Emerald Lakes Board of Directors Open Meeting, June 25, 2022

By Kathy Leslie-Whelan

          The meeting was called to order at 9:34 AM.  All board members were present.  General Manager Darryl Gamble was also present. After the pledge of allegiance, Buz Whelan, President asked for any discussions on May’s minutes.  He had two corrections which pointed out that there are “no private signs” and “no offensive political signs”.  He called for a motion to approve May’s open board meeting minutes. The motion was made by Bill Baehr and seconded by Bob Leon.  It passed unanimously.   Whelan opened his President’s message thanking the Fishing Club and all other volunteers for another successful Fishing Rodeo event.  He stated that it was so much fun to see the kids get so excited when they caught their first fish.  Whelan further stated that there will be fireworks in the community although they are not allowed.  It is very difficult to catch an offender since you have to catch him in the act.  He advised that anyone that had a dog that was negatively affected by the noise should try to take precautions by finding them a safe room and possibly getting medication from their vet.  He also reminded the membership that any boat on our lakes must be registered.  The fee is $10 per boat.  Finally Whelan said that due to illnesses in the office the Administration building will be closed today so the deadline for submitting your intent to run for the board has been extended to the end of business on Monday.

          Dave Borsos gave the Treasurer’s report for May.  He stated that this is the start of our fiscal year so the actual numbers and the year to date numbers are the same.   The good news is that we are over budget on dues collections by $100K.  In addition, we are under budget in Administration, Public Safety, Maintenance and the rental program.  We are over budget in Public Safety by $200 in expected revenue and Code Enforcement Officer collections by $7K.  Since we are behind in the number of staffing for public safety we are under budget by $9,800.  Currently we have $670K in reserves and $1.5M in cash assets.  A motion was made by Bob Leon to accept the Treasurer’s report.  It was seconded by Bill Baehr and passed unanimously. 

Under Old Business:

  • The mailing for the Annual meeting is almost complete.  There will be three by-law changes to be voted on.  The first change is to adjust the procedures for membership review of the preliminary budget.  In the past the budget was presented to the members at the spring meeting where they had about two hours to review and comment.  It is state law that an approved budget needs to be in place by May 1st.   This change will make 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 bylaw.  The second change will address that the polls for the voting period at the annual open meeting be adjusted to state that polls will be opened for 30 minutes or until all votes have been cast. Currently, it stated that the polls shall be open for 30 minutes but since direct proxy voting has been implemented that time is no longer needed.  Last year after all votes were cast, there was a 25 minute waiting period that occurred before the ballots could be counted.  The third change is to 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.  Our current way of voting gives an unequal weight to a no vote. 
  • In an attempt to prevent beach closings a dogs and geese proposal at Pine Tree Island will allow dogs to run free from dawn to 10:00 AM. A subcommittee composed of Gamble, Baehr and Whelan has developed rules and regulations for the membership which will be posted at the beach.  Clearance has been obtained from the zoning officer, dog warden, attorney and insurance carrier. A gate and shed will be erected at the entrance by the bridge. Whelan further stated that this morning The Hideout posted a beach was closed due to E-Coli so it is just not our community that has this issue. In addition, Arrowhead Lake has a Geese Committee that uses starter pistols and loud noise to control their population. Whelan accepted a motion from Bob Leon to change our rules for Pine Tree Lake to allow dogs to run free from dawn to 10:00 AM.  It was seconded by Bill Baehr.  It passed with 5 yes votes and 1 no vote.  The no vote was cast by Ange Noonan.  This proposal will be on a trial basis.  This plan will go into effect once the gate is installed at the bridge on Pine Tree Lake.
  • Septic testing will be performed by Joe Gallagher, who is our hydrologist, around the perimeter of Pine Tree Lake to determine if a home on the lake is having septic issues.
  • Positions at the Community Center have been filed and a soft opening will happen on July 1st at 5:00 PM.  The positions filled are a Recreation Manager, a cook and a bartender.  If you attend please note that this opening will hopefully iron out any wrinkles in the operation so please be patient.     
  • Water Safety will be enforced on our lakes. Life vests will be required for everyone on water vessels.  Children 12 and under will be required to wear a vest where adults will have the option to wear or not, however, a vest must be on the vessel for their use.  Members of the fishing club have volunteered to patrol the lakes and identify and report on anyone not following this rule. Anyone refusing will be asked to leave the lake. Fishing club members were issued vests identifying them as members of the lake patrol.  In addition, anyone who did not register their boat will not be issued a spot on the boat rack.
  • Road maintenance is currently under contract and will begin shortly.  Gamble will try to notify the membership of where work and when work will be preformed.  Glade Drive will be paved for consistency while the other roads will get a two step process.  The longevity of the road and the cost is better. Main Beach parking lot was done with this two step process last year on a trial basis and it has held up well.  Gamble anticipates covering a lot of territory and may be able to add in some roads.  The area in front of the compactor will also be expanded to accommodate a new badging hut.  Any member not in good standing will not be able to gain access to the compactor area.  The board will be given a list of all roads that will be paved.

