Thursday, March 20, 2008

Board Meeting March 19 2008

YOWZA! What a board meeting last night. Or as Bill Enholm called it "Beat up James Night" A parade of speakers from the floor and on the dais lined up to take me on because of this blog. Apparently the adage of if you can't beat him, beat up on him is their motto. First the usual disclaimer: This is my report based on my notes. If I got anything wrong, please contact me or leave a comment and I will correct any wrong information. Because I take the time to do this, I reserve the right to add my own color commentary.

Executive Session

  • We had updates on five legal matters.
  • We rejected (again) an inquiry to give a permanent easement to the cell phone tower.
  • We discussed drainage over trails from one neighbor's property onto another. (Please understand that water coming from your neighbors yard, even across the trail, is YOUR responsibility to drain away. )
  • Saddle Insurance - We discussed this, but voted on it in open session so see below

Homeowners Forum

Barry Roa - Expressed concern about safety issues related to horses. He noted the city said they may put in some new signs at some crossings. He noted that on the same day both he and his wife separately were stopped near the Equestrian Center to allow a horse to cross when another car tried to swerve around them and they each used their car or the car door to block the car so as to prevent it from hitting the horse and rider (a young girl in one case). Please folks. I know we're all busy and hate to wait but cars are usually stopped for a good reason so let's be more careful.

Marlene Sandler - I looked at the reserves study and the wording makes it sound like the homeowners are contributing to the reserves. I think it is the wording and it should be corrected in the Pony Express to correct the wrong information out there. Bill pointed out (if I understood this correctly) that there once was one reserve fund for all of Nellie Gail. it was divided up at some point and a big chunk given to the EC. I pointed out to her that the only reason the budget balances is because of the cell phone tower revenue. If not for this and other budgeting gimmicks the Center wouldn't pay for itself.

She also asked about the insurance policy on the equestrian center and the community arenas. I'll discuss this down below on that action item.

Linda Mudd - She noted that while passing Moulton arena a tractor was working and a huge dust cloud was blowing across the road obscuring the road and causing a dangerous situation. She noted that these dust clouds are annoying to neighbors and are dangerous to cars. Can anything be done she asked? (Thank you for bringing this to our attention. Is this common ? )

She noted that the medians did not look beautiful because there were no plants. She noted that there were rails from fences down all over Nellie Gail


1. Annual Meeting Planning - The board voted 3-2 (Cindy, Bill and I in favor and Jan and Bob against) to place two additional bylaws changes on the ballot for residents to decide if they wish to end proxy voting and cumulative voting. Jan and Bob didn't even want you to have the right to vote on it for yourself. Cindy indicated she was probably against these but said the residents should have the right to vote on them. This will join staggered terms for Board members as an item on the ballot as well. Our attorneys were against putting these on because he thinks the homeowners are not capable of handling multiple items on a ballot. (I kid you not. He said that.) Don't worry. We'll use small words. You'll be fine.

2. Budget Planning - Budget's coming. The board will schedule a budget workshop and yes anyone can attend.

3. Code of Ethics - Whew! This is where the fireworks really kicked in. I'm going to do a whole separate posting on this for many reasons, but in the end Cindy and I voted for my version of the code of ethics. Bill opposed it because it was too long and Bob and Jan opposed it for many reason I'll expand on later. Then Jan and Bob put forth their version of the Code of Ethics and that was adopted 5-0. I didn't get the comprehensive code that would address the more serious issues, but I met my campaign promise to finally get them to adopt a Code of Ethics.

4. Architectural Review Committee (ARC)- We're still accepting applications and next meeting we will publicly meet to interview the candidates. There have been about six people applying for three slots. (Although the current ARC has five members even though the CC&Rs say only three are allowed, but why should the group responsible for enforcing the CC&Rs actually comply with them themselves? ) I'm looking forward to this interview because the current members have much to answer for due to their treatment of residents. But I want to be fair and hear their side of the story. Be sure to submit your application the project you save may be your own!

5. Scheduling - Mickey was great last night. He got up and noted there was some confusion over the proposed rule that was sent out that stated the Hayden Group was to get priority usage of the Middle Arena at times. That was not true. It was not what any of the participants said, but it appears Jan reported back to Glenn that this was the case and so it was sent in error. Several neighbors said Mickey was unfairly tarred by this at the start of running the EC because it gave the impression he was taking over the EC. I want to note here that this is not the case and Mickey wasn't at fault and he deserves a fair chance at making this work. I have problems with these set ups, but since the Board majority approved it we should give it a fair shot to work.

6. Equestrian Center Rules - Mickey took a stab at consolidating all the EC rules down and developing a set of rules for the community arenas. They were discussed briefly due to the lateness of the hour and we will hear more about them next month.

