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The meeting was called to order by President Smith at 10:00 A.M.
Directors in attendance in person: Kessler, Krueger, McCaghren, Moeller, Pendleton, Shook
Directors in attendance by telephone: Romero, Simmons, Smith
Staff in attendance: Brown, Connor, Porche, Wyatt
Audience: 5 in attendance
Upon motion by Shook and seconded by Krueger, the Minutes of 11/17/2017 meeting were approved 7–0.
Finance: Louise Wyatt
Wyatt presented the financial report and balance sheet. She noted that the purchase of the truck and snow blade for $41,600 increased assets on the balance sheet and reduced the equipment reserve by a corresponding amount.
Operating expenses are in line with last year.
Wyatt also reported home and lot collections for both roads and security are less than they were this time last year. Of the delinquencies there are 10 property owners with homes and 25 property owners with undeveloped lots that have not paid their 2017 assessments, but are up to date through 2016.
Wyatt thanked the board for sending out the email for Fireman Will Willis and his family.
Roads: Jason Brown
(written report read into the minutes edited to condense)
Since last report: Wolf Laurel has received around an inch and a half of rain and two plowable snow events totaling up to 13 inches of snow the yearly total is up to 19 inches year to date.
The WLRM crew has plowed two separate snow events using 23 hoper loads of salt mix and at least two staff members were on the mountain working from 8am 12-8-17 to 6pm 12-11-17. Cleaned all ditches and culverts. Finished blowing all leaves from all drainages and RROW’s.Fixed drainage issues on Garden Side “ dug out ditch lines, repaired slide area with boulders, sloped and graded road and road shoulder” will have to go back and install a culvert when weather permits. Removed fallen trees from RROW’s. Cleaned and organized maintenance shed. Installed culvert, repaired ditch line, and seeded and matted RROW on the section of “Upper” Birch Springs above the new proposed house seat. Mobilized salt bins. Removed dumped trash from Grouse Thicket. Graded all gravel roads. Plowed snow from all roads and then went back to widen and remove the snow berms where possible. Installed sign posts for security.
Mobilized all remaining snow removal and salt distribution equipment, “chained up all tractors and trucks, installed cutting edges on snow plows, readied salt spreaders, fixed lights, etc. Repaired snow plow on demo tractor. Repaired salt spreader on yellow Chevy “spinner motor”. Repaired salt spreader on green Chevy “chain and sprocket”. Installed new studded snow tires on the green Chevy.
We’ve picked up the Ford L-9000 dump truck from the repair shop and it has made a couple loaded trips to the maintenance shed and so far so good” I have received the bill of $7,105. I am asking for approval to get it paid out of this year’s Equipment maintenance and repair budget”.
All WLRM staff attended the fringe benefits meeting at the office and elected to take advantage of the benefits and are thankful. Dustin Roberts the new hired labor is performing great and will make a great contribution to the WLRM crew and is still in his 90 day probationary period. John White the new hired operator/labor is learning the job site, equipment, staff, and environment and is still on his 90 day probationary period which will probably be extended. Mitchell Ricker the 3 year veteran truck driver has been promoted to foreman/equipment operator/dump truck driver due to him taking the lead over the crew during unforeseen obstacles.
Simmons made a motion that the money for the repair of the dump truck be taken out of the 2017 equipment maintenance and repair budget. Pendleton seconded. Vote was taken yes – 9, no – 0.
Kessler asked for a report on progress on water sources for fire prevention and the road daylighting project. Brown said he had divided Wolf Laurel into 4 zones with the plan to locate 2 water sources in each zone. Four of the eight sources are established, at Wonderly, Lower El Miner, Town Mtn. Road and Chestnut Lane, although these ponds require on-going maintenance to keep clear of debris and silt following extreme rain events. Four other water source locations have been identified but are not yet constructed. Brown reported that 70% of the roads RMS identified as needing daylighting have been completed. We are still waiting on the Forest Service to identify other needs for improving access for fire protection.
Security: Ken Porche’
(Written report read into the minutes)
This month Security received a number of calls concerning hunting occurring in and around Wolf Laurel. On Thanksgiving Day a homeowner call to report that a hunter had shot a deer extremely close to their house. Security intercepted the hunter, advised him that he violated state law by discharging his firearm within 150 yards of an occupied residence and was not wearing orange. The game warden was contacted.
Pendleton suggested that if we encounter hunters (who are meeting the law) on WL property, we need to inform them of the rules, but if we catch them again on WL property, RMS should fully prosecute.
Brown advised the board that as an alternative to posting signs, North Carolina law permits an owner to mark their boundary lines as “no trespassing” inexpensively by merely marking trees or fence posts with an 8 inch long rectangle of purple paint, 3 to 5 feet off the ground, spaced 100 yards or less apart. Hunters may not enter or hunt in a territory marked by purple paint without the property owner’s permission. Kessler suggested sending an email blast informing property owners on the outer boundaries of Wolf Laurel about marking their property with purple paint.
