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The meeting was called to order by Larry Smith, President, at 10:00 A.M.
Directors in attendance in person: McKnight, Beneke, Ames, Faliero, Foster, Freeman, Johnson and Potts.
Staff in attendance: Brown, Gwozdo, Mahowald and Wyatt
Upon motion made by Beneke and seconded by Freeman, the minutes of June 2016 were approved. Motion passed unanimously.
Financial reports for June 2016 and the LLC companies were distributed to all board members. Road and Security’s income was up compared to June 2015 due to collection of assessments on four homes and eight lots. Operating expenses for Road Maintenance on average were less than in June of 2015. Security expenses were consistent with last year’s costs. Administrative expenses were up due to bad debt recovery.
Smith moved to accept the financial report. Beneke seconded the motion. Motion passed.
Three thunderstorms were reported, resulting in 14 trees down. Some clogged culverts and a few wash outs were reported. All trees were removed. All culverts were cleaned, and the washouts and roads were graded without incident.
- The majority of the scattered brush and logs that were left by French Broad Electric along the road banks and ditches that are mowed by RMS have been picked up and hauled off by RMS staff. This had to be done in order to mow the ditches and banks.
- All ditch, bank and intersection mowing has been completed, and the next mowing is scheduled for mid-August.
- The roadway grading of the gravel roads has been more successful than in June due to measurable precipitation. There are still some rough spots, but overall, the roads are in good shape. RMS will continue to grade roads where needed and when the weather permits.
- The matching-gravel program is still available and encouraged. A 16-ton load of gravel is $360.00. A load will spread approximately 9 feet wide by 200 feet long at a 2-inch depth. WLRMS will match up to 10 loads on any one road in Wolf Laurel, but RMS does not do driveways.
- The brush piles along Buckhouse and Buckeye Roads are still scheduled to be burnt in place by RMS, ECFD and the NCFS when weather will permit scheduling.
- The metal structure of the bridge on Village Lane has been sanded and painted, and it should be fine for the next four years.
- The trees, brush, ditches, culverts and roadway along Upper Lookout Drive, “one of our newly acquired roadways,” are being re-worked. These tasks should be completed by next week.
- One culvert along Upper Lookout, and one culvert on Upper Haw have been installed. All culverts and ditch lines that we know of, which were clogged, have been cleaned since the last rains.
- The Vermeer 5040 mower has been sent to auction and will hopefully be auctioned off on July 23, 2016. I have a $3,000.00 reserve on it.
- The new Ferri flail mower approved in the last meeting was ordered, delivered, installed and put to work. It is working great.
- The CAT 416 backhoe downrigger was sent to CAT and repaired. Upon installation, we found a factory defect which is now being repaired. Guards were ordered for the downriggers to prevent future damage to the downriggers.
- The CAT 277 skid steer is still having travel hydraulic issues. The CAT service technician has been out three times to try and resolve these issues with no resolution as of yet.
- The jacks and hitches on three of our four trailers are being replaced due to safety reasons.
- Protection guards have been installed on both tractors to protect the glass enclosures from flying debris from the mower.
- A set of front tires have been installed on the green Chevrolet.
- A 1500 gallon water skid will be purchased and installed on the blue International truck to be used for compaction issues on the gravel roads.
- Two water pumps have been purchased, one electric and one motorized, to be used for the drainage project and to fill the water skid.
- Shop fans and a metal cutting saw have been purchased for the shop, and they will be inventoried.
- A significant amount of hand and air tools have been purchased for the shop at an auction for a very reasonable price and will be inventoried. “I will begin to take what is left of my personal tools back to my shop. These tools have been on loan to Wolf Laurel for the past six years.”
- All other equipment has been serviced and is in good running order.
- The 2003 Grey Chevrolet, which has a blown transfer case, frontend issues, brake issues and many hard miles, is in need of replacement. The Roads Committee has advised they would like to see a newer and heavier duty truck take its place along with a snow plow to fit it. I am asking for the Board’s approval to buy a new, or slightly used, truck to replace the grey one. (Used will be 20 to 30k, and a new truck will cost in between 40 to 50k.)
Potts stated that a new truck is necessary and endorsed Brown’s suggestion that he upgrade from a ¾ ton truck to a 1-ton truck. A discussion then ensued about buying new versus used and the options of leasing a vehicle versus buying new with financing. Foster suggested that the Board authorize Brown to research for purchase of a new or slightly used truck while keeping the Roads Committee abreast of his findings. Potts moved to authorize Brown to search for the right truck. Foster seconded. Motion carried.
The private water meter has been installed in the flower bed in front of the office and is operational. The front wall of the office has been painted, and I’ve gotten a verbal quote of 4k, plus materials, which will run approximately another 2k. I am waiting on another quote to paint entire building, but it looks like it will be 5k to 6k either way. The carpet contractor, sent by Lowe’s, has either never showed up or hasn’t gotten back to me since the last meeting.
