Cluster General Assembly Minutes 2015
Tuesday, Feb 10TH2015 7:00PM
Budget Estimate discussion
Vote on board members
11 of 26
(42%) houses present (Amanda represented by Mark), Quorum of 40% achieved. Cluster President Wilson called the meeting
to order at 7:18PM.
Mulch will be
delivered by Reston Lions club on Saturday, March 28th, 2015 with 3
cubic feet double-shredded hardwood mulch at $4.70 per bag. Please let us know
how many bags you would like before Friday, March 20th.
occur in late May, after the spring cat tails fall. Interior units will be $99,
exterior units $125. Please let us know
if you would like to schedule your gutters to be cleaned.
AAA trashcontinues the extra Yard Waste Pickup each Wednesday during the spring/summer
and fall. If you have yard waste (only vegetation) – please bundle neatly for
pickup on Wednesday mornings.
Electric Sundays are no longer scheduled for select days, and are now
open daily for electronic waste and hazardous material every day http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dpwes/trash/disphhw.htm
Brookshire Cluster Websiteupdated on line with cluster documents, by-laws, minutes, guidelines for paint,
trash removal etc – www.brookshirecluster.org
Calendar of Events: Calendar.html
to Wilson and Rosa Paine for hosting the General Assembly.
quiet in that we didn’t receive any new homeowners to the cluster, or lose any.
annual “What’s Up Doc” relay for lifeCancer event was a great social opportunity for cluster members in June
2014. This year, the team title changed
to “Never Ever Give Up” and it will be another great opportunity to be social
and do some good for Cancer research. It will be on May 16th-17that the Herndon Middle School. If you want to sign/join up – please contact
Leann Yoder email@example.com
snapped a shot of a lovely Bald Eagle in the cluster trees.
special treat during the Spring cluster Cleanup, Wilson invited Delegate Plum to meet-and-greet us around noon on April 25th(or 11th)…tbd. Wilson promised that Delegate Plum wouldn’t get his
hands dirty, but it should be a perfect opportunity for us to focus in on
topics and questions that directly affect us and our fiefdom.
Winter 2014, we switched to a new Snow Plough vendor. We may be switching again
weather, traffic and social alerts – many thanks to Amanda for keeping us in
the loop with news and juicy info.
the introduction of Metro to Wiehle Avenue (Reston “East”). Excellent in concept but deadly if you’re
wearing heels after a night out in DC and have to do that wretched long walk
between the station and the garage. Still, it is good to have it and it will
improve our land value more.
Anne renovation is full steam ahead for 2016 and includes modern and expanded
housing at the Crescent Property—with 185 units of dedicated affordable
housing—and 193,000 square feet of new mixed-use space at Lake Anne Plaza,
including a boutique natural-foods market.
This should impact us positively in the long run as it will again
increase land value, but in the meantime we’ll suffer the growing pains as the
development is underway.
chatted with William Keefe, an attorney on the RA board, about our concerns
regarding parking, trash, etc during the construction period. He said that they have worked out agreements
with RA and LARCA (Lake Anne Reston Condo Association) to ensure that there is
adequate parking and trash cans.
However, as issues arise, we can contact him or someone at RA to handle
2014 Budget Review:
2014 Year for Brookshire
closed out with a deficit of $6,334.66. This was part of a planned deficit
connected to the land/trees landscaping special assessment carried forward from
2013. Even with this deficit, $450 extra (more than budget) went into the
capital reserves for 2014 closing the year with $35,576 in Capital Reserves.
Through the year, 3
families paid in advance and one household is in arrears. Late fees are applied
when payments are not received by the next quarterly cycle due date, the
cluster garnished $400 in late fees in 2014.
Outside of the special
landscape budget, actual costs came in very close to estimated budget for the
year. Early 2014 saw a lot of snow, with
snowfalls weekly, so it is remarkable that we had a low actual cost of $875 for
snow removal, this was $85 over budget.
