Emerald Lakes Board of Directors Open Meeting, April 30, 2022

By Kathy Leslie-Whelan

          The meeting was called to order at 9:30 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 February’s open board meeting minutes. The motion was made by Bob Leon and seconded by Bill Baehr.  It passed unanimously.   Whelan called for another motion to approve March’s open board meeting minutes. The motion was made by Bob Leon and seconded by Bill Baehr.  It passed unanimously. Whelan opened his President’s message stating that since two members on the board had to leave early, they were trying to go through the meeting fast.  He stated that his message would have been about the three by-law changes that will be bought up at the annual meeting.  He explained that he addressed his reasoning in the latest Emerald News and anyone that was interested can read it there.  In addition, you can see the subject of the proposed by-law changes under Old Business

          Dave Borsos gave the Treasurer’s report.  He stated that we will end our fiscal year in the black.  Some highlights at the end of March are:

  • Dues income is at $1.2M YTD.
  • Income totals are $97K ahead of budget.
  • Expenses are $1.9M YTD.  There is a positive variance of $261K. They include administrative payroll, general and professional services, public safety payroll, CC and Recreation, Insurance and Utilities.
  • Reserves are $544K

Borsos ended his report by stating that our finances are looking good as we wind up this fiscal year.

          A motion was made by Bill Baehr to accept the Treasurer’s report.  It was seconded by Bob Leon and passed unanimously. 

Whelan handed the floor over to General Manager, Darryl Gamble.  Gamble stated that he will make the Emerald News now available at the compactor. He further stated that dues are due and he encouraged everyone to check their account on-line.  If a balance is due, any monies paid will go towards outstanding balances first. In addition, if you pay the full dues amount, it will read that a balance is due in parenthesis.  The system is set up for quarterly payments.  Gamble stated that when you purchased your home you agreed to pay dues to the Home Owner’s Association.  It is written in your deed.  When Gamble took over as General Manager, due’s collections were at 49%.  After four years, our percentage is around 70%.  Gamble is bringing our amenities up to good working order and in line with the Kipcon report that is completed every 5 years.  Gamble also requested that the members not be rude to staff.  They are only doing their jobs and are enforcing rules that are already in place.  Screaming at the compactor attendant could result in a significant fine.  A picture of your license plate will be taken and you will be reported to regional police.

Gamble also stated that an attendant will be stationed at Main and Pine Tree beaches on Saturday and Sundays between the hours of 10:00 AM and 7:00 PM for the summer.  A pass/ID will be required for admittance to these beaches.  Boats also need to be registered.  Reservations are now being taken for spots at the boat racks.  If, you left your boat on the rack over the winter season, it may have been towed to an area in Emerald Lakes.

Gamble also stated that he has driven our roads this past Monday with our Operations Manager and the outside contractor.  $680K is proposed to be spent in this next fiscal year on road maintenance.  This is the highest amount of money that is being spent on roads since Gamble has been here.  They are trying to get as much done as possible.  The work will include 4 to 6 additional speed tables added.  Currently, we are waiting for pricing from the contractor.  The Community Center is still waiting for its final inspection. Our maintenance staff is currently working on landscaping at the front entrance, amenity repair and Main and Pine Tree beach bathhouse renovations.  A large trailer will be installed at the outdoor pool which will house a men’s and women’s bathroom as well as changing areas.  If this trailer works out a permanent one will be installed.  The Clover bridge project is currently on hold.  There is no immediate danger to the public.  We are up to speed with all dam work.  The basketball court on Glade is being fixed this week.  Finally, the fishing information that was sent out as part of the rental package has to be revised.  Currently all fish will be on a catch and release basis and only artificial bait will be allowed. 

Under Old Business:

  • Whelan stated that adjustments were made to the preliminary budget and the revised balanced budget was presented to the board for approval.  A motion was made by Steve Kavanagh and seconded by Bill Baehr to accept the 2022/2023 budget.  It passed unanimously.  Whelan stated that the new budget is now available to any member that wants a copy.
  • Project updates were addressed by Gamble above; however, expanded information was discussed.  The beach on Pine Tree Lake will be expanded and a kayak/boat rental program will move forward once white beach sand becomes available.  The bath houses at Main and Pine Tree beaches are being upgraded.  The structure will be the same but everything inside will be replaced.  Work on the outside will commence after the inside is completed.  The outside will have a Nantucket look with blue cedar shake.  The roof will be replaced and new doors installed.  Plumbing will be installed for an outside shower.  Venting will be installed. 
  • Due to the numerous beach closures at Pine Tree beach due to geese waste in the area that is tested by the State, letting dogs run free in that area was discussed.  Pine Tree beach is an island so fencing will not be required if dogs were allowed to run free between dawn and 10:00 AM.  A gate is being installed by the bridge due to a new shack being built that will be shelter for the attendant checking ID’s and passes.  Free permits would be issued to dog owners to obtain permission to allow dogs to run free without their leashes.  The permit will allow the Association to keep records and control the usage.  The owner will be responsible for picking up dog waste.  Bill Baehr, Buz Whelan, Darryl Gamble and Nicole Clemens will be meeting to formalize rules and procedures.
  • Annual meeting prep will begin soon.  The only document that cannot be printed is the agenda.  A problem in the past was the copier machine breaking down when we have to print items that go into the package.  Packages need to get to the post office by July 8th.  The annual meeting will be held at the Community Center.  The office is looking for volunteers to help with the collating and stuffing of envelopes.  The 3 by-law revisions that will be presented to the membership are:
    • Return to the simple majority vote for a by-law change (50% plus 1). Currently, 2/3 votes are needed to pass a by-law change.  That means that a no vote counts twice as much as a yes vote.  It should be noted that a dues increase and elections require a simple majority.
    • The second change is a housekeeping item that addresses an issue that was argued about on FaceBook for the annual budget to be presented to the membership for review and comment.  In the past the annual meeting was held in the spring but moved to August since most of the members at that time were vacationers.  The annual budget was presented to the members at the spring meeting where they had about two hours to review and comment.  Past boards ignored this requirement when the meeting date was changed.  It is state law that an approved budget needs to be in place by May 1st.   In 2008, Whelan made the preliminary budget available for review and comment for 30 days to honor the spirit of the by-law.  The new change will correct this by-law.
    • The third change is also a housekeeping issue.  The by-laws state that the polls for the voting period at the annual open meeting must be opened for 30 minutes.  The change will state that they will be opened for 30 minutes or until all votes have been cast.

Past by-law changes include mail-in voting, quarterly payments and changing the annual meeting from the third Saturday to on or about the third Saturday.

Under New Business

No new business.

Committee Reports    

          Kathy Whelan spoke on behalf of Finance and Planning.   The meeting was held on April 23rd where a short discussion was held on the revisions to the preliminary budget.  Whelan also stated that rental income is at $584K for an 11 month period and rental fines are down; Code Enforcement violations are at $178K; total income has a positive variance of $96.9K while YTD the figure is $2.4M; total expenses are good and within budget. Year to date we spent $1.9M; dues collections are at 68.33% A recommendation was made by the committee that a staff member of Emerald Lakes reach out to Tobyhanna Township if they pass their Short Term Rental (STR) ordinance, to obtain a list of all permits issued or properties identified as short term rentals that are registered. This will help us identify home that are STR’s. The next scheduled meeting will be held on Saturday, May 21st.

Director’s Comments

Bob Leon stated that there are 11 homes for sale in Emerald Lakes.  They are:

  1.          $225K listed for 24 hours
  2.          $495K listed for 4 days
  3.          $345 listed for 6 days
  4.          $320K listed for 6 days
  5.          $275K listed for 7 days
  6.          $389K listed for 16 days
  7.          $420K listed for 16 days
  8.          $285K listed for 22 days
  9.          $329.5K listed for 32 days
  10. $388.7K listed for 46 days.
  11. $235K – Auction

Land for sale:

  1. $50K (3.12 Acres) listed for 36 days
  2. $21K (.63 acres listed for 39 days
  3. $29K (.66 acres listed for 83 days
  4. $29K (1.19 acres) multiple listings for 331 days and 539 days.

Public Comments

          Connie Simpson asked that dogs not be allowed on the beach after 10:00 since little kids get scared, and she would like to see signs posted.  She also asked when the saunas would be opened.  Gamble stated they would be opened when the Community Center opens.  More controls need to be in place.  Simpson asked when they could start using the dining room and game room and was told that no tentative date was set.  We are waiting for a final inspection.  She also asked when the kayak rental program would go into effect and was told once sand was available so that the beach could be expanded.

Louise Leon thanked the board for their service.

Mary Kavanagh asked if there were cameras at the bath houses.  She was told yes and that additional cameras will be installed.  She also inquired about a smoking area at the Community Center and was told that one was planned and will be located out the door by the men’s bathroom.  Finally, she inquired about having fundraisers and was told that it can happen if there is a sponsor.  For fundraisers to help pay for projects at ELA, she was told it is probably not cost effective.

          Eight (8) new members were welcomed to the Community.

A motion was made by Bill Baehr to adjourn.  It was seconded by Ange Noonan.  Meeting adjourned at 10:52 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.

Posted on May 1, 2022, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Joan Gregorio

    Thank you Kathy 💐

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