Under New Business

  • A subcommittee composed of Chris Claude, Buz Whelan, Darryl Gamble and Nicole Clemens will meet to develop a septic policy that will require all members to have their septic system inspected and pumped on a regular basis.  Research will be completed to see what other home owners associations are doing.  This policy will also be beneficial to the homeowner since it costs between $20K and $30K to replace a system.
  • On the unofficial FaceBook page a question came up about fireworks in the Community for the July 4th weekend.  Currently other HOA’s such as Arrowhead Lake and the Hideout are having festivities for the holiday weekend which includes shooting off professional fireworks.  On July 25th of 2009 our Association did have a festival day which was ended with a fireworks display.  The day included activities for the kids, a dump tank, a bouncy house, music and food.  The day ended with a fireworks display which costs a fraction of the cost since it wasn’t done on the holiday weekend.  A rider was added to our insurance policy and permission was obtained from the township.  According to our Public Safety team they estimated over 2,500 people in attendance.  This amounted to $2 per head. Next year the board would like to plan a festival day in Emerald Lake so that people can feel good about living here.
  • Basketball courts on Glade by the Administration building and all tennis courts will be having special brackets installed so that if they need replacements it can be done easily.
  • A shack will be built for a pool attendant at Pine Tree Beach. Eventually there will be food and possibly a portable unit that can easily be used at all the outdoor amenities.  A pavilion was also discussed which can be rented out to the membership for events.

Committee Reports    

Chris Claude stated that the Appeals committee went well.  There are usually six cases heard per month.

Chris Claude reporting on the Real Estate committee stated that they had a number of recommendations for the board.  Claude is currently waiting for this list.  

Kathy Whelan spoke on behalf of Finance and Planning.   The meeting was held on June 17th.  Whelan stated that for the first month of this fiscal year this is a positive variance of $82K on dues income.  Total dues collected were $280K.  Credit card income which was just reinstated was $1,167.  We charge a 3% fee for credit card usage.  Whelan also stated that for this last month  rental income was $213K; Code Enforcement violations were $8.9K; Total income has a positive variance of $202K; public safety expenses have a negative variance of $984 due to the procurement of uniforms, lap top stand, first aid restocking and flares: amenity repair has a negative variance of $21.8K due to work at Pine Tree beach bath house; refuse collections has a positive variance of $1.4K for the month of May: total maintenance expenses has a negative variance of $19.6K: dam expenses were $4.5K for the dam regulation fee:  Community Center phone charges were $735 which includes fees for Blue Ridge and Direct TV: May expenses were $188K; $670K is in reserves; collections reported are at $165,584 where $151K was collected in house: Sunrise collections collected $5,475, where they currently have 133 accounts totaling $2.6M; interest income for the month was $1.09. A recommendation by the committee was to start discussions at approving additional authority/responsibilities to public safety staff since it is difficult to hire staff due to their limited resources while in the Community.  Public Safety staff cannot carry pepper spray, tasers and batons.  Research needs to be conducted on training and insurance costs.  The next scheduled meeting will be held on Saturday, July 16th.

