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Emerald Lakes Board of Directors Open Meeting, February 22, 2020

by Kathy Leslie-Whelan

The meeting was called to order at 9:35 AM. Five board members were present.  Ange Noonan and Chris Claude were absent for personal reasons. Following the pledge of allegiance, Buz Whelan started his President’s message saying that the meeting was being held in accordance with Robert’s Rules of Order except where local custom dictates otherwise and that the meeting was being recorded, archived and live streamed.  According to Robert Rules of Order no member can accuse another member of lying or ascribe another member’s motive. An example given was that if the discussion is about a dog park, you cannot accuse a member who supports the effort of doing so simply because they have a dog, and the reverse is true as well.  It is the issue that is at hand, not the motives of discussion contributors.

Whelan further spoke of a meeting held the past Tuesday where 5 board members and management attended.  The main discussion was on the bar and grill and where improvements can be made with cost and effectiveness.  A major item discussed was moving forward with opening up the pass through from the bar to the indoor pool and reconfiguring the bar. Coupled with that and a new and attractive menu, the hope is to attract more foot traffic and sales.  The work will necessitate closing of the Bar and Grill for two to three weeks.  Once the work is completed the bar and grill may be available on Sundays.  Currently a public safety individual will be stationed at the Community Center on Friday and Saturday nights.  This individual will respond to issues but report back to the Community Center after he responds to the incident.  If the traffic flow increases, ELA may look into operating our own vending machines since our current contractor is slow to respond to our request to refill the snacks/drinks.  Chris Claude has recommended that more events be held at the Community Center to attract more of the membership. Another recommendation is to add music to the center such as Sirius radio.  In the future any rule change or issue addressed by the board will be published in the Emerald News as well as emailed to the membership.  The membership was encouraged to sign up for the email blasts.  As of March 15th, older ID’s will no longer be valid at our facilities. 

Bill Baehr, Treasurer, started and his report stated that for the month of January the Association operated within budget.  The Bar and Grill income was $3,606. Supplies were $3,423. Payroll/taxes were $3,785. The cost of operation was $3,602.

Code Enforcement Officer (CEO) collections YTD are $79K while only $60K is in the budget. 

Public Safety was under budget due to an open position.  Maintenance was slightly over budget by $7K due to snow removal.  Trash costs continue to go down.  Administration was over budget YTD at $20K due to buying out a former’s employee’s time and a part timer going to full time.  Recreation and Amenities operated within budget for January.  Utilities went over for propane by $3.5K due the indoor pool.  Total cash receipts are $204K while total disbursements were $195K which included $5.1 K for beaver control and $2.5K for lake restocking.  Capital expense for January was $48K.  Expense of $28K for roof on the Community Center as a down payment.  Work on roof will commence when weather allows.  Miscellaneous repair was $12K.  $5,400 for the new vehicle purchase was for paying off the back hoe.  $500K was spent on the club house up to this point in time.  In January 8 homes sold resulting in $8k worth of transfer fees going into Capital Reserves.  Various rental income is $55K over budget.  Dues collections were at 70% but at time of report they are close to 75%.  In house collections of dues is $782,307 YTD.  For January $105K was collected in house.

Delinquency collections are as follows for the month of December:

  • Association Collections $954
  • Sunrise collections $ 3,057
  • In house collections  $42,056
  • Special Payment Plan $4,536
  • Attorney collections $ 1,420

TOTAL – $52,024

Delinquency collections are as follows YTD:

  • Special Payment Plan $66,211
  • In-house collections for prior years $265K
  • Attorney collections $ 88,275
  • Sunrise collections $ 73,125

Bob Leon made a motion to accept the Treasurer’s report.  It was seconded by Steve Kavanagh and passed unanimously.

At this point in time, Whelan asked Earl Frank, Chairperson of Finance and Planning to give his committee report.  Frank stated that 83% of collections are made by our office.  For January equity is $150K down.  Total capital available is $162K.  Collections are close to 75%.  Rental income is $55K and CEO violation collections are $35K. Frank is meeting with Darryl Gamble this week to go over the preliminary budget for the next fiscal year.  In addition he has received from our outside auditor a list of Emerald Lakes fixed assets.

Whelan accepted a motion from Bob Leon to accept the minutes from January.  It was seconded by Bill Baehr and Dave Borsos and passed unanimously.

Under New Business:

  • The special meeting that is scheduled for March 7th at Pocono Mountain West High School (PMWHS) on Route 940 can be bumped if a PMWHS function on February 29th gets snowed out.  In that case the meeting will be held at the Community Center. Notification of the meeting being moved will be done by website, official and unofficial face book pages, email blast or for those that do not have access to these mediums, they can call the administrative office during normal business hours. A number of direct proxy votes have already been received by our third party designee.  Five sign up stations will be available.  The meeting will be brief with introductions, short opening statement and an explanation of the ballots by the Judge of Elections, Dave Borsos.  Call to order will be approximately at 11:10 AM and the ballot box will be open around 11:25 AM.  Public comments will commence during counting of the ballots and for anyone not planning on staying, results will be on the website.  If dues increase passes it will be used to hire one or two maintenance staff and additional staff for public safety.  Pot holes are fixed with in house maintenance staff.  Since many of the board members took over 19 months ago, many of the amenities have been bought up to speed.  The board plans on focusing on road repair and Public Safety.
  • Community Center Greeters program has been a success. The greeters have identified areas that need attention as well as disbursed information to the membership that enters the Community Center. Some potential buyer of homes in the association are awed by the indoor pool and learn about the other amenities that would be afforded them.  In addition, the greeters advise the membership of policies and events that are occurring at the center.  Julian, a greeter, also recommended that we do more events to bring in more foot traffic such as a monthly birthday bash to celebrate those that had birthdays that month, pool league, DJing etc.
  • The membership was encouraged to sign up for email blasts.  There was a glitch in the system where preset emails were not going out.  Nicole Clemens is working with the software provider to fix this issue. 

Save the Date Reminders:

  • Special Meeting March 7th at Pocono Mountain West High School. Registration begins at 9:30 AM.
  • Karaoke Night – March 14th at 8:00 PM in the Community Center.
  • Trivia Night – March 20th at 8:00 PM in the Community Center.

Director’s Comments

Bill Baehr stated that he hopes we get a good count on the people using the amenities with the new badging system.  He also stated that we should consider opening up the bar and grill on Sundays if the foot traffic is there.  Baehr also stated that we have not had a dues increase since 2011 and the cost of road maintenance has increased tremendously.  If the Association followed the Consumer Price Index (CPI) since 2011 our dues would be at $2,100.  A $200 increase is sorely needed.

Bob Leon stated according to Zillow this morning 47 homes are available for sale in ELA with a price range of $72k to $430K.  135 members watched the January streamed meeting.  He also recommended that the Rules and Regulations resume meetings.

Dave Borsos acknowledged the work of Whelan, Clemens and Gamble with getting the Call to Meeting out on time.  He further stated that he has a pet peeve with using initials for things since not everyone is savvy as to their meaning i.e. Code Enforcement Officer (CEO).  Borsos also inquired as to where all the paperwork is kept with the work in progress and contracts that were put in place.  He was told that current project paperwork is kept with Gamble and Clemens.  Last year’s is in file room and all other years are organized in the attic at the Administration building.

Committee Reports

Linda Shuey for the Maintenance committee was present.  She encouraged the board to read their minutes but did not want to talk about the meeting until all committee members approved the minutes.

No other committee present to report.

Public Comments

Linda Shuey likes the larger print in the Emerald News. She asked if we were notified of foreclosures and was told that we usually hear after that home changes hand.  Shuey also inquired about the cost for the pass through between the bar and the indoor pool.  She was told the estimate is between $30K and $35K but all work that can be done in house will be done by our maintenance staff (demolition, etc.)

Julian who is a volunteer greeter asked about the trash that was dumped at the mailboxes on the holiday.  He asked if fines were given and how we combat it.  He was told that if the individual is identified, they are given a $500 fine and are reported to the Waste Authority where additional fines are issued.  Our staff members physically go through trash and individuals are sometime caught on our security cameras.  Whelan stated that if you see something, say something.  Not to the offending party, but report any car make, model, color, license plate number, description of offender to the Administration office. Julian also inquired about fireworks that are being set off at all hours of the day and that he feels that when he calls to complain that he should not have to give his name.  Gamble stated that he likes to let the member know what actions were taken and if necessary follow up.  He understands the membership’s concerns and will instruct Vector, who handles these calls, that the caller does not need to leave their name.

Cathy Borsos recommended progressive fines for members committing the same infractions. 

Louise Leon thanked the board for the pool and water aerobics.  She inquired about a fundraiser to purchase equipment for the pool tournaments.

One (1) new member was welcomed to the Community.

Steve Kavanagh made the motion to adjourn.  It was seconded by Dave Borsos.  Meeting adjourned at 12:05  PM.

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, January 25, 2020

by Kathy Leslie-Whelan

The meeting was called to order at 9:35 AM. Six board members were present.  Ange Noonan was absent due to the flu. Following the pledge of allegiance, Buz Whelan started his President’s message saying that the meeting was being held in accordance with Robert’s Rules of Order except where local custom dictates otherwise and that the meeting was being recorded, archived and live streamed.  He stated that he would talk  about a special meeting being planned for a dues increase later on in the meeting when we got to the topic on the agenda.

Bill Baehr, Treasurer, stated that for the month of December the Association operated within budget.  The Bar and Grill income was $4,426. Supplies were $$3,115. Payroll/taxes were $2,717.

CEO collections YTD are $73,800 while only $60K is in the budget. 

Public Safety was under budget due to an open position.  Maintenance was slightly over budget by $7,918 due to snow removal.  Trash costs continue to go down.  Administration was over budget YTD at $17,842.  Benefit package for employees went down by 20% effective December 1st.  Utilities went over for propane by $4,041 due to the opening of the pool and the extended hours.  Total cash receipts are $75K while total disbursements was $159K.  Capital income was $12,751 for the month of December, YTD is $348K.  Dues collections are $677K YTD where 75% was collected in-house.