The septic “perk” permit for the hotel property adjoining the Cagney’s on Spring Valley Drive has been turned in, and I was informed that there will be a two to three week waiting period on the inspector.
Even with the July 4th Celebration, the past month has been relatively quiet.
- A returning property owner on Village Lane discovered that his wooden bear had been removed from its post.
- During the week leading up to the 4th, we received numerous reports of gun shots fired, possibly a .22. After eliminating our most likely culprits, Ken was finally able to zero in on the grandsons of a Deer Run property owner shooting bottle rockets.
- Responded to an alarm and siren in Chestnut Village. Notified the caretaker of septic system issues.
- Another report regarding the dog on Phacelia Lane and its owners. Again contacted the property owner.
- Security found people in the Village Club pool after hours and asked them to leave the premises. Reported same to the Village Club director the next day.
- Found and escorted numerous renters and a few guests of property owners to their destination.
- We are following up on reports of an ATV on Unakite and Grouse Thicket.
- Responded to complaints of a large fireworks display on July 4th. Patrol found that a Blue Mountain property owner was competing with the Village Club display.
- Patrol cautioned a camper on the Big Bald summit regarding his campfire. DOS then requested clarification from the USFS of their rules regarding camp fires. We are waiting for a reply.
- To date, the Gate Staff has signed out the Big Bald key 27 times.
- Ken and I met with Russell McIntosh and the Preserve Gateman, Melanie McGalliard yesterday. They have elected to adopt our recommended procedures as it relates to property owners, guests and service providers to Wolf Laurel. As announced at a prior meeting the Preserve Gate will be manned from 7AM to 5PM Monday through Saturday. Our property owners and service providers will be waved through the Preserve Gate when a guard is on duty otherwise they will use the call box to contact the Wolf Laurel Gate. Property owners should continue to call the Wolf Laurel Gate to authorize any guest arriving via the Preserve Gate. These guests will continue to use the call box. We do not know how long the Preserve Gate will be manned.
- Ken Porche responded to reported of a dying deer on Buckeye Road. When Ken arrived on scene he was motioned by the property owner to hurry into the garage. She immediately closed the door. She was very upset and stated that she had been attacked by a deer. It had stomped and snorted and charged her in her driveway. Ken asked about the dying deer. Property owner showed him a fawn wrapped in a blanket in the corner of the garage. She said it had not eaten for three days and had lain in her yard so she brought it into the garage. Ken asked the property owner to open the garage door, intending to carry the fawn back outside. But as soon as the door opened, the dying fawn bolted out, and its very angry mother was right behind as it neared the woods. Ken then conducted a nature class for the property owner.
The Board approved the hiring of Katie Mahowald as a part-time, RMS Office Assistant. She started work on July 7, 2016 and will be answering the phones and providing office support.
Communications & Community Relations
- Survey # 1 Results – Email reporting results of the first survey was distributed on June 10. Email and the actual survey report were also posted on the WLRMS website.
- Annual Board Elections Announcement – Email announcing the dates and process for the 2016 Board Elections was distributed on June 21. It was also posted on the WLRMS website.
- Survey # 2 Announcement – Email announcing Survey # 2 was distributed June 29. With approval of Barry Vaughn Survey # 2 announcement email was also distributed to Blue Mountain and The Ridges. Survey was launched on July 1, and closed the evening of July 10. The Committee will release the survey summary and results no later than July 15.
- Election Ballot distribution instructions – Email outlining the annual election materials distribution was sent on July 7.
- Top of Bald Articles – The C&CR Committee submitted the following articles for TOB inclusion:
- Survey # 1 Results
- Security Gate Traffic Report
- Annual Board Election Announcement
- WLRMS Website – We continue to work on the new website. Additional information will be shared with the Board as soon as possible.
- Forest Service Project Communication – the C&CR Committee is still awaiting input to move forward with the development of communications to the community. This will be removed from future monthly Board reports until some action takes place or some update is appropriate
- An email will go out this afternoon with a summary report from Survey #2. The actual statistical results of Survey #2 will be posted on the website soon.
- We have received great support from WL POA’s “Top of the Bald” for articles and submissions via Rich Ashley, Editor.
- We recently received an approximate check for $16,000 from the Carolina Water Company for ‘tap-on’ fees, which the previous developer neglected to collect. Many thanks to Louise Wyatt and the Water Department for their efforts and cooperation. This money will go into one of the LLC accounts.
- We are nearing four years into ownership of the roads, so it may be best to dissolve certain LLC’s and merge their assets into WL RMS. Will consult with Foster, other attorneys and past Board members to determine best resolution on this issue.
- Employee compensation is addressed. A 4% annual raise is appropriate. Will review and re-evaluate employee Christmas bonuses. After a discussion, Beneke moved to make a motion. Foster seconded, and the motion carried.
