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October 2010 Board Meeting Minutes

Rhondda Homeowners Association

Minutes of Board Meeting

October 18, 2010

The meeting was called to order at 7:03 p.m.

Present:  Sue Patt, Frank Cetera, Gwenn Melcher, Christine Trevaskis, Michael Cassella, Sara Dill, Joyce Fedora, Michelle DiMichele (at 8:30).  Becky Shallow and Dianne O’Melia were also present.

Absent:  Scott Leidy, Angelina AlMadanat

Web Site Report
Rebecca Shallow updated members on the website.  She noted there was a lot of activity in Rhondda during the past month that could be incorporated and she would like some feedback.

Google App: A Google update has caused the calendar events feature to default to Pacific time.  This is an issue that has been addressed for the website, however, there are some board members that will have to reset their personal settings for Eastern Standard time.  Rebecca will recheck the site in 24 hours to see if it is set to proper time.

Proofreading: The web site committee would like to designate someone to proofread text before it is uploaded to the website.

Suggested additions to the website:

Social Activities: Angela AlMadanat, the Social Director, will be consulted about adding social content.

Voting Process Information

Leaf Collection Days

Chris Trevaskis wanted to know if a forum could be added to address common issues as had been suggested in the past.  Sara Dill made it known that a forum could not be connected to the Rhondda website because it could be construed that the association was endorsing certain products, contractors, etc. resulting in legal ramifications.  However, homeowners could set up a blog independently that could serve this purpose.  Such a blog could also be used to set up a Contractor List.  

Minutes Follow up

Chris Trevaskis and Sara Dill approved the minutes.  Gwenn will add the word “shingles” to the September minutes.

Follow up comments:

The letter created by Michael Cassella requesting homeowner feedback to establish the guideline for “pristine” siding will be sent out after Mike adds information about the spring walkthrough plans and cedar color options.

Handicap Access: Sue Patt drafted a letter to two homeowners addressing their requests for additional handicap access and explaining the Board’s position in the matter.  This letter will be sent upon approval.

Maintenance Report

A written report was handed in by Scott Leidy who is on vacation and will be returning next week.

The high floodlight turns itself off periodically and needs to be reset.  Frank Cetera will talk to Scott Leidy about adjusting the mechanism so that it doesn’t trip off.

Frank suggested having the concrete contractor extend the sidewalk at the farmhouse down to the parking lot to remove any tripping hazards.  This improvement would require a resetting of the handicap parking space and will be addressed in the Spring.

LLandovery sinkholes:  These sinkholes have been an ongoing problem that Contractors have been trying to fix using clean landfill and concrete.  There are multiple sinkholes and an actual large hole that appears to have been dug up, which is of major concern due to the hazardous conditions.  Sue Patt did a cursory inspection of the large hole and did not see any conditions (i.e. stormdrains) that may have caused the hole to form.  Michael Cassella will also take a look at the hole and provide feedback.  Additional soil may have to be purchased for repairs.   Dianne O’Melia will have Scott Leidy look into the matter also and have him put Caution Tape around the area.

Good Maintenance Descriptions

The Good Maintenance document has been edited incorporating suggested changes from the October 7 meeting.  This document provides clarification of the by-laws for homeowners and gives guidance to those persons who will be doing the yearly walk throughs to keep the results uniform.

There were two Items in need of clarification:  Retaining walls – need to determine at what point to deteriorating railroad ties require replacement.  Exposed basement walls – need to determine the point at which cracks become problematic.  It was suggested that both items be moved to the “Recommended Repair” category.  Michael Cassella believes retaining walls should be deemed failing if construction materials are compromised or rotting and this was agreed upon by the Board.  Cracked retaining walls will be moved to recommended repair list.

Sara Dill expressed concern that the Architectural Committee had not approved the Good Maintenance document.   Sue Patt reiterated that the Architectural Committee members have had ongoing input into the document and their concerns have been addressed.  She also stated that it is the purview of the Board to set the basic standards and the responsibility of the Architectural Committee to bring to the Board’s attention additional concerns as they arise.

Michael Cassella motioned to approve the Good Maintenance document incorporating the changes above, and place it in the hands of the Architectural Committee for use on future walkthroughs.  Frank Cetera seconded the motion, Sara Dill and Joyce Fedora voted against the motion, remaining members approved and the motion was passed.

Treasurer’s Report

Dianne O’Melia will instruct Sara Dill on how to access necessary reports on Peachtree.


Frank Cetera – In reference to the homeowners dues actual vs. budgeted, Frank wanted to know if we will meet our budget given outstanding debts. Dianne stated that there are homeowners that pay their yearly dues in advance and the 2011 dues will be used for 2010 expenses, which is standard practice.

Frank Cetera – In reference to lifeguard services, Frank noted that there is an additional bill for these services (approx $7k) that has not been added.

