Emerald Lakes Board of Directors Open Meeting, March 25, 2023
By Kathy Leslie-Whelan
The meeting was called to order at 9:35 AM. All board members were present. General Manager Darryl Gamble was also present. Assistant General Manager, Nicole Clemens was absent due to a family emergency. In addition, the meeting was not able to be recorded due to technical difficulties. After the pledge of allegiance, Buz Whelan, President called for a motion to approve February’s open board meeting minutes. It passed unanimously. Whelan stated that he was holding his comments till the Director’s Comments section of the meeting and turned the floor over to the Treasurer.
Dave Borsos gave the Treasurer’s report for February. Currently we are $148K over budget on collection of dues. Dues collected for February were $305K and Year to Date (YTD) $1.6M; Rental income is $649K YTD; Code Enforcement Officer revenue is $150K which is $6K under budget; Access card income is $123K; Bar and Grill income for February was $6.4K and $47K YTD; under income two areas have a negative variance of $270 for Boat/Fishing Permits and $68 dollars for Newsletter Ads; Resale fees are at $19K YTD; Income totals YTD are $2.7M; Total expenses are $2.3M YTD; Administration is $528 YTD which has a negative variance of $63K; Public Safety is $136 YTD with a positive variance of $29K due to being short staffed; Maintenance is $1,057,732 with a negative variance of $102K due to vehicle and equipment purchases; Community Center/Recreation is $391K YTD with a negative variance of $12K; Insurance has a negative variance of $13K and utilities has a negative variance of $3K, which is due to rising costs; Cash Assets are $674 YTD; Reserve Fund, short term is $784K; Long term reserve investment account is $129K. A motion was made by Connie Simpson to accept the Treasurer’s report. It was seconded by Bob Leon and passed unanimously.
Under Old Business
- Whelan called for a motion to approve the preliminary budget. The motion was made by Bill Baehr and seconded by Bob Leon. It passed unanimously.
- Whelan stated that the Administration office was being deluged with phone calls about the dues increase. Whelan stated that there will be no increase in the upcoming fiscal year. In the 2024/2025 budget quarterly payments will be $310. And full payment will be $1,240. The increase will be every other year for the next 10 years.
Under New Business:
- Fees will be increased for Amenity passes and boat permits. All increases will be $5 per pass/permit.
- Pine Tree Island will have a study completed this season. Water will be tested in various places to determine if the beach should be moved. Currently the beach is in an inlet and has become a collection point for bacteria. Testing will also be done at the feeder and ephemeral streams. An independent lab will perform the testing.
- Lake maintenance includes a beaver and geese plan. This plan is through the state and includes gathering up and relocating the animals. In addition, weed and lily pads will be treated.
Connie Simpson reported on the Rules and Regulations meeting. She called for a resolution to allow 2 yard/garage sales per year, up to three days and must be permitted by Emerald Lakes Association and the Township. Mike Camino made the motion and it was seconded by Connie Simpson. It passed unanimously. In addition, the committee discussed the $500 fine for sharing IDs cards with a delinquent member. A member inquired if we could open up water aerobics to outside people. She was told that we cannot sell memberships since this is a non-profit association. The Association would be in jeopardy of losing our tax status.
Bill Baehr stated that 6 appeals were scheduled; however, one individual did not show up for his appeal.
Bob Leon reported on the Real Estate committee that discussions were held on a get together meeting being scheduled in May.
Kathy Whelan spoke on behalf of Finance and Planning (F&P). F&P had a special meeting to review and approve the preliminary budget before the board met for their evaluation. The meeting was held on March 17th. Ms. Whelan stated revenue and attendance for three events that occurred in February/March were $1,111 with 30 people in attendance for Karaoke, $705.75 with 21 in attendance for Trivia and $3,558 with 70 people in attendance for the Winter Luau. Please note that the number of people in attendance does not include individuals that entered using an amenity pass. In the future, front desk staff will scan a guest pass so that more accurate information on attendance can be obtained. The Operating Fund/Expense Report showed that $305K was the total dues and fees collected for the month of February and $1.6M YTD; Public Safety staff is currently at 1 full time and 5 part time members; Rental income is at $92K for the month of February with YTD income at $649K.; Code Enforcement fees were $142K YTD with a negative variance of $3.3K; Bar and Grill income for the month of February were $6,427 while costs were $1,434 for the bar and $1.632 for the grill. The next budget will have a finer breakdown of categories for the bar and grill such as office supplies, equipment, food, liquor, staffing etc; Resale certificates is $1,400 for the month of February which represents 9 homes being sold; Total income has a positive variance of $217K YTD with total income at $2.7M YTD; Refuse collection was $201K YTD which represents a minimal negative variance of $1.5K; total expenses are $2.3M YTD; $784K is in reserves; collections reported for February are $150.6K, where in house collections were $146.2K which represents 97% of collections; YTD collections are $1,047,141; interest on investments is $166.54. The next scheduled meeting of F&P will be held on Friday, April 21st at the Administration building.