Director’s Comments

          Chris Claude stated that he is all for water safety and the lake patrol and less concerned about fines.  He also feels that the main thoroughfares in the Community should be paved with tar while the secondary roads can get that two step process.  Finally Claude mentioned the Recreation Club that will work to plan activities throughout the community.  The first event will be a corn hole tournament and be held on July 30th.  Other activities being discussed are a movie night, Wiffle ball and a Nerf course for kids.

Bill Baehr reminded everyone that our roads are dark at night and people should dress in reflective clothing and carry a flash light so that they don’t get hit by a car.  Steve Kavanagh added that you should also walk facing traffic on the left side of the road so that you can see an oncoming vehicle.

Bob Leon stated that there are 23 homes for sale in Emerald Lakes.  They are:

  1.          $180K listed for 2 days
  2.          $550K listed for 2 days
  3.          $270 listed for 3 days
  4.          $450K listed for 4 days
  5.          $275K listed for 6 days
  6.          $1.3M listed for 6 days  (Lake Front)
  7.          $675K listed for 7 days (Lake Front)
  8.          $340K listed for 11 days
  9.          $420K listed for 14 days
  10. $280K listed for 14 days
  11. $420K listed for 15 days
  12. $300K listed for 21 days
  13. $350K listed for 29 days
  14. $392K listed for 30 days
  15. $350K listed for 32 days
  16. $350K listed for 32 days
  17. $359K listed for 42 days
  18. $398K listed for 43 days
  19. $549K listed for 46 days
  20. $420K listed for 72 days
  21. $359K listed for 73 days
  22. $330K listed for 88 days
  23. $265K listed for 179 days (Auction)

Dave Borsos stated that home pricing has really escalated in Emerald Lakes.

Public Comments

          Jason and Stephanie who have been living in the community for three years thanked the board for doing a good job.  This was their first meeting that they attended.

          Louise Leon also thanked the board for their hard work. She also stated that she is working on a fund raiser for Clymer Library. She stated that safety equipment is a good requirement; however, if it is not used properly it could be dangerous.  She wanted to join the Appeals committee and doesn’t understand why she was thrown off.  She also wants to join the Recreation Club.  Leon also asked if we were hosting a cleanup day in September and was told yes.  She also inquired about starting Crime Watch up again.  Leon said that water aerobics has 10 to 12 members and the first male joined the group.  On July 9th they are going to the Pocono Flower Show and will be going to a Child’s Nature something.

          Leon was told that if she would like to try to resurrect Crime Watch she is free to do so but must realize that it is a lot of work.  Crime watch can only observe and report and return the occasional dog that gets loose.  She was also told that director’s spouses cannot be on the Appeals Committee because anyone that is unhappy with the results of their appeals has the right to further appeal to the board and that could be a conflict of interest since her husband is on the board.  The board also has the right not to hear the second appeal if they feel that the member got a fair hearing. 

          Cookie Litwienski asked if we are now allowing live stock.  She was told no and that she should contact her township if she identifies a property with live stock, since it is against their rules.

Mary Kavanagh stated that she had a dog that was terrified during fireworks.  They purchased a special vest for him that made him feel he was being held and it calmed him down significantly.  Kavanagh also requested to have the yellow lines put back on the roads and was told that relining will be done after the paving is completed.  Kavanagh stated that she witnessed a member being abusive to the compactor attendant and requested that pictures of their license plates be taken.  She was told that the hut that will be located at the front of the compactor should resolve that issue since any member not in good standing will not be given access to the site.  Finally Kavanagh mentioned that when she worked in the prison system they used bean bag guns to control the prison population and perhaps we can allow our public safety team to carry these guns.  She was told that that was not up for consideration since that could kill someone if you hit them in the head.

          Marty Nicoll has owned property for two years in Emerald Lakes His home is a short term rental and he agrees with developing a septic policy for the membership but stated that it has to be for the whole membership and just not certain STR properties.  He was told that there is only one set of rules and they apply to all.

          Three (3) new members were welcomed to the Community.

A motion was made by Chris Claude to adjourn.  It was seconded by Steve Kavanagh.  Meeting adjourned at 11:14 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.

