Meeting Minutes – April 2, 2018

Present: Ron Hay, Dan Gronemus, Laura Schweitzer, Abigail Darwin, Barb Prigge, Jeff Wilson, Katherine Holt, Nancy Kern

  1. Neighborhood Meeting
    1. Changes to deed restrictions. We’ll add language saying that we will consider all alternatives and be less rigid because of technological advances and newer building materials.
    2. Homeowners will submit an application form from the website when they plan any changes to the exterior of their home or yard. Jeff had a sample and Katherine had also been working on this. Katherine will update the form for the board to review.
    3. Financial status. Costs have been rising and because of the 10% cap on homeowners’ fees, we haven’t been able to keep up with the increased costs. If we have more snow removal expenses in November and December, we may overspend.We have $5,834.58 in checking. Nine people still owe dues. We are changing our account to paperless so we can save $5/month on baking fees. The treasurer will print the statement as a PDF and provide it to Julie Roach.

      Our expenses include water runoff on common areas. This was not charged to us in the early years. This expense started small but increased in price until now it is $1,700 per year. Lawn mowing and snow removal have also increased dramatically. The board has gotten multiple bids and chosen competitive bids every year. We have the opportunity to sign a 2-year contract for snow removal and lawn care this year to lock in our prices.Insurance costs have also increased dramatically.

      We don’t have a choice about mowing or snow removal. We must mow, or the city will do it if there are complaints and we’ll be charged a fee. And snow removal is also required or we’ll incur penalties.

      We need a financial cushion so we could deal with unexpected expenses. We’d like to do this over two years by adding a $15 charge to the fees next year and the following year. That would provide us with a $5,000 cushion, which is reasonable for a neighborhood of our size. We will ask homeowners to agree to amend the by-laws to allow the extra charge. We need 2/3 of those present at the meeting to approve removing the cap from the homeowner dues. If it passes, we’ll have our cushion in two years. If it doesn’t pass, we’ll need to have a special assessment and ask for the $30 all at once. This will be looked on negatively by realtors and home buyers because it looks like we can’t manage our funds. There is one vote per address. We’ll provide a copy of the budget and the finances.

      If dues are not paid, we’ll send a return-receipt requested letter and place a lien on the property. The house cannot be sold until the lien is paid. The cost of placing the lien will be added to the dues that are owed.

      Note that we are non-profit and are not doing this to make money. We have a lot of volunteer labor – an attorney, an accountant, and volunteers who donate their time to trim trees, rake, mow, fertilize and more.

      Annual fees at other nearby neighborhoods:
      Wexford $110
      Sauk Creek Estates $350

    4. Other topics to discuss at the neighborhood meeting.
      1. July 4 – come to parade and picnic
      2. Leaf raking – we can always use more volunteers for this fun event
      3. Tree cleanup
      4. Garage sale – May 18 and 19
      5. Realtor at 8 p.m.
      6. Dan will create a sign-up sheet for yard work.
      7. Richard and Abigail are donating beverages for the meeting. Mention this so neighbors know it isn’t coming from homeowner dues.
  2. Ron will give the garage sale signs to Jeff to put on Thursday evening before the sale. Dan will place ads in the newspaper, on Craig’s List and on the website.
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