2015 Budget Estimate discussion:
increases in 2015
We re-assessed some annual
expenses and raised the budget estimates to include 3% standard living increase
and other expected increases such as:
Cardinal $8,890 to
Mosquito spraying: $1,637 to $1,686
insurance budget: $600 to $640
Snow removal: $790 to $1,100
Electrical: $737 to $756
of Capital Reserves
We discussed the definition
of Capital Reserves and what that budget item includes for the cluster. There
was no formal definition of what that meant in the by-laws, so our informal
assumption is that it was money set aside to cover expected
maintenance/replacement costs for the driveway and parking lot, as well as
concrete pavement throughout the cluster. We expanded the definition of
‘Capital Reserves’ to include all major infrastructure items throughout
the cluster such as stairs, railings, retaining wall, light posts, curbs, storm
drain in addition to the sidewalks and driveway/parking lot. Based on
estimates, guestimates and quotes, we built a plan of estimated renovations
through 2032 on the cluster’s infrastructure.
To cover these changes, and to avoid special assessments where possible,
the annual capital reserve will increase from $3,200 to $4,500 per year
starting 1Q2016 to cover long all planning maintenance and repair of
Budget Line Item – “Operating Reserves”
While discussing the
definition of Capital Reserves, we realized we needed a separate reserve bucket
for operating expenses to also prevent deficits in the annual budget or other
special assessments. The goal of the new budget item “Operating Reserves” is to
cover non-line expenses like legal costs, incidentals or over-budget costs in
snow removal, insurance, tree maintenance etc.
“Operating Reserves” line item is added to the budget starting January
2015. The estimated contribution is $675
in 2015, accruing $1,000 per year from 2016 onwards plus any other budget
surplus until it caps at $5,000. Once it caps at $5,000, all surplus cash will
be put towards the Capital Reserves.
Fees for By-Laws and Articles of Incorporation
Our cluster by-laws and
Articles of Incorporation have been in place since 1965 and were last updated
30 years ago. We’ve redone both documents and are working with legal counsel to
ensure all the I’s are dotted, and t’s are crossed. The primary goal is make
sure the cluster is covered for new events coming our way – notably the
renovation of Lake Anne in 2016 and the impacts to us for traffic, noise, use
of green space, parking on Moorings etc.
The new by-laws add
accountability to the ‘what if’ scenarios, including but not limited to clearer
definition of parking violations, applicable fees, delinquency in paying dues,
rights of homeowners, and violation of cluster property etc. We estimated
$2,350 for the legal costs in 2015 to finalize the documents. To offset this cost in 2015, we delayed the
Capital Reserve increase of $1,300 until 2016 and lowered the Operating Reserves
from $1,000 to $675 this year. All
documents will be posted on line as well as printed and distributed to each
household upon completion and final approval.
increase of $35 per house/quarter
To cover the
budget increases from 2015 onwards, the increase in Capital Reserves and the
addition of the Operating Reserves, it was proposed that the dues would
increase by $35 per house, per quarter starting from Jan 1st 2015. This would
raise the quarterly dues from $250 to $285, (annual cost from $1,000 to
$1,140). It was noted that this is still
below the average per house fee in Reston of $1,600.
Ann put the
dues increase to a vote and it was unanimously approved by all present. Ann will send the dues notice to each
household reflecting the $35 increase to $285 per household/quarter.
Financials to note
suggestions for costs related to the cluster cleanup events:
board will meet before cluster cleanup to identify all action items and plan
what items to get. Budget will be allocated appropriately for all items needed
for last minute changes or additions to the cluster cleanup budget, all go
through the Landscape Director (Mark).
2014 Landscape Review:
discussed the trees that were removed in 2014 included removing dangerous
hanging dead trees by Dave/Shari and by Mark/Leann’s, as well as large limbs
down by the swing area.
cluster cleanup events in 2014 were successful, a lot of areas were cleared of
debris and yard waste, garden areas tidied, loose tree limbs removed, the curb
and fire lanes were re-painted, and the drainage issue by Mark/Leann’s was
recapped that our mission in 2014 was to improve the landscape throughout the
cluster. Based on monies set aside in 2013, specific goals were targeted for
2014 – most of which were completed successfully.
