June 2009 Board Meeting Minutes

Board Meeting Minutes

Rhondda Homeowners Association

June 15, 2009

Present: All officers were present with the exception of the Treasurer, and one Board member was absent.

The meeting was called to order at 7:02 p.m.

Maintenance Report

Biddle is doing their job mowing the common grounds; they are also responsible for pulling vines out of shrubs/trees on the common ground and specifically from the arborvitae surrounding the tennis courts. The arborvitae will be topped just above the fence line.

A lot of time is spent maintaining the pool and keeping the pool area clean; umbrella stands were just painted.

Some brush was cleared and wood chips spread behind Carmarthen Ct.: a meeting is requested with the chair of the Landscape Committee to go out to look at a few areas. It was clarified that Today's Trees is still the preferred vendor for tree removal; the only difference from last year is that they were asked to discontinue dumping wood chips at the clearing on Bausman Road.

A new air conditioning unit was purchased and installed in the office.

There was a question as to why the alligator head in the pond keeps turning over; it has been returned to proper position twice and in a couple of days and it is turned over again....clever geese? 

Minutes of May 18th Board meeting: items to follow up on: 

Do we wish to replace missing swings on the playgrounds? Maintenance knows how much they cost and would need to purchase them. The decision was made to replace the swings and put it out to the community that the swings needed to be replaced because older children destroyed them.

The President's format in the future will be to double check the minutes from the last meeting for follow up items. FAQ for the website need to be developed and a meeting of the block captains scheduled. There were no other comments or questions.

A Board member brought up the subject of the executive session held just before the quarterly homeowners meeting; he did not attend because he didn't know about the meeting. It was a piggyback meeting to keep from having too many meetings. It is not meant to be a regular occurrence. Both letters under the President's responsibility were delivered and will be discussed in the short executive session after this meeting. 

Treasurer's Report - The Property Manager reported in the absence of the Treasurer. The expenses for May exceeded the amount of monthly dues by about $800; the shortfall was covered by dues paid in advance. The monthly deposit was made to the Capital Reserve Fund bringing the total, including Certificates of Deposit, to close to $350,000. There is the ability to borrow from another account to cover expenses if necessary. Total annual income is approximately $185,000. The amount budged for the July 4th party and any other summer parties (Family Night) is $2000. The President requested a breakout of spending from last year's 4th of July party. Property and Casualty insurance is at 56% of budget because it is always a bit ahead of the calendar. $126 was taken in as late fees. The annual budget for landscaping services is $52,000 for cutting and weeding. $12,300 and $5,000 are budgeted for vegetation spray and brush removal; repair of courts can come from those funds. There were 9 homeowners with dues owed for more than 90 days - it is the same people who have been unable to pay. $578 in dues is owed for April in addition to all remaining outstanding dues.

A resident voiced concerns about costs for the Hankin Center and the volunteer appreciation event held in January.These issues can be discussed during meetings of the finance committee. Another resident is concerned about residents who are part of the finance committee actually being able to play a role and have a voice in budget decisions. There is no reason to believe that residents who are part of the committee will not be allowed to speak as long as they are part of the committee from the beginning of the process, not joining discussions mid-stream


Committee Reports:

Architectural Committee: A copy of the revised request form is part of the report distributed for the meeting. The chairperson tried to contact some people from other courts to participate in walk-throughs, but was unsuccessful in scheduling for other than Caernarvon Ct., which will take place the week of July 10th-15th. There are new volunteers for Caernarvon, but they have not been trained; no one will be reviewing their own building. No other committee members have stepped forward to take initiative for other courts; a copy of the contact list from the website will be given to the chairperson.

The subject of bad odors in the vicinity of the clearing on Bausman Rd. was discussed; there is a dead animal in the brush and possibly composting odors from the farm house on Caernarvon. The Property Manager said that she has never addressed the historical status of old houses in the community because of restrictions that would apply if they were on the Historical Register. The house on Caernarvon Court should be subject to the same maintenance criteria as other homes. Curb appeal is negatively affected by the lack of maintenance on the property. The general condition needs to be addressed with the resident as part of the Caernarvon walk-through. A suggestion was made to send a friendly letter to the resident: the letter the President composed to send out to residents is to the point and appropriate.