A resident from the Ridges requested additional extra patrols because of hunters. Security found a bear feeder, deer feeders and evidence of a hunting stand on private property adjoining the Ridges, none of which violate laws. We are keeping this sight under observation.
Security responded to a report of illegal dumping on Grouse Thicket. The matter has been turned over to the Yancey County Sherriff’s Department.
During the last snow storm Security responded to multiple weather related vehicle calls, and forwarded calls about vehicles outside of Wolf Laurel to the proper contacts. Please note that the guards at the gatehouse are stationary and may not have information about road conditions on the mountain.
Two occasions drivers attempted to enter through the exit gate to avoid waiting to enter Wolf Laurel.
Porche thanked Brown for helping post signs at the ski slope which has helped with ski traffic. He also let the board know that the security staff was very appreciative for their Christmas bonus.
Gate access activity:
OCT 6900 BAR CODES
NOV 4300 BAR CODES
DEC 1400 BAR CODES THRU 12-12 201
Communications & Community Relations: Larry Smith
Smith reported that the committee prepared and approved the letter to be sent out with the assessment. An email blast was sent out concerning Firefighter Will Willis who has cancer.
Also, the board had received a website traffic report for Wolf Laurel’s web master.
Insurance / Finance Committee: Dick Moeller and David Pendleton
Pendleton reported that the benefit meetings went very well and that the participation in the health care and Simple IRA plans were good. He had a few items that would need to be discussed in executive session. Smith called for an executive session to discuss the Employee Benefits and WWTP after the meeting.
Kessler asked about the status of selecting a CPA firm to perform the audit. Pendleton and Moeller reported that the work was in progress.
Legal: Brent McCaghren and Cynthia Kessler
McCaghren reported that a large long-standing receivable from a property owner was collected. The collection included full payment of the outstanding assessment together with interest at 18%.
Security: Carol Krueger
Over the past couple of years, Wolf Laurel Road Maintenance and Security has made significant progress toward providing security for our neighborhood. However, the “back” gate presents a high security risk for Wolf Laurel residents as well as the Preserve residents.
Moeller proposed that WLRMS put four cameras, 2 at the entrance side and 2 at the exit side of the back gate and to purchase a hotspot from US Cellular which allows the recordings to be viewed via a smartphone. The system is a wired system that will hold 20 to 25 days of continuous recording, has night vision and can read 100 feet away but would not cover the construction gate. The cost is roughly $200 for the equipment plus installation. The hotspot would be $20 to $25 per month. Moeller added that Sam Stebbins would have to give permission to put the cameras in. Smith suggested that when they meet with Stebbins to include Dapper as well and to point out that this enhances their security at no cost and is for their benefit as well. Shook suggested boxing the cameras for protection.
Smith asked the legal committee to comment on the documents that govern The Preserve to see what kind of expectation, if any, that the Preserve would maintain some kind of security at the back gate. McCaghren reported that documents grant the Preserve a right of ingress/egress on WLRMS roads. Further the documents state until such time as the back gate on Scronce Creek is installed that The Preserve must pay a pro-rata share toward the maintenance of our roads. Once the back gate was installed, it is to be considered the primary entrance of The Preserve and they were no longer obligated to pay maintenance of WLRMS roads. Preserve residents still retain their easement rights to use WLRMS front gate. (See continuation of discussion below in New Business)
Road Maintenance & Equipment: Jim Simmons
Property and Facilities: Dick Moeller
Moeller ask to discuss the WWTP in the executive session.
ARB: Steve McKnight
Since last report, Bob Super approved 1 minor application and three tree Applications. He also made 13 site visits to active projects, and reviewed the Tearshirt pending sale to clarify ARB issues related to the location of a house.
This is the time of year the ARB reviews the policies and procedures that were approved in January to see what has worked well and what might be improved for the coming year. I met with Louise, Suehonor, Bob and Jason to review our record keeping. I also met with Bob and Jason to evaluate the fee structures and the policies. We think we might be able to recommend two minor adjustments to the construction fee deposit that will reduce the deposit amount for some minor and major repairs. This of course would be beneficial to homeowners. We will complete our review and will present our proposed adjustments—if there are any—at the RMS board’s January meeting.
Pendleton suggested that we work with the real estate companies and explain to them what we are trying to accomplish through the ARB by having a PR/educational meeting. McKnight said he was open to that idea.