Recap of Special Landscape Projects
Completed in 2014 Costs/Estimates
retaining wall completed by front entrance. $1,992.00
project - Aerate, spray post-emergent weed killer, over-fertilize and reseed
front lawn. Phase 1 of 2 completed by
front retaining wall area, resodded, reseeded by Cardinal $995.00
Tree planting - stage 1 - 18 trees planted
May 15th $1,126.08
Tree planting - stage 2 - 15 trees planted
Oct 20th $1,301.58
pear tree trimmed
2015 Landscape Discussion:
We plan some energetic
landscaping activities in 2015 to further improve the cluster. Activities discussed for 2015 include:
old growth area trees and determine what new trees need to be planted and
the view from Moorings into the cluster by improving curbside appeal. Further
to this is to also protect our green area from the onslaught of workers
renovating Lake Anne and Crescent apartments, and new homeowners with their
dogs and kids.
dead tree by tennis court area, or possibly wait for a storm to remove it.
the Spring Cluster clean-up for April 11th or 25th, and
the fall Clean-up for October 17th (rain dates are set for the next
activities for Spring and Fall Clean up to include: Tasks to complete, items needed to complete
them, planned outline for larger tasks etc. Planned mission for group
activities such as tree planting or garden restoration. (Mark)
& fertilize all new trees.
whether to recommend a no-show contribution of $50 for those unable to make the
cluster cleanup. (Ann/Mark)
Stump removal for primary tree stumps in key locations around cluster. (Mark)
Railway ties by fire lane, straighten the FIRE LANE signs again. (Mark)
Special Landscape Project (estimates):
Decide which of
the following options we pursue in 2015:
Garden by stairs up to 1563-1567:
Garden by fire lane area
garden entrance by holly tree in front of Carol’s $320
- 20 new trees
spray post-emergent weed killer, reseed (in Cardinal budget) $0
plants in front garden (included in 2
year plan) $0
raise soil level (resod, reseed) from Sherry's to Mark & Leann's $2,500.00
for 2015 Landscape budget $5,220 ($2,414.66)
by-laws and Articles of Incorporation have been updated. Final, revised
versions will be posted and published for you once they pass legal inspection
and final approval.
Mike noted the
pathway right of the stairs to the swing area gets muddy when it rains. Cathy
noted the trees have grown so much they block the light so grass won’t
grow. Note to add tree trimming and
layering more pachysandra there, extending the garden across, will be added to
the Spring cleanup.
that with the impending updates to Crescent and the Chimney house road area,
that Moorings will become a primary parking/work area for the staff, that it
will become messy and noisy, and that it will be a constant eyesore while
redevelopment is in progress. Update:
Wilson checked with RA – William O’Keeffe- who claims there are provisions make
for the workers in Crescent Apts while the renovation is under way. If the
noise gets to be too much, he invites us to contact RA and let them know.
discussion too was the lack of drainage between Sherry DeReuters and Watt/Julie’s
house. The easiest solution is to regrade the soil evenly in front of all
houses to force water run-off away from the houses. Mark will be looking for some quotes from
Cardinal and Newborg to make this happen in 2015. Cathy F asked to be included
in the quote as her home is having the same issue, even though her property is
not contiguous to the back row. If you need re-grading of the areas surrounding
your house, let us know. If may be less expensive with a larger-effort
throughout the cluster.
on board members:
was re-elected as president of the cluster for another year.
Mark M -
Unanimously re-elected as cluster Landscape Director.
Ann D -
Unanimously re-elected as Treasurer
opted to step down from her 6 year tenure as Social Director for the
cluster. Mick and Jen were nominated in
absentia, seconded and unanimously elected as our new cluster Social Directors. Many thanks to Amanda for her great work with
the social events. Congratulations to Mick and Jenn as the combined new Social
– unanimously re-elected as Secretary.
board Member contact.html
concluded at 9:21PM