The President asked for comments about the letter to accompany the walk-through check list. A generic letter with 60 days to rectify failed items and an appeal process through the Architectural Committee is routine and acceptable. "Needs Improvement" does not require follow up but are subjects to take notice of and a precedent for the future. Dianne would like to have the name of the resident in the salutation rather than have it be generic. On the report itself, the failure column or the failed item will be highlighted for easy identification. the President suggested that Dianne keep a list of failed items on an Excel spread sheet so follow up is easy. This procedure would also ease the process of recording when a resident calls to say a failed item has been remedied. Residents are able to extend their deadline for another 60 days, but there should be an end cap to extensions. The checklist for a residence should be included in the 5407 document when a house is sold. The chairperson for the Architectural Committee requested some guidelines for how her committee should handle the appeal process. Missing light fixture globes are less of a problem, but sidewalk replacement/repair is more difficult. The President had suggested that letters be delivered via block captains, but the Property Manager believes that they should be mailed to be time guaranteed. Postage is an issue since every resident will get a letter. Mailing also assures that the letter is received and a violation letter should be mailed rather than delivered by a block captain. There is a concern that block captains have not been brought "into the fold"; a time should be scheduled to meet with them. The consensus was that mailing the letters is the most appropriate alternative. 

Landscaping Committee:

A written report was submitted. The Chairman will meet with Maintenance ater in the week to discuss plans. He will define the area on Bausman Rd. where bushes will be planted and where the grass line will be. He will come up with a plan and run it by the Board; planting will be done by volunteers. Watering is an issue in the summer, so planting shrubs must wait until fall. There is only a 10% chance of plants dying in the fall. The Chairman will include a plan for pushing back a lot of the wood chips; this will add grass for Biddle to mow but at the time, there will be a trade off by leaving some field areas unmown.

The Chairman's written report included specs for court repair. Pembroke Ct. was not on the list but would cost about $200. Figures do not include the cost of strategically placed boulders. There is a product made of criss-crossed plastic that stops soil erosion. Even if someone drives over it it won't erode. This product will be used on Carmarthen, Neyland and the Snowdons. Boulders will still be used because it has worked on Lampeter Ct. The cost of doing the work via volunteers and only paying for the placement of boulders will be much less expensive than contracting the whole project. $1500 will be the cost of supplies for each work session. There are enough volunteers to do the work. Half sheets flyers will be put out to each court to ask for assistance. The chairman will get supplies at wholesale prices. The area adjacent to the walking path will be addressed as well. The President would like the Board to set aside $3,000 from the spraying budget for the court project. The plastic mesh grid product would be approximately $300, plus there will be delivery charges. This new product makes sense for cost and protection from further damage from cars; rocks underneath allow drainage. The contractor for bed maintenance will be asked about weeding in front of farmhouse. Trugreen should be asked to spray beds for thistles. Residents who wish to get rid of thistles may spray with roundup every week for the whole season and until the thistles are dead. There was another question about vines which should be cut down at the roots. Pooling on some areas on common grounds could be filled with any extra soil left over from the court project. The President made a motion to allow $3,000 from the budget (spraying) to fund the court project. It was seconded and the vote was unanimous.

Safety Committee Report:

The Chairman was not present but suggests handing out arm bands on July 4th. Discussion: It might make people mad who bought them. The Youth Committee could sell bands as a project. Money could be returned to the budget then given out as the committee requests funding. The President thinks that they should be given out to people who are walking at night without lights. A resident suggested matching the amount that the kids sell as a challenge $1 back for every $2. $200 was the expenditure for the reflective armbands. It was decided that $300 be set aside for the Youth Committee for discretionary spending and the armbands will be given away.

Social Committee: The Chairman is not present to report.

Tennis Courts: The Treasurer is not present to report, however there is probably nothing new to report.

Composting: The President will put some information in the Roster about composting. A Board member commented that residents are dumping yard waste on the common ground. A message in the Roster will request that residents stop dumping. The President would like to train "dumpers" to compost. The Property Manager pointed out that there are rules against dumping on the common ground; report residents who dump to the office. Woodlark Farms residents throw yard waste over the fence into Rhondda. 

