Emerald Lakes Board of Directors Open Meeting, February 25, 2023
By Kathy Leslie-Whelan
The meeting was called to order at 9:33 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 January’s open board meeting minutes. He stated that he wanted it corrected that Connie Simpson was not absent at this meeting, but was present by phone so he would like the minutes to reflect this. A motion was made by Bob Leon to accept the minutes as amended. It was seconded by Mike Camino. It passed unanimously. Whelan gave his opening statement by saying that it is typical in HOA’s to have more than one faction. Not everyone will agree with what is being said or done. He requested that if anyone has suggestions on how to improve or how the board can improve, they are open to those suggestions. They will listen to solutions to see if there is a common ground that they can operate under.
Dave Borsos gave the Treasurer’s report for January. Currently we are running in the black. The numbers as of January 31st are as follows: dues income Year to Date (YTD) is currently at $1,388,155 which represents a 74% compliance rate; rental revenue is at $556,715 YTD; Access card income is at $115, 110: bar and grill income is at $41,117 YTD with a positive variance of $12,025 YTD; Income totals are at $2,279,675 where total expenses are at $2,174,992 YTD; Total expenses has a negative variance of $179,759. A motion was made by Bob Leon to accept the Treasurer’s report. It was seconded by Connie Simpson and passed unanimously.
Whelan stated that our compliance rate is running neck and neck with property tax rates. Kathy Leslie Whelan added that as chair of Finance and Planning, collection rates for January were at $31K for in house collections. This figure is 95% of the collections so bravo to Nicole Clemens.
Under Old Business:
- The 2023-2024 preliminary budget is currently being prepared. A bylaw change corrected a situation where it made it possible to allow comments from the membership. In the past, the budget was reviewed at the annual open meeting and passed on the same day when the annual meeting was changed to August the bylaw was never changed. State law requires us to have a budget in place at the beginning of our fiscal year which is May 1st. Our bylaws are now in compliance with State law. A special F&P meeting will be held on Friday, March 3rd to discuss the budget before it gets to the board. The board will be ready to pass the preliminary budget at the March 25th open meeting. The membership will be allowed to view and comment on the budget for a 30 day period. The final approval of the budget will happen at the April 28th open board meeting.
Under New Business
- Discussions were held on the proposed dues increase. The reasoning for the increase is to keep up with inflation. The membership in the past has requested that smaller and more frequent increases be implemented so it will be less of a burden for them. The increase will be $40 every other year for the next 10 years, which equates to a $10 increase for the members that pay quarterly. A member from the audience stated that what is to stop a future board from raising dues again before the 10 years has expired. She was told that only the membership can make that change by at 50% plus 1 vote. A member stated that the board will look like liars if a future board looks to put another increase in place within the next 10 years. The board cannot predict what future boards will do. This increase is a solution to a majority of the member’s requests.
Connie Simpson spoke on behalf of Rules and Regulations. She put a motion forward for a resolution to add under signs on page 17, paragraph #6 to allow private property and no trespassing signs. Mike Camino seconded the motion. It passed 4 to 1 with Leon being the dissenting vote. Simpson added a second resolution to add requirements for yard sales. It was seconded by Bill Baehr. They will be limited to 2 per year, limited to 2 days and must be township and ELA permitted. After discussions on issues such as holiday weekends this motion was tabled till next month. Discussions with the attorney will happen regarding permitting and number of days for an event. Some jurisdictions only issue 2 day permits. A motion was made by Simpson to remove this motion from the table pending further review. It was seconded by Bill Baehr and passed unanimously. A motion by Connie Simpson for a third resolution was presented. This resolution was regarding members allowing other members that are not in good standing to use their guest passes to enter amenities. A $500 fine will be issued to the offending member. This resolution was also removed from consideration by Simpson. It was seconded by Leon.
Bill Baehr stated that there was no scheduled meeting for the Appeals Committee.
Bob Leon stated that the Real Estate committee did not meet
Kathy Whelan spoke on behalf of Finance and Planning (F&P). The meeting was held on February 17th. Ms. Whelan stated revenue for three events that occurred in February were $700 for the Valentine’s Day dinner, $2,084 for karaoke and $550 for the Super Bowl event. She apologized to Bill Baehr for not having the numbers for Trivia night. In the future Clemens will run a report so that the numbers of members attending the functions are available to the committee. Currently dues collected are at 74.14% but it is anticipated that the percentage will increase with the next quarterly dues installment due in February; Rental income is at $15K for the month of January with YTD income at $556K.; Code Enforcement violations were $119K YTD; Resale certificates were $900 for the month of January which represents 6 homes being sold; currently there are 5 part time public safety staff and we are looking to hire more; refuse expenses are at $180K YTD which represents a minor negative variance of $4K; Currently there is $686K in reserves; Interest on investment is $101.42 YTD. The next scheduled meeting of F&P will be held on Friday, March 17th at the Administration building.
Bob Leon stated that there are currently 19 homes for sale in Emerald Lakes ranging from $254K to $1.5M.
Bill Baehr thanked everyone for coming out to Trivia Night. Attendance continues to grow. There were a total of 9 teams with over 35 people present.
Mike Camino complimented the maintenance staff for doing a wonderful job. He also stated that he was available to the membership to discuss any issues.
Dave Borsos stated that there were many ways that the membership can communicate with the board. He was not on FaceBook until he got onto the board. Borsos stated that the board is transparent and if you have questions you should call the office.
Linda Shuey stated that she loves this Community. She agrees with some things but also disagrees with others. She doesn’t think it is fair to remove people from the Facebook page so that they are unaware of the discussions. She stated that all comments should be respectful and the board is listed as experts. She wants to help and feels different views should be presented. Her biggest concern is fiscal responsibility. She is opposed to adding new amenities such as a dog park, kayak rental program, electric signage etc. Money should be spent on our current infrastructure. Shuey is worried about the dams. She doesn’t understand why recommended tasks on studies for Clover Bridge have not been completed. She was told by Gamble that the original quote of $65K that was budgeted for was going to cost more than originally quoted. They do not want to put money into repairs if the Clover Bridge needs to be replaced. A re-assessment of the bridge will be done. There is no immediate threat to the membership but over time work will be required.
Dan Glasgow asked that other members be given the opportunity to speak before a speaker is given over 20 minutes to speak. Glasgow urged the board and Ralph Musto to follow the Rules and Regulations. He wanted to know if the goal was to raise money or for compliance with the rules and regulations.
Alba stated that she found out about her fines through the township. She is being ignored left and right. She has problems with the pot holes on her road which is Red Oak. The milk man stopped delivering her milk since he broke too many bottles. She stated that when you complain you are blamed. Better communication with the membership is needed. Whelan stated that he will look at her road.
Six (6) new members were welcomed to the Community.
A motion was made by Connie Simpson to adjourn. It was seconded by Bill Baehr. Meeting adjourned at 11:57 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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