7. Stall Waiting Policy - It was noted that some people who had sub leased a stall were dropped off the waiting list and that didn't seem fair. It was agreed that those who were on the waiting list for a stall and were dropped when they sub leased one will be returned to the waiting list in the approximate spot they were in before they were dropped.

8. Trainer/Clinician Charge Policy - After Jan asked that a lot of time and effort be put into developing a new policy (see previous rants by me on this) it was agreed to let Mickey take a stab at developing a policy, but it was noted by Jan (a trainer who pays little) that we should only charge trainers and clinicians who are making lots of money not those who are making small amounts of money. (But she opposed adopting any conflict of interest policy earlier in the evening. I'll let you put those two facts together and draw you're own conclusion.)

9. Saddle Insurance Policy - It was suggested that we raise our insurance coverage on equestrian related issues from $1 million to $2 million. I asked my questions from the Agenda posting below: 1) What amount of the discount was due to adopting the trainer policy? A. No way to tell. 2) Does the insurance company know that the trainer policy we adopted to get lower rates only applies to the EC and not the community arenas? A. Glenn didn't know but would have to ask. It was noted that the insurance covers all equestrian activity in the common areas of Nellie Gail (Trails, EC and community arenas). To increase our coverage to $2 million will cost $1000 a year. Our umbrella policy actually might cover that additional amount and more. Glenn would need to check. We don't know if we have the budget to cover the increased cost (or any of the other increased costs and expenditures approved this year for the EC) but what equestrians want, equestrians get and the increase was approved 4-1 with myself voting no because -- call me crazy -- I think we ought to check to see if we can afford something before buying it.

10. Community Bulletin Boards - We like the idea of putting up bulletin boards around the community, but need to see what the budget says first. I guess because the equestrians weren't asking for them it was ok to wait for the budget. Yeah I know. There he goes again being snarky and negative...

11. Conditional Use Permit - Work progresses and we will get a presentation next month on the progress and some suggestions. Micky Hayden was very helpful in this with some good ideas per Glenn.

12. Web site improvements - I am getting access to the web site to make some immediate changes and we will hold off on any real redesign I suggested until after the budget process when we determine what we can or can't afford to do.

C. General Managers Report

1. Yoga Classes at the Equestrian Center - A teacher will charge for private and group lessons. Whether or not to charge the teacher to use the equestrian center room for this was left to Mickey to decide. (We're making him earn his pay already).

2. Landscaping - Glenn is exploring using annuals and perennials at the entrances and on medians which should help keep the costs down. He said we're waiting for proposals.

3. Invoices from Sunset Landscaping - Glenn shared that Sunset Landscaping is doing unauthorized work (something that was allowed in the past under previous GMs) and billing us for items and labor that they should not be charging us for. Glenn noted he has asked for a schedule of the costs that aren't' covered by the contract so he can tell when he gets the bills if we're being charged an agreed to amount. He feels it is his duty to review these and approve charges in advance of the work as part of his fiduciary duty and noted that some future board might call him on the carpet for paying invoices for work that hadn't been approved.

We adjourned into Executive session to deal with a personnel issue at 10:30pm and we finished that meeting at Midnight. Don't you wish YOU could be a Board member?


Anonymous said...

Same story different target. At least they are doing it in public as well as behind your back.

James said...

Yes, I agree. I've been telling people that I really do view all of the attacks last night as a victory. For one it appears we've forced them out of the shadows and back rooms to engage in open honest dialogue. And I must be making a difference or they'd not feel the need to attack me. I've increased the level of comunication, I've gotten us a code of ethics as promised. I'm working on the web site. The water park appears stopped. We have a new architect for the ARC and hopefully all new members to improve that ordeal for neighbors. Next is to address the business centers and I will have accomplished everything on my to do list when I ran. And I hopefully make life a bit easier for the banished equestrians by helping the jumpers get back into the EC. I have to say I'm feeling very good today and I have folks like you to thank for that.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry you have had to suffer what so many residents have had to go through. I agree with the 'same story' post.

Anonymous said...

They are bullies you call it like it is.

Anonymous said...

I don't want ugly message board cluttering up our neighborhood. How about put information on the web site. And for those not internet savvy, hold a class or post it at the office. I don't want to look like the local school.

Stephanie Miller said...

I wanted to publicly apologize for not attending this board meeting I would have stood in your support. I for one appreciate all that you are doing to create a balance for all to enjoy. I'm sorry that the equestrian issues have dominated your term on the board. I don't always agree with your opinion but I value your input. Since you are a NON-equestrian we need your perspective for the balance in this community.