Delinquency collections are as follows for the month of December:

  • Association Collections $954
  • Sunrise collections $ 3,057
  • In house collections  $42,056
  • Special Payment Plan $4,536
  • Attorney collections $ 1,420

TOTAL – $52,024

Delinquency collections are as follows YTD:

  • Association Collections $11,770
  • Sunrise collections $ 68,427
  • In house collections  $677,286
  • Special Payment Plan $63,089
  • Attorney collections $ 86,855

TOTAL – $52,907,429 (edited total 1/27/20)

Steve Kavanagh made a motion to accept the Treasurer’s report.  It was seconded by Chris Claude and passed unanimously.

At this point in time, Whelan asked Earl Frank, Chairperson of Finance and Planning to give his committee report.  Frank stated that the January meeting was cancelled due to snow, however, he revised the charts that were in the mail out for the special meeting and that the final numbers for December look good.  Delinquency statements are good but reserves are low between $150K and $175K.  New hires are needed in Public Safety and Maintenance.  Frank has also started working on the next budget for the fiscal year. 

Whelan called for discussion on the December minutes.  After two corrections, Dave Borsos made a motion to accept the minutes.  It was seconded by Bill Baehr and passed unanimously.

Under New Business four resolutions were passed (see bold faced area) and it was reported:

  • Management recommended that fishing (both ice fishing and regular fishing require a permit from the Association.  There will be a hanger for the car as well as a bright color plaque to wear on one’s back.  Anyone wanting to fish will be required to register at the Administration building where they will be logged into the system. Only members in good standing with a valid fishing license or an individual affiliated with a lot will be allowed to fish.  A $5 fee will be imposed on the permit to cover the cost of materials for printing the passes.  This will help to identify people that are fishing on our lakes that are not members.

Resolution # 0125-2020-03

Registered Fishing – All fishing will require an ELA permit that can be obtained at the Administration Office with a copy of your valid Pennsylvania Fishing License and a $5 fee.  The permit will be valid for the length of your fishing license.  You will be required to display your ELA permit at all times while fishing our lakes.

Dave Borsos made the motion to accept resolution. It was seconded by Bob Leon and passed with a 5 to 0 vote.

Resolution # 0125-2020-04

Add Fishing Fine to Schedule – Rules and Regulations will add an unregistered fishing fine of $200.

Dave Borsos made the motion to accept resolution. It was seconded by Chris Claude and passed with a 5 to 0 vote.

  • Management recommended compactor regulations putting a limit on the number of bags a member may bring to the compactor.  Eight (13 gallon) kitchen bags or 2 (55 gallon) constructions bags will be allowed per visit.  The purpose of the restriction is to avoid addition pick-up from the trash hauler which is costing us addition money.

Resolution # 0125-2020-01

Compactor Bag Limits. Discussion was on reducing the amount of trash and recycle pick-ups. Currently, our pick up schedule is 3 times weekly.  There is an issue with owners making multiple trips with 10 plus bags each time. There is a possibility that  some of this trash does not belong to current members in good standing. 

Compactor Policy

  1. Owners/Tenants must present their ELA ID when utilizing the compactor.
  2. No more than 8 kitchen sized bags or 2 construction sized bags may be dumped during the course of the day.
  3. You may only dispose of your personal property’s trash.
  4. ONLY household trash will be permitted. NO construction refuse will be accepted.
  5. No electronics will be accepted.
  6. No wet paint cans will be accepted.  Each can must be dry.
  7. No deceased wildlife will be accepted.
  8. No tires will be accepted.
  9. No bulk items will be accepted.  (Bulk items include appliances. mattresses, box springs, toys, furniture, etc.)
  10. Recycling boxes must be broken down prior to arrival.

Dave Borsos made the motion to accept resolution. It was seconded by Chris Claude and passed with a 4 to 0 vote. (Dave Borsos voted “Nay”)

  •  Agenda was adjusted to add an item on Pool Rules.  This rule will be in effect for the indoor and outdoor pool.

Resolution # 0125-2020-02  Pool Rules

Change rule letter e. from “Children twelve (12) years of age or under, must be accompanied by a responsible person sixteen (16) years or older who shall be responsible for the child’s behavior and conformance to all pool rules while in the pool area.” to “Children under the age of sixteen (16), must be accompanied by a responsible person eighteen (18) years or older who shall be responsible for the child’s behavior and conformance to all pool rules while in the pool area.”

Dave Borsos made the motion to accept resolution. It was seconded by Chris Claude and passed with a 5 to 0 vote.

  • Community Center Greeters was tabled due to Ange Noonan being absent due to the flu.
  • All the material is completed for the Special Meeting Prep which is scheduled for March 7th at Pocono Mountain West High School on Route 940.   Whelan stated that we have been informed that the high school has a function on February 29th and if it gets snowed out we will be bumped from the auditorium.  In that case the meeting will be held at the Community Center. Notification of the meeting being moved will be done by website, official and unofficial facebook pages, email blast or for those that do not have access to these mediums, they can call the administrative office during normal business hours.  (Please note that the staff cannot change our outgoing message.  Per our contract only Frontier can do that.  This contract will soon expire so this issue will be corrected.  Chris Claude recommended that we look into having a system like the schools have where a recorded message can go out to the membership.)  The call to meeting material for the meeting is prepared and should be mailed out sometime next week in order to meet the deadline of having the documents in the membership’s hands 30-45 days prior to the meeting. Direct proxy voting is part of the package.  An envelope addressed to our accountant, must be used if you plan on voting using this method.  Registration for members attending the meeting will be between the hours of 9:30 AM and 11:00 AM. At the close of the registration, our Secretary who is the Judge of Elections, shall officially announce the close of the registration and if quorum has been obtained.  Following the pledge of allegiance Introductions of all present will be made.  The Judge of Election will than give instructions on the ballot. The ballot box will be open for all to vote. The membership in good standing will be allowed 2 minutes to comment.
  • Bob Leon was named Webmaster to keep our website current.

Save the Date Reminders:

  • Super bowl Party – February 2nd at the Community Center. There will be a $5.00 fee, payable at the door. More information to follow.
  • Trivia Night – February 21st at 8:00 PM in the Community Center.
  • Karaoke Night – February 8th at 8:00 PM in the Community Center.
  • Special Meeting March 7th at Pocono Mountain West High School. Registration begins at 9:30 AM.

(The pool and Community Center will now be opened for the 5 Monday holidays.  The schedule will be that the Bar and Grill will be opened on Sunday between 5:00 PM and midnight.  A special will be available on this night, possibly wing night.  The pool hours on Sunday shall be 1:00 PM to 9:00 PM.  On the Monday holiday the pool will be open between the hours of 1:00 PM and 7:00 PM.  The next scheduled Monday holiday is President’s Day. 

Director’s Comments

Bill Baehr commented that we have not had a dues increase since 2011 and the cost of road maintenance has increased tremendously.  He complimented Darryl Gamble and the maintenance staff for doing a good job with their limited resources.

Chris Claude stated that due to the lack of needed income the board has to prioritize where the money is being spent.  They are completing projects correctly instead of putting a band aid over them.  He is asking people to be realistic.  Saying that you will not vote for a dues increase since the roads are not done or the snow is not plowed is self defeating. In the future Claude would like to see money put aside for things that are needed in the future so that we are not scrambling around on how to pay for things.

Buz Whelan agreed with Claude and added that if the dues increase is granted it would net us $300K/year which will enable us to do more for the Association.

Bob Leon stated that although our delinquent dues collections are going well, that well will eventually run dry.  He stated that the number of homes on sales is dropping which means homes are selling.

Dave Borsos commended the ladies at the administration office for how smoothly things are going especially with the new badging system.  He also wanted to know why our reserves are so low.  Reserves are used to do needed repairs.

Committee Reports

No other committee present to report.

Public Comments

Louise Leon stated that Adult Water Aerobics was able to meet on the Monday holiday for Martin Luther King and she appreciates that the board and management are mindful of their schedule,

Mary Kavanagh inquired if there was a time line when the pass through between the bar and the pool was going to be completed since many people are using the emergency exits while in swimwear and getting the floor wet. In addition, she feels the area where the couches are needs more lighting.  She saw some of the younger members getting somewhat intimate.  She also stated that the saunas were being left on to heat the bathrooms. Gamble told her that there are no immediate plans for the pass through.  He wants to schedule it when it would be least obstructive and at a time when the project can be completed all at once.  Right now he and the maintenance staff are tied up with other tasks.  As to the lighting, Gamble stated that it is installed on the wall by the couches.  Gamble stated that the saunas may be removed from both bathrooms.  At this point Louise Leon was not happy with that statement.  Kavanagh further questioned whether we should hire Vector Security and do away with our one staff member.  Whelan stated that the cost of in-house security is less expensive.  Vector was very expensive and didn’t patrol as frequently as was in contract.

Five (5) new members were welcomed to the Community.

Steve Kavanagh made the motion to adjourn.  It was seconded by Bob Leon.  Meeting adjourned at 11:45  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, December 14, 2019

by Kathy Leslie-Whelan

The meeting was called to order at 9:34 AM by President Buz Whelan. Six board members were present. Ange Noonan was absent due to her attendance at her daughter’s graduation. Sarah graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Tampa.  Congratulations Sarah.  Following the pledge of allegiance, Buz Whelan started his President’s message saying that the meeting was being held in accordance with Robert’s Rules of Order and that the meeting was being recorded, archived and live streamed.  Whelan wished the membership a Happy Holidays whether it be a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Joyous Kwanza or a Happy Festivus.   (For those that want to celebrate, Festivus is Monday, December 23rd.) Whelan complimented Nicole Clemens for the wonderful job on the centerfold pages of the Newsletter.   The “2019 Year in Review” contains pictures of accomplishments and events. Whelan further stated that Nicole couldn’t be at the meeting due to a death in her family.  He also stated that Ange Noonan was attending her daughter’s graduation and Earl Frank, Chair of Finance and Planning was absent due to a family gathering. Whelan also congratulated Darryl Gamble on all the upgrades to our facilities. He stated it was a pleasure to walk into the Community Center and the Administration building.  The ambiance is warm and inviting.  Whelan went on to say that we have had numerous dues increase meetings that were unsuccessful but the need still exists for an increase. After the meeting in May the board worked hard with the money they had.  A lot was accomplished with our limited resources.  The board wanted to prove they were good stewards of the association money. Pocono Mountain West High School (PMWHS) has been reserved for March 7, 2020 for another request for an increase. If an increase is granted, the board is looking to hire additional public safety and maintenance staff.  In addition, if the proper funding is granted, the board wants to focus on road work that is needed throughout the community.  It should be noted that if there is a snow storm on February 29th, PMWHS will bump us from the March 7th date. In that case the meeting will be moved to the Community Center.  In the case of a snow storm on March 7th, the meeting will be postponed till March 14th at the Community Center.  Proxy voting will be in effect, so anyone who wishes may cast their vote by mail.  The board is also aware that the membership is not fond of long winded speeches, since 16 people that registered to vote at the last meeting never cast their votes.  The board will have a handout that will contain all the information needed.  There will be brief comments from the board and management and time will be allotted for the membership to talk.  With the improved counting procedure, it is anticipated the meeting to take less than one hour. 

