Whittier Community Associates HOA, Inc.
Regular Meeting Minutes
January 25, 2022
The Board of Directors of the Whittier Community Association met via Zoom video call on January 25, 2022, at 7:00 p.m.
Paul Zimnik, President
Andrea Weaver, Vice President
Bernarda Jackson, Treasurer
Laura Ferguson, Secretary
Royle Kidwell, Director
Melissa Lentz, Director
Ronnie Lushbaugh, Director
Jackie Parks, Director
Nancy Sweet, Director
Nancy Keen, Vanguard Management, Community Representative
Renee Bilinski, Recording Secretary
- CALL TO ORDER:
Paul Zimnik, President of Whittier Community HOA, called the regular meeting to order at 7:09 p.m. with a quorum present.
- REGULAR MINUTES: The Board discussed the November 23, 2021, minutes as presented and had a few edits.
Motion: To approve the November 23, 2021 Minutes with the provided edits.
Jackson/Sweet Vote: 7/0/2
- ANNUAL MEETING: Please see attached 2022 Annual Meeting Minutes.
- HOMEOWNER & GUEST FORUM:
- Proxy Questions: A Homeowner wanted to thank the Board and Management for the new Homeowner Portal. The Homeowner also had a question regarding the voting process for this year. They stated that it was unclear on the ballots about the process this year for an absentee vs voting in person. The Homeowner asked if electronic voting solutions may be a better solution going forward, especially if there will not be an in-person option with remote meetings. A Board Member said that the Board is always open to better processes, given they are within the regulations of the Association. Management explained that the original notice was sent out and noted votes had to be by proxy because there would not be a meeting in person. The ballot stated Homeowners could mail or email them in and Management received about 112 certified ballots via both methods.
- 2022 Financial Reports Questions: A Homeowner asked when the 2020 Audit will be posted on the website, and when the next Reserve Study will be done. The Board noted that the latest Audit is on the website. Management explained the Reserve Study update is due this year. The Study will most likely be for the 2023 year since we are already into the 2022 year. It will be reviewed and approved in the spring or summer and the final will be available by the end of year. Management said they have not received the final Audit yet but will be posted once they do receive it. The Homeowner asked if the Budget could be separated out and more detailed, showing exact items or actual costs. A Board Member stated that the Budget does have the line items broken down. Management stated that the Budget is grouped in categories (ex: landscaping instead of individual landscaping projects) because it must be made available to the public and is posted online. Since anyone can look at it, there is a level of privacy and protection in it appearing as it does. The Homeowner stated that they want to know the exact costs for all items. Management explained each of the line items in the Budget and why specific ones were lumped together. Management also stated that if a Homeowner has a question about a specific line item, they can email Management and they will answer to the best of their ability. Without a clear and specific question about the Budget line items, they can’t provide any more details than has already been shared.
- Townhomes – Drainage & Financials: A Homeowner in the townhomes brought up that they have met with a Board Member and a City representative, outside of the Board’s existing communication with the City, regarding the storm drains. The Homeowner questioned why the City Representative they spoke with noted that the Association was only responsible for 8 catch basins when the 2016 Reserve Study notes 24 Catch Basins. A Board Member noted that the Board and Management has been in communication with the City regarding the catch basins already. They are not sure that the Representative the Homeowner spoke with is the one responsible for looking at all the catch basins throughout the Community. Management noted that they have been in communication with the City Storm Management Supervisor. Management explained that they have since determined some of the catch basins that the Specialist counted for the Reserve Study are not actually the responsibility of the Association. They also determined, in their communication with the City Storm Management Supervisor, that the responsibility is not just for the exterior, but it also includes the piping underground. Management has been in communication with those conducting the Reserve Study and will ensure that those will be corrected. They also noted that, unfortunately, although the number of basins is significantly less, the associated costs will be more than before due to the responsibility of the underground piping now being included.
The Homeowner said that they personally had the City and one of the Board Members come out to look at the filtration systems because of the effect of the new Kellerton housing development. They stated that they asked the City to reevaluate the community due to the development. They said that they showed this Board Member the areas they considered a trouble spot in the community and indicated they are going to provide their projection and assessment of what the plan should be for the storm drain management. The Homeowner stated they had intentions to continue to stay in communication with this specific Board Member regarding their plan. The said Board Member noted their personal concerns regarding the new development behind the townhomes. They believe things are being channeled to drain down to their area and concerned about flooding. They also noted a concern regarding trees that need to be cut back. They said they spoke with the Homeowners in that area, and some expressed their concerns regarding the drainage and potential flooding. The Homeowner noted that the Board should be taking actions on these concerns.
