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Emerald Lakes Board of Directors Open Meeting, January 28, 2023

By Kathy Leslie-Whelan

          The meeting was called to order at 9:30 AM.  Six board members were present.  Connie Simpson was absent.  General Manager Darryl Gamble and Assistant General Manager, Nicole Clemens was also present.  After the pledge of allegiance, Buz Whelan, President called for a motion to approve December’s open board meeting minutes. After discussions and minor changes to spelling and adding titles a motion was made by Dave Borsos and seconded by Chris Claude.  It passed unanimously.   Whelan further stated that “pursuant to Article V, Section 6 of the Emerald Lakes Association Bylaws, should a vacancy occur, a successor is chosen from the next highest vote tally of the most recent Annual Meeting.  Director Steve Kavanagh having resigned and left the community; such a vacancy was created.  Therefore, Michael Camino having gotten the next highest vote tallies at the August 20, 2022 Annual Meeting is hereby installed as a director on the Emerald Lake Board.  He shall serve until the next Annual Meeting when a director shall be elected to fill the unexpired term”. In addition, since Steve Kavanagh held the secretary board position with Bill Baehr as the backup, Baehr was nominated to fill the position permanently.  Chris Claude made the motion to elect Baehr as Secretary.  It was seconded by Bob Leon.  Baehr was elected unanimously. 

Dave Borsos gave the Treasurer’s report for December.  Currently we are $112K over budget on collection of dues.  Dues collected for December were $63K and Year to Date (YTD) $1.3M.  Rental income is $541K YTD.  Code Enforcement Officer fines are $5K under budget.  Bar and Grill income for December was $4.9K and $37K YTD   Income totals YTD are $2.2M.  Total expenses are $1.9M YTD.  Cash assets are $624K; Reserve funds are $829K; Investment account is $128K.  A motion was made by Bob Leon to accept the Treasurer’s report.  It was seconded by Chris Claude and passed unanimously.

Discussions on the bar and grill ensued.  The cost for food and drink will be broken down and an inventory on stock will be done weekly to determine what the actual costs are for the food and beverages.  In some cases food has to be ordered by the case, so some food is in inventory and will be used at another time.

Under Old Business:

  • Discussions were held on inviting people into the community that are not member but live in the footprint of the Association or next to our properties.  Accurate mailing lists need to be developed. 
  • An electric sign will be installed, most likely at the main entrance.  It will be informative on events or information as to issues in the community.  A lucite or similar cover will be used to avoid vandalism.
  • Currently a form is being developed by Gamble, Clemens and Claude.  The membership will be required to have their septic systems pumped and maintained on a regular basis.

Under New Business

  • Discussions were held on a proposed dues increase.  There are two large projects that are critical to the Association.  The first project was the repair or replacement of the Clover Bridge.  The underneath structure is much deteriorated and may in the future be condemned.  If it is, traffic will have to be rerouted.  This may cause an issue with emergency vehicles and will be an issue for members who use this route often. The second project is the need to replace the Administration building.  Currently there are issues with the outdated electrical wiring which causes a fire hazard.  While snowing it enters the facility which causes mold, mildew and a host of other problems.  The structure is from the 70’s and is in desperate need of replacement.  The plan is to have a modular system built.  This way staff will only be slightly inconvenienced while the structure is being erected.  They will be temporarily relocated to the Community Center (CC).  The dues increase is a 10 year plan with increases of $40.00 every other year. If someone pays quarterly, that is $10.00 per quarter.  This plan addresses membership comments on having more increases with lower dollar increases. This plan will also help to fund the two critical projects.  A motion was made by Baehr to present the increase to the membership and was seconded by Leon.  It passed unanimously.  Another motion was made by Baehr to have the Special Meeting for the proposed dues increase on March 18th.  It was seconded by Borsos and passed unanimously.  It was noted that Claude would not be able to attend this meeting.
  • 2024 will mark the 50th Anniversary of Emerald Lakes becoming an association.  The community was turned over to the Association in 1974.  It was incorporated in 1975.  In 1999, the Association had a 25 year anniversary celebration so in 2024 to celebrate our 50 year Anniversary a big event will be planned.  A brochure will be developed on the 50 year history which will include pictures. 

Committee Reports    

Kathy Whelan spoke on behalf of Finance and Planning (F&P).   The meeting was held on January 20th.  Ms. Whelan stated that the committee discussed the two large projects that are critical to the Association and the dues increase 10 year plan.  Every member of the committee supported the board’s proposal for the increase. The numbers on the financials show that our collection rate currently is at 72.96% which is very good.  Currently dues collected for the first 8 months total $1.3M.  Rental income is at $22K for the month of December with YTD income at $541K.; Code Enforcement violations were $112K YTD with a negative variance of $4K;  Bar and Grill income for the month of December were $4,900 while costs were $2,976 for the bar and $3,224 for the grill.  The next budget will have a finer breakdown of categories for the bar and grill such as office supplies, equipment, food, liquor, etc;  Total income has a positive variance of $276K YTD with total income at $2.2M YTD; money was moved from public safety to capital for the procurement of the two vehicles; total expenses are $1.9M YTD; $676K is in reserves; collections reported for December are $67.8K, where in house collections were $59K which represents 94% of collections;.  YTD collections are $862.9K; interest on investments is $59.87.  The next scheduled meeting of F&P will be held on Friday, February 17th at the Administration building.

Bob Leon reported on the Real Estate committee that discussions were held on continuing projects.  Ted Wolski added that the committee is currently planning an event where new and existing landlords get together to meet.

          Appeals Committee met and Bill Baehr reported that they held 3 appeals hearings.  Two fines were reduced while one fine was held and paid in full.

Chris Claude reminded everyone of the events that the recreation committee has planned for February.  They are:

  • February 10th is a Valentine Dinner (Movie night cancelled)
  • February 11th is Karaoke
  • February 17th is Trivia night
  • February 18th  is a Winter Luau

The first Friday of the month will host family game night, the second Friday will host family movie night and the third Friday night will host Trivia Night.  Karaoke will be planned on the second Saturday of the month. 

Director’s Comments

          Chris Claude cautioned the membership to not push snow into the roadway.  It can cause a dangerous situation for motorist.

          Bill Baehr stated that there is an issue with people stopping at stop signs.  Cars must come to a complete stop.  At a four-way stop, the first vehicle to reach the intersection should move forward first.  If two vehicles reach the intersection at the same time, the driver on the left yields to the driver on the right. 

Bob Leon stated that there are 19 homes for sale in Emerald Lakes.  They are:

  1.          $400,000 listed for 17 days at 183 Ash
  2.          $420,000 listed for 20 days at 1117 Sioux
  3.          $415,000 listed for 21 days  at 795 Clearview
  4.          $600,000 listed for 37 days  at 140 Island
  5.          $375,000 listed for 47 days at 185 Granite
  6.          $449,900 listed for 48 days  at 1432 Clover
  7.          $1,559,000 listed for 56 days at 1103 W Emerald Lake        (Lakefront)
  8.          $359,999 listed for 72 days at 1529 Clover
  9.          $422,000 listed for 74 days at 2441 Grey Birch
  10. $305,000 listed for 82 days at 177 Island
  11. $499,900 listed for 86 days at 1258 Clover
  12. $415,000 listed for 101 days at 2209 Doe
  13. $399,900 listed for 106 days at 1708 Glade
  14. $250,000 listed for 108 days at 1782 Glade (Property owner sale)
  15. $300,000 listed for 136 days at 116 Yellow Birch
  16. $589,000 listed for 154 days at 222 Arbor
  17. $349,900 listed for 196 days at 227 Hornbeam
  18. $260,000 listed for 223 days at 920 Cricket
  19. $254,999 listed for 232 days at 2247 Doe

Buz Whelan asked if Leon can report on homes sold and at what dollar value instead of homes for sale.  Whelan stated it would give people better idea of the current value of your own home.

          Mike Camino thanked everyone and stated that he was happy and grateful to be here.

          Buz Whelan stated that he has a personal peeve.  He is against a member letting another member uses their guest pass when that member is not in good standing.  If you do that you are supporting delinquency. If you take their trash to the compactor, that costs the Association money.  Whelan wants to see $500 fines for these infractions.  He is requesting Rules and Regulations to address this issue.  

Public Comments

          A gentleman from the audience stated that some stop signs are hidden due to tree branches and limbs.  He was told to report any signs that are hidden to the office.  That task is part of maintenance’s routine and there may be an occasion where they miss a sign.

Ange Noonan spoke of the Emerald Ladies and will be posting soon as to when the next meeting is.  An exercise program at the CC is currently being discussed.  Noonan thanked all that contributed to the rescue of Sage.  Sage is a small cat that was hit by a car on Sage Rd.  The cat had a broken jaw and needed medical attention.  The cost was over $1,000 and a lot of people contributed to her care.  The cat is currently in a foster care home and will be adopted out.  There is still an outstanding bill at the vet so additional contributions are welcomed.  In addition to Sage, the Emerald Ladies have trapped, neutered and returned 8 cats in the community.  More cats are planned on being trapped in the Spring.

          Hillary Decker thanked the board and management for installing the speed bumps.

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

          A motion was made by Chris Claude to adjourn.  It was seconded by Bob Leon.  Meeting adjourned at 11:13 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 10, 2022

By Kathy Leslie-Whelan

          The meeting was called to order at 9:36 AM.  Four board members were present.  Bob Leon, Bill Baehr and Steve Kavanagh were absent.  General Manager Darryl Gamble and Assistant General Manager, Nicole Clemens was also present. After the pledge of allegiance, Buz Whelan, President wished all Season’s greetings.  He wished a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Joyous Kwanzaa.  Whelan also noted the holiday hours for staff and asked that the membership be mindful of the hours and adjust your schedule for visiting the Administration building or the trash compactor. The Administration building will close at 1:00 PM on Friday, December 23rd and will be closed all day on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.  It will reopen on Tuesday, December 27th.  The compactor will be closed on December 24th and 25th and will reopen on Tuesday, December 27th.  The Community Center will be closed on December 24th and 25th and will reopen on Monday. December 26th.  Whelan stated that our staff works hard and are very dedicated and have earned the right to be off.  Whelan also reminded members that if they require a plow person, now is the time to contact them before it starts snowing.  If you do your own plowing it is a good idea to check out your equipment and have the necessary fuel available.  Whelan also stated that if an offhand comment is made at the open board meeting it doesn’t mean that a new policy is in place.  That only happens when the board votes on an issue.  Office staff seems to be inundated with phone calls when such comments are made.  He further stated that staff does not set the policy, the board does, and so all contact should go to the board.  The board has public comments at the end of the monthly open meeting and is also available by email. 

A motion to accept the November minutes was made by Connie Simpson and seconded by Dave Borsos.  It passed unanimously.

          Dave Borsos was not able to give a Treasurer’s report for November since the financials are not out yet. 

Under Old Business:

  • Upcoming events at the Lodge are scheduled for:
  • Santa letter deadline is December 14th
  • A pajama Polar Express movie night is scheduled for December 16th. Doors open at 5:00 PM where the show will begin at 6:30 PM.
  • Santa Event to include a pajama pancake breakfast will be held on December 17th, at 10:00 AM. 
  • Ugly Christmas sweater night at the Lodge will be held on December 23rd.
  • A Masquerade New Year Eve Party will be held on December 31st.   A DJ will be playing music and a special menu is being planned.
  • January 4th is the Craft Circle between the hours of 11:00 AM and 2:00 PM. 
  • January 6th will be family game night.
  • January 12th is Paint and Sip at the Lodge.  The cost is $40.00 and due by January 5th.  All canvas and paints is supplied and 2 drinks are included in the fee.
  • January 13th will be family movie night.
  • January 14th will be karaoke.
  • January 18th is the Craft Circle between the hours of 11:00 AM and 2:00 PM.
  • January 20th is the restart of Trivia night.
  • March 18th is a St. Patrick’s Day party.
  • A winter luau is being planned for February.  Break out your Hawaiian shirts.