Bill Baehr, Treasurer, gave an abbreviated report since the meeting was being held early due to the holidays and this month’s financials were not ready. Delinquency collections are as follows for the month of November:

  • Associate Collections $1,526.28
  • Sunrise collections $ 9,621.92
  • In house collections  $86,401.55
  • Special Payment Plan $4,578.85
  • Attorney collections $ 2,250.00

TOTAL – $104,378.60

Dave Borsos made a motion to accept the Treasurer’s report.  It was seconded by Bob Leon and passed unanimously.

Bill Baehr made a motion to accept the November’s minutes.  It was seconded by Bob Leon and passed unanimously.

Under New Business it was reported:

  • The new badging system and new web site went operational at the same time.  There were a few bugs to work out but Gamble is comfortable that all will work out.  There was an issue with the bar code being too short on a few IDs, which was corrected and badges are being checked at the compactor and Community Center. A deadline will be given to the membership to have their ID pictures taken. The new Web site had issues with registration.  The membership was advised to call administration if they are having issues registering.  If you are not receiving email blasts you should also contact the administration office.    
  • There have been complaints about staff standing around at the Community Center. Gamble explained that we have limited staffing and that he is still feeling out the schedule. Mike Ramos from Public Safety wears many hats.  He was at this meeting recording the live stream.  Gamble also appreciates all the volunteers that are checking badges at the Community Center.
  • Information is being accumulated on our dams.  RKR Hess has inspected the dams and we are waiting on their report.  The mapping of the dams needs to be corrected at a cost of $3,800.  Water at the dams needs monitoring and is more complex so a training course will be provided to our maintenance staff, management and a few other individuals.  Valve inspection and scoping still needs to be completed.
  • Compactor bag restrictions and ice fishing is a discussion that the board will have at a workshop meeting planned for January 11, 2020.  Some individuals are dumping construction waste in the compactors which causes additional pick-ups being required.  Construction waste is heavier and some people are arriving with full trailers.  The board will decide what restrictions and/or fines will be implemented.  Ice fishing banning is another topic for discussion.  The fishing club members will be invited to this session.  Linda Shuey from the audience stated that the fishing club has made recommendations in the past but the board has ignored them.     The General Manager disputed this.      

Save the Date Reminders:

  • Trivia Night – December 13th at 8:00 PM in the Community Center.
  • Karaoke Night – December 14th at 8:00 PM in the Community Center.
  • Vendor Event – December 15th between 11:00 AM and 4:00 PM at the Community Center.
  • Story time with Santa – December 21st at 1:00 PM in the Community Center.  $10 per child.  Sign up at the Administration building.
  • New Year’s Eve Masquerade Party – December 31st at 8:00 PM to 1:00 AM in the Community Center. Tickets will be sold at the Administration building for $20 each. 

(Going forward Karaoke night will be held the second Saturday of every month, and Trivia night will be held the third Friday of every month.)

Director’s Comments

Dave Borsos stated that the Community Center is looking wonderful with the newly opened pool, the holiday decorations and the new conversation pit by the fireplace.  He just asks that people do not damage all the furniture and improvements that were made.  Borsos wished everyone a good and safe holiday season.

Bill Baehr agreed that a dues increase is necessary.  The cost of road maintenance, compactor fees have all gone up and additional staff is needed.  He stated that if you added the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) to the last time we had an increase our dues would be at $2,100 a year.  Baehr complimented the staff on the holiday decorations in the Community Center and acknowledged the volunteer program that Ange Noonan started where members are checking badges at the door.  He and Noonan personally walk through the pool area when it closes and pick up trash and straighten out and fluff the pillows.  Baehr further stated that next Sunday will be a year since he moved into his home in Emerald Lakes and it has been the best year of his life.  He has made numerous friends and was elected to the board.  He is blessed to have met and developed so many new friendships.

Bob Leon stated that the pool is open from 1:00 PM to 7:00 PM on Sundays with the bar and grill closed.  Water aerobics is Monday, Wednesday and Friday between 9:00 AM and 11:00 AM and the water temperature was 79 degrees and going up.  There is also an opportunity to swim laps during water aerobics.  Leon ended with thanking Gamble for repairing the road on Cedar Drive by the Pine Beach Dam.

Committee Reports

Ken Shuey, Chair of the Maintenance committee stated that they met on November 11th and wanted to reinforce their recommendation of adding line painting (especially on the main roads) as a dedicated line item on the next budget. Whelan stated it will be done and that he is a proponent of line painting.  He agrees that this process is a safety issue, especially during foggy weather.

Public Comments

Louise Leon stated that this is the best darn board, management team and Tom our accountant.  As a former life guard herself, she does not feel it is a good idea to have a mommy and children swim without life guards.

Mary Kavanagh asked if there was a deadline for the members to get their picture IDs and was told that one will be set.  She also inquired about the process for the event’s form and how long does it take to get approved. She was told that Nicole Clemens initially gets the form and looks for the availability of the Community Center.  When the new web site was implementation last month, not all of the private pre-booking carried over, however, the approval will be done quickly.  Kavanagh also stated that she was happy with the board decision to take care of the yellow lines on the roadways.

Nine (9) new members were welcomed to the Community.

Bill Baehr made the motion to adjourn.  It was seconded by Bob Leon.  Meeting adjourned at 11:35  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, November 16, 2019

by Kathy Leslie-Whelan

The meeting was called to order at 9:31 AM by President Buz Whelan. All board members were present.  Following the pledge of allegiance, Buz Whelan started his President’s message saying that following the meeting there would be an executive meeting to discuss employee Christmas bonuses. He stated that he dedicated his haircut to Joe Shedlock who always told him he would look better with a haircut. Well he cut his haircut, but the looking better part didn’t work out.  Whelan complimented the Maintenance and the Finance and Planning Committees for doing a great job on the minutes for their  respective meetings.  The minutes are to document action or important points discussed.  Whelan further stated that these two committees are looking for more volunteers.  The meetings for the Maintenance committee are held on the third Thursday of the month while the Finance and Planning Committee meets on the third Saturday of the month.  Whelan stated that due to the holidays the next open board meeting will be held on December 14th.  Whelan stated that the indoor pool opened with great success.  He thanked Darryl Gamble for the beautiful decorating.  There is more to be done in the dining and bar areas.  Whelan also stated that we are preparing for the snow season.

Bill Baehr, Treasurer, gave an abbreviated report since this month’s meeting was being held early due to Thanksgiving. Delinquency collections are as follows:

  • In-house collections of dues is at $663,204 YTD or 69% of all collections.
  • For October $44,541 was collected in house.

Delinquency Collections (YTD)

  • Special Payment Plan Collections – $53,973
  • In House Collections Prior Year – $190,756
  • Attorney Collections – $83,185
  • Sunrise CA Collections  – $54,964

Bob Leon made a motion to accept the Treasurer’s report.  It was seconded by Chris Claude and passed unanimously.

Steve Kavanagh made a motion to accept the October’s minutes.  It was seconded by Bob Leon and passed unanimously.

Under Old Business it was reported:

  • The indoor pool opening went smoothly.  The pool and air temperature must be within 2 degrees.  Gamble can operate the system by his phone.  If we have an electrical outage, the system needs to be restarted.  Gamble is looking for a watchdog/volunteer program so that more individuals are trained in the restart of this system. He is also looking to get a generator for the Community Center with possible state or federal funding.  ServPro will have money deducted from their invoice since they did not complete all the items on the contract such as clean up and replacing electrical fixtures.  The indoor pool budget was tight but we came very close to the initial dollar amount.  In the future a breakdown of all the expenses will be available.  Gamble is looking to extend the pool hours in the future.  One thought was to extend the Adult Water Aerobic time by 1 hour for a parent/child swim where swimming lessons will be available.  With the heating of the pool a bigger tank may be required for the dehumidification system.  This system runs on electricity and gas (mostly gas).  Thermometers were ordered for the pool area.  Next year’s budget will include money for a contract with the manufacturer of the dehumidification system which includes maintenance and remote monitoring.
  • The badging system is up and running.  A number of new badges have been handed out.  The schedule for having your picture taken and receiving new passes will be during regular business hours for the Administration building with the exception of Wednesday to allow staff to complete their regular work.  For the next month there will be extended hours on Thursday and Friday (4:00 PM – 8:00 PM) where only badges will be passed out.   Eventually old passes will not be accepted.
  • The new web site is up and running.  An invitation was sent out to the membership.  Currently 1,023 are utilizing the site while 730 have not responded to the invitation.

Under New Business:

  • The Administration building and compactor will be closed on Thanksgiving.  The Compactor will reopen on Saturday.  The office will reopen on Monday in order to give non-essential staff a 4 day weekend.  The Community Center and pool will be opened for regularly scheduled hours.

Save the Date Reminders:

  • Christmas Party  – December 7th at 12:00 PM in the Community Center.  Crafts, letters to Santa, tree decorating etc.
  • Trivia Night – December 13th at 8:00 PM in the Community Center.
  • Karaoke Night – December 14th at 8:00 PM in the Community Center.
  • Story time with Santa – December 21st at 1:00 PM in the Community Center.  $10 per child.  Sign up at the Administration building by December 9th.
  • New Year’s Eve Party – December 31st at 8:00 PM in the Community Center. Tickets will be sold.  No price on this event at this time.

Director’s Comments

Bill Baehr wished everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.

Ange Noonan is looking for volunteers to sit at the front desk of the community center to check badges.