A Board Member asked who provides input to what elements are reviewed for the Reserve Study and wanted to make sure that they take into consideration the storm drain systems effect on the whole community, not just the homes immediately surrounding the storm drain systems. They wanted to note that those expenses should be generally applied when it comes to the Budget and not just applied only to the Townhome Budget. The Board Member questioned if the Board would be involved with making decisions regarding what is studied in the Reserve Study. Another Board Member noted that they are encouraged to help review these items when the Budget and Reserve Study Drafts are provided to the Board for review.
Another Board Member noted that the Board and Management have been in communication with the City and Developers since prior to the development beginning. They have been in communication regarding all the potential effects to the Community. There are several other concerns they have been monitoring as well, such as the walkways, natural reserves, traffic, external access to the community, etc. The City is aware of these concerns and has expressed their plans for when they will conduct surveys and how they will handle the known issues. The City expressed that they would circle back a year later regarding the drainage concerns previously brought up. The Board and Management will continue to relay the immediate concerns to the City as they arise and to handle what repairs or projects that are within their scope. The Board Member reminded Homeowners that they need to reach out to Management with concerns so they can pursue the proper chains of communication, including the Board, so they can take action in a timely manner. Management and the Board will continue to appropriately review this topic and how it is affected by the new Kellerton development and the City’s communication.
Action: Once the Homeowner emails their ideas, Management will pass those along (and in general any feedback/ideas from Homeowners) to the Board.
- General Financial Question: A Homeowner said they are a new resident and wanted to know how the Board prioritized expenditures. A Board Member said generally the biggest expenses that typically need to be prioritized are the landscaping and pools on an annual basis. Then they also prioritize immediate or emergency needs that arise, like when trees are diseased and need to be removed. There are some routine items that they plan for, an example recently being the resurfacing of the pools. Typically, the process is they review the need, obtain a handful of proposals, and choose the best provider or contractor to handle the project.
The Homeowner had a follow up question to the discussion about the drains and concerns about the development effecting the community. They noted the drains they see around the community seem to be worn down and need to be fixed. They asked how this is not considered a routine need or prioritized. A Board Member stated that the Board is aware of the need, is addressing it, and that there are items that are projected for repair and on a rotation or projected schedule, noting the Reserve Study breaks down that schedule. They noted that the Association is very fiscally responsible, and the fees are comparably lower than most communities in the area, especially considering the benefits of the common areas and multiple pools that most communities do not have. The Association is able to handle the routine maintenance needs of the community laid out in the Reserves Study and as additional needs arise because they have a healthy Reserve dedicated to those expenses.
- Parking Numbers: The Homeowner had an additional question regarding the parking numbers’ location. They noticed that in some areas it is painted at the bottom of the parking spot and some areas are painted on the curb. Around their court it is painted at the curb, and they noted that it is not always as visible due to leaves, snow, or they think that people don’t notice it there as much as if it were at the bottom of the spot. They asked why it is painted in two different spots throughout the community and if the Board could figure out the most effective option and standardize it. The Board asked the Homeowner to email Management a photo of what they think works well and doesn’t work well. They also noted that the parking lot painting is on a rotating schedule and any changes would take time to be completed for all areas. Management explained that the original developer painted on the curb and later the newer townhomes were developed by a different company, and they painted at the bottom of the spot. That is the main reason they are in different locations, and they have been maintained as they were originally done. This doesn’t mean that the process can’t change. Management also noted that there are many who request that the numbers stay on the curbs, because they believe that it lasts longer and is better visibility wise. The Board discussed if there was a way to communicate the options to the Homeowners around that area and explain in advance the change to allow for any feedback prior to changing the locations for the numbers. The Homeowner provided some additional reasons for why they thought the numbers would be more visible on the bottom of the spot vs the curb. The Board noted that it may be worth pursing a conversation with the contractor to see if they could paint all spots at both locations and to determine what that price difference would be. Management noted that the Homeowner’s court was recently painted so it would not be next in the rotation. The Board also noted that they would look into the cost and process for potentially adding the second number location for all spots this year.