Emerald Lakes Board of Directors Open Meeting, June 25, 2022

By Kathy Leslie-Whelan

          The meeting was called to order at 9:34 AM.  All board members were present.  General Manager Darryl Gamble was also present. After the pledge of allegiance, Buz Whelan, President asked for any discussions on May’s minutes.  He had two corrections which pointed out that there are “no private signs” and “no offensive political signs”.  He called for a motion to approve May’s open board meeting minutes. The motion was made by Bill Baehr and seconded by Bob Leon.  It passed unanimously.   Whelan opened his President’s message thanking the Fishing Club and all other volunteers for another successful Fishing Rodeo event.  He stated that it was so much fun to see the kids get so excited when they caught their first fish.  Whelan further stated that there will be fireworks in the community although they are not allowed.  It is very difficult to catch an offender since you have to catch him in the act.  He advised that anyone that had a dog that was negatively affected by the noise should try to take precautions by finding them a safe room and possibly getting medication from their vet.  He also reminded the membership that any boat on our lakes must be registered.  The fee is $10 per boat.  Finally Whelan said that due to illnesses in the office the Administration building will be closed today so the deadline for submitting your intent to run for the board has been extended to the end of business on Monday.

          Dave Borsos gave the Treasurer’s report for May.  He stated that this is the start of our fiscal year so the actual numbers and the year to date numbers are the same.   The good news is that we are over budget on dues collections by $100K.  In addition, we are under budget in Administration, Public Safety, Maintenance and the rental program.  We are over budget in Public Safety by $200 in expected revenue and Code Enforcement Officer collections by $7K.  Since we are behind in the number of staffing for public safety we are under budget by $9,800.  Currently we have $670K in reserves and $1.5M in cash assets.  A motion was made by Bob Leon to accept the Treasurer’s report.  It was seconded by Bill Baehr and passed unanimously. 

Under Old Business:

  • The mailing for the Annual meeting is almost complete.  There will be three by-law changes to be voted on.  The first change is to adjust the procedures for membership review of the preliminary budget.  In the past the budget was presented to the members at the spring meeting where they had about two hours to review and comment.  It is state law that an approved budget needs to be in place by May 1st.   This change will make 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 bylaw.  The second change will address that the polls for the voting period at the annual open meeting be adjusted to state that polls will be opened for 30 minutes or until all votes have been cast. Currently, it stated that the polls shall be open for 30 minutes but since direct proxy voting has been implemented that time is no longer needed.  Last year after all votes were cast, there was a 25 minute waiting period that occurred before the ballots could be counted.  The third change is to 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.  Our current way of voting gives an unequal weight to a no vote. 
  • In an attempt to prevent beach closings a dogs and geese proposal at Pine Tree Island will allow dogs to run free from dawn to 10:00 AM. A subcommittee composed of Gamble, Baehr and Whelan has developed rules and regulations for the membership which will be posted at the beach.  Clearance has been obtained from the zoning officer, dog warden, attorney and insurance carrier. A gate and shed will be erected at the entrance by the bridge. Whelan further stated that this morning The Hideout posted a beach was closed due to E-Coli so it is just not our community that has this issue. In addition, Arrowhead Lake has a Geese Committee that uses starter pistols and loud noise to control their population. Whelan accepted a motion from Bob Leon to change our rules for Pine Tree Lake to allow dogs to run free from dawn to 10:00 AM.  It was seconded by Bill Baehr.  It passed with 5 yes votes and 1 no vote.  The no vote was cast by Ange Noonan.  This proposal will be on a trial basis.  This plan will go into effect once the gate is installed at the bridge on Pine Tree Lake.
  • Septic testing will be performed by Joe Gallagher, who is our hydrologist, around the perimeter of Pine Tree Lake to determine if a home on the lake is having septic issues.
  • Positions at the Community Center have been filed and a soft opening will happen on July 1st at 5:00 PM.  The positions filled are a Recreation Manager, a cook and a bartender.  If you attend please note that this opening will hopefully iron out any wrinkles in the operation so please be patient.     
  • Water Safety will be enforced on our lakes. Life vests will be required for everyone on water vessels.  Children 12 and under will be required to wear a vest where adults will have the option to wear or not, however, a vest must be on the vessel for their use.  Members of the fishing club have volunteered to patrol the lakes and identify and report on anyone not following this rule. Anyone refusing will be asked to leave the lake. Fishing club members were issued vests identifying them as members of the lake patrol.  In addition, anyone who did not register their boat will not be issued a spot on the boat rack.
  • Road maintenance is currently under contract and will begin shortly.  Gamble will try to notify the membership of where work and when work will be preformed.  Glade Drive will be paved for consistency while the other roads will get a two step process.  The longevity of the road and the cost is better. Main Beach parking lot was done with this two step process last year on a trial basis and it has held up well.  Gamble anticipates covering a lot of territory and may be able to add in some roads.  The area in front of the compactor will also be expanded to accommodate a new badging hut.  Any member not in good standing will not be able to gain access to the compactor area.  The board will be given a list of all roads that will be paved.