Chris Claude wished everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.  He also stated that we need to get the window system at the indoor pool up and running so that staff wasn’t running back and forth with food to the pool area.

Bob Leon stated that last Saturday was busy in The Community Center with the pool, bingo and karaoke.  Our staffing was not sufficient.

Steve Kavanagh encouraged all to come out to karaoke.

Dave Borsos stated that it is exciting with the changes that are happening.  The pool area is beautiful and is better than in most motels/hotels.  He encourages people to work the front desk and ended with wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.

Committee Reports

Earl Frank of Finance and Planning started his report that over $13K came is as transfer fees so 13 homes sold last month.  Collection dues were down a little for the month but overall collections are up.  Rental fees will exceed the budget but the Association is overdue for a dues increase.  Refuse removal fees are down $30 to $40 K due to Gamble changing companies. Frank complimented Clemens and Gamble for negotiating a 20% decrease effective December 1st on the staff benefit packages while maintaining the same coverage. The bar and grill inventory is down to $2,111.  CEO collections are up.  25 judgments on delinquent properties yielded 25 favorable outcomes to the Association.  Due to in house collections, dues compliance is at 73%.  American Cancer Associations donation was $3,864.  Franks gave a shout out to Tom Mugan for doing a good job on the monthly financials and to Kathy Whelan for taking minutes.  His committee is looking for a list of all fixed assets from outside accountant, Bill Owens.  The committee also recommended that the Community Center open the bar on Sundays since it is opened for the pool so that we can take advantage of the TV football package.  Also recommended were for Public Safety to do an article for the newsletter on their responsibilities; monthly article on their stats; and an article on Rich Goldstein and his contributions as an animal advocate.  Frank ended with saying that if we want a vibrant community we need to have our dues increased.  Whelan stated that they will move forward with setting up a date for February for such meeting.  If the increase passes 75% will go into operations and 25% into reserves.  If passed in February it will give time to adjust the budget and have in place the billing for May.  Directed proxy will be an option for the first time.

Public Comments

Cookie Litwienski asked if we can now have 3 story homes. She was told that since the township no longer had that requirement, an owner can get a permit for a 3 story structure.  Our Rules and Regulations need to be updated.

Mary Kavanagh stated that on Saturday night at the Community, children were coming into the dining room with wet bathing suits on and creating puddles.  This could create  a hazardous situation.

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

  Meeting adjourned at 10:45 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, October 26, 2019

by Kathy Leslie-Whelan

The meeting was called to order at 9:34 AM by President Buz Whelan. All board members were present.  General Manager Darryl Gamble was absent due to a family sickness.  Following the pledge of allegiance, Buz Whelan started his President’s message saying the meeting is being live streamed and that Robert’s Rules of Order will be in effect where no Association rule is in place.   He announced that the indoor pool will be opening soon, but he wanted Gamble to announce the opening date.  Whelan stated that mostly cosmetic work needs to be completed and the opening will be a soft opening while certain tasks are still being done.

Bill Baehr, Treasurer began his report by stating that we operated within budget for the month of September.  The Bar and Grill income was $2,681.58 while expenses were $3,877.66.  Expenses included payroll, taxes and supplies.  The cost to operate the Bar and Grill was $1,196.08.  Our Code Enforcement Officer collections are at $60.9K YTD while $60K was budgeted for the year.  Public Safety is under budget due to an open position.  Maintenance is within budget due to no snow removal having to be performed.  Refuse removal was at $56K which is down from last year’s total of $180K.  This is largely due to the change in Contractors.  Administration budget was over by $10K.  Recreations and Amenities Pool Maintenance is over budget primary due to pool maintenance.  Benefit package rates for employees has gone down by 20% while maintaining the same coverage.  These new rates are effective December 1st.  Total cash receipts is at $113K.  The total for cash disbursements is $210K.  Capital income expense is at $80K. YTD $144K for the dehumidification system and $187K for indoor pool repairs.  Total is $331K YTD.  Collections of dues YTD is at $504K. 

Delinquency collections YTD are as follows:

Special Payment Plan collections – $47,620.07

In House collections – $173,552.72

Attorney collections – $82,185.86

Sunrise Collection Agency collections – $54,964.44

Income from the rental program collections current YTD is $124K.  Bob Leon made a motion to accept the Treasurer’s report.  It was seconded by Dave Borsos and passed unanimously.

Bob Leon made a motion to accept the September’s minutes.  It was seconded by Steve Kavanagh and passed unanimously.

Under Old Business it was reported:

  • The indoor pool basically only has cosmetic work to be completed.  According to Chris Claude, they are working on punch list items.
  • The badging system has had a few delays.  The computer in the Community Center was older so a patch needed to be built.  It is anticipated that staff will be ready to go in approximately 2 weeks.
  • A new surround sound system has been installed at the Community Center to replace old speakers that were not worth finding replacements. A new microphone and cord is needed.  Steve Kavanagh is looking for those items. 
  • Leaf drop suspension will be October 31st.  Staff need to clean area and prepare for winter.

Save the Date Reminders:

  • Comedy Show – October 26th at 8:00 PM in the Community Center.  Tickets are still available.
  • Trunk or Treat – October 31st at 6:00 PM in the Community Center parking Lot.  A small party for children will be held in the Community Center afterwards.
  • Trivia Night – November 1st at 8:00 PM in the Community Center. If this event is successful another night will be added every month.
  • Karaoke Night – November 9th at 8:00 PM in the Community Center.
  • 80’s Dance Party – November 30th at 8:00 PM in the Community Center.

Under New Business:

  • Bar and Grill hours are Friday and Saturday between 5:00 PM and midnight.  Pool and Community Center hours of operation will be Friday and Saturday between 4:00 PM and 9:00 PM and Sunday from 1:00 PM to 7:00 PM.  If pool has more traffic the hours may be extended to Thursday.  In the future a pass through window will be added to the indoor pool so that finger foods or regular food, while the kitchen is opened, can be served.
  • Community Center rental rates will be discussed by this board as well as rules for these rentals.

Director’s Comments

Ange Noonan thanked everyone participating in Cancer Bingo and Tricky Tray on Cancer Awareness Day.  A little over $4,300 was raised for the American Cancer Society.

Bob Leon stated that the board is no longer holding workshops on a monthly basis.  They will be quarterly or whenever the need arises.  He also stated that since we are streaming the open meeting, more people are seeing the open meetings.  Last month, 90 people viewed the meeting.

Bill Baehr clarified that the Community Center will be opening at 7 PM tonight for the comedy show.  He also stated that the ELA webpage should have the newsletter posted.  He gave kudos to Ange Noonan and all the volunteers who put together the cancer awareness event.

Dave Borsos thanked all that volunteered to clean up the main entrance.  He also stated that he is happy receiving the minutes from the committees and appreciates the recommendations.

Committee Reports

Earl Frank of Finance and Planning complimented Bill Baehr on his treasurer’s report.  He welcomed Mary Kavanagh as a new member to the committee.  He stated that F&P spent over 1 hour of the 2 hour meeting on the bar and grill.  He is happy the board is addressing the cost for this amenity.  Frank also recommended that we needed another full time maintenance staff member.  Bill Henry attended his final F&P meeting since he is moving from ELA.  Frank offered to send an Uber for him since he contributed for years to this committee.  Whelan laughed and stated that Bill has ELA in his heart.  He built his first home here in 1968. Whelan further stated that a dues increase meeting will be planned for the near future, possibly in February.  Direct proxy voting will be implemented.  The board did not want to ask for the increase until certain projects were completed and a new way was instituted to operate the bar and the grill.  All material will be preprinted for the special meeting.  The board wants to be as efficient as possible by allowing 15 to 20 minutes for discussion.  Voting should take place within 1/2 hour of the start of the meeting.  Whelan hopes that the membership will open their hearts and their wallets.

Ken Shuey of the Maintenance committee stated that they have no recommendations, but discussed two issues which haven’t been done due to lack of funds.  The mail building at the main entrance needs sprucing up since it doesn’t give a good impression to people coming in.  He also stated that the landscaping at the main entrance should be turned over to a professional landscaper.  Shuey also stated that the map of the community at the main entrance needs updating. 

Public Comments

Mary Kavanagh stated if an event is happening at ELA she is requesting that people share the flyer or notice to try to reach a wider audience.  She also stated that the mail boxes at Glade Drive are getting very crowded and the area needs to be expanded.  Nicole Clemens stated that since the new address system was implemented in PA, every house needs a mail box assigned to it.

Linda Shuey stated that there is a house near Main beach on Mountain Top Rd that is 3 stories and against our rules and regulations.

Eleven (11) new members were welcomed to the Community.

Whelan addressed housekeeping notes.  Due to the holiday season the open meeting will be as follows:

November 16th (third Saturday)

December 14th (second Saturday)

Bob Leon made a motion to adjourn. It was seconded by Steve Kavanagh.  Meeting adjourned at 10:45 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, September 28, 2019

by Kathy Leslie-Whelan

The meeting was called to order at 9:34 AM. All board members were present.  Following the pledge of allegiance, Buz Whelan started his President’s message, stating that this is the first meeting of our political year. On reflection he spoke of two important bylaw changes that were passed last year.  The first being quarterly payments with no fees and the second allowing direct proxy voting. Whelan spoke of the upgraded equipment, outdoor pool and the upgrading currently happening with the indoor pool. He stated we are in a good position to face snow removal.  Looking forward Whelan stated that money is tight and he commends management staff with stretching our dollars but the board has a fiduciary responsibility to request a dues increase in the near future.  Whelan stated he wants to see us as the premier community that we once were.  Whelan stated the rental program is a success.  In 2014, the board decided to make us a rental friendly community. We went from making approximately $20K per year in fees to last year making $120K. This year we have made $131K with 8 months still to go.  Whelan is optimistic for the coming year.  There is a better relationship between the board and the membership.