Action: Management will ask the contractor regarding painting the numbers in both locations.
- Links for Meetings: A Homeowners asked why the Zoom link for the meetings is not listed on the website. Management explained that they don’t post them on the website because it is visible to all, and the public would be able to get on. If a Homeowner wants the links, they can get in touch with Management and they will provide those links to them. They are also sent out in the email blasts for every meeting. The Homeowner was not on the email blasts, so they didn’t see that information available. A Board Member noted that the website has a link where Homeowners can ask to be included on the email blast. The Homeowner asked if they could be posted in the Homeowner Portal since it is a secure location only accessible for the Homeowners. Management pointed out that the meetings are on the calendar in the Homeowner Portal already with the links.
- MANAGEMENT REPORT:
- Whittier Lake Maintenance: A proposal was provided for the Board’s review from Aquatic Environmental Consultants (AEC) to perform the same lake management program that has been successful for many years to control the algae on the lake. AEC recommends the lake is treated every two (2) weeks, but the City of Frederick only contracts for once-a-month treatment. The Association has been supplementing the City’s program with five (5) additional treatments. The cost had a slight increase of $108.00, totaling to $2,268.00. This is the first increase in over 10 years as it had remained $2,160.00 since 2010.
A Board Member explained the history behind the treatments for the Homeowners, why it was needed, and why the Association pays for the additional treatments that the City does not cover. They noted how the treatments have made the lake better over time and has benefited the community.
Motion: To approve the proposal provided by Aquatic Environmental Consultants to continue performing the lake management program.
Sweet/Jackson Vote 9/0/0
- Reserve Investment Update: The account record as of 12/31/21 was provided for the Board’s review. The Morgan Stanley MM Operating Account has $193,996.63. Management would recommend investing $100,000.00 into a 6-month CD and $80,000.00 into a 9-month CD so funds will be available for the operating account towards the end of the year. In addition, the Morgan Stanley MM Reserve account has $120,752.86. Management would recommend investing $80,000.00 into a 2026 CD, to continue to ladder the funds.
Motion: To approve the recommendation of investing from the Morgan Stanley MM Operating Account $80,000.00 into a 9-month CD so funds will be available for the operating account towards the end of the year and to invest from the Morgan Stanley MM Reserve Account $80,000.00 into a 2026 CD, to continue to ladder the funds.
Weaver/Jackson Vote 8/0/1
- Donation Policy: The Board has recently had several requests for donations from the Frederick High School Football Team and the Whittier Elementary School PTA. The Board requested the discussion be placed on the agenda in order to form a specific policy related to all donation requests. The Whittier Declaration Article IV Section 2: “Purpose of Assessments states the assessments shall be used exclusively to promote the recreation, health, safety, and welfare of the residents and for the improvement and maintenance of the Common Areas.” One suggestion was that any donation must have a direct benefit to the Homeowners in the Association, to honor the original intent of the assessments and income.
A Board Member noted that there are two high schools that the community attends, each has athletic departments, and they have their own budget and additional fundraising opportunities. There are also a lot of other schools, churches, and other community organizations that have fundraising needs that are part of the local community. It is important that the Association does not discriminate or become selective in their involvement with any particular organization or need.
Due to timing and wanting to take the time to work on the wording for this policy, the Board decided to have Management draft a policy statement and then to discuss via email and verify and vote on at a later time.
Action: Management will draft a policy regarding donations for the Board.
- OLD BUSINESS:
- Swim Team Use of Pools: The Whittier Riptides Swim Team is requesting permission to use the Greenleaf Pool for their practice season in 2022. They have three representatives, who all live in Whittier Community. It's going to be the same schedule as the previous years. The season starts May 31st to July 30th. They will know more about the specific schedule by the next FSSL meeting in March. There will be two home meets scheduled for Saturday. They would like to know if there are things they need to do as team representatives that the HOA required from them. A Board Member wanted to note that the Board never required representatives had to be residents of Whittier Community in previous discussions with the team.
Motion: To approve the Whittier Riptides Swim Team to continue to utilize the Greenleaf Pool.