Long Range Planning: Larry Smith
POA Liaison: Larry Smith
Board Action on Preserve Guests Issue
Smith explained that in the October work session the Security committee raised a concern regarding conflicting instructions to the gate guards about admitting prospective purchasers intending to visit The Preserve. Following the meeting Smith circulated the specific request from The Preserve and a number of proposed responses. RMS standing procedure is that all prospective purchasers must be accompanied by a realtor from the gate to the showing. The Preserve requested that RMS make an exception to the procedure for their prospective buyers and not require their visitors to be escorted by the realty company marketing The Preserve. Their realtors are on site, and did not wish to leave the property unmanned to retrieve a visitor who came to the front gate in error, or have the visitor denied entry and directed to the back gate. The Preserve has arrangements to admit visitors through the back gate without an issue.
Krueger moved that all property owners marketing property for sale, whether for sale by owner or with a realty company observe the same process requiring prospective purchasers to be escorted from the gate to and from the property being shown. Shook seconded the motion.
Shook noted the issue is not a realty issue, but primarily a security issue. He feels we need to stay with our current policy and enforce it. He also said that he is all for promoting Wolf Laurel, but that it is not open for shopping and that is where you get a lack of security and a lack of control. We should cultivate and improve our relationship with all the realtors serving the community who will in turn promote the community as an inviting and secure gated community.
Kessler asked about the possibly of having a visitor’s pass for a 2 to 3 hour window and require the people to leave their driver’s license to allow visitors to visit specific destinations within Wolf Laurel. Porche’ said that procedure is already in place with color coded rear view mirror hangers corresponding to the destination.
Lewis Daniels commented on liability concerns.
A vote was taken; 8 – yes, 1 – no.
Board Action on RFP for Audit for 2017
Moeller made motion to proceed with a full audit as planned and budgeted for year-end 2017 and request quotes from multiple companies. Pendleton seconded.
A vote was taken; 9 – yes, 0 – no.
Board Action to Amend Amount of Security Truck Purchase
Krueger moved that the board ratify the November 18, 2017 purchase of the 2010 Toyota Tacoma truck including a service contract for the total price of$21,674.82 which includes an extended service contract. Kessler seconded. The motion carried by consent of all directors and lack of objection.
Board Action Conflict of Interest Policy
Kessler moved that the board adopt the draft policy of conflict of interest and no self-dealing, circulated to board members and discussed at the most recent work session. Moeller seconded.
The motion carried by consent of all directors and lack of objection.
Discussion and Possible Action on Gate for Exit
Krueger moved that a gate be installed to prevent drivers from entering through the exit lane at an anticipated price of $8220.81. Pendleton seconded.
Porche reported the frequency of cars coming in through the exit gate and the safety concerns. In the last four years it has happened nine times, one almost causing a serious head on collision, including 2 times in the past two weeks. In addition to these instances, there have a countless number of times the security guards have stepped out to prevent vehicles attempting to enter through the exit. Of the alternatives investigated, the automatic gate appears to be the best option. It would be activated by a pressure pad, could be manually lifted by the guard during high traffic and has various safety features included. Finally, the system would be a tie in with the rest of the system that is already in place. Pendleton asked where the funding would come from. Wyatt said it would come out of the general account in this year’s budget. A vote was taken; yes – 9, no – 0.
Discussion and Possible Action of Camera for Back Gate
Smith recommended that a meeting be scheduled with the Preserve in light of the number of issues discussed at the meeting concerning The Preserve including access, the security concerns of the construction gate, the desire to install security cameras. Pendleton agreed that a broader discussion beyond cameras needs to take place with the Preserve. There is a security issue with the back entrance that needs to be solved.
McCaghren made a motion to authorize a camera installation or activation as part of a broader discussion of security issues surrounding the back gate. Pendleton seconded. A vote was taken; yes – 9, no – 0.
Proposed fee for processing right of refusal
McCaghren moved to impose a minor administrative fee for the processing of the legal documentation waiving RMS’ rights of first refusal. Under the covenants, RMS has a right of first purchase which requires a certain amount of effort on our part to generate a written document acceptable to the attorney handling the purchase waiving our right of first purchase for the proposed transaction. Krueger seconded. A vote was taken; yes – 7, no – 2.
Steve McKnight asked the board to clarify how the board uses the term “reserve funds” and requests that the board be more precise when making reference to a reserve fund.
Gail Barr asked how emergency weather conditions affect our budget if we have full time road crew, own our equipment, and have already purchased gravel and salt. Smith said if a major weather event occurred such as an ice storm RMS could have unforeseen additional expenses. For example, should many trees be downed, RMS may incur cost of outside contractors, rented specialty equipment, over time, or so forth. With a long bad season, more gravel and salt than we use normally could be used making it necessary to purchase replacement stock.
The meeting was adjourned by President Smith.
The board went into executive session to discuss the Employee Fringe Benefits Policy and the WWTP.
Next RMS HOA Board meeting is scheduled January 19, 2017, at 10:00 A.M.
Respectfully submitted, Cynthia Kessler, Secretary