Bill Baehr, newly elected board member and Treasurer began his report by thanking everyone that voted for him. He believes good things are happening and will continue to happen within our wonderful community.  In reviewing the August report total numbers we operated within budget.  Administrative cost were $7K over budget due to management and accounting fees.  Public Safety costs were $4.4K under budget due to an open position.  Recreation/Lakes/Pools and the Bar and Grill operated within budget.  Maintenance were $2.4K under budget due to no cost for snow removal.  On the income side, dues and fees income is at approximately 50% of the $1.4M projected.  Dues late fees are $52K year to date.  Code Enforcement collections are at $51K YTD, while $60K was budget for the entire year.  Delinquency collections YTD are as follows:

Special Payment Plan collections – $42,430.95

In House collections – $148,708.84

Attorney collections – $63,185.86

Sunrise Collection Agency collections – $49,383.85

Income from the rental program collections current YTD is $131,189.03 while last year’s total is at $120,000.07.  Baehr stated that he is currently working with the F&P chair, the board president and the General Manager on developing a format that will present a clear picture of the finances to the membership.  The new format is expected to be completed for the October newsletter. Bob Leon made a motion to accept the Treasurer’s report.  It was seconded by Steve Kavanagh and passed unanimously.

Bob Leon made a motion to accept the July minutes.  It was seconded by Steve Kavanagh and passed unanimously.

Dave Borsos, board secretary and Judge of Elections reported on the results of voting at the annual meeting.  Both financial resolutions passed. Resolution # 1, which is disposition of surplus funds, votes came  in at 76 to 7.  This allows the board to decide how to apportion any surplus thus allowing the Association to attain preferential tax treatment of any surplus.  Resolution # 2 which is apportionment of annual assessments, votes came in at 72 to 8.   This resolution makes it clear to the IRS that the board is authorized to split the membership assessments between the operating and capital budgets. Direct Proxy voting votes were 67 yes and 16 no. Ange Noonan and Bill Baehr each won a three year director spot and Bob Leon won a one year director spot.  No votes were disqualified.

Under Old Business it was reported:

  • The indoor pool repairs is on schedule.  There is a problem with the decking and ServPro will repair.  Strand pool has started working on the electrical components of the pool and on Monday will start sandblasting the interior of the pool.  This is the last physical component for the work on the pool. 
  • The badging system is operational but waiting on training for the staff.  Training is scheduled for Wednesday, October 3rd.  Staff is hoping that by the 15th they will be ready to go with the new badges for the community.
  • A new surround sound system, under $500 will be installed at the Community Center to replace old speakers that were not worth finding replacements.
  • Joe Gallagher has treated West Emerald Lake, Pine Tree Lake and Deer Lake for excessive lily pads in September.  A new safe chemical was used.  It will take a year before the chemicals work.  Gamble has taken pictures of the lily pads so that he can check next year to see that the treatment was effective. The membership was cautioned that some growth is necessary for a healthy lake.  Joe Gallagher will be invited to an open board meeting in April or May to address the memberships concerns and answer questions.
  • Leaf/branch drop suspension will be October 31st.  Staff need to clean area and prepare for winter.  Branches will not be accepted till spring, however leaves will be accepted till November 15th.
  • The metal container at the compactor was switched out to Mascaro.  There is no longer money to be made on recycling.  The metal container fee is $325 to pull but the Association will get 50% of any profits.  Gamble will watch costs closely.  The Association cannot afford to maintain a loss.  If there is a loss for the metal container a decision will have to be made to either eliminate the container or charge the individual for items thrown away.  Gamble stated that if a member is instructed not to dump an item and he doesn’t take heed of the warning from staff, their information will be turned over to Pocono Regional Police and the Waste Authority for illegal dumping.  A $500 fine will be issued to the offending party from Pocono Regional.  The same fine may be issued by the Association.
  • In October, one more dirt road will be paved at Glade and Seneca Court.  The swalls have been cleaned and corrected.  Rolled patch was used successfully throughout the community.  Dirt road potholes were filled and re-stoned.  a tar buggy will be utilized in Spring.  Gamble will try to winter seal the visible cracks. New speed bumps are being considered.
  • Bar and Grill hours are Friday and Saturday between 5:00 PM and midnight.  They may open for specific Sunday games such as the Super bowl.  Days and times may increase with the opening of the indoor pool.  On long Monday holiday weekends they may open the bar and grill on the Sunday nights to see if there is traffic.  Thursday wing night is also being considered.  It was noted that if an event is successful and people are still at the bar and drinking the hours can be extended till 2:00 AM.
  • A dues increase meeting will be planned for the near future.  This board has gone to school on what the membership has voiced concerns on.  All material will be preprinted for the special meeting.  They want to be as efficient as possible by allowing 15 to 20 minutes for discussion.  Voting should take place within 1/2 hour of the start of the meeting.

Save the Date Reminders:

  • Cancer Bingo and Tricky Tray –  October 13th. Doors will open at noon with bingo slated for 2:00 PM.
  • Comedy Show – October 26th at 8:00 PM in the Community Center.  Tickets are on sale now at the Community Center and the Administration Building.
  • Trunk or Treat – October 31st at 6:00 PM in the Community Center parking Lot.  A small party for children will be held in the Community Center afterwards.

Under New Business:

  • Company that handled our website is defunct. Nicole Clemens can send out email blasts and do limited things.   A new company will soon take over after certain bugs are worked out.
  • A new part time staff member has been hired and will start on October 11th (Carissa).  She is well versed in HOA operations and is familiar with programs that we currently use so training will be minimal.

Director’s Comments

Ange Noonan thanked everyone for her votes at the annual meeting.

Bill Baehr also thanked everyone for voting for him and stated he was honored and humbled that he was elected.

Dave Borsos is looking forward to another good year.

A motion for a RESOLUTION for opening an investing account with PNC bank was made by Bob Leon.  Bill Baehr seconded it.  It passed unanimously.  

Committee Reports

Earl Frank of Finance and Planning requested that the minutes from the committee meeting be sent out to all directors at the same time that they are distributed to the committee members.  F&P is looking for a few more members.  Frank stated that the some items on the balance sheets that are now being generated were combined so it is impossible to compare to last year’s numbers.  He is requesting from our accounting firm a list of our fixed assets and deprecation.  Frank stated that we are doing well with our total income but at the rate we are going at the bar and grill we are falling short and it could cost the Association $50K a year.  Bar and Grill costs need to be controlled.  Frank was told that the board met this morning and are working diligently on a plan to implement a system that deals with scheduling personnel, pricing of items served and appropriate staffing levels.

Ken Shuey  of the Maintenance committee stated that they made Bill Henry Honorary Chairman for life at their meeting.  Under old business they feel that the dams are being ignored.  The Pine Tree valve is not functioning and Mountain Top Lake water levels are dropping due to a dam issue.  The committee feels that spending money now may save us a bigger expense down the road. Shuey stated that speed bumps work and are important.  He also stated that there are too many signs and some need to be repaired.  They are recommending that we hire an agent to inspect our green areas to look out for the spotted lantern fly which could cause a problem for us.  In addition they are recommending that we maintain or remove the old brown shed on Bus Road.  Final recommendation is that we do not purchase a vehicle for the Code Enforcement Officer and add it to the items for maintenance. 

Mary Kavanagh of the Real Estate committee stated that they have two new members that joined their committee.   They are changing their agenda so that they can ask questions or have the General Manager present at the beginning of their meetings.  Kavanagh stated that the landlords had questions on the new badging system for short term renters.  They are concerned that rental properties are in compliance with our rules.

Public Comments

Mary Kavanagh stated that a small rental home in her area had 14 cars parked on the property. She reported it to Public Safety.  She also suggested that coupons be given out at trunk or treat to get the kids into the Community Center.

Linda Shuey thanked the board for the recognition of her and her husband at the annual meeting as Volunteers of the Year.  She stated that we should not be building a dog park/walking park.  We should be taking care of the amenities that we already have instead of adding new ones.

Sixteen (16) new members were welcomed to the Community. This count is from July to present.

Steve Kavanagh made a motion to adjourn. It was seconded by Bob Leon.  Meeting adjourned at 11:52 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.

Emerald Lakes Board of Directors Annual Meeting, August 17, 2019

by Kathy Leslie-Whelan

The meeting was called to order at 11:08 AM.  All board members were present.  Following the pledge of allegiance, Buz Whelan, President, announced that we had reached quorum. After introducing the board members, General Manager and association auditor, Bill Owens, Whelan addressed a few housekeeping items.  He stated that the meeting was being recorded and live streamed to the membership and that the meeting would be held in accordance with Robert’s Rules of Order.  He stated that according to Robert’s Rules the minutes from the annual meeting should be approved at the next open meeting.  The minutes from this annual meeting will be approved in September. In addition, our bylaws state that any business other than electing candidates must be conducted prior to the elections meeting, so the resolutions will be voted on after discussions at the start of the meeting.

Whelan called for a motion to accept last year’s annual meeting minutes.  Chris Claude made a correction to the total of votes received by Al Leslie last year.  The number was changed from 25 votes to 28 votes. Joe Olall stated that the minutes were incomplete since they didn’t contain the total number of ballots cast and the number of disqualified bids.  Steve Kavanagh made the motion to accept the minutes with the corrections.  It was seconded by Bob Leon and passed unanimously.  Olall objected since the total number of ballots cast were not part of the minutes.

The ballots were explained to the membership since voting would take place on the direct proxy voting (yellow ballot) and the two financial resolutions (green ballot).  The floor was open for member comments.

Joe Olall stated that the total number of votes cast is important, and he wants to know who is voting.  He stated that last year members were voting that had no right to vote. Until we had a better process in hand he was against this resolution.

Steve Gotfried encouraged people to vote for the resolution to allow members who cannot attend the meeting a right to vote.

Anthony Denicker stated that he is not a weekend warrior and feels that proxy voting is important.

Larell Marie Mele stated that we have to consider AirBNB.  The owners of these properties are making money on rentals, so now they can mail in their proxy vote.  She is not sure she is in favor that they have a say.

Debbie DeSimone stated that she is a weekend warrior and pays for two lots and wants a vote.  She requested that her right not be taken away.  All property owners have a right to vote.

Darren Johnson stated that he is a proponent for proxy voting.  If you are paying dues, you have a right to vote.  His concern is that the community is not leveraging technological advances.

The membership was allowed to vote on the direct proxy voting and the two financial resolutions at this time.

Whelan started his President’s message, stating that promises were made last year by Steve Kavanagh, Chris Claude and himself.  They kept these promises of transparency by live streaming and archiving meetings.  Only one executive session was held in December and that was to discuss employee bonuses. Whelan stated that the indoor pool should be opened in the next 3 to 4 weeks. The pool will be heated, have a world class dehumidification system, multi colored new lighting and the apron will be refinished.