The first Friday of the month will host family game night, the second Friday will host family movie night and the third Friday night will host Trivia Night.  Karaoke will be planned on the second Saturday of the month. 

  • Rules and Regulation has been started up again with Connie Simpson as the liaison.  The committee will be meeting once a week on Wednesday for one to one and a half hours.  The committee is first focusing on rules and regulations for yard sales.  Our chief enforcement officer cannot enforce township laws but can enforce rules and regulations policies.  Tobyhanna Township currently only allows two permitted yard sales a year.  Complaints have been received on individuals running yard sales whenever the sun is out.  It appears that these homeowners are running businesses and they are not allowed in the community. 
  • The road work for the season is complete since it was difficult to get supplies.  The Association has spent $600K this season which is $80K under what was planned. Three speed tables were installed and next year 2 or 3 more will be added.  The cost $3,800 each.  Lines in the community have been repainted.  All dirt roads should be paved next year.

Under New Business

  • None
  •  

Sixteen (16) new members were welcomed to the Community.

Committee Reports    

Appeals committee did not meet. 

Rules and Regulation meet on Wednesdays and is reported on above under Old Business.

Finance and Planning did not meet this month since the board meeting was moved up earlier and the financials were not completed.   

Mike Camino reported on the Real Estate committee. This committee meets every other month. They discussed ways on how to improve operations at the trash compactor and are developing best practices which will be forwarded to the administrative office and the board members.  This committee is made up of landlords and residents and they want to focus on problem landlords and new landlords coming into the community.  They want to help them get into compliance.  They also plan on having workshops two times a year.  At their last workshop they discussed the new ordinance that was passed in Tobyhanna Township.  They are also trying to bring landlords into the community for social events such as a beer and pretzel social event.  Discussions were also held on creating a community garden.  The next meeting is scheduled for January 21st.

Dave Borsos asked for a list of committee members.  Whelan asked what experience they had with enforcement of ordinances in Tobyhanna Township.  Camino stated that Tunkhannock has 100% enforcement and sends staff out to validate the landlord compliance.  Tobyhanna does not have the same percentage verification.  They are at 0%.  Camino stated that the committee also looks out for the general welfare of the community and thanked the board and administration for getting things done.   

Director’s Comments

          Dave Borsos wished everyone happy holidays

Public Comments

                    Connie Simpson asked as a public comment about the planned pickle ball courts.  Gamble stated that they are planned for next spring season.  The tennis courts at the Community Center will have two pickle ball courts.  The nets and equipment will be portable so that they can be put away and stored and/or moved to another location at the outdoor pool.  A fence will be erected at the current planned location to separate the tennis/pickle ball courts from the basketball courts. 

          A gentleman from the audience thanked the board and administration for installing the speed table at Glade and Clearview.  It has made a great difference.

          A motion was made by Dave Borsos to adjourn.  It was seconded by Connie Simpson.  Meeting adjourned at 10:25 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 19, 2022

By Kathy Leslie-Whelan

          The meeting was called to order at 9:33 AM.  All board members were present.  General Manager Darryl Gamble was also present. After the pledge of allegiance, Buz Whelan, President stated that October’s minutes needed to be amended.  A sentence was deleted from the proposed septic policy, the word “variance” was moved under the treasurer’s report and the board members present needed to be added to the report. A motion to accept the minutes with the amendments was made by Steve Kavanagh and seconded by Connie Simpson.  It passed with two abstentions from Chris Claude and Bob Leon.  Whelan opened his President’s message by mentioning the big party at the lodge that night.  The event is called “A White Christmas” and Whelan stated that the decorations were wonderful.  He also stated that our maintenance staff is ready for the winter season and was out last night treating the roads.  On Friday night the first movie night was held at the lodge. Attendance was low but enthusiastic.  The snowy weather probably hindered people from coming out.  It was a good trial run and experience for staff putting on the event.  Eventually a pull down screen will be added to the lodge so the picture for future movie nights will be bigger.

Whelan also said that next month’s board meeting will be moved to Saturday, December 10th since there are many activities planned for the kids for Christmas.

          Dave Borsos gave the Treasurer’s report for October.  The good news is that we are in good shape financially.  Highlight of the financials are that dues income is at $972K YTD and is over budget by $103K; Rental income is at $436K YTD and is over budget by $110K; Community Center income is at $139K and is $73K over budget; Total income is at $1.6M and is over budget by $296K. On the expense side we are over budget on Administrative costs by $37K; Maintenance costs are over budget by $106K; Community Center and Recreation is over budget by $25K; total expenses are over budget by 165K.    Currently there is $784 in reserves and $129K in the investment account.   A motion was made by Bill Baehr to accept the Treasurer’s report.  It was seconded by Bob Leon and passed unanimously.

Under Old Business:

  • A septic policy is in progress for the Association.  Items to be addressed are how to initiate the policy, enforcement of the policy and informing the members.  It was discussed that the policy will go into effect on May 1st of next year and the membership will be notified of the policy with the mailing of the dues. More discussions need to happen on how to stagger the deadline for homeowner to have their septic systems pumped so that not everyone is on the same schedule. 
  • A calendar containing a list of upcoming events at the Lodge will be posted on the ELA website. The scheduled events are:
  • White Christmas – November 19th
  • Polar Express movie night
  • Santa Event to include a pajama pancake breakfast followed by crafts – December 17th
  • New Year Eve Party – December 31st

Once a month events will include karaoke, trivia night, game night.  Other events being planned by the recreation club include wine and whisky nights, date nights, mother and child swims.

  • A dues increase was discussed.  Our last increase was three years ago and the increase was $200 per year.  The increase plan is to ask for smaller dollar increases over a period of time.  Without an increase we are always trying to catch up.  In the past we have lived on reduced services and deferred maintenance. The increase would also help to keep property values high.  Gamble stated that it is better to be proactive instead of reactive.  It is anticipated that the increase will be asked for at a special meeting that will be held at the end of March. 
  • On a side note $594K was spent on the roads this year.  $650K was budgeted; however, material for the work was unavailable.

Under New Business

  • A short term rental (STR) policy, limiting the number of short term rentals was discussed.  Currently there are 286 out of the 1,680 developed properties that are registered as STRs. The question as to what percentage should these rentals be limited to.  The majority of the members are against STR’s.  The Real Estate committee will be asked for their input.  In addition, a legal opinion would be obtained to see if a policy can be legally implemented and how would the policy be enforced.

Committee Reports    

Appeals committee did not meet. 

Rules and Regulation will meet on Wednesday, November 30th at 11:00 AM in the Community Center.

Kathy Whelan spoke on behalf of Finance and Planning.   The meeting was held on November 18th.  Whelan stated that for the month of October total dues and fees collected are $65K; dues and fees collected YTD re $975K; currently we are at a 73.35% collection rate; Rental income was $16.4K for October and YTD income $436K; Code Enforcement violations were $86.6 K YTD; Total income has a positive variance of $296K; access card income for October was $1.9K; bar and grill income for October was $5,542; Public safety has a negative variance of $22.3K due the procurement of a vehicle being coded to their budget; refuse collections is at $125.6K YTD and has a negative variance of $45.6K; overall total expenses has a negative variance of $165K  YTD, however, our actual income exceeds our total expenses YTD; $660K is in reserves; collections reported for October are $56K, where in house collections were $41K.  YTD collections are $651K; interest on investments is $28.22.  The next scheduled meeting will be held on Friday, January 20th at the Administration building.

Bob Leon reported on the Real Estate committee was meeting today so he was unable to attend. 

Director’s Comments

          Dave Borsos stated that he wanted to recognize the recreation club and all the new activities that are happening in the community.  He stated that the community is becoming more vibrant and more pleasant to live in.

          Bill Baehr gave a shout out to Trunk or Treat and the Veteran’s day brunch.  Both events were a tremendous success.  He also cautioned the membership to be careful walking on the roads especially when it is dark.  Cars need to be more cautious and slow down.

Bob Leon thanked Gamble for the new yellow lines in the community.  He stated that there are approximately 28 homes available for sale.  Prices on homes are coming down.

Connie Simpson invited people to join them for the Rules and Regulations meeting that will be held on Wednesday, November 30th at 11:00 AM in the Administration building.

Public Comments

                    Mary Kavanagh requested that a country night be held at the lodge for line dancing. She also stated that other communities besides ours are having issues with STR’s.  She mentioned that they had trouble with the WI-FI at karaoke and was told that staff is working on the issue.

          Ange Noonan mentioned that she missed everyone on the board but it gave her time to start up a women’s group.  The group now meets once a month on Sundays at 12:30 in the lodge.  The group is called the Emerald Ladies and the motto is “Community First”.   Some of the ideas that are being planned for next year are Trap, Neuter and Return (TNR) for feral cats in the spring and a free library in a box.  Folks can take a book and or leave a book, blood drive with the American Red Cross, walking groups, short trips, sunshine group to check on the elderly or those living alone, community wide clean-up events and covered dish events.

          A motion was made by Bill Baehr to adjourn.  It was seconded by Steve Kavanagh.  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, November 19, 2022

By Kathy Leslie-Whelan

          The meeting was called to order at 9:33 AM.  All board members were present.  General Manager Darryl Gamble was also present. After the pledge of allegiance, Buz Whelan, President stated that October’s minutes needed to be amended.  A sentence was deleted from the proposed septic policy, the word “variance” was moved under the treasurer’s report and the board members present needed to be added to the report. A motion to accept the minutes with the amendments was made by Steve Kavanagh and seconded by Connie Simpson.  It passed with two abstentions from Chris Claude and Bob Leon.  Whelan opened his President’s message by mentioning the big party at the lodge that night.  The event is called “A White Christmas” and Whelan stated that the decorations were wonderful.  He also stated that our maintenance staff is ready for the winter season and was out last night treating the roads.  On Friday night the first movie night was held at the lodge. Attendance was low but enthusiastic.  The snowy weather probably hindered people from coming out.  It was a good trial run and experience for staff putting on the event.  Eventually a pull down screen will be added to the lodge so the picture for future movie nights will be bigger.

Whelan also said that next month’s board meeting will be moved to Saturday, December 10th since there are many activities planned for the kids for Christmas.

          Dave Borsos gave the Treasurer’s report for October.  The good news is that we are in good shape financially.  Highlight of the financials are that dues income is at $972K YTD and is over budget by $103K; Rental income is at $436K YTD and is over budget by $110K; Community Center income is at $139K and is $73K over budget; Total income is at $1.6M and is over budget by $296K. On the expense side we are over budget on Administrative costs by $37K; Maintenance costs are over budget by $106K; Community Center and Recreation is over budget by $25K; total expenses are over budget by 165K.    Currently there is $784 in reserves and $129K in the investment account.   A motion was made by Bill Baehr to accept the Treasurer’s report.  It was seconded by Bob Leon and passed unanimously.

