Thursday, May 22, 2008

Board Meeting May 21, 2008

A really great meeting. Short, sweet and to the point. Let's hope they are all like this from now on. Cindy wasn't able to join us but Dr. Bettey wielded a fast moving gavel (rubber mallet actually) as Vice President and we moved through things at a good clip. Here are the highlights.

Executive Session:

- The Board approved a contract with Merit Companies to handle our billing, financial reporting etc. This will save us about $2000 a month compared to the way we do things now. Way to go Maggie!

Open Session:

Open Space Variance Request - A neighbor whose home contains a bit of open space that is surrounded by a 13 foot wall and not visible from the horse trail (or anywhere seemingly) sought to turn a weed strewn patch into an area with a koi pond, sport court and playground area. This proposal was approved 3-1 with Bob, Bill and I in favor and Jan opposing. A victory for common sense.

Equestrian Stall Board Fee Increase - We heard from eight neighbors all opposed to increasing the board fees. Big surprise. Costs are increasing and the Board has approved a number of salary and other increases, gotten a new EC manager and other things for the Center to respond to concerns by the folks who use the EC, but now it seems we're hearing from a group that doesn't want to pay for those. In fact, we heard from some of these folks that non-equestrians should pay for these new goodies and cost increases because we knew it was an equestrian community when we moved in. I've written about this before so I'll leave it at that. For the record I will oppose any budget that doesn't make the Equestrian Center pay for itself the way the Tennis and Swim centers do and the way the HOA pays it's own costs. That is only basic fairness.

Consent Calendar - We approved the minutes and the financial reports for February and March. Maggie was left with a disaster on her hands in trying to get the financial situation worked out. She has done an amazing job as has Maureen and with the new contract approved last night for Merit hopefully we will be in a position to do an accurate budget for the year.

Swim, Tennis and Equestrian Reports - Lots of great programs and in the Tennis and Swim programs we have residents who won competitions and scholarships to college. We're going to see if we can get some pics and details for the official web site. Also, Mickey said for the record that he is against a stall board fee increase but is working to try to come up with ways to address the budget and the increasing costs to try to make an increase unnecessary. He also noted that the stall waiting list issue seems to be resolved and "There will be no more games" and the list is posted so everyone can see who is next. Also, the full rules book is outside the office at the EC for everyone to review because there will be no more exceptions made for people for not knowing the rules.

Cell Phone Tower - We rejected a proposal (again) from the company who leases the land from us for the cell phone tower on HOA property. The revenue from the interest on an annuity from a sale of a permanent easement for the cell phone tower would not make up for the current stream if income we get now so the deal doesn't make sense for the HOA since currently that revenue is used to subsidize the EC. Approved 4-0

July 4th Celebration - The Board approved expenditure of $250 to have a July 4th celebration headlined by the World War II Radio Band with a tribute to veterans and current military members in our community. We are under budget in the activities fund so we were able to fund this special event. It will be from Noon-2 so you can still do your evening fireworks parties later. Look for details from the office. Passed 4-0

July 5th Open House - A local realtor asked permission to have the In and Out Burger truck at the HOA office on July 5th with free burgers for residents. It was decided to use this time to hold an open house for the Swim, Tennis and Equestrian centers as well. So come on down and see what's going on. We will be contacting the city for parking permission. Again, the office should release details on that. Passed 4-0

Inspector of Elections - To keep our elections fair and to comply with the law we voted to appoint an official from the Merit Company to be the inspector of elections to oversee the election and annual meeting. So far there are only five candidates officially on the ballot, but anyone can run from the floor. So hopefully the election will be simple and amicable. Passed 4-0

Emergency Preparedness Committee Report - Charles Steinmetz has done an incredible job getting our community a plan to organize in the event of an emergency. He proposed a letter to be sent to everyone and posted in the Pony Express to get people to provide emergency information contact information to be accessed by a very limited number of people and ONLY in an emergency. Please respond to this because if we have a major earthquake and you are injured and we don't have you on the list to check on or contact you or a loved one could die. If you do NOT sign up and provide information we will presume you wish to be on your own in an emergency and not be told what to do or where to go to protect yourself or receive aid. Passed 4-0

Web Site - We brainstormed some ideas for the web site that will be part of a Request for Proposal (RFP) to get us a new web site. Once this is prepared we will get it out to professional web design firms, individual web designers, and neighbors like the Crouls who will try to help us find volunteers, community college programs or other options to get a great looking web site for little to no cost. If you have ideas, resources or suggestions for the web site, please post them here, send them to Maggie or any board member. Thx!

Budget Hearing - We will be holding a budget meeting to discuss how to pay for all the wonderful amenities and programs we have. We are looking for a date that will work for all of the Board. Once we have that I will post it on the blog and the web site.

And we adjourned at 8:50 happy, content and in good spirits. That's the way Nellie Gail Ranch should be and hopefully we are on a path to make this the usual way of things. We'll see you around the Ranch.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the update. It is great to know so fast what happened.

Anonymous said...

"For the record I will oppose any budget that doesn't make the Equestrian Center pay for itself the way the Tennis and Swim centers do and the way the HOA pays it's own costs. That is only basic fairness."

It is. Perhaps we may want to look at the way things are managed? How about a resident oversight committee? What ever happened to the Equestrian Center Committee?

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