Whelan handed the floor over to Vice President Chris Claude to award the volunteer-of-the-year award to Linda and Ken Shuey for going above and beyond as chair and secretary of the maintenance committee.  Whelan then awarded Al Leslie a Lifetime Achievement Award for his 11 years of faithful service to the board.  Three of those years, Leslie served as President.  Leslie has also given up his Saturday nights to call bingo upwards of 45 times a year for almost two decades.

Our attorney Nick Haros was detained.

Bill Owens of Williams Owens and Company stated that in his financial opinion our audit report is true and correct. Our operating fund is in good condition; our reserve fund has increased but more should be in the fund; spent more this year on repairs; collection rate went from 60% last year to 73.4%; sound year where expenses were controlled.

Under the Treasurer’s report, Steve Kavanagh stated that it has been an interesting year financially. Money was tight, there was much to be done and the dues increase was denied.  Not all bad news since dues collections has been strong.  Delinquent collections for the fiscal year were $589K in total with $313 being collected in-house.  We were able to function and complete many projects and stretch out our money. Three consecutive auditors have identified the need for a dues increase so we will need to request a dues increase in the future.

Dave Borsos, Judge of Elections was introduced next.  He stated that we currently have three slots open for the board with four candidates running.  Two spots will be three year positions and one spot will be a one year position.  Each candidate was given 5 minutes to speak.  No one opted to run from the floor.  If a ballot is damaged it could be swapped for a clean ballot but if the intention of the vote is clear, it will be counted.

Candidates

Bill Baehr spoke from the heart.  He moved into ELA the Sunday before Christmas, which was followed by an ice storm.  He started coming out to the Community Center and participating in events like bingo and karaoke.  He loves to kayak on the lakes and visit the butterfly garden He loves the community and plans on retiring here.  He sees good things happening and wants to help the community move forward. He recognized his fellow running mates as good people and friends.

Jenn Gonzalez has lived in ELA for over 7 years as a renter and the last year as an owner.  She had a special thank you to Darryl Gamble and Nicole Clemens for all their efforts.  Jenn is a no frills person.  She does not sugar coat anything.  She has seen positive changes with a working outdoor pool and soon to be operational indoor pool. She has served on both the Maintenance Committee and the Finance and Planning Committee for the last year.

Bob Leon stated that 10 years ago he started the unofficial Facebook page.  His future agenda is to work on the roads, bath house for the outdoor pool, paved and extended parking at the outdoor pool and to continue with transparency.

Ange Noonon stated that she has been on the board for the last year and many wonderful projects have been completed or are being worked on.  She wants to keep going with working on making this community move in a positive direction.  She wants to continue with the transparency and hoping to get continued support from the association.

After Candidate Voting ballots (pink) were cast the floor was opened up for questions.

  1. How do we enforce fees for short term rentals?

          Response: We ask for voluntary participation and if the fees are       not paid the tenants cannot get passes.  Most short term rentals         are advertised and those sites are monitored by our Chief Compliance Officer and the Real Estate Committee.

  • Is there any recourse for loud noise or fireworks?

Response:  There is a noise ordinance in our bylaws and in the townships that make up Emerald Lakes.  If there is a problem, security should be called.  A warning will be issued and if it continues the owner or landlord will be given a fine. Fireworks is an internal law within the Association.

  • The Auditor report shows $31K in salaries for the Community Center.  Why?

Response: That figure represents recreational expenses which include community center salaries, pool attendants at the outdoor pool and soon indoor pool, events that require staffing such as breakfast with the bunny and Santa, letters to Santa etc.

  • What happened to our attorney?

Response: He was scheduled to be there but that haven’t heard from him.

Results from Candidate voting:

77 votes cast with no disqualifications

Ange Noonan – 62 (3 Year Term)

Bill Baehr – 50 (3 Year Term)

Bob Leon – 44 (1 Year Term)

Jen Gonzalez – 41

Direct Proxy Voting  Bylaw Change (Passed)

67 Yes

16 No

Financial Resolution # 1 (Passed)

76 Yes

7 No

Financial Resolution # 2 (Passed)

72 Yes

8 No

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, July 27, 2019

by Kathy Leslie-Whelan

The meeting was called to order at 9:35 AM. Six board members were present.  Ange Noonan was absent for personal reasons. Following the pledge of allegiance, Buz Whelan started his President’s message, stating that the minutes in the Call to Meeting are in accordance with Roberts Rules of Order.  The purpose of the minutes is to document what was done, not what everyone said. The board is looking to streamline the process for the annual meeting.  More discussion on this topic is under Old Business.

Under the Treasurer’s report, Steve Kavanagh stated that in June we were $4,600 under budget in the Community Center; $7,000 over budget in Administration due to legal filings: $12,000 over budget in Recreation due to pool maintenance.  Dues income is $45K over last year. Bob Leon made the motion to accept the treasurer’s report.  Dave Borsos seconded it.  It was approved unanimously.

Whelan called for a motion to accept June’s board minutes. Borsos made the motion which was seconded by Leon.  Passed unanimously.

Under Old Business it was reported:

  • According to our bylaws all voting on issues will be done at the onset of the meeting.  Whelan stated that since he has lived here, that was never followed.  The cut off time for getting in line for registration is 11:00 AM where the meeting will be called to order at approximately 11:10 AM.  The first item of business will be proxy voting and will hopefully be completed by 11:30 AM.  At the special meeting in May, 16 ballots were not turned in and the board believes that some of the members did not stay for the voting.  In addition, there are too many people present when the votes are counted.  The accountant will be present for the counting along with two counters and two witnesses.  Ballots will not be disqualified where the intent of the ballot is clear.  Last year the membership was told that ballots will be disqualified for misspelling of the candidates names.  That will not be the case this year.  Dave Borsos, who is the Judge of Elections stated that it is his intention to have a clean, smooth and quick count of the ballots.

          Amenities Update

  • Indoor pool has been drained.  ServPro will start the mold remediation on Monday, July 29th. Strand Pool will be completing some of their contracted work while ServPro is working.  A fuller schedule on this work will be forthcoming once the work commences but it is anticipated that the mold removal will be 21 days, resurfacing the pool will be 3 to 5 days and sandblasting will be 3 to 5 days.  PPL needs to do some final work on the dehumidification system before it can be started up.
  • The dog park and walking areas are pending but still slated to be completed.
  • Due to budgetary reasons the purchase of a vehicle for the Code Enforcement Officer will be put off.  He will temporarily use a Public Safety vehicle.

Save the Date Reminders:

  • Meet the Candidates – August 10th at 10:00 AM in the Community Center.
  • Saturday Night Karaoke – August 10th at 8:00 PM at the Community Center.
  • Annual Meeting – August 17th Pocono Mountain West High School. Registration begins at 9:30 AM.
  • 50’s Dance Party – August 17th at 8:00 PM in the Community Center.
  • Bill Henry Send Off – August 25th at 1:00 PM in the Community Center.
  • Community-Wide Yard Sale – September 6th, 7th and 8th.
  • Comedy Show – October 26th at 8:00 PM in the Community Center.
  • Trunk or Treat – October 31st in the Community Center parking Lot.

Under New Business:

  • Since the rules are not clearly defined for issuing member IDs and guest passes the following was proposed and accepted unanimously by the board:
  • Homeowner (except landlords) will be issued 10 personal/general passes. If a member owns more than one property he will only be issued 10.
  • Landlords will be issued 2 personal IDs. {EDIT: Landlords will get picture ids for immediate family members only, and no guest passes}
  • Long Term Renters who pay $400 annually will be issued up to 6 personal  IDs.  Any passes for guests will have to be purchased.
  • Short term renters can purchase passes ($10 per person for a daily pass; $25 per person for a three day pass; $40 per person for at 7 day pass.)
  • Children 6 and under do not require a pass but must be accompanied by an adult with a pass.
  • Homeowner may purchase as many passes as they want at the above cited rates.
  • Owner’s Ids cannot be shared.  If there is a violation of this the member will forfeit their pass for a period of time as well as be fined.  Rules and Regulations will be tasked with determining the amount for the fine.
  • Short term renters who buy passes will be considered short term associate members and will be able to use the bar and grill.
  • Owner’s guest passes can be used without the member present at the outdoor amenities.
  • Owners must accompany guests at the Community Center and indoor pool.
  • Long term renters get picture IDs for family members only.

(A motion was made by Borsos to accept the above rules which were seconded by Leon.  It passed unanimously.)

  • Outdoor Pool Behavior – Pool attendants will have the authority to stop bad behavior and have an individual removed from the pool area. There were incidents of children jumping into the pool with the chairs that are provided for the membership.  The members should also dress appropriately since there are children at the pool.
  • Additional Speed Bumps will be purchased.  Management will control where these bumps are installed.
  • Mountain Top Lake dam will go up for a tax sale on September 11th if the owner doesn’t pay his taxes by that time. The Association lost control of the property 10 years ago. The Association could buy that property back for $7K or buy it for $800 out of repository later if it does not sell.  Discussions will be held with the attorney.

Director’s Comments

Al Leslie stated that this will be his last open meeting on the board and it was an honor for him to serve.  He has served the community for 11 years.

Bob Leon stated that he is a regular visitor at the outdoor pool and he recommends that the parking area be paved and expanded in the future.

Whelan thanked Al Leslie for his 11 years on the board and stated that for 3 years Al served as President.  In addition, he thanked him for his dedication to Saturday night bingo.  Whelan said that since he has lived in Emerald Lakes, Leslie has hosted at least 600 bingo nights, an incredible record.

Dave Borsos announced that he is judge of elections and that we currently gave five declared candidates for three positions.  Two of the positions are for three year terms, while one is for a one year term.

Committee Reports

Earl Frank of Finance and Planning stated that he hopes the Auditor is making progress on the annual audit of the Association.  He requested that in the future either the Manager or Assistant Manager sit in on the meeting to address any questions that the committee may have. Frank stated that out of the $313K collected in dues for current and delinquent members, 75% was collected in-house.   Frank stated that more porta-potties are required at the outdoor pool and that an article should be written to inform the membership of Public Safety’s duties.