Jackson/Weaver Vote 9/0/0
- Streetlight Lightbulbs: A Board Member noted that the City had been updating the lightbulbs in the streetlights, but it seems like they have stopped, and they are now a mix of the old and new style. Management noted that they are replacing them as they go out with the new led lights. They wanted to do the lake area first and then went to the surrounding streets. They do have intentions to replace all of them eventually, but it will probably take a few years for them to finish.
- Trash Issues: A Board Member said that a Homeowner told them that in the townhomes area garbage is being placed out by cars and animals are getting into it. They think the trucks are not picking up everything in the trash cans, so people are putting bags out instead. They asked if there was an existing policy or one that could be written about garbage cans, for when and how they are put out to avoid animal issues. It was asked if the City had any policies. Management noted that there is not a policy by the City and that the townhomes don’t really have a place to store a can unless they have a garage. Usually, people put the cans at the end of their driveways or parking spaces. It was noted that some are putting them on the center islands. Management asked Board Members to ask the Homeowners who are expressing the concern, to email that information to them. If they are provided with the information, they can send out notice letters to those individuals. A Board Member noted that sometimes the cans are not being brought back in and they blow around when they are empty. There was also a concern about the listed dates around the holidays were inconsistent from the trash company. Management reminded Homeowners and Board Members to send the information to them so that they could send out notice letters.
- NEW BUSINESS:
- Reserve Study vs Ten Year Plan Report: A Board Member mentioned that they have a home in another community, and they post a 10-year plan for repairs and updates for the community. They talked about how it was nice to be able to see what the projection was for the schedule for those big-ticket items and to see that they planned ahead to take care of the community needs. They asked why the Association doesn’t have a 10-year plan document and if they could have one created to help answer many of the questions brought up by the Homeowners regarding things like the catch basins. They don’t want Homeowners to think that the Board isn’t taking care of those needs or have plans in place.
Management noted that the Reserves Study is that document, but it instead has a 30-year projection of a schedule for the capital projects. It has a breakdown of the routine needs for repairs and updates, along with projected costs. It is posted to the website and accessible for anyone to review. It also includes the catch basins as one of the items.
A Board Member noted that maybe the Reserves Study was not in a preferred format to Homeowners. They suggested taking the information in the Reserve Study, Audit Reports, and Budgets and figuring out a way to show it in a format that would be easier to view or read. Maybe this new report would summarize the existing reports in a way that better answers some of the questions Homeowners continue to have regarding the process of projecting, planning and scheduling, budgeting for, and then paying for the community expenses. If a different format of showing how the projection of expected costs for improvements and routine needs would better answer Homeowner questions, then this Board Member is offering to work on creating the report. They will draft a report and send to the Board for their review.
Action: A Board Member will work on figuring out a way to create a report that will summarize the existing information in the Reserve Study, Audit, and Budget reports. They will provide the draft to the Board for discussion and next steps.
- COMMITTEE REPORTS:
- ACC Committee: Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, the ACC Committee has been reviewing and approving applications by email. No current appeals.
- Pool Committee: Provided an update that the new tables are arriving for the pools soon. It is more than likely the rest of the furniture will arrive in April. There was some discussion around making plans for how the old furniture will be sold or donated once the new furniture arrives. More details to come.
- Townhouse Committee: No updates at this time.
- A new Board Member asked about the process of committees being formulated and their ability to share during the Committee Reports section of the meetings. It was explained that the committees have historically not had a lot of participation and there has always been a desire to have fully developed committees with Homeowners involved. Although there is a Committee Report section during the meeting, it is conducted by the Board Member representative. Outside of the Homeowner Forum, Homeowners are not invited to participate or comment during the rest of the meeting to keep to the agenda and be able to honor everyone’s time.
- Condo Committee: No updates at this time.
- Landscape Committee: No updates at this time.
- Social/Lakeside Festival Committee: Still working on some spring event ideas.
- Treasurer’s Report: The Board reviewed the financial reports.
- ADJOURNMENT: There being no additional business for the Board to conduct, the meeting adjourned at 8:57 p.m.
Motion: To adjourn the regular meeting at 8:57 p.m.
Sweet/Jackson Vote: 9/0/0
Please note the next scheduled meeting is to be held on Tuesday, March 22, 2022, at 7:00 pm via Zoom video call due to COVID-19 restrictions.