Impact / Usage Fees
- There’s been no meeting yet, but the intent is to work with the Security Committee, the Roads Committee and the ARB Board to determine if any impact / usage fees should be included as a part of ARB instead of being separate issues. Security will be responsible for collections and enforcement of these impact / usage fees.
- We need a new approach for fees and guidelines for all commercial vehicles, ideally implemented by January 1, 2017.
- Foster suggested we call them “usage” fees instead of “impact” fees.
- Beneke agreed with Foster, and he equated any impact/usage fees to a building permit or a fishing license.
- Collection Matters
- All collection cases are proceeding smoothly. The Pate litigation has not settled and I have asked David Etheridge to file a motion for summary judgment.
- Violation Enforcement Matters
- I have sent a second letter to the folks with the fire cleanup.
- Policy and Procedure Handbook
- Significant progress on this project.
- Usage Fees
- Working with Impact Fee Committee to finalize a proposal.
- Trademark Issue
- The potential offenders are B. Hicks, who has registered an LLC titled “Wolf Laurel Real Estate” and Steve Powell, whose website advertises Memory Mountain Chapel at Wolf Laurel. Cease and desist letters will go out.
- Foster made a motion to make August the annual Board meeting instead of October. Beneke seconded, and the motion carried.
- We are in preparation of granting an easement to provide two property owners with access to a septic system on the motel property pending a septic permit from Madison County. We will need a legal description and a survey of the motel property. Staunton Norris, a real estate attorney, has been contacted to draw up legal papers, which will divest RMS of any liability after an easement is granted.
- McKnight expressed concern about approaching winter weather in regards to timing of this septic project.
All coverage is in order.
Road Maintenance & Equipment
- The committee has been working with Brown to finalize an equipment replacement schedule to be presented to the Board at the September 2016 meeting.
- Brown said we have 20 tons of salt on site, which is enough for two snow events. We have contracted for 100 tons of salt. Price has increased from $86/ton to $100/ton.
- The ARB Board has approved one driveway improvement application and issued four tree permits. We have one tree application under review.
- Freeman said he was leaving on a good note. Yesterday Bob Super met with a couple who own property on Hamlin Lane. They are planning to build a new home.
Long Range Planning
Smith stated that he was deferring the appointment of committee members until next month when the Board will elect new officers.
Beneke reported that he did attend the WL POA meeting, which was mostly a discussion of their annual meeting.
Nominating Committee Report
- Beneke announced the six candidates for the Board of Directors: Tim Carrigan, John DiPetta, Brent McCaghren, Dick Moeller, Mel Poole and Willie Romero.
- Candidate Forum – The forum will be held at the Village Pavilion on Saturday, July 23rd at 10:00 A.M.
- Once again, Jim Hill has agreed to head up the Election Committee. He has developed a marvelous and proven method for counting the ballots, and he is appointing six people to complete this task.
- The votes will be counted on August 18th. New Board Members will be seated on August 19th, and they will elect new Board officers.
- A ballot packet will be mailed out on July 25th to all WL property owners. Seasonal residents wishing to pick up their ballots at the RMS office will need to email or write a note to RMS requesting that RMS hold specified ballots instead of mailing them.
- New candidate announcement and biographies will be posted to the website, and an email will be sent out this afternoon to all WL stakeholders with this information.
- Commitment of the Gate-to-Gate Project. Beneke deferred to Potts on this issue. RMS requires that more information on road standards on a contractual basis is needed for the Ridgeway Rd project being conducted by Blue Mountain and The Preserve. The road should be completed to the same standards as rest of roads in WL. For the 150 feet of Ridgeway Road owned by RMS (below Puncheon Lane), we cannot make a commitment using our equipment at this time, as we do not have the right equipment, and we are already over-extended.
- Brown said they have shut down Ridgeway Road and started work.
- Foster suggested that all communication with The Preserve should be documented in writing and shared with all Board members.
- Robert Hicks expressed his frustration over a continued problem with his neighbors’ floodlights being on 24/7. Smith assured Hicks that the matter will be investigated.
- Steve McKnight asked if there was any reason to continue ownership of the 150 feet of Ridgeway Road at Chestnut Lane. Brown said we offered to give them the 150 feet, but they wanted us to take the whole road. Potts said that’s why he wants every aspect of the project defined before we start work on the 150 feet of road.
- Gwynne Beneke commended the Board for creating various standing committees, and she praised all of the work they are doing to improve communication.
- Willie Romero discussed the intersection of Buck House Rd and May Apple, and he said there is confusion as to the positioning of the stop sign on May Apple. McCaghren agreed that there is confusion about the stop sign’s position.
- Beneke thanked Brown for putting in the speed bump on McKinney Gap Rd. The speed bump needs to be painted yellow or white to aware drivers to slow down.
- Mel Poole thanked RMS staff for all efforts to gather WL stakeholders’ email addresses in order to conduct recent surveys more efficiently.
Next WLRMS Board meeting is scheduled for August 19, 2016, at 10:00 A.M.
The meeting was adjourned.
Secretary / Treasurer