Cookie Litwienski of the Nomination/Election committee stated that she had two members on her committee and she planned on letting people ask questions from the floor.  In addition, Nicole Clemons was sending an email blast to the membership to submit questions by a certain deadline.

Linda Shuey of the Maintenance committee stated that they discussed a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) be prepared for lake maintenance. She also felt that we should not be moving forward with adding another amenity (dog park) that needs to be maintained. 

Public Comments

Linda Shuey asked about the valve on Mountain Top Lake.

Bill Henry stated that the committees are getting smaller.  Linda Shuey stated that is because the board doesn’t pay attention to their recommendations so they feel they are wasting their time.  Earl Frank stated he disagreed with Linda and that the board has taken action on many of Finance and Planning’s recommendations.

Mary Kavanagh stated that she has been in the community for 17 years and she feels that this past year has been fantastic.  She has seen improvements and she is hopeful that improvements will continue next year with a newly seated board.

Cookie Litwienski asked if someone could weed the front entrance.

No new members were welcomed to the Community.

Borsos made a motion to adjourn. It was seconded by Kavanagh.  Meeting adjourned at 11:52 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.

Emerald Lakes Board of Directors Open Meeting, June 22, 2019

by Kathy Leslie-Whelan

The meeting was called to order at 9:32 AM. Six board members were present.  Al Leslie was absent for personal reasons. Following the pledge of allegiance, Buz Whelan turned the floor over to our outside Auditor, Bill Owens, who addressed the room on Proxy voting which will be voted on at the annual meeting on August 17th at Pocono Mountain West High School. The presentation was live-streamed and will be available to the membership for viewing until the August meeting.  This will eliminate the need for the presentation to take place at the annual meeting.   Owens has over 15 years of experience handling proxy voting with other communities in the Poconos. Owens firm now handles proxy voting for approximately 50 communities a year. Currently Emerald Lakes votes by paper ballot on the day of the election.  A proxy system would allow a member in good standing to vote by appointing someone to vote for that member at the meeting. Owens explained three types of proxy voting.  (The vote at ELA will be for Directed Proxy voting.)  The three types are:

  1. Directed Proxy votes cannot be manipulated.   Members will be able to mail in their ballots to an independent 3rd party.  Ballots will be turned over at the meeting to an appointed individual who will cast the ballots for the member.  This individual could be the board, the Association Auditor, Secretary, the Judge of Elections or any board designated member. All these votes cast can be revoked by the member who cast the ballot at the open meeting if that individual wishes to change his vote.
  2. Undirected proxy votes give a member’s right away to another member where that individual can cast your vote the way they want.
  3. Absentee ballots are done on a mail in basis and cannot be changed at the meeting by the individual that cast the vote.

The process for the proposed system is that proxies will be mailed to all members of the Association. The proxy would be completed by the member and mailed to an independent third party.  These proxies must be received by the 3rd party prior to a predetermined date.  The independent third party would determine if the proxies received are from a member in good standing based on accounts receivable records at the predetermined date. The independent third party would count the votes received by the members in good standing and will bring the ballots to the open meeting and turn them over to the individual who was appointed to cast the proxy ballots. It was emphasized that the individual designated to cast the direct proxy ballots may not alter the ballots in any way.  In addition, the independent third party would also send a listing of the members that voted to the administration office (without voting information) to ensure that no member that submitted a ballot to the independent third party will receive another ballot if they attend the open meeting. A member can revoke their proxy at any time prior to the start of the meeting.

Questions from the membership:

Cookie Litwienski asked about the people that run from the floor. Owens stated that they cannot change any ballot so they will be submitted as received.  If a member wants to revoke their ballot that they submitted they will be issued new ballots at the open meeting so they can vote in person. Whelan stated that write-in candidates do not have to attend “Meet the Candidates” which is a very stressful but important process. In addition, their 5-minute candidate speech goes unchallenged.  It is justified and fair that those candidates have a slight disadvantage.

John Palmisano asked if any of the communities that Owens handles proxy voting for utilize internet voting, and why are we not using.  Owens stated that his firm only handles one community that utilizes this type of voting.  In this case, an information packet is sent out to only members in good standing.  A pin code is included in these packets only allowing the member to vote once.  A small issue is that not all members have computers so the Association will have to supply a voting station at the Administration office for people to vote.

Bill Henry asked what percentage of the other communities have used proxy voting.  Owens stated that there are always ballots cast under proxy voting. If we get 1/3 of the members in good standing voting, it is a good result.

Linda Shuey thanked the board and Mr. Owens for addressing the concerns that the membership had.  She cautioned the board on the bylaw changes that would be required and asked how the voting would effect quorum.  Owens stated the proxy votes would count towards quorum.

Under the President’s message, Whelan stated that of the three methods presented by Owens, the membership will be voting on “Directed Proxy”.  He further stated that after reading the bylaws carefully, all voting on issues will be done at the onset.  The cut off time for getting in line for registration is 11:00 AM where the meeting will be called to order at approximately 11:10 AM.  The first item of business will be proxy voting.  He also stated that it is an open secret that people fill out that ballots and hand them over to a trusted friend to cast.  He wants to find a way to make that legitimate.

Whelan also announced a special event coming up.  Bill Henry, who is our historian, will be leaving ELA.  Bill served on most committees as well as served on the board. Bill is an integral part of the community since buying his first piece of property in 1968.  On Sunday, August 25th, between 1:00 PM and 4:00 PM a roast will be held in his honor at the Community Center. It will be a covered dish event or a $5.00 fee which will go into a gift for Bill.  Whelan will be roasting.  Henry was present at the meeting and stated that the smartest thing that he did was buying his first property.  The second was buying the property next to his home and building another home in 1982.  He has enjoyed ELA for 50 years.

Whelan further stated that karaoke will now take place on the second Saturday of the month instead of Friday.  A greater number of people will be served by this change.  Bingo will continue on Saturdays.

Under the Treasurer’s report, Steve Kavanagh stated that since only a condensed June report is available due to the preparation of the annual audit he will highlight some significant numbers. For our current fiscal year dues collected so far this year total $247,998.  818 members availed themselves to quarterly payments. $111,445 has been collected from delinquent accounts.  Breakdown for delinquent accounts is $57,926 for in-house, $7,855 under special payment plan, $38,284 under attorney collections and $7,378 for Sunrise collections.  Expenses for the bar and grill totaled $2,179 while revenue totaled $2,645.  Money above expenses totaled $466.  $2,009 was spent to stock the snack shack.  For the two days of May the shack was open it sold $261 of merchandise. Bob Leon made the motion to accept the treasurer’s report.  Chris Claude seconded it.  It was approved unanimously.

Whelan called for a motion to accept May’s board minutes Leon made the motion which was seconded by Kavanagh.  Passed unanimously.

Under Old Business GM Darryl Gamble reported:

  • The outdoor pool is up and running and only a few cosmetic items have to be attended to. The water softener was installed. In addition, Strand pool has set up the equipment for the solar cover.  A line item was added for the snack shack to track expenditures.  All food items that do not sell will be transferred to the Community Center for sale instead of left to spoil.  Soft serve ice cream is now available in chocolate, vanilla or a choc/vanilla twist.  A total cost on all work on the pool will be available when all the invoices are received.
  • Indoor pool is on schedule.  A contract with ServPro is being renegotiated.  Some items are being removed and some added.  Strand pool is ready to start the work on the pool and the roofers will be completing the rubber roof at the Community Center.
  • The dirt road at Gap View road was completed. Clearview will be done in house.
  • Beaches were cleaned up.  Eric Bergstrom is currently helping with installing the buoys.
  • New equipment as been received for the tennis courts and basketball courts.  These facilities will be secured at night and will be opened in the morning.
  • Sign parts have been ordered.
  • The first round of speed bumps have been installed.  More are being ordered.
  • Grass on the side of the road is being cut manually.  Gamble is working with Kubota on correcting the equipment that we currently own.
  • The new truck that replaced big red is on site, registered and insured.
  • We are waiting for the new badging system and web site from the contractor.
  • Annual audit is underway.

Whelan congratulated the General Manager on the work at the outdoor pool.

Under New Business:

  • Annual meeting preparations are underway.  The meeting will be held on August 17th at the local high school.  The “Call to Meeting” must be in the memberships’ hands by July 18th so they hope to have the mailing completed by July 10th.  Whelan stated that we owe a debt of gratitude to Cookie Litwienski for organizing the nominating/election committee.  Anyone who has the time and would like to help her please contact Whelan, Nicole Clemens or Cookie Litwienski.  A picture ID will be required to vote.  Nomination/Election committee chairperson, Cookie Litwienski suggested scheduling “Meet the Candidates” for Saturday August 3rd at the Community Center between the hours of 9:30 AM and 12:00 noon.  One or more of the declared candidates may not be able to attend that date so August 10th has been suggested as an alternative date.  This meeting will be live streamed. 

Director’s Comments

Ange Noonan stated that she has had an exciting and rewarding year on the board and announced that she will be rerunning in August.  She thanked everyone for their support throughout the year. 

Bob Leon also announced that he will be rerunning for the board.  He stated that we are reverting back to the way we were with the 2 pools, new compactors, new truck and equipment. 

Chris Claude stated that he wanted to do a fund raiser for a young man in ELA who is currently battling cancer.  Any ideas would be appreciated.

Whelan thanked Claude for all the work he has done for the Association.  Claude does a lot of work behind the scenes. Whelan also stated that events being held have been successful and are drawing larger crowds.  He feels the community is coming together.  He urged people to come out to events and the Community Center.  He has found the membership warm and welcoming and fun to be around.

Steve Kavanagh announced that on the night of the annual meeting (August 17th), he and his wife will be hosting a ’50s music party.  Come out to dance and have a good time.  He also stated that the Polk Firehouse is having a benefit today for the ELA young man that is battling cancer.

Dave Borsos acknowledged the fishing club that put on the fishing rodeo derby. He stated that we had great volunteers and had a record breaking 45 kids participating.  He thanked the Association for supplying ice cream, Wal-Mart for supplying food and Pocono Boat House for supplying bait. (Please note that Dave and his wife Cathy donated many of the toys that the children won for the various prize categories.)