Under Old Business:

  • A septic policy is in progress for the Association.  Items to be addressed are how to initiate the policy, enforcement of the policy and informing the members.  It was discussed that the policy will go into effect on May 1st of next year and the membership will be notified of the policy with the mailing of the dues. More discussions need to happen on how to stagger the deadline for homeowner to have their septic systems pumped so that not everyone is on the same schedule. 
  • A calendar containing a list of upcoming events at the Lodge will be posted on the ELA website. The scheduled events are:
  • White Christmas – November 19th
  • Polar Express movie night
  • Santa Event to include a pajama pancake breakfast followed by crafts – December 17th
  • New Year Eve Party – December 31st

Once a month events will include karaoke, trivia night, game night.  Other events being planned by the recreation club include wine and whisky nights, date nights, mother and child swims.

  • A dues increase was discussed.  Our last increase was three years ago and the increase was $200 per year.  The increase plan is to ask for smaller dollar increases over a period of time.  Without an increase we are always trying to catch up.  In the past we have lived on reduced services and deferred maintenance. The increase would also help to keep property values high.  Gamble stated that it is better to be proactive instead of reactive.  It is anticipated that the increase will be asked for at a special meeting that will be held at the end of March. 
  • On a side note $594K was spent on the roads this year.  $650K was budgeted; however, material for the work was unavailable.

Under New Business

  • A short term rental (STR) policy, limiting the number of short term rentals was discussed.  Currently there are 286 out of the 1,680 developed properties that are registered as STRs. The question as to what percentage should these rentals be limited to.  The majority of the members are against STR’s.  The Real Estate committee will be asked for their input.  In addition, a legal opinion would be obtained to see if a policy can be legally implemented and how would the policy be enforced.

Committee Reports    

Appeals committee did not meet. 

Rules and Regulation will meet on Wednesday, November 30th at 11:00 AM in the Community Center.

Kathy Whelan spoke on behalf of Finance and Planning.   The meeting was held on November 18th.  Whelan stated that for the month of October total dues and fees collected are $65K; dues and fees collected YTD re $975K; currently we are at a 73.35% collection rate; Rental income was $16.4K for October and YTD income $436K; Code Enforcement violations were $86.6 K YTD; Total income has a positive variance of $296K; access card income for October was $1.9K; bar and grill income for October was $5,542; Public safety has a negative variance of $22.3K due the procurement of a vehicle being coded to their budget; refuse collections is at $125.6K YTD and has a negative variance of $45.6K; overall total expenses has a negative variance of $165K  YTD, however, our actual income exceeds our total expenses YTD; $660K is in reserves; collections reported for October are $56K, where in house collections were $41K.  YTD collections are $651K; interest on investments is $28.22.  The next scheduled meeting will be held on Friday, January 20th at the Administration building.

Bob Leon reported on the Real Estate committee was meeting today so he was unable to attend. 

Director’s Comments

          Dave Borsos stated that he wanted to recognize the recreation club and all the new activities that are happening in the community.  He stated that the community is becoming more vibrant and more pleasant to live in.

          Bill Baehr gave a shout out to Trunk or Treat and the Veteran’s day brunch.  Both events were a tremendous success.  He also cautioned the membership to be careful walking on the roads especially when it is dark.  Cars need to be more cautious and slow down.

Bob Leon thanked Gamble for the new yellow lines in the community.  He stated that there are approximately 28 homes available for sale.  Prices on homes are coming down.

Connie Simpson invited people to join them for the Rules and Regulations meeting that will be held on Wednesday, November 30th at 11:00 AM in the Community Center.

Public Comments

                    Mary Kavanagh requested that a country night be held at the lodge for line dancing. She also stated that other communities besides ours are having issues with STR’s.  She mentioned that they had trouble with the WI-FI at karaoke and was told that staff is working on the issue.

          Ange Noonan mentioned that she missed everyone on the board but it gave her time to start up a women’s group.  The group now meets once a month on Sundays at 12:30 in the lodge.  The group is called the Emerald Ladies and the motto is “Community First”.   Some of the ideas that are being planned for next year are Trap, Neuter and Return (TNR) for feral cats in the spring and a free library in a box.  Folks can take a book and or leave a book, blood drive with the American Red Cross, walking groups, short trips, sunshine group to check on the elderly or those living alone, community wide clean-up events and covered dish events.

          A motion was made by Bill Baehr to adjourn.  It was seconded by Steve Kavanagh.  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, September 24, 2022

By Kathy Leslie-Whelan

          The meeting was called to order at 9:35 AM.  Six board members were present.  Steve Kavanagh was absent.  General Manager Darryl Gamble and Assistant General Manager Nicole Clemens were also present. After the pledge of allegiance, Buz Whelan, President called for a motion to approve July’s open board meeting minutes. The motion was made by Bob Leon and seconded by Dave Borsos.  It passed unanimously.    Whelan opened his President’s message by welcoming reelected Bill Baehr back on to the board and the newly elected Connie Simpson to the board. He stated that two of the three by-law changes passed at the open meeting in August.  He stated that it was ironic that the by-law that didn’t pass, which was to change the percentage of votes needed to make a by-law change to a simple majority, would have passed since the majority of the membership voted to pass the change.   Whelan further stated that individual members sometimes have complaints related to maintenance.  Unfortunately they can’t fill every pot hole at the same time.  Currently, there are approximately 75 potholes being filled weekly.  Trash is also a problem and Whelan encouraged the membership to “say something, if you see something”.  Do not confront someone throwing trash illegally in the community report it to the Administration staff so that they can take action.  In addition, please don’t take your anger out on staff; they are only trying to help.

          Dave Borsos gave the Treasurer’s report for August.  The good news is that we are paying bills and moving forward.  Currently we are $61K over budget on collection of dues.  Rental income is $102K over budget.  Code Enforcement Officer fines are $14K under budget.  Community Center/Recreation revenue is $70K over budget amount anticipated.  Income totals are $1.3M year to date (YTD), which amounts to $227K over budget.  On the expense side we are $24K over budget on Administrative expenses and $100K over budget on the maintenance expenses. Total expenses are $142K over budget.  Reserve funds are $1M.  A motion was made by Bob Leon to accept the Treasurer’s report.  It was seconded by Chris Claude and passed unanimously.

Under Old Business:

  • The membership is coming out and seems to enjoy meals and drinks at the newly renovated Lodge in the Community Center (CC).  A healthy meal of a chicken Caesar salad was added to the menu. We are operating in the black but still have some start up costs that are forthcoming.  We have competent staff but there will be some training.  We are getting terrific feedback on the food and the operation is running smoothly. We procured hand held units so that the servers can input the customer’s orders at the tables where the kitchen and bar staff will be notified immediately.  The outdoor pool has closed so the indoor pool will be getting new hours. The indoor pool will now be opened on Tuesdays and may be opened for extended hours during Football Sundays which is due to start up on October 2nd.    A calendar containing a list of upcoming events at the Lodge will be posted on the ELA website. The scheduled events are:
  • Craft Circle – October 5th
  • Fall Festival – October 8th
  • Bulk Trash Day – October 15th
  • Sip and Paint – October 18th
  • Trunk or Treat – October 29th
  • Adult Halloween Party – October 29th
  • Veteran’s Day Brunch – November 12th (may kick off monthly brunch)
  • White Christmas – November 19th
  • Santa Event – December 17th
  • New Year Eve Party – December 31st

(Whelan talked about the White Christmas event to be held on November 19th.  It will be a ticketed event.  Elizabeth Knecht is a chanteuse and will be performing for the evening.  He is working with Bob and Lola Lauri on this event.  Darryl Gamble and Nicole Clemens are also on the production team.  Tickets will be $12.00 in advance and $15 at the door. The pool and building will close at 5:00 PM on that date and will reopen at 7:00 PM.  The show will start 8:00 PM.

  • Discussions were held on the bacteria issues at Pine Tree Beach.  Eric Bergstrom from the Fishing Club has identified two problems.  The first is that rain weakens the chemicals that are used in the lake.  The second is that when you kill the lily pods on top of the water, more sunlight makes the underwater weeds thrive.  Bergstrom feels better communication with our hydrologist, Joe Gallagher, is key.  Next year Pine Tree Lake will be treated on a timelier basis and spraying will happen earlier.  In addition, our Fishing Club will be advising Gallagher of any issues that they see.  Bergstrom recommended that an ELA staff member should accompany the state water tester to see how and where they are testing the water.  Randy Kopp suggested that research needs to be done to identify where the bacteria is coming from. He also stated that the Fishing Club will have better lines of communication with Gallagher. 
  • The Ad Hoc committee to develop a septic policy met for the first time this month.  Their goal is twofold. The intent of the policy will be to protect the health of the lakes and the members.  They are currently looking at township regulations as well as other HOA septic policies.  There is nothing concrete at this time but homeowners will be required to have the septic systems pumped on a regular basis.  This policy will apply to all homes in the community. 
  • An invitation to join ELA will be sent to all homeowners living within our footprint who are not currently members.  If they join they will be able to use amenities and trash compactor. 
  • The Chief of Security for ELA is currently being trained by our Chief Enforcement Officer.  He is currently helping out with some of the responsibilities.
  • Since the electric service at the main entrance is inadequate, and the mail house has renovations in the future, the electric sign installation at the entrance is on hold. The sign that was at the Administration building was moved to the CC.  Whelan thanked all the members that volunteered their time and labor with the landscaping work that was completed at the Main entrance.  The volunteers were Pat and Eric Bergstom, Cathy and Dave Borsos, Randy Kopp, Steve Gottfried and Ken and Linda Shuey.
  • Dam and valve operation instructions/seminar in Harrisburg will be available for our maintenance staff as well as Eric Bergstrom of the Fishing Club.  Our emergency evacuation plan has been accepted by the state.  Our dams are checked on a daily basis with the exception of Sunday. All information collected is submitted to the state.
  • Discussions were held on building the reserve funds.  Discussions included rolling money over into investment accounts or an emergency account.  Since any money in this account is used as a safety net, that money has to be available to the Association and not put into an account that has penalties for early withdrawal.  Further discussions will be held at the next workshop.

Under New Business

  • A Lodge/Pool brochure will be developed and will be included in the letters that will be going out to the individuals that live in the community but who are not members of the Association.  See above for further details.
  • Sunday football will begin next Sunday in the Lodge.  The bar and kitchen will be opened.  The grill will have a limited menu.
  • Current Event lineup is listed above under Old Business.

Committee Reports    

Appeals committee will meet on October 1st.  They are currently looking for new members. 

Communications committee will put out a newsletter next week.  Whelan invited all directors to write articles for this publication.  The publication will be available in the kiosks at the mailboxes as well as the CC and Administration building.

Kathy Whelan spoke on behalf of Finance and Planning.   The meeting was held on September 16th.  Whelan stated that for the month of August there is a positive variance of $27.9 K on dues income.  Total dues and fees collected were $807K.  Rental income was $121K, YTD income $395K; Code Enforcement violations were $45.7K YTD; Total income has a positive variance of $75K; access card income for August is $38.7K; public safety currently has 4 part time and one full time Chief of Public Safety.  An additional part time staff member will be hired; management presented to the board a policy for private event rentals at the Lodge; resale certificates is at $2,100 for the month of August.  The represents 14 sales at $150 each; amenity repair has a negative variance of $13K YTD due to work at the front entrance and at the compactor; refuse collections is at $80K YTD and has a negative variance of $5.6K; total income has a positive variance of $227K where total income YTD is $1.3M; overall total expenses has a negative variance of $142K  YTD, however, our actual income exceeds our total expenses YTD; $892K is in reserves; collections reported for August are $191K, where in house collections were $173K.  YTD collections are $480K; interest on investments is $10.54.  The next scheduled meeting will be held on Friday, October 21st at the Administration building.