Bob Leon stated that there are 22 homes for sale in Emerald Lakes. They are:
- $299,800 listed for 1 day at 1095 Clover Rd
- $440,000 listed for 1 day at 1117 Sioux
- $949,000 listed for 1 day at 161 Beaver Dam (Lake front)
- $224.250 listed for 7 days at 3114 Red Fox
- $559,000 listed for 10 days at 1674 Glade
- $405,000 listed for 20 days at 2441 Grey Birch
- $226,000 listed for 32 days at 1245 Glade
- $535,000 listed for 38 days at 2133 Wild Laurel
- $399,800 listed for 38 days at 2437 Grey Birch
- $357,900 listed for 43 days at 310 Cedar
- $424,900 listed for 46 days at 152 Granite
- $420,000 listed for 50 days at 1272 Glade
- $439,900 listed for 165 days at 1616 Glade
- $399,800 listed for 77 days at 795 Clearview
- $375,000 listed for 103 days at 185 Granite
- $424,900 listed for 104 days at 1432 Clover
- $359,999 listed for 128 days at 1529 Clover
- $489,900 listed for 142 days at 1258 Clover
- $399,000 listed for 157 days at 2209 Doe
- $300,000 listed for 192 days at 116 Yellow Birch
- $589,000 listed for 210 days at 222 Arbor Doe
- $349,900 listed for 252 days at 227 Hornbeam
Dave Borsos gave a shout out to the ways things were done with the board on the preliminary budget review. The board hashed out the details and there was give and take where compromises were reached.
Bill Baehr stated that the last 3 events bought in more people to the Lodge. It is great to see the bar and grill doing well. He enjoys Trivia night which is a lot of fun.
Connie Simpson thanked Nicole Clemens and Darryl Gamble for last month’s resolution and requested that it be put on the website home pages until the new copies of the Rules and Regulations Manual was printed.
Michael Camino thanked everyone for their hard work.
Buz Whelan wanted to address the pot holes. Since we live above the freeze/thaw line there are always going to be pot holes. The water seeps underground, freezes and expands and creates pot holes. Last year more than 1,500 pots holes were filed. He is asking for the member’s patience and deputizing everyone to report pot holes that are 12 inches across to the office. Whelan further stated that he hears a complaint that calls are not being returned. There will be a new menu on the phone system. If you select option #6, your message will get to the board or appropriate party. Office staff will check the message first thing in the morning and send out the message. It will take approximately 10 days for this system to go into effect.
Chris Claude stated that CEO violations are not a quota. The money is put in the budget based on previous year numbers. In addition in 2018 there was a $245K negative balance in reserves. The board paid off this debt and work to increase reserve funds. Now there is $914K in reserves (this includes the reserves and investment accounts).
Linda Shuey stated that communications with the board should be on the official ELA page and address whatever resolution was determined. She wants a record of her correspondence. She thanked Gamble for cutting down the branches that were hanging over the road but inquired as to when they will be collected. Gamble responded that the detritus will be collected soon.
A woman in the audience had a question/concern about public safety’s schedule. A man came to her door selling solar panels on February 22nd. He parked outside for hours and had no identification on him when Regional police approached him. She was told that Public Safety’s schedule is not released and that it changes. It is kept secret so that anyone planning on committing a crime will not pick a time when no one is on duty. If she has an issue she should call our dispatch office at (570) 643-3385. She also complimented our Operation Manager at Maintenance, Bob Bulin. He is doing a wonderful job.
Mark Weiss stated that he sent over an article from a Mount Pocono Newsletter where it addresses a need for an emergency fund. In addition, he and his wife are enjoying the pool and the Lodge. The building is sharp as a tack and the showers work. He loved the sign at the indoor pool where it prohibits radios and music unless the individual is wearing headphones. He once had to leave the outdoor pool since someone was playing offensive music out loud.
Hilary Decker thanked staff for addressing the pot holes on Ash Drive.
Ange Noonan stated that when you leave a message on the phone at Administration, you may not get a return call immediately, but they will get back to you. She also stated that the ELA Ladies are having an exercise class at the Lodge on Sunday at 2:00 PM. All are welcome including men. Noonan also stated that the Recreation Club is doing a good job.
Another woman in the audience asked what as soon as possible meant for fixing the pot holes. She lives on Huckleberry and the pot holes are bad. She was told that once the plant opens up next month, we should be able to get material for the roads. They are aware of the issues on Huckleberry and that road may need large rolled section work done.
Scott Thompson stated that a neighbor, living here for 26 years, received a bill for .68 cents. That is ridiculous. He was told that the computer automatically generates those bills. In addition he called dispatch and no one responded. There were two cars parked on the roads right across from each other that were blocking car traffic. Thompson also stated that a neighbor was operating a barber shop out of his home. He reported it before but nothing was done. He was told that we need proof that he is operating a state licensed business. They were told that they would have to send someone undercover to get the service as proof that they have a business on site. Chris Claude stated that maybe we need to look into another dispatch service and told the story of one of our maintenance staff be threaten by a man with a gun about snow from the plow blocking his driveway.
Four (4) new members were welcomed to the Community.
A motion was made by Dave Borsos to adjourn. It was seconded by Bob Leon. Meeting adjourned at 11:08 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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