Borsos also stated that he is in favor of getting in and out of the annual meeting but at the same time it is a good time for us all to come together and be informed citizens.  It would be worth staying for the meeting.  Borsos also asked if there was a cost for Owens to do the proxy voting.  Gamble stated it will be at their hourly rate and the work will be completed in certain blocks of time so it would be easy to keep track of that time.

Committee Reports

Ken Shuey of the Maintenance committee stated that they met this past Thursday but had no recommendation.  They submitted questions for Gamble and are trying to be effective on identifying ways to save money.  He also requested that co-chairs be reassigned to the committees.

Cookie Litwienski of the Nomination/Election committee asked if she could hold meeting at her house since many of the items they discuss are confidential.  The board had no problem with this.

Public Comments

Linda Shuey spoke as a member of Rules and Regulation. She requested that notification to the membership go out of all changes recommended and accepted by the board. She stated that maybe something can be sent out in the “Call to Meeting” so that everyone is aware of the changes. Shuey also thanked for the donations received from the outside vendors for the fishing rodeo.  She also had a shout out to Bonide Co for supplying the ELWAY club with 4 gallons of Repels All, valued at $225. for the milkweed at the butterfly garden. This donation was based on a letter that Ms. Shuey sent out to this manufacturer.

Ken Shuey asked a question pertaining to membership passes.  All members are issued 10 passes but renters can have an unlimited number of passes that they pay for.  Can the membership pay for additional passes if they need them?  The response was yes, members can purchase more passes.

Mary Kavanagh stated that she felt it was great that the board was moving forward with proxy voting. She requested that email blasts go out for karaoke which she and her husband do on a voluntary basis. She stated that Latin night was a success and she hopes people will come out for the ’50s music night.   Kavanagh also inquired if anything can be done about a vacant house across the street from her that has grass that is very high.

Bill Baehr stated that karaoke and bingo is fun.  He has met so many new friends.  The community is beautiful and when he walks around he is proud to be here. Baehr took the time to announce that he will be running for the board in August.

Four new members were welcomed to the Community.

Leon made a motion to adjourn. It was seconded by Kavanagh.  Meeting adjourned at 11:26 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, May 25, 2019

by Kathy Leslie-Whelan

The meeting was called to order at 9:36 am. Six board members were present.  Al Leslie was absent for personal reasons. Following the pledge of allegiance, Buz Whelan made a statement that a grace period will be given to the membership until June 15th to pay dues in full or for the first quarterly payment. He explained that TOPS, the current system that generates the bills, was confusing to the membership.  The membership that paid their dues in advance, had ($750) on the statement.  This represents a credit of $750. Every quarter TOPS will deduct $250 from this credit. 

 Whelan  stated that the board of directors represents the Association and must do what is in its best interest. While members can speak for themselves and act in their own best interests, the association has only the board to look out for it.  The Association would deteriorate if every members wish was taken into consideration.  The Association needs $300K to operate to keep the amenities, roads and facilities in good condition.  The board has a fiduciary (legal) responsibility to ask for this amount again.  The board has an obligation to ask for what is needed.

The Association is changing the way we are currently investing.  Our investments are costing more in management fees than we are gaining, and if money is needed from the account for an emergency, there are penalties for taking out the money.  This investment was cashed out without penalty and will be put into a money market account without fees or penalty for early withdrawal. 

Under the Treasurer’s report, Steve Kavanagh stated that for April we are over budget $7.9K. Maintenance was the highest area that was over budget due to required maintenance on vehicles.  For the fourth month in a row the bar and grill is has taken in more than it spent. Collection for delinquent prior year dues is at $22K for the month of April.  Bob Leon made the motion to accept the treasurer’s report.  Dave Borsos seconded it.  It was approved unanimously.

Whelan called for a motion to accept April’s board minutes.  Kavanagh requested that his name be spelled correctly. Leon made the motion with the correction which was seconded by Kavanagh.  Passed unanimously.

Under Old Business:

  • Whelan stated that a dues increase will be requested again from the membership, probably in the fall. 16 ballots from the Special Meeting were not turned in.  He feels this is because meetings run too long. Whelan has been studying the by-laws and will consult with the attorney regarding changing the way votes are cast.  He stated that there is nothing that he can see in the by-laws where it states that you cannot give your ballot to a trusted friend to put in the ballot box.
  • GM Darryl Gamble reported the outdoor pool is up and running and opened on time for Memorial Day weekend. The water softener for the pool will be installed at a later date and will not affect the pool opening. New picnic tables, umbrellas and chairs were purchased.
  • Outdoor grills for Pine Tree and Main beaches are being refurbished or replaced.
  •  At Pine Tree beach the original well pump burned out and had to be replaced for $10K.  Work on this beach will be done in stages. All safety hazards have been removed so folks can still enjoy the beach. Underlying water issues will be addressed before the retaining wall is replaced and sand added to the beach.  All sand will be beach sand and not septic sand.
  • Main beach is up and ready to go.
  • Gap View road work was started on May 25th. Water damage on Clearview will be corrected before paving is started.  Gamble stated that he hopes to have the roads by Main beach corrected.
  • New equipment was ordered for the tennis courts and basketball courts and should be here within 3 weeks.  The old equipment is still up so that the membership can still use these facilities. In addition, these courts will be secured at night and will be opened in the morning.
  • Gamble explained that trees were removed at the main entrance due to blocking vision of drivers.  Also, there will be additional parking added to the Main entrance mail center.

Under New Business:

  • Summer preparations and underway.  Sand has not been delivered yet.  Currently the sand is wet due to all the rain and it cannot be delivered until it dries.  Main Beach will be sanded first and Pine Tree will be sanded after certain repairs.  As stated above sand will be beach sand as opposed to Septic sand and will be laid at a 3″ thickness.
  • New ropes and buoys will be installed.  Gamble is looking for some fishing guys to help out with the placements.  A flat bottom boat is under consideration so maintenance can have access to do certain tasks in the lakes.
  • K&B completed the well pump work at Pine Tree beach and the outdoor pool. Water testing was completed by Microback.  Microback also takes care of the back end work by reporting any issues to the Board of Health.
  • The dehumidification system for the indoor pool will be delivered on May 31st. Cranes will be showing up the week before.  Since school is still in session, Gamble will reach out to the membership to inform them when the work is starting so they are aware since children will be getting off the school buses.
  • A Rules and Regulation amendment to include replanting of trees when a healthy tree is removed and requirements for driveway paving was approved by consensus.  Borsos made the motion to accept the changes made by the general manager and CEO.  It was seconded by Ange Noonan. Rules and Regulations will be reconvening on June 8th at 9:30 AM in the Administration building.  Since it is a living document it was requested that the changes be sent to the board in sections for approval.  Whelan asked Leon to request the Chair of the committee to come to the open meeting to address the changes and reasoning behind the changes.  Leon stated that a letter should be sent to all chairs of committees to attend open meetings.
  • Under Annual Meeting Agenda, Whelan wants to add Absentee/Proxy Voting.  He stated that everyone’s right to vote is important.  People have family obligations, work issues or physical issues and should have the same rights.  Surrounding communities already have procedures in place that are secure.
  • Whelan alerted the board that a Judge of Elections needs to be appointed for the annual open meeting since the current secretary’s term is up and he will be rerunning.
  • Whelan discussed voting procedures not clearly defined in the bylaws.  He suggested shortening the agenda prior to voting so that the membership can cast their ballots before public comments.  Discussions ensued on disqualified ballots and that if the voter intent is clear it should not be disqualified.  In addition, any member who accidently marked their ballot incorrectly should be allowed to trade in their ballot for a new one since if they cross out an item, that ballot is disqualified.
  • A dog park with a walking path which is not a large investment will be installed on the grass area at the Administration building.  Dogs will be allowed to run.  The member will be responsible for the dog’s behavior and for cleaning up after their dog.
  • A motion by Kavanagh for a 4 day weekend for full time staff for July 4th was seconded by Noonan passed unanimously.  A skeleton crew will be at the Administration building.
  • A community wide garage sale is proposed for the second week of September.

Director’s Comments

Dave Borsos stated he was thankful for the efforts of the men and women working for the community. He also stated that he heard people state that “why would we give you a dues increase to put it into already deteriorating amenities”. Borsos also requested clarification on the mailing of the quarterly dues payments. He was told there would be no future mailing at $2K a pop and that the TOPS system only allows to bill with money paid as a credit.

Steve Kavanagh asked about the badging system.  He was told that it not ready yet.

Chris Claude stated that if anyone remembers the reasoning that members gave for not approving the dues increase at the April 2018 meeting was that the indoor pool was closed.  This year the reason was we are putting too much money into the indoor pool. The board is more fiscally responsible for finding solutions to fix what we have.

Ange Noonan stated that we are fortunate to have the management team that we have.  She reminded Whelan of the Memorial Day function.

Whelan thanked Noonan and stated that on Monday, Memorial Day there will be a 15 minute ceremony to remember all who died for our country at the Main entrance flag pole at 11:45. In addition the compactor will be open on Monday.

Committee Reports

Earl Frank of Finance and Planning stated that the board has to make decisions on how they want to proceed with going back to the membership for a dues increase. Reserves are at $389K.  New capital is at $74K. Equity is at $1.3M. The bar and Grill was $350 over expenses.  Third months in a row the Bar and Grill revenue has exceeded the cost of operation.  F&P recommended that the board put an article in the newsletter and email blast about public safety and what role they play in the community.

Public Comments

Louise Leon stated that this was the best board and that management was wonderful.

Mary Kavanagh stated that the community was going in a good direction and she was sad that the dues increase did not pass.  She was proud that the Latin night in the community center was successful.  She met new people and that the event did not cost the community a penny.  The following Saturday karaoke night was successful also.  Every board member attended.

Whelan bought up the comedy shows that were held in the past and how they were very successful.  Tommy Gooch reached out to Whelan about doing another show in the fall.  Gooch is a headliner in many comedy venues such as the Borgata in Atlantic City.  It was a unanimous agreement to proceed with the show.

No new members were welcomed to the Community.

Leon made a motion to adjourn. It was seconded by Kavanagh.  Meeting adjourned at 11:38 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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by Ken Previti

Americas Education Watch

A child is like a butterfly in the wind. Some can fly higher than others, but each one flies the best it can. Why compare one against the other? Each one is different. Each one is special. Each one is beautiful.

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