Bob Leon reported on the Real Estate committee that they met via WebX.  They are requesting a survey to be completed on the short term rental landlords on how they dispose of trash. The committee is concerned about the large bear population in the community. 

Director’s Comments

          Bob Leon reported that there are currently 58 short term rental (STR) houses on our lakes.  As of this date there are 285 STRs. The breakdown is as follows:

  • 8 homes on Deer Lake
  • 4 homes on Lower Deer Lake
  • 14 homes on Pine Tree Lake
  • 21 homes on Mountain Top Lake
  • 10 homes on West Emerald Lakes
  • 0 homes on East Emerald Lakes
  • 1 home on a pond by Powder Horn Drive

In addition, Leon stated that there are 30 homes for sale in Emerald Lakes.  They are:

  1.          $465K listed for 1 day
  2.          $329.9K listed for 2 days
  3.          $299 listed for 9 days
  4.          $320K listed for 10 days
  5.          $440K listed for 22 days
  6.          $525 listed for 24 days  
  7.          $399.9K listed for 26 days
  8.          $599K listed for 28 days
  9.          $499K listed for 30 days
  10. $323K listed for 31 days
  11. $425K listed for 31 days
  12. $496.6K listed for 37 days
  13. $250K listed for 38 days
  14. $298K listed for 44 days
  15. $339.9K listed for 50 days
  16. $5359.9K listed for 57 days
  17. $349.9K listed for 70 days
  18. $465K listed for 84 days
  19. $415K listed for 87 days
  20. $239.9K listed for 87 days
  21. $269.9K listed for 94 days
  22. $450K listed for 95 days
  23. $255K listed for 97 days
  24. $1.3M listed for 97 days
  25. $649.9K listed for 98 days
  26. $419K listed for 105 days
  27. $279.9K listed for 105 days
  28. $300K listed for 179 days
  29.  (Auction) Island Drive
  30. (Auction) Granite

Bill Baehr gave a heartfelt thanks to everyone that voted for him and thanked them for their confidence in them.

Public Comments

                    None

          Thirteen (13) new members were welcomed to the Community.

A motion was made by Bob Leon to adjourn.  It was seconded by Connie Simpson.  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 Annual Meeting, August 20, 2022

by Kathy Leslie-Whelan

The meeting was called to order at 11:00 AM.  All board members were present as confirmed by the roll call of the board conducted by Buz Whelan, President.  Whelan also introduced General Manager Darryl Gamble, Assistant General Manager Nicole Clemens, Greg Malaska from the law firm of Young and Haros and Ed Anderson from the accounting firm of William Owens and Co.  Whelan announced that the meeting was being live streamed and will be in accordance with Robert Rules of Order except where our by-laws govern.  Whelan asked for confirmation of quorum from the Judge of Elections, Steve Kavanagh.  Kavanagh confirmed quorum that well over 100 ballots were received by proxy voting.  Finally Kavanagh called for anyone that was running from the floor to come forward.  No one came forward.

Whelan started his President’s message by stating that his message and the general manager’s message were included in the special edition of the Emerald Lakes Newsletter.  He stated that a lot has been accomplished during the last 4 years that this board and management team have been together.  Some main highlights are the installation of a new and customized industrial strength dehumidification system for the indoor pool; new duct work, mold remediation, apron resurfacing, reconditioning, sandblasting and repainting of indoor pool; rebuilding the inner structure including the ceiling and support beams of the indoor pool; installation of under water, color changing lights in the indoor pool; pine needle trees were removed, landscaping including the grinding of stumps was completed at the outdoor pool to protect the filter system.  The community center which was built in 73/74 was completely renovated.  Everything was either replaced or upgraded.  Two by-law changes were passed, one allowing the membership to vote by proxy voting and one that allowed for quarterly payments. 

Whelan stated that in the coming years the board wants to attack the problem at Pine Tree Lake.  They are working together to try to devise a solution to address the beach closures.  Currently Chris Claude is heading up a team to develop a septic policy that will be applicable to all member septic systems.  In addition there are currently two fun projects that are being implemented.  They include a kayak rental program where the fees for the rentals will pay for the program and a lake toy that will be deployed off of Main Beach.  The toy will be a blow-up floating raft that has a slide for individuals to slide into the lake.

Whelan explained the three by-law revisions that the membership was being asked to vote for.  The first change is to adjust the procedures for membership review of the preliminary budget.  It is state law that an approved budget needs to be in place by May 1st, the beginning of the fiscal year.   This change will made the preliminary budget available for review and comment for 30 days to honor the spirit of the by-law.  The new change will correct this bylaw.  The second change will address that the polls for the voting period at the annual open meeting be adjusted to state that polls will be opened for 30 minutes or until all votes have been cast. Currently, it stated that the polls shall be open for 30 minutes but since direct proxy voting has been implemented that time is no longer needed.  Last year after all votes were cast, there was a 25 minute waiting period that occurred before the ballots could be counted.  The third change is to return to the simple majority vote for a by-law change (50% plus 1). Currently, 2/3 votes are needed to pass a by-law change.  That means that a no vote counts twice as much as a yes vote.  Our current way of voting gives an unequal weight to a no vote. 

The floor was opened for comments.  Joe Olall of White Tail Lane stated that our nation works on a 2/3 votes when it comes to the Constitution.  Why do we need a simple majority?  Whelan stated that the Constitution of The United States is the supreme law of the land.  Emerald Lakes by-laws are procedures for our Association. 

Polls opened for the by-law ballots.

Whelan addressed a housekeeping issue.  He asked the board members if they had a chance to read the minutes from last year’s annual meeting.  They responded in the affirmative.  Bob Leon made the motion to accept the minutes.  It was seconded by Steve Kavanagh.  It passed unanimously.

Two volunteers of the Year were recognized at this Annual meeting.  They were Pat Bergstrom and Cathy Borsos. These are two strong women who work hard with their husbands on projects and events in the Community.  They include the butterfly garden, renovations at the front entrance and the fishing rodeo.     

Candidate speeches followed next.  The floor was turned over to Bill Baehr who stated that he has been living in Emerald Lakes for three and a half years and loves it here.  He has served on the board for the last three years and has seen vast improvements over the years.  During Baehr’s tenure on the board there have been many accomplishments.  The two pools are opened and fully functional, roadways have improved.  Bath houses have been remodeled, maintenance has done a tremendous job, tennis and basketball courts are up and running, the main entrance is getting a facelift, the butterfly garden was installed.  The biggest accomplishment is the renovations at the Community Center. Baehr stated that the Community Center was like a phoenix rising from the ashes.  Baehr stated that there is more to be done and over the last three years he has learned much where he can serve the Association better.  He is proud to be a board member and hopes that he can continue with his service. 

Michael Camino stated that he bought his property 3 ½ years ago.  He moved his family here from Delaware.  He wants to bring the same enthusiasm to the board as he does in his business.  He feels he is younger and can bring technology expertise and progress to the board.  Camino wants to see Pine Tree beach opened and he feels that he can be the voice of the people and bridge the gap between the board and the people.

Connie Simpson wants to bring a female view to the board.  She stated that Emerald Lakes is a great place to live and that she only owns 1 house.  She wants to work with the board on future projects, try to get pot holes filled earlier, make sure that all roads are paved, and make sure that everyone’s septic system is checked out so that we can have clean drinking water.  She is happy that more security has been hired but we need to have an attendant at the lakes to check badges. She would be pleased to work with the board and is asking for votes.

          Guest speaker, Greg Malaska from Young and Haros stated that Nick Haros was unable to attend.  He had two daughters to move back to college this week.  He stated that things were quiet this year with the Association.    We currently have one active legal case that is being handled by another counsel.  Hillary Decker of 3002 Huckleberry Rd called out what case.  She was told that it was a breach of contract case.  As a side note and as reported in earlier articles that I have written and posted here, the issue was with a contract we had with our last trash hauler.  The contract that we had, had an automatic renewal each year with no method of termination.  Our current contractor, Mascaro, assumed all legal responsibilities with the termination of that contract. In addition the Association has saved thousands of dollars since the new contract with Mascaro has been in place.

Ed Anderson was representing William Owens and Company. He stated that in his financial opinion our audit report for the fiscal year ending April 30, 2022 contains no material errors. Our operating cash is $1,409,051;  members’ assessments collect in advance is  $760K;   $26.9K is in resale certificates; Rental fees are $578K; total revenues were $2.6M where total expenses were $2.1M; $324K went into road work and paving; $269K went into Community Center repair; $129K went into dam/bridge work; $465K is in reserves.  Question from Buz Whelan of 254 Beaver Dam Rd was directed to the accountant.  He asked in his opinion, where does he think our dues fit in with other HOA’s that are comparable to ours. Anderson said that our dues are low.  When dues stay stagnant, associations may fall behind in major repairs.  Costs go up and if you want to maintain your association and amenities and keep good staffing your expenses will go up.  Member comments from a gentleman from the audience, “Where does rental money go?  He was told that it goes into the operations fund.  Ms. Skubish made a statement that since rental income is up, we should never ask for a dues increase.  She was told that her reasoning was incorrect.  Michael Camino stated that the rental program costs $2,800 on top of dues and that the landlords are taxed heavily. 

Polls opened for financial ballots

Treasurer report from Dave Borsos stated that we are heading towards the best of times based on the numbers as of July 31st.  Income exceeds expenses year to date.  Income is at $826K while expenses are $736K.  Rental income is $274K.  Bar and Grill income was $8,400 while snack shack income was $2,700.  Current cash assets are $1,334,292.16.  Reserve fund is $659K.  Bob Leon made the motion to accept the treasurer’s report.  It was seconded by Steve Kavanagh.  It passed unanimously.    

Polls opened for Director ballots.

After ballots were cast the floor was opened up for questions and comments.

Pat DeVito stated that she has been on Emerald Lake Drive for a while and there is a lot of trash on the roads. Signs should be posted identifying fines. Can a camera be installed?

Response: It is expensive to install cameras especially since electricity is needed for recording.  Our maintenance staff goes out often to pick up trash.

Ms. Skubish stated that since rentals have gone up so has trash in the roadways and lake.  She has taken bottles out of the lake.  She feels that this is a huge problem.

Ernie Biondolillo stated that he has been a resident since 1987 and loves this community. He lives in the Estates and he picks up trash or reports it when he sees it.  His concern is a home that has 6 to 7 cars in the driveway that do not move, so they may not be registered.

Hillary Decker also has concerns over trash and is not in favor of her money going towards kayak/boat rentals.  She stated that Pine Tree beach is polluted and wants to know how much money it will cost.  She also inquired about who will unlock boats, how many keys, do we have lifeguards, who authorized this because she didn’t get to vote on it.

Response: She was told that many of the membership are in favor of this program and want to utilize the rental boats. The program should pay for itself.  The boats are not only for rental properties but for the whole community.  A new swimming area will be on Pine Tree Lake based on recommendations from Joe Gallagher, our hydrologist, and test results.  She was also told that Pine Tree beach is not polluted with garbage.  A committee with Randy Kopp, Eric Bergstrom and other members of the fishing club will be trying to identify what is causing the bacteria in the lake. 

Carmen Brodnax asked that according to the by-laws, the board has to ask permission from the membership and needs approval to use money.

Response:  Approval from the membership is required for borrowing of money.

One member inquired about a pickle ball court.

Response: We are currently looking to install a pickle ball court at the tennis courts at the Community Center.  It will not be up and running this year but it is anticipated to be up and running next year.

