
Year to date 146 homes have changed hands which amounts to $139,200 in transfer fees for the Association. Homes ranged from $225K to $900K. A repeat listing is a property that has been taken off the market and put back on. Homes identified with an * are available.
Dave Borsos thanked the board for holding off on the resolution for ice fishing.
Ange Noonan stated that by live streaming the meeting the board is transparent so they were able to resolve the ice fishing issue.
Chris Claude reminded the membership that there is no street parking at all in the community.
David Shift from Cedar inquired about speed bumps on Cedar by the bridge over Pine Tree Lake. He stated that many cars speed there and do not stop at the stop sign by Island Drive.
Randy Kopp stated that it seems that most problems whether it’s fishing or speeding seem to be with enforcement. If you want to enforce the laws you need to take care of personnel.
Mary Kavanagh of Harvest Way stated that she is looking forward to the kayak rentals and hopes that we are considering water safety, and since we are short on public safety staff that is probably why there are few fines. She also requested that public Safety check out the boat launch area at East Emerald Blvd in the morning. She thinks there is some sort of activity in a car that is parked at the bus stop. The car bounces up and down.
Six (6) new members were welcomed to the Community.
A motion was made by Bob Leon to adjourn. It was seconded by Chris Claude. Meeting adjourned at 11:39 AM.
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.
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