Under New Business

  • A subcommittee composed of Chris Claude, Buz Whelan, Darryl Gamble and Nicole Clemens will meet to develop a septic policy that will require all members to have their septic system inspected and pumped on a regular basis.  Research will be completed to see what other home owners associations are doing.  This policy will also be beneficial to the homeowner since it costs between $20K and $30K to replace a system.
  • On the unofficial FaceBook page a question came up about fireworks in the Community for the July 4th weekend.  Currently other HOA’s such as Arrowhead Lake and the Hideout are having festivities for the holiday weekend which includes shooting off professional fireworks.  On July 25th of 2009 our Association did have a festival day which was ended with a fireworks display.  The day included activities for the kids, a dump tank, a bouncy house, music and food.  The day ended with a fireworks display which costs a fraction of the cost since it wasn’t done on the holiday weekend.  A rider was added to our insurance policy and permission was obtained from the township.  According to our Public Safety team they estimated over 2,500 people in attendance.  This amounted to $2 per head. Next year the board would like to plan a festival day in Emerald Lake so that people can feel good about living here.
  • Basketball courts on Glade by the Administration building and all tennis courts will be having special brackets installed so that if they need replacements it can be done easily.
  • A shack will be built for a pool attendant at Pine Tree Beach. Eventually there will be food and possibly a portable unit that can easily be used at all the outdoor amenities.  A pavilion was also discussed which can be rented out to the membership for events.

Committee Reports    

Chris Claude stated that the Appeals committee went well.  There are usually six cases heard per month.

Chris Claude reporting on the Real Estate committee stated that they had a number of recommendations for the board.  Claude is currently waiting for this list.  

Kathy Whelan spoke on behalf of Finance and Planning.   The meeting was held on June 17th.  Whelan stated that for the first month of this fiscal year this is a positive variance of $82K on dues income.  Total dues collected were $280K.  Credit card income which was just reinstated was $1,167.  We charge a 3% fee for credit card usage.  Whelan also stated that for this last month  rental income was $213K; Code Enforcement violations were $8.9K; Total income has a positive variance of $202K; public safety expenses have a negative variance of $984 due to the procurement of uniforms, lap top stand, first aid restocking and flares: amenity repair has a negative variance of $21.8K due to work at Pine Tree beach bath house; refuse collections has a positive variance of $1.4K for the month of May: total maintenance expenses has a negative variance of $19.6K: dam expenses were $4.5K for the dam regulation fee:  Community Center phone charges were $735 which includes fees for Blue Ridge and Direct TV: May expenses were $188K; $670K is in reserves; collections reported are at $165,584 where $151K was collected in house: Sunrise collections collected $5,475, where they currently have 133 accounts totaling $2.6M; interest income for the month was $1.09. A recommendation by the committee was to start discussions at approving additional authority/responsibilities to public safety staff since it is difficult to hire staff due to their limited resources while in the Community.  Public Safety staff cannot carry pepper spray, tasers and batons.  Research needs to be conducted on training and insurance costs.  The next scheduled meeting will be held on Saturday, July 16th.