Eric Bergstrom stated that he is the president of the fishing club and that Pine Tree Lake is not polluted.  There are no dead fish floating around.  The lake is stocked for the fishing rodeo and the bass are getting bigger. Turtles and frogs are also thriving.

Ms. Skubish feels that chemicals are not the way to go to control the weed issue on the lakes.  Natural remedial options should be explored.

Scott Thompson inquired about the cost of insurance for the boat rental program and what were the plans for boat rescue.

Response: We do not have a cost on insurance at this time but the cost to add the dog park was a small dollar amount.  As to boat rescue, all parties renting kayaks will be required to wear life vests.

Donna Jennings agreed that an organic method should be used for weed control on the lakes. 

Randy Kopp has some of the same concerns as Hillary Decker.    When he kayaks on Pine Tree lake he sometimes fills his hull with trash.  Further outdoor activities may increase the trash.

Mary Kavanagh stated that she is on Finance and Planning and found out that our lakes are tested daily.  We need 30 days of clear testing and if on the 30th day there is a high bacteria reading, the beach cannot open. The 30 day clock starts again.  She stated that the board is trying to identify the problems.  They need our support and not bitching.  Give them a break.

Andrea Brown stated that there have been a lot of improvements but there is still a lot that needs to be done.  She walks in the community and picks up trash.  She feels the onus should be on the owners of the properties to pick up the trash.  She wants to keep the community clean.

          A question was asked about what we are doing about speeding on Glade Drive.  Nobody stops at the stop sign.  It is a hazard.  It will cause accidents.  Can we install speed bumps?

Response:  Speed bumps cannot be installed at stop signs.  Temporary speed bumps do not work and damage the roads. 

How can we install sound barriers along the highway on Glade Drive? 

Response:  We cannot do it.  Reach out to local or state representative.  The state or federal commission has to install barriers.

Written questions:

Why do long/short term rental properties have to pay an associate member fee?

Response:  The number one obligation of board is to the members.  Rentals put an additional burden to the community.  An owner, that rents their property, still has access and rights to use the amenities.

According to the Treasurer, income exceeds expenses.  Why would we need a dues increase.

Response:   We need to build up our reserve fund.  Currently, it is under $600K, while engineering studies have recommended that it exceed $2M.

Results from By-law Revisions voting:

  1. Revision for procedures for membership review of the preliminary budget. (passed)

109 yes (80 mail in votes and 29 in person votes)

25 no (11 mail in votes and 14 in person votes)

  • Adjustment of time for polls to be opened during the voting period. (passed)

122 yes (83 mail in votes and 39 in person votes)

12 no (8 mail in votes and 4 in person votes)

  • Return to the simple minority rule for a by-law change. (failed)

69 yes (50 mail in votes and 19 in person votes)

64 no (40 mail in votes and 24 in person votes)

Financial Resolution # 1 (Passed)

Distribution of Surplus Operating Funds

Approvals make clear to IRS that the members of the Association authorize the Board to decide how to apportion any surplus.

121 Yes (80 mail in votes and 41 in person votes)

13 No (10 mail in votes and 3 in person votes)

Financial Resolution # 2 (Passed)

Apportionment of Annual Assessment

Approvals make clear to IRS that the members of the Association authorize the Board to decide how to split the assessment between the operating and capital budgets.

119 Yes (78 mail in votes and 41 in person votes)

12 No (9 mail in votes and 3 in person votes)

Director Seat Results

Bill Baehr – 94 votes (68 proxy votes and 26 in person votes)

Connie Simpson – 72 votes (45 proxy votes and 27 in person votes)

Michael Camino – 68 votes (50 proxy votes and 18 in person votes)

Bob Leon made a motion to adjourn.  It was seconded by Steve Kavanagh.

Meeting Adjourned at 1:26 PM.

Immediately following the Annual Meeting adjournment, a reorganization meeting was held in executive session for the selection of board officers.

The results:

Buz Whelan – President

Chris Claude – Vice President

Dave Borsos – Treasurer

Steve Kavanagh – Secretary

Bill Baehr – Secretary in training

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 30, 2022

By Kathy Leslie-Whelan

          The meeting was called to order at 9:33 AM.  All board members were present.  General Manager Darryl Gamble and Assistant General Manager Nicole Clemens were also present. After the pledge of allegiance, Buz Whelan, President called for a motion to approve June’s open board meeting minutes. The motion was made by Bob Leon and seconded by Steve Kavanagh.  It passed unanimously after one correction was made.    Whelan opened his President’s message by stating that there were a few questions from the Membership at Meet the Candidates that were not asked so he was going to go through them.  1) Since septic systems affect lakes, how many Short Term Rentals (STR) are lake front?  Whelan stated that that information is unknown but Bob Leon offered to go through the STR listing and identify all lakefront homes and the lake that they are on.  Are there any cash transactions?  Answer is yes. 3) Are amenity passes sold to the public? Answer is no.  4) Can we control the bear population by eliminating garbage cans?  Answer: We do not control the bear population. It is the providence of the Fish and Game Commission.  5) Do you believe there are unaccounted funds? Answer: no.  All financials and the budget are available to the membership.  In addition, we are audited annually by an independent auditor.

Whelan continued with his message by stating that we are not the only community that is experiencing lake closures.  Geese may be part of the problem.  A hydrologist will be taking water samples at all lakes by homeowner properties.  In addition, heavy downpours stir up the lake bottom which could add to a heavy bacterial count.  On Pine Tree Lake the beach is in an area where water is slow moving so that also may contribute to the poor reading.  Whelan said that Chris Claude will be heading up an ad hoc committee to develop a septic policy.  Currently, septic policies of other communities and townships are being evaluated.

          Dave Borsos gave the Treasurer’s report for June.  The good news is that we are over budget on dues income, public safety income, bank interest and rental revenues by $83K.  Code Enforcement Officer (CEO) revenues are under budget by $7,562 due to high grass fines were turned into warnings.  Bar/Grill revenue is down by $3,631 due to stocking of alcohol and food for the soft opening that occurred on July 1st.  On a whole total income is over budget by $75K year to date (YTD).  Under maintenance expenses we are over budget by $57K due to unanticipated repairs on mowers and other landscaping equipment.  In addition, two additional mowers and a closed trailer were purchased.  An open trailer will also be procured.   Our current cash assets are $1.3M.  Reserve funds are $666.5K.  A motion was made by Steve Kavanagh to accept the Treasurer’s report.  It was seconded by Bob Leon and passed unanimously. 

Under Old Business:

  • The Annual meeting is scheduled for August 20th and will be held at the Lodge, aka Community Center (CC). Whelan apologized for the two typos in the mailing and stated that a revised ballot was sent out to the membership.  He said that if anyone didn’t receive this second mailing they should call the office or they can vote in person at the meeting.  There will be a special newsletter prepared for the annual meeting so that the President and Managers message will be short.  Whelan hopes to see as many members as possible at the meeting and invited all to stop in to see the newly renovated Lodge.
  • Since the bar and grill opened, the gross intake was $23K.  This figure includes the sale of amenity passes.  The 8 nights the bar and grill was opened brought in over $18K in revenue. Darryl Gamble is working on a graph that will identify expenses and income at the CC.  In addition, the pass through at the bar was busy.  Whelan stated that the onion rings were outstanding.
  • Ad Hoc committee to develop a septic policy and will identify how often a home site needs to be pumped and inspected.  This policy will apply to all homes in the community.  See above for more details. 
  • Beach closures/Water Testing – The hydrologist will be focusing on Pine Tree Lake.  94K gallons of water must be released daily to flow down the mountain.  As of today we have had 30 days of successful testing so the DEP will be called in to test for reopening.

Under New Business

  • The recreation club is meeting next Saturday and will be discussing various options for replacing bingo.  All bingo licenses for HOAs were pulled by the Liquor Control Board. Currently CAI is working on getting an exception pass for all HOAs.

Committee Reports    

Appeals committee will meet on August 6th.

Communications committee put out a newsletter on Friday the 29th and it is available at the kiosks at the mailboxes as well as the CC and Administration building.

Kathy Whelan spoke on behalf of Finance and Planning.   The meeting was held on July 16th.  Whelan stated that for the first two months of this fiscal year this is a negative variance of $7.6K on dues income.  Total dues collected were $275K.  Credit card income which was just reinstated was $1,805.  We charge a 3% fee for credit card usage.  Whelan also stated that for this last month rental income was $33K, YTD income $247K; Code Enforcement violations were $22K YTD; Total income has a positive variance of $75K; public safety currently has 4 part time and a newly hired full time Chief of Public Safety.  An additional part time staff member will be hired; amenity repair has a negative variance of $38K YTD due to work at Pine Tree beach bath house; refuse collections is at $40.8K YTD and has a slight negative variance of $897; vehicle maintenance repair has a negative variance of $10K YTD due to work being done on an older vehicle; total maintenance expenses has a negative variance of $57K; overall total expenses has a negative variance of $25K  YTD, however, our actual income exceeds our total expenses YTD; $666.5K is in reserves; collections reported for June are $54K, where in-house collections were $45K.  YTD collections are $219.6.  The next scheduled meeting will be held on Friday, August 19th at the Administration building.

Director’s Comments

          Dave Borsos would like to see reserves moved to the front burner moving forward.

          Bob Leon would like to see parking lot striping at the Main Beach lots but was told that due to the configuration of the lots it makes it very difficult. We do not own any property by that beach so the lot cannot be expanded.     

Bob Leon stated that there are 30 homes for sale in Emerald Lakes.  They are:

  1.          $359K listed for 1 day
  2.          $199K listed for 1 days
  3.          $299 listed for 6 days
  4.          $265K listed for 8 days
  5.          $449K listed for 11 days
  6.          $449 listed for 11 days  
  7.          $225K listed for 11 days
  8.          $380K listed for 18 days (owner)
  9.          $170K listed for 20 days
  10. $350K listed for 21 days
  11. $485K listed for 28 days
  12. $320K listed for 28 days
  13. $850K listed for 29 days
  14. $415K listed for 31 days
  15. $249K listed for 31 days
  16. $550K listed for 37 days
  17. $269K listed for 38 days
  18. $450K listed for 39 days
  19. $255K listed for 41 days
  20. $1.3M listed for 41 days
  21. $675K listed for 42 days
  22. $419K listed for 49 days
  23. $280K listed for 49 days
  24. $300K listed for 56 days
  25. $350K listed for 64 days
  26. $378K listed for 65 days
  27. $339K listed for 77 days
  28. $388K listed for 78 days
  29. $629K listed for 123 days
  30. $288K listed for 214 days (Auction)

Chris Claude reminded everyone of the cornhole tournament being held later on that day.

Ange Noonan thanked all who supported her while she was on the board.  She is not rerunning for her seat but she is looking forward to exciting times ahead.  She stated that the board members volunteer their time, and it is time consuming and takes a lot of dedication.  It is time for her to pursue other ventures.  The rest of the board wished her well and thanked her for her service.

Bill Baehr gave a heartfelt thanks to Ange.  He stated that she loves this community and is also an animal lover who looks out for their welfare.

Public Comments

                    Annette attended her first meeting.  Her comment was that public safety doesn’t treat the young drivers with respect.  They should talk properly to them. She also questioned if everyone in the house was entitled to picture IDs.  She was told that each household in good standing was entitled to 10 IDs/passes.  In addition, she requested that the CC be opened on Sundays.