Property Manager’s Report

The attorney utilized by the Association will be discontinuing monthly retainer fees and instead will be charging $180/hr. beginning in January 2011.  Dianne O’Melia will forecast fees for Sara Dill for next year’s budget.

A miniature Japanese maple was planted out front of the farmhouse and a plaque for Kay Hall, the former Sales Manager, for her many years of community service to Rhondda, will be ordered.

The current cleaning lady for the Farmhouse and the Hankin Center is unable to continue her duties due to health issues.  Dianne O’Melia vetted a replacement cleaning service that is fully insured and legitimate that will cost $195/mo. to come out twice a month to clean the farmhouse and the Hankin Center.  This was agreed upon by the Board.

Malloy paving has pushed back the paving of Pembroke and Conway to the first week of November.  An advance notice will be sent to the homeowners regarding parking of vehicles during paving.

Architectural Committee

No new items for dicussion at this time.

Social Committee

Angela AlMadanat was not present but requested Dianne O’Melia to pick up apple cider and hot chocolate to go along with the baked goods being donated for the Halloween party.  Dianne will also pick up gift cards for the winners of the costume contest.

Cedar Siding Above Townhouse Rooflines
Maintenance Reponsibility - Sue Patt reiterated that the Association must be able to give clear information to homeowners with regard to which homeowner is responsible for fixing the cedar.  According to Pennsylvania law, it is the home with the higher roofline that is responsible for maintaining the cedar attached to it.

Replacement Materials – the recommendation has been for hardy plank and/or vinyl, which requires horizontal placement for the warranty to apply.  It was suggested that vinyl be used in interior townhomes and a choice of either hardy plank or vinyl in horizontal placement be given to the end units.  If cedar is replaced with new wood on the gable end, it must also be placed horizontal to match newer products and improve on weatherproofing.

A motion was made to allow courts to use approved color vinyl that matches the chosen colors in the court on the interior units in place of cedar and either hardy plank, vinyl, or cedar horizontally on end units when needing replacement.  Sara Dill seconded.  All approved.    A second motion to approve Joyce Fedora’s request to use either approved court solid stain selected by court or “clear pristine cedar color” vinyl above her roofline was made by Michelle DiMichelle and approved by all.

Walkthrough Follow-Up

Caernarvon Court and Carmarthen Court are not finished.  Pembroke Court is half complete.  Kidwelly Court should be complete by next Wednesday.

New Business

Proposed Budget for next year:

Frank Cetera noted that there would be a surplus at the end of 2010 and that serious thought should be given to how best to utilize the extra funds while maintaining cash flow.
GAAP practices suggest putting surplus monies into a separate account at the end of the year.  This money can be used to address major repairs that are needed such as the pump house at the pool.  Dianne O’Melia mentioned a portion of the monies should be deposited into the capital reserve account and will ask the accountant about legalities.  This issue will be addressed mid-term next year.

Major changes to budget:

Pool – added manhours for pool to be vacuumed three times a week. It was decided by the Finance Committee that the pool should not be opened earlier in the year during the week because of the additional cost of lifeguards and maintenance.

Parties – substantially reduced the amount of monies to be spent on parties.

Brush removal/vegetation control – reduced the amount to be used for these purposes.

Frank Cetera motioned to approve the 2011 operating budget as written, Michelle DiMichele seconded, all approved.

Homeowner questionnaire:

Michelle DiMichele is working on a quarterly homeowner questionnaire to better gauge the interests of the homeowners.  She will bring a draft of the document to the next board meeting.

Exit interview for Dianne O’Melia:

Dianne O’Melia was asked to share her experiences and thoughts with the board.   Since 2008, Dianne has felt that the Board members did not give her the respect due her as the Property Manager.  She feels that her position was undermined in many instances and she was made to be ineffective. Decisions are often made by Board members and committee members without the input of the Property Manager whose experience would have been valuable.  No yearly review was provided and therefore there was no guidance.  Prior to the year and a half she was working with the current Board, she was very happy to be working for the Rhondda Homeowners Association.

The Board will be sad to see her go and wishes Dianne all the best in her new position.  Going forward the Board will seek to better incorporate the Property Manager into the decision making process and utilize the experience and knowledge of the employees.  Additionally, a yearly evaluation will be performed to help determine raises/bonuses.

Dianne will close 2009 and open 2011.  Michelle DiMichele motioned that Dianne be paid for nine days comp time and severance according to her contract.  Chris Trevaskis seconded, all approved.  Sue Patt drafted a letter of recommendation and will finalize it after receiving feedback from the Board members.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:30 p.m.  The next Board Meeting will be held on Monday, November 15, 2010.

Respectfully submitted,

Gwenn Melcher, Secretary