Director’s Comments

          Chris Claude stated that he is all for water safety and the lake patrol and less concerned about fines.  He also feels that the main thoroughfares in the Community should be paved with tar while the secondary roads can get that two step process.  Finally Claude mentioned the Recreation Club that will work to plan activities throughout the community.  The first event will be a corn hole tournament and be held on July 30th.  Other activities being discussed are a movie night, Wiffle ball and a Nerf course for kids.

Bill Baehr reminded everyone that our roads are dark at night and people should dress in reflective clothing and carry a flash light so that they don’t get hit by a car.  Steve Kavanagh added that you should also walk facing traffic on the left side of the road so that you can see an oncoming vehicle.

Bob Leon stated that there are 23 homes for sale in Emerald Lakes.  They are:

  1.          $180K listed for 2 days
  2.          $550K listed for 2 days
  3.          $270 listed for 3 days
  4.          $450K listed for 4 days
  5.          $275K listed for 6 days
  6.          $1.3M listed for 6 days  (Lake Front)
  7.          $675K listed for 7 days (Lake Front)
  8.          $340K listed for 11 days
  9.          $420K listed for 14 days
  10. $280K listed for 14 days
  11. $420K listed for 15 days
  12. $300K listed for 21 days
  13. $350K listed for 29 days
  14. $392K listed for 30 days
  15. $350K listed for 32 days
  16. $350K listed for 32 days
  17. $359K listed for 42 days
  18. $398K listed for 43 days
  19. $549K listed for 46 days
  20. $420K listed for 72 days
  21. $359K listed for 73 days
  22. $330K listed for 88 days
  23. $265K listed for 179 days (Auction)

Dave Borsos stated that home pricing has really escalated in Emerald Lakes.

Public Comments

          Jason and Stephanie who have been living in the community for three years thanked the board for doing a good job.  This was their first meeting that they attended.

          Louise Leon also thanked the board for their hard work. She also stated that she is working on a fund raiser for Clymer Library. She stated that safety equipment is a good requirement; however, if it is not used properly it could be dangerous.  She wanted to join the Appeals committee and doesn’t understand why she was thrown off.  She also wants to join the Recreation Club.  Leon also asked if we were hosting a cleanup day in September and was told yes.  She also inquired about starting Crime Watch up again.  Leon said that water aerobics has 10 to 12 members and the first male joined the group.  On July 9th they are going to the Pocono Flower Show and will be going to a Child’s Nature something.

          Leon was told that if she would like to try to resurrect Crime Watch she is free to do so but must realize that it is a lot of work.  Crime watch can only observe and report and return the occasional dog that gets loose.  She was also told that director’s spouses cannot be on the Appeals Committee because anyone that is unhappy with the results of their appeals has the right to further appeal to the board and that could be a conflict of interest since her husband is on the board.  The board also has the right not to hear the second appeal if they feel that the member got a fair hearing. 

          Cookie Litwienski asked if we are now allowing live stock.  She was told no and that she should contact her township if she identifies a property with live stock, since it is against their rules.

Mary Kavanagh stated that she had a dog that was terrified during fireworks.  They purchased a special vest for him that made him feel he was being held and it calmed him down significantly.  Kavanagh also requested to have the yellow lines put back on the roads and was told that relining will be done after the paving is completed.  Kavanagh stated that she witnessed a member being abusive to the compactor attendant and requested that pictures of their license plates be taken.  She was told that the hut that will be located at the front of the compactor should resolve that issue since any member not in good standing will not be given access to the site.  Finally Kavanagh mentioned that when she worked in the prison system they used bean bag guns to control the prison population and perhaps we can allow our public safety team to carry these guns.  She was told that that was not up for consideration since that could kill someone if you hit them in the head.

          Marty Nicoll has owned property for two years in Emerald Lakes His home is a short term rental and he agrees with developing a septic policy for the membership but stated that it has to be for the whole membership and just not certain STR properties.  He was told that there is only one set of rules and they apply to all.

          Three (3) new members were welcomed to the Community.

A motion was made by Chris Claude to adjourn.  It was seconded by Steve Kavanagh.  Meeting adjourned at 11:14 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 June 26, 2022, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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