Mary Kavanagh stated that DJ Krazy Ken was a success but not enough tables were available for the crowd that attended.  She also suggested that we post a calendar to identify events.

Kathy Leslie Whelan asked if the CC will be available for rentals. She was told that it will happen soon.  They will not infringe on the pool hours and they are currently working on a pricing structure.

          Thirteen (13) new members were welcomed to the Community.

A motion was made by Steve Kavanagh to adjourn.  It was seconded by Ange Noonan.  Meeting adjourned at 10:50 AM.

Reporters Note: I write these reports based on notes taken during the meeting.  I get no special consideration or cooperation from the board.  I try my best to report accurately, but occasionally mistakes will be made.  I invite correction and have no desire to intentionally mischaracterize any comments or actions.

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

By Kathy Leslie-Whelan

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

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

Under Old Business:

  • The mailing for the Annual meeting is almost complete.  There will be three by-law changes to be voted on.  The first change is to adjust the procedures for membership review of the preliminary budget.  In the past the budget was presented to the members at the spring meeting where they had about two hours to review and comment.  It is state law that an approved budget needs to be in place by May 1st.   This change will make the preliminary budget available for review and comment for 30 days to honor the spirit of the by-law.  The new change will correct this bylaw.  The second change will address that the polls for the voting period at the annual open meeting be adjusted to state that polls will be opened for 30 minutes or until all votes have been cast. Currently, it stated that the polls shall be open for 30 minutes but since direct proxy voting has been implemented that time is no longer needed.  Last year after all votes were cast, there was a 25 minute waiting period that occurred before the ballots could be counted.  The third change is to return to the simple majority vote for a by-law change (50% plus 1). Currently, 2/3 votes are needed to pass a by-law change.  That means that a no vote counts twice as much as a yes vote.  Our current way of voting gives an unequal weight to a no vote. 
  • In an attempt to prevent beach closings a dogs and geese proposal at Pine Tree Island will allow dogs to run free from dawn to 10:00 AM. A subcommittee composed of Gamble, Baehr and Whelan has developed rules and regulations for the membership which will be posted at the beach.  Clearance has been obtained from the zoning officer, dog warden, attorney and insurance carrier. A gate and shed will be erected at the entrance by the bridge. Whelan further stated that this morning The Hideout posted a beach was closed due to E-Coli so it is just not our community that has this issue. In addition, Arrowhead Lake has a Geese Committee that uses starter pistols and loud noise to control their population. Whelan accepted a motion from Bob Leon to change our rules for Pine Tree Lake to allow dogs to run free from dawn to 10:00 AM.  It was seconded by Bill Baehr.  It passed with 5 yes votes and 1 no vote.  The no vote was cast by Ange Noonan.  This proposal will be on a trial basis.  This plan will go into effect once the gate is installed at the bridge on Pine Tree Lake.
  • Septic testing will be performed by Joe Gallagher, who is our hydrologist, around the perimeter of Pine Tree Lake to determine if a home on the lake is having septic issues.
  • Positions at the Community Center have been filed and a soft opening will happen on July 1st at 5:00 PM.  The positions filled are a Recreation Manager, a cook and a bartender.  If you attend please note that this opening will hopefully iron out any wrinkles in the operation so please be patient.     
  • Water Safety will be enforced on our lakes. Life vests will be required for everyone on water vessels.  Children 12 and under will be required to wear a vest where adults will have the option to wear or not, however, a vest must be on the vessel for their use.  Members of the fishing club have volunteered to patrol the lakes and identify and report on anyone not following this rule. Anyone refusing will be asked to leave the lake. Fishing club members were issued vests identifying them as members of the lake patrol.  In addition, anyone who did not register their boat will not be issued a spot on the boat rack.
  • Road maintenance is currently under contract and will begin shortly.  Gamble will try to notify the membership of where work and when work will be preformed.  Glade Drive will be paved for consistency while the other roads will get a two step process.  The longevity of the road and the cost is better. Main Beach parking lot was done with this two step process last year on a trial basis and it has held up well.  Gamble anticipates covering a lot of territory and may be able to add in some roads.  The area in front of the compactor will also be expanded to accommodate a new badging hut.  Any member not in good standing will not be able to gain access to the compactor area.  The board will be given a list of all roads that will be paved.

Under New Business

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

Committee Reports    

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

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

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

Director’s Comments

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

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

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

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

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

Public Comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reporters Note: I write these reports based on notes taken during the meeting.  I get no special consideration or cooperation from the board.  I try my best to report accurately, but occasionally mistakes will be made.  I invite correction and have no desire to intentionally mischaracterize any comments or actions.

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

By Kathy Leslie-Whelan

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

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

Under Old Business:

  • The mailing for the Annual meeting is almost complete.  There will be three by-law changes to be voted on.  The first change is to adjust the procedures for membership review of the preliminary budget.  In the past the budget was presented to the members at the spring meeting where they had about two hours to review and comment.  It is state law that an approved budget needs to be in place by May 1st.   This change will make the preliminary budget available for review and comment for 30 days to honor the spirit of the by-law.  The new change will correct this bylaw.  The second change will address that the polls for the voting period at the annual open meeting be adjusted to state that polls will be opened for 30 minutes or until all votes have been cast. Currently, it stated that the polls shall be open for 30 minutes but since direct proxy voting has been implemented that time is no longer needed.  Last year after all votes were cast, there was a 25 minute waiting period that occurred before the ballots could be counted.  The third change is to return to the simple majority vote for a by-law change (50% plus 1). Currently, 2/3 votes are needed to pass a by-law change.  That means that a no vote counts twice as much as a yes vote.  Our current way of voting gives an unequal weight to a no vote. 
  • In an attempt to prevent beach closings a dogs and geese proposal at Pine Tree Island will allow dogs to run free from dawn to 10:00 AM. A subcommittee composed of Gamble, Baehr and Whelan has developed rules and regulations for the membership which will be posted at the beach.  Clearance has been obtained from the zoning officer, dog warden, attorney and insurance carrier. A gate and shed will be erected at the entrance by the bridge. Whelan further stated that this morning The Hideout posted a beach was closed due to E-Coli so it is just not our community that has this issue. In addition, Arrowhead Lake has a Geese Committee that uses starter pistols and loud noise to control their population. Whelan accepted a motion from Bob Leon to change our rules for Pine Tree Lake to allow dogs to run free from dawn to 10:00 AM.  It was seconded by Bill Baehr.  It passed with 5 yes votes and 1 no vote.  The no vote was cast by Ange Noonan.  This proposal will be on a trial basis.  This plan will go into effect once the gate is installed at the bridge on Pine Tree Lake.
  • Septic testing will be performed by Joe Gallagher, who is our hydrologist, around the perimeter of Pine Tree Lake to determine if a home on the lake is having septic issues.
  • Positions at the Community Center have been filed and a soft opening will happen on July 1st at 5:00 PM.  The positions filled are a Recreation Manager, a cook and a bartender.  If you attend please note that this opening will hopefully iron out any wrinkles in the operation so please be patient.     
  • Water Safety will be enforced on our lakes. Life vests will be required for everyone on water vessels.  Children 12 and under will be required to wear a vest where adults will have the option to wear or not, however, a vest must be on the vessel for their use.  Members of the fishing club have volunteered to patrol the lakes and identify and report on anyone not following this rule. Anyone refusing will be asked to leave the lake. Fishing club members were issued vests identifying them as members of the lake patrol.  In addition, anyone who did not register their boat will not be issued a spot on the boat rack.
  • Road maintenance is currently under contract and will begin shortly.  Gamble will try to notify the membership of where work and when work will be preformed.  Glade Drive will be paved for consistency while the other roads will get a two step process.  The longevity of the road and the cost is better. Main Beach parking lot was done with this two step process last year on a trial basis and it has held up well.  Gamble anticipates covering a lot of territory and may be able to add in some roads.  The area in front of the compactor will also be expanded to accommodate a new badging hut.  Any member not in good standing will not be able to gain access to the compactor area.  The board will be given a list of all roads that will be paved.

Under New Business

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

Committee Reports    

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

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

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

Director’s Comments

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

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

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

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

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

Public Comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reporters Note: I write these reports based on notes taken during the meeting.  I get no special consideration or cooperation from the board.  I try my best to report accurately, but occasionally mistakes will be made.  I invite correction and have no desire to intentionally mischaracterize any comments or actions.

Emerald Lakes Board of Directors Open Meeting, May 28, 2022

By Kathy Leslie-Whelan

          The meeting was called to order at 9:34 AM.  All board members were present.  General Manager Darryl Gamble and Assistant General Manager Nicole Clemens were also present. After the pledge of allegiance, Buz Whelan, President called for a motion to approve April’s open board meeting minutes. The motion was made by Bill Baehr and seconded by Bob Leon.  It passed unanimously.   Whelan opened his President’s message wishing everyone a safe summer and reiterated what Kevin Derk stated on television this morning, that it was the unofficial start of summer.  Kevin Derk is a TV weatherman who is a resident of Emerald Lakes.  Whelan stated that now that summer is here there are more visitors so if you want a NY paper, you have to go out early to get one since a lot of visitors like to still get their hometown paper.  Whelan also stated that speeding has been excessive and is on the agenda and will be discussed later on in the meeting.  He also reminded people to be careful on the lake and make sure you wear safety gear.  Under our rules and regulations safety vests must be worn by children and adults must have them on the water craft. 

          Dave Borsos gave the Treasurer’s report.  He stated that our fiscal year in the black.  We were $181K ahead of the budgeted amount. Borsos stated that dues collections for the year came in at 71.82% which is above last year’s collection rate.  Areas for income that were above expectations included rental income at $122K; Chief Enforcement Officer Income at $127K; Access Card income at $24K.  Under expenses the following areas were over budget: Administration payroll at $41K due to new hire, maintenance $45K and trash removal at $28K.  Public Safety was under budget by $117K due to lack of staffing.  Borsos stated that overall things are looking good.  We were $277K under budget on our total expenses.  Borsos ended with stating that we have $1.4M in the operating budget and $543K in reserves.  Whelan added that the compliance rate is running consistent with the township tax collection rate.

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

Under Old Business:

  • The Community Center has passed all inspections.  Our liquor license has been activated.  Staff that was hired is being given start dates and a date for a soft open will be announced shortly.  Additional staff will be hired and the center should be fully operational by July 1st
  • Dogs and geese proposal at Pine Tree Island is moving at a measured pace.  A subcommittee composed of Gamble, Baehr and Whelan has developed rules and regulations for the membership.  In addition, they have talked to the zoning officer to see that leash laws were not being violated.  Currently, we are awaiting word from our insurance carrier on the cost.  The final stages will be talking to the dog warden and our outside counsel. A gate and shed will be erected at the entrance by the bridge.  Dogs will be allowed to run free from dawn to 10:00 AM. Whelan posted this idea on the unofficial FaceBook page and the response has been overwhelmingly positive.
  • Water Safety will be enforced on our lakes. Life vests will be required for everyone on water vessels.  Children will be required to wear the vest where adults will have the option to wear or not, however, a vest must be on the vessel for their use.  All landlords were informed of this rule and be required to supply vests to their tenants if they are supplying kayaks or boats.  Members of the fishing club have volunteered to patrol the lakes and identify and report on anyone not following this rule.
  • A lake toy/raft has been ordered and will be installed at Main Beach.  The raft is made of heavy duty rubber and has a slide.  It will be anchored with rope and cinder blocks.  Cost was $4,600.
  • Three bylaw changes will be presented to the membership at the annual meeting.  A draft was prepared by Whelan and will be submitted to our attorney for review.  They are:
    •  In the past the annual meeting was held in the spring but moved to August since most of the members at that time were vacationers.  The annual budget was presented to the members at the spring meeting where they had about two hours to review and comment.  Past boards ignored this requirement when the meeting date was changed.  It is state law that an approved budget needs to be in place by May 1st.   In 2008, Whelan made the preliminary budget available for review and comment for 30 days to honor the spirit of the by-law.  The new change will correct this bylaw.
    • Our bylaws state that the polls for the voting period at the annual open meeting must be opened for 30 minutes.  The change will state that they will be opened for 30 minutes or until all votes have been cast.
    • Return to the simple majority vote for a by-law change (50% plus 1). Currently, 2/3 votes are needed to pass a by-law change.  That means that a no vote counts twice as much as a yes vote.  Our current way of voting gives an unequal weight to a no vote.  It should be noted that a dues increase and elections require a simple majority.
  • Annual meeting prep is underway.  Dates for the meeting are:
    • June 25th is the cutoff date for declared candidates.
    • July 13th will be the mailing to the membership.
    • August 5th (15 days before the election) all monies owed the Association must be paid in full in order to be a member in good standing.
    • August 13th will be Meet the Candidates.
    • Meeting date is August 20th.
  • Rules for private signs will be enforced.  Any political signs must be positive and can only be installed 30 before an election and must be taken down within 7 days.  Yard sales signs must be taken down within 7 days of the sale.