Website: The President reported for the committee. It would take a week's worth of coding to password protect the website. She suggested that the owner/expert put together a proposal to submit to cover his cost. 

Property Manager's Report:

Attempts will be made to talk to Blosenski about garbage trucks backing up in Snowdon Courts as an attempt to save the grass. If she doesn't get through to the sales rep, she will call the township.

The attorney for the Association responded about the tennis courts;  the Association shouldn't get rid of the lower tennis court even to convert it to another purpose. A plan would need to be submitted to the township, 67% of residents would need to approve the change, and the Association would also have to pay to amend the Declaration. The cost of fixing the tennis courts is about $60,000. It was suggested that the Board consult with our resident engineer to have him evaluate the tennis courts; The Property Manager will ask him. 

Outcome of letters: they were delivered.

The request for an earlier pool opening was approved by the pool management company, so the pool will be open full-time beginning June 16th.

The Property Manager requested more specifics about the 4th of July plans so that she may give answers to residents who have been calling.

Finance Committee - It was suggested that the Treasurer be asked if he can take the lead for the finance committee to commence meeting in August. A Board member recalled that there was discussion last year about residents who pay ahead on dues being given a monetary adjustment in lieu of pool passes. The Property Manager was asked to do some "what ifs", but giving a month free of dues would probably break the bank. The subject of electronic debiting for dues was brought up again. It would be a little bit of a different routine for office staff but good for the homeowners; it is something to look into.

There was discussion about restricted time for use of the Hankin Center due to parking conflicts with the pool. It was suggested that the office should try to regulate parking conflicts on an individual basis until such time as residents start to complain. There is an upcoming event for a maximum of 35 people and guests will not park in the Rhondda lot. Failure to follow rules regarding use of the Hankin Center will result in restrictions against the resident to use facilities in the future. 

July/August Roster:  Residents will be requested to join the Finance Committee. There is concern that residents on the committee were not allowed to participate in the discussion in the past. This is not the case as long as a resident is involved from the beginning of the meetings. The budget is pretty tight from year to year, and it is just a matter of reallocating during the committee meetings.

The President asked what is the cost of  lifeguard services for an evening pool party? The budget for the pool is for "x" number of days, so it would be a matter of allocating the time; an evening pool party could be a reward for courts completing all of their repainting of cedar/metal. Family fun night is likely to be held; it is in the budget. $700 is allotted for food.

A Board member asked whether the copier issue from earlier in the year should be revisited at this time. The lease is paid to the end of this year so the Association will own the copier and there will be no trade in. The Property Manager would like to do envelopes on the copier; an envelope tray is $420. A  Xerox salesperson came to the Property Manager with a brochure for another copier. It would copy color or b/w and could be set to default to black/white; it would not allow 11x17 size paper, but the lease amount would be the same. She would still like to use Reino's for printing. There would not be a service agreement on the copier that the Association pays off. The only copier expenses would be for repairs or cartridges; the cost per piece does not increase. A resident commented that no charge for maintenance seems too good to be true; maybe the purchase of a new copier should be considered. The Property Manager said that she is able to verify all the details. The expenditure of $420 for the envelope tray was approved.

Color Selection for Cedar courts: The President provided a short explanation of the process of selection and stated that the committee is now at the "color tweaking" stage. There was a reminder that anyone who has walk-through papers in their possession should turn them in to the office.

"Six-month Checkup of Board Performance - The President would like feedback regarding how is she doing as a president.

Service directory: A resident agreed to call residents who are listed in the service directory in July to find out if the information is still correct. 

Term limits: A Board member suggested that in the past there have been problems getting residents on the Board, so there haven't been any limits to the number of years in a given position. Term limits would require changes in the covenants and bylaws. Should there be succession planning so that there isn't a void in leadership? Should the vice president move to the president position after a period of time? i.e. the term for directors is two years. A limit could be set limiting service to no more than 3 consecutive terms. When the Association concerns are moving smoothly, no one wants to take on any positions. Four to five years ago, there was a suggestion to change the election rules to save money; if there are no new candidates, the election will be skipped. Another Board member said that she doesn't believe that succession planning is needed. It is not a complicated situation currently, so there is no need to address it at this time. 

The meeting was adjourned at 9:20 p.m. 

Respectfully submitted,