Under New Business

  • Traffic enforcement is an issue.  Speeders and drivers that go through stop signs are an issue in the community.  It was recommended that we hire hourly staff whose main function would be to help us enforce our speed limits and stop sign violations.  More speed tables will be added this year, however, it will not be completed for the beginning of the summer season.  Gamble is currently talking to a temporary hiring agency to obtain hourly employees.
  • Board candidate deadlines were addressed above,
  • The board is currently looking for volunteers to join committees. Whelan stated it is a good way to learn about the operations of the Association.  He also stated that it makes a stronger candidate for any member that wants to run for the board.

There will be a Memorial Day celebration at the front entrance by the flag pole at 11:00 AM on Monday, May 30th.  The ceremony will be held to honor the fallen and should take about 15 minutes.  The Butterfly Garden is within walking distance and the membership is encouraged to visit. All are welcomed.

Committee Reports    

          Kathy Whelan spoke on behalf of Finance and Planning.   The meeting was held on May 21st.  Whelan stated that for this last fiscal year $1.6M was collected in dues which represents 71.82% collection rate. Whelan also stated that for this past fiscal year rental income was $607K while rental fines were down; public safety violations are down by $5K due to a staff shortage: Code Enforcement violations were $221K which exceeds the budgeted amount by $127K; Total income has a positive variance of $181.5K: overall expenses are good and within budget: current money in reserves is $534K; Community Center renovations were $310K; late dues collections for Sunrise were $129K which is impressive since they were not given any new accounts this year: interest investments were $12.81. The next scheduled meeting will be held on Saturday, June 18th but is subject to change due to Father’s Day weekend and the possibility of a conflict with the Fishing Rodeo.   

Director’s Comments

Bill Baehr stated that he has been living in ELA for the last 3 ½ years.  He learned what was going on by attending the monthly board meetings.  He was kept aware of what was happening by talking to the board members and felt the desire to join the board to make this community a better place to live.  He stated that everyone was given an opportunity to comment or ask questions during public comments.  Baehr ended with warning the membership that information on FaceBook is often misleading and inaccurate.

Bob Leon stated that there are 20 homes for sale and 1 foreclosure in Emerald Lakes.  They are:

  1.          $350K listed for 1 day
  2.          $392K listed for 2 days
  3.          $279 listed for 4 days
  4.          $400K listed for 4 days
  5.          $350K listed for 4 days
  6.          $259.9K listed for 4 days
  7.          $385K listed for 14 days
  8.          $324.9K listed for 15 days
  9.          $398 listed for 15 days
  10. $549K listed for 18 days
  11. $384.9K listed for 21 days
  12. $410K listed for 22 days
  13. $225K listed for 28 days
  14. $495K listed for 32 days
  15. $345K listed for 34 days
  16. $275K listed for 35 days
  17. $420K listed for 44 days
  18. $389K listed for 45 days
  19. $329.5K listed for 60 days
  20. $388.7K listed for 74 days
  1. $63.85K – Auction

Dave Borsos stated that if you see something you don’t like bring it to our attention.  He encouraged all to join a committee.  He also stated the compactor is opened 4 days per week (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday).  The bag limit per trip is 8 kitchen bags or 2 contractor bags.  The limit was put in place due to misuse by some contractor’s garbage.  In addition, the compactor will be opened on Monday the week for Memorial Day.

Buz Whelan stated that he will be working with Nicole Clemens on the Newsletter on Tuesday of next week and they are hoping to get it out by Wednesday afternoon.  He encouraged his fellow board members to contribute articles for the newsletter.

Public Comments

None

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

A motion was made by Steve Kavanagh to adjourn.  It was seconded by Bob Leon.  Meeting adjourned at 10:57 AM.

Reporters Note: I write these reports based on notes taken during the meeting.  I get no special consideration or cooperation from the board.  I try my best to report accurately, but occasionally mistakes will be made.  I invite correction and have no desire to intentionally mischaracterize any comments or actions.

Emerald Lakes Board of Directors Open Meeting, May 28, 2022

By Kathy Leslie-Whelan

          The meeting was called to order at 9:34 AM.  All board members were present.  General Manager Darryl Gamble and Assistant General Manager Nicole Clemens were also present. After the pledge of allegiance, Buz Whelan, President called for a motion to approve April’s open board meeting minutes. The motion was made by Bill Baehr and seconded by Bob Leon.  It passed unanimously.   Whelan opened his President’s message wishing everyone a safe summer and reiterated what Kevin Derk stated on television this morning, that it was the unofficial start of summer.  Kevin Derk is a TV weatherman who is a resident of Emerald Lakes.  Whelan stated that now that summer is here there are more visitors so if you want a NY paper, you have to go out early to get one since a lot of visitors like to still get their hometown paper.  Whelan also stated that speeding has been excessive and is on the agenda and will be discussed later on in the meeting.  He also reminded people to be careful on the lake and make sure you wear safety gear.  Under our rules and regulations safety vests must be worn by children and adults must have them on the water craft. 

          Dave Borsos gave the Treasurer’s report.  He stated that our fiscal year in the black.  We were $181K ahead of the budgeted amount. Borsos stated that dues collections for the year came in at 71.82% which is above last year’s collection rate.  Areas for income that were above expectations included rental income at $122K; Chief Enforcement Officer Income at $127K; Access Card income at $24K.  Under expenses the following areas were over budget: Administration payroll at $41K due to new hire, maintenance $45K and trash removal at $28K.  Public Safety was under budget by $117K due to lack of staffing.  Borsos stated that overall things are looking good.  We were $277K under budget on our total expenses.  Borsos ended with stating that we have $1.4M in the operating budget and $543K in reserves.  Whelan added that the compliance rate is running consistent with the township tax collection rate.

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

Under Old Business:

  • The Community Center has passed all inspections.  Our liquor license has been activated.  Staff that was hired is being given start dates and a date for a soft open will be announced shortly.  Additional staff will be hired and the center should be fully operational by July 1st
  • Dogs and geese proposal at Pine Tree Island is moving at a measured pace.  A subcommittee composed of Gamble, Baehr and Whelan has developed rules and regulations for the membership.  In addition, they have talked to the zoning officer to see that leash laws were not being violated.  Currently, we are awaiting word from our insurance carrier on the cost.  The final stages will be talking to the dog warden and our outside counsel. A gate and shed will be erected at the entrance by the bridge.  Dogs will be allowed to run free from dawn to 10:00 AM. Whelan posted this idea on the unofficial FaceBook page and the response has been overwhelmingly positive.
  • Water Safety will be enforced on our lakes. Life vests will be required for everyone on water vessels.  Children will be required to wear the vest where adults will have the option to wear or not, however, a vest must be on the vessel for their use.  All landlords were informed of this rule and be required to supply vests to their tenants if they are supplying kayaks or boats.  Members of the fishing club have volunteered to patrol the lakes and identify and report on anyone not following this rule.
  • A lake toy/raft has been ordered and will be installed at Main Beach.  The raft is made of heavy duty rubber and has a slide.  It will be anchored with rope and cinder blocks.  Cost was $4,600.
  • Three bylaw changes will be presented to the membership at the annual meeting.  A draft was prepared by Whelan and will be submitted to our attorney for review.  They are:
    •  In the past the annual meeting was held in the spring but moved to August since most of the members at that time were vacationers.  The annual budget was presented to the members at the spring meeting where they had about two hours to review and comment.  Past boards ignored this requirement when the meeting date was changed.  It is state law that an approved budget needs to be in place by May 1st.   In 2008, Whelan made the preliminary budget available for review and comment for 30 days to honor the spirit of the by-law.  The new change will correct this bylaw.
    • Our bylaws state that the polls for the voting period at the annual open meeting must be opened for 30 minutes.  The change will state that they will be opened for 30 minutes or until all votes have been cast.
    • Return to the simple majority vote for a by-law change (50% plus 1). Currently, 2/3 votes are needed to pass a by-law change.  That means that a no vote counts twice as much as a yes vote.  Our current way of voting gives an unequal weight to a no vote.  It should be noted that a dues increase and elections require a simple majority.
  • Annual meeting prep is underway.  Dates for the meeting are:
    • June 25th is the cutoff date for declared candidates.
    • July 13th will be the mailing to the membership.
    • August 5th (15 days before the election) all monies owed the Association must be paid in full in order to be a member in good standing.
    • August 13th will be Meet the Candidates.
    • Meeting date is August 20th.
  • Rules for private signs will be enforced.  Any political signs must be positive and can only be installed 30 before an election and must be taken down within 7 days.  Yard sales signs must be taken down within 7 days of the sale.

Under New Business

  • Traffic enforcement is an issue.  Speeders and drivers that go through stop signs are an issue in the community.  It was recommended that we hire hourly staff whose main function would be to help us enforce our speed limits and stop sign violations.  More speed tables will be added this year, however, it will not be completed for the beginning of the summer season.  Gamble is currently talking to a temporary hiring agency to obtain hourly employees.
  • Board candidate deadlines were addressed above,
  • The board is currently looking for volunteers to join committees. Whelan stated it is a good way to learn about the operations of the Association.  He also stated that it makes a stronger candidate for any member that wants to run for the board.

There will be a Memorial Day celebration at the front entrance by the flag pole at 11:00 AM on Monday, May 30th.  The ceremony will be held to honor the fallen and should take about 15 minutes.  The Butterfly Garden is within walking distance and the membership is encouraged to visit. All are welcomed.

Committee Reports    

          Kathy Whelan spoke on behalf of Finance and Planning.   The meeting was held on May 21st.  Whelan stated that for this last fiscal year $1.6M was collected in dues which represents 71.82% collection rate. Whelan also stated that for this past fiscal year rental income was $607K while rental fines were down; public safety violations are down by $5K due to a staff shortage: Code Enforcement violations were $221K which exceeds the budgeted amount by $127K; Total income has a positive variance of $181.5K: overall expenses are good and within budget: current money in reserves is $534K; Community Center renovations were $310K; late dues collections for Sunrise were $129K which is impressive since they were not given any new accounts this year: interest investments were $12.81. The next scheduled meeting will be held on Saturday, June 18th but is subject to change due to Father’s Day weekend and the possibility of a conflict with the Fishing Rodeo.   

Director’s Comments

Bill Baehr stated that he has been living in ELA for the last 3 ½ years.  He learned what was going on by attending the monthly board meetings.  He was kept aware of what was happening by talking to the board members and felt the desire to join the board to make this community a better place to live.  He stated that everyone was given an opportunity to comment or ask questions during public comments.  Baehr ended with warning the membership that information on FaceBook is often misleading and inaccurate.

Bob Leon stated that there are 20 homes for sale and 1 foreclosure in Emerald Lakes.  They are:

  1.          $350K listed for 1 day
  2.          $392K listed for 2 days
  3.          $279 listed for 4 days
  4.          $400K listed for 4 days
  5.          $350K listed for 4 days
  6.          $259.9K listed for 4 days
  7.          $385K listed for 14 days
  8.          $324.9K listed for 15 days
  9.          $398 listed for 15 days
  10. $549K listed for 18 days
  11. $384.9K listed for 21 days
  12. $410K listed for 22 days
  13. $225K listed for 28 days
  14. $495K listed for 32 days
  15. $345K listed for 34 days
  16. $275K listed for 35 days
  17. $420K listed for 44 days
  18. $389K listed for 45 days
  19. $329.5K listed for 60 days
  20. $388.7K listed for 74 days
  1. $63.85K – Auction

Dave Borsos stated that if you see something you don’t like bring it to our attention.  He encouraged all to join a committee.  He also stated the compactor is opened 4 days per week (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday).  The bag limit per trip is 8 kitchen bags or 2 contractor bags.  The limit was put in place due to misuse by some contractor’s garbage.  In addition, the compactor will be opened on Monday the week for Memorial Day.

Buz Whelan stated that he will be working with Nicole Clemens on the Newsletter on Tuesday of next week and they are hoping to get it out by Wednesday afternoon.  He encouraged his fellow board members to contribute articles for the newsletter.

Public Comments

None

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

A motion was made by Steve Kavanagh to adjourn.  It was seconded by Bob Leon.  Meeting adjourned at 10:57 AM.

Reporters Note: I write these reports based on notes taken during the meeting.  I get no special consideration or cooperation from the board.  I try my best to report accurately, but occasionally mistakes will be made.  I invite correction and have no desire to intentionally mischaracterize any comments or actions.

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

By Kathy Leslie-Whelan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Under Old Business:

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

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

Under New Business

No new business.

Committee Reports    

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

Director’s Comments

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

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

Land for sale:

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

Public Comments

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

Louise Leon thanked the board for their service.

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

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

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

Reporters Note: I write these reports based on notes taken during the meeting.  I get no special consideration or cooperation from the board.  I try my best to report accurately, but occasionally mistakes will be made.  I invite correction and have no desire to intentionally mischaracterize any comments or actions.

Emerald Lakes Board of Directors Open Meeting, March 26, 2022

Photo by fauxels on Pexels.com

By Kathy Leslie-Whelan

          The meeting was called to order at 9:37 AM.  Six board members were present.  Steve Kavanagh was absent due to illness.  General Manager Darryl Gamble and Assistant General Manager Nicole Clemens were also present. After the pledge of allegiance, Buz Whelan, President started his message addressing Short Term Rental (STR) information on the unofficial FaceBook page.  He said that there have been court decisions that state that homeowners have the right to do what they want with their properties.  He stated that the Board is aware of the latest issues at neighboring HOAs as well as the ordinance that the Tobyhanna Township is considering.  Although we cannot ban STRs there are actions that the Board has taken to protect the quality of life in the community. The fines are more robust and enforcement is being ramped up.  The major complaint in our community is noise that goes into the night.  When complaints come in security will be sent to let them know they have to tone down the noise.  If they have to go out for a second time, a $250 summons will be issued. If they are called again a second summons will be issued for $500.  If this property receives a third summons, it will be for $1,000 and will continue at that rate for any other summons that is issued.  If the fines are not paid, the property will be considered not in good standing and all amenity use will be suspended. 

Chris Claude interjected stating that discussions need to happen regarding possibly taking away use of amenities for repeat offenders.  In addition, noise monitors will be required on these properties that notify the owner that the STR is too loud. Claude also stated that STR owners have to supply a contact # that is available 24 hours a day.

Whelan continued his message stating that these regulations apply to everyone whether they are full time residents, weekenders or STRs.  Whelan said that most of the STR owners are not problems.  They are reasonable and good people but there is a small percentage where there are issues.  It only takes a few bad landlords to challenge the quality of life.  In addition, it is the intent of the Association to hire more public safety personnel.  Whelan mentioned the extension of Pine Tree Beach which is a new project that will start in the spring. 

Whelan continued to state that the Board was looking to pass a preliminary budget and make it available to the membership for review and comment over the next 30 days.  The final budget will be voted on by the Board at the next open meeting scheduled for April 30th.  Our fiscal year begins on May 1st

Finally Whelan stated that the Community Center (CC) is looking good and that we are down to our last inspection.  We are close to officially opening the CC where the Bar and Grill will be functional.  Events such as trivia night, bingo, karaoke night and special events will start to be scheduled.  He hopes everyone will come out for a meal at the center and drinks at the bar.

          Dave Borsos gave the Treasurer’s report.  He stated that he has two items to discuss.  The first item is that there is no bad news.  The second item is that we are in good shape financially and are under budget in most areas.

Borsos stated that currently $2.3M is in income totals year to date (YTD) while $1.7M are in expenses. Some highlights at the end of February are:

  • Dues income is at $1.2M  YTD
  • Chief Enforcement Officer (CEO) income is $163K YTD and $73K over budget
  • Access card income is at $53K  YTD and $25K over budget,
  • Rental income YTD is $500K
  • Expenses are $1.7M YTD.  They include administrative payroll, general and professional services, public safety payroll, CC and Recreation, Insurance and Utilities.
  • Cash assets are $896K
  • Reserves are $564K

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

Under Old Business:

  • Ice fishing rules and regulation were developed by Vice President Chris Claude and Eric Bergstrom of the fishing club.  These regulations will be added to our Rules and Regulation document.  For the first year ice fishing will be limited to Deer Lake and may eventually have Lower Deer Lake added.  Ice fishing will be allowed Monday through Sunday between the hours of 9:00 AM and 4:00 PM.  There will be a catch and release of all species of fish.  Only artificial bait will be allowed.  The Association will not be supplying rest room facilities and no one is allowed to relieve themselves publically.  Only one rod, with one tip up will be allowed.  All fishermen must carry a valid fishing license and Emerald Lake permit if over the age of 16.  No shack structures will be allowed; however, wind breaks will be allowed and must be removed by 4:00 PM.  Chris Claude made the motion to accept the ice fishing rules.  It was seconded by Bob Leon.  It passed with a four to one vote.  Dave Borsos voted against this item.
  • Currently the Association has a watercraft and can go out to check on the fishermen and women.  Members from the fishing club will be deputized and allowed to give summons out for any violations of the rules.  Anyone without proper ID will be asked to leave the lake and anyone refusing will be reported to the police for trespassing.
  • Other items to be added to Rules and Regulations under the public nuisance rule are fines ranging from $250 for first offense, $500 for the second offense and $1,000 for the third or any subsequent violations.  Under Catch and Release provision, all species of fish will be added. A new fine of $50 will be added for anyone on a boat without a life vest.  Children 12 and under must wear vests.  Anyone older must either wear or have a life vest available on the vessel. A motion was made by Bob Leon to accept the changes to the Rules and Regulations document.  It was seconded by Bill Baehr.  It passed unanimously.
  • The Board believes they have a sound preliminary budget.  A motion was made by Bob Leon to approve the preliminary budget.  It was seconded by Bill Baehr.  It passed unanimously.  The budget will now be available to the membership for review and comment.

Under New Business

  • Two Spring Projects were discussed.  The first item is the Pine Beach expansion.  The beach is being expanded to the area in front of the volleyball area.  Since this is not in the alcove and water flows freely in that area, hopefully there will be fewer beach closures due to bacteria in the water.  The second project is the boat/kayak rental at Pine Tree Beach. Plans are still under development.  There will be a small station at the bridge where IDs will be checked on the weekends before anyone can enter the beach area.  Kayaks and paddle boats will be stored on the current beach where boats can be launched easily.  Boats will be chained to racks, however, that might change to an enclosed structure.  Life vests and paddles/oars will be secured in an enclosed structure. Anyone renting a water vessel will be required to wear life vests.  Pricing on the rentals is currently being discussed.  Rentals will be available to all homeowners and rentals in good standing.

Committee Reports    

Chris Claude spoke on behalf of the Real Estate Committee.  This committee had a virtual workshop for landlords. The requirements for the landlords were discussed as well as the rules and regulations being distributed. 

          Kathy Whelan spoke on behalf of Finance and Planning.  At a special meeting on March 4th the committee reviewed the budget and made minor adjustments.  All members agreed that the budget was a sound document before it was submitted to the Board for their review.   A second meeting was held on March 25th to discuss the final budget after the Board review and the February financials.  Highlights were discussions on the rental income, CEO fine collections, credit card fees which will be reinstated effective May 1st and collection fees.  The next scheduled meeting will be held on Friday, April 22nd, however, that may change to Saturday, April 23rd.

Director’s Comments

Bob Leon stated that there are 7 homes for sale in Emerald Lakes.  They are:

  1.         $299K listed for 2 days
  2.         $270K listed for 8 days *
  3.         $395 listed for 11 days (Foreclosure)
  4.        $225K listed for 15 days
  5.        $260K listed for 18 days *
  6.        $450K listed for 33 days
  7.        $499K listed for 52 days *

Homes ranged from $299K to $499K. A repeat listing is a property that has been taken off the market and put back on and identified with an *.  No lake front homes are available.

     Dave Borsos stated that real estate pricing has gone up.

     Bill Baehr said that he bought his home here 4 years ago and the value of his home has gone up by 35%.  He was away for a while so it was his first time seeing the renovations at the CC.  He said he was thunderstruck by the improvements.  He realized there were delays due to Covid, material shortages and permits but the place is gorgeous and the wait was worth it.

Public Comments

Randy Kopp of Huckleberry stated that he has been here for 2 and ½ years.  He wanted to know that since Pine Tree Lake has been closed during the summer what type of impact more activity will have.  Will there be a negative impact.  Gamble and Clemens stated that they hope that this issue resolves by moving the swimming beach over where the water flows stronger.  Clemens stated that last year, preliminary testing at Pine Tree showed where the water was coming in.  He also stated that septic systems should be required to be pumped out every so often.  Claude stated that he bought this up a while back.  He feels that all septic systems should be inspected every 3 years.  The board will have further discussions on the septic pump issue.

          Kathy Whelan asked members of the fishing club if that by having catch and release of all species, how will it affect the bass in the lake.  Will all baby bass born be vulnerable to other fish in the lake?  Eric Bergstrom stated that a fishing survey is completed at various times that identify what species and size of fish are in the lake.  When stocking is done, a determination of what and what size will be added to the lake.

          A gentleman in the audience asked if the Board addressed roads.  He was told that the entire stock of cold patch from Lowes was purchased and is currently being used on the worst areas in the development.  The plant that we order cold patch from opens on April 15th.  At that time, maintenance can be more aggressive on addressing the pot holes.

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

A motion was made by Chris Claude to adjourn.  It was seconded by Dave Borsos.  Meeting adjourned at 11:10 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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