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Brookshire Cluster General Assembly Minutes 2016

Tuesday, Feb 9TH2016 7:00PM

Attendees

Excellent turnout - 14 of 26 (54%) houses present, Quorum of 40% achieved.  Cluster President Wilson called the meeting to order at 7:22PM.

Miscellaneous:

Community:

Social                                                                                                                                               

2015 Social Activity Review:

Jen and Mick reviewed the prominent social events in 2015, including but not limited to:

2016 Social Activity Review:

Jen and Mick discussed ongoing options for social activities in 2016:

Landscape                                                                                                                                    

2015 Landscape Review:

 

In Mark’s absence, Wilson recapped the year-in-review for landscaping. In the spring clean-up which went well, Delegate Plum was invited and showed up to meet and greet the community. He also helped plant a new tree by the tunnel.  Photos of Plum and the community, especially the younger folk, were posted on both Delegate Plum’s site and on Reston Facebook.  The planted tree was embellished with a specially carved plaque for Del Plum.

Wilson noted the fall clean up went very well and recommended that organized to-do lists really helped folks achieve work done in minimum time. As part of the cleanup, ten trees and tons of tulips bulbs were planted throughout the cluster. The trees and soil were very kindly sponsored by Chris Centner. The trees include a variety of Crepe Myrtles, dog woods, smoke tree and witch-hazel. Spring should bloom beautifully around the cluster. Wilson noted (per Mark) that the cluster may not need that many new trees in 2016, giving that we should see how the last few years of growth pan out this year.

A new sign “No Parking Snow Day” was installed during the fall cleanup on the designated snow-removal zone at the inside of the cluster property.

2016 Landscape Discussion:

Wilson noted the ‘Grass and Special Projects’ budget still has $1,475.34 cash remaining and reviewed some options Mark has in mind for projects this year:

Finance

2015 Actuals Budget Review:

 

Income from dues and interest went as planned in 2015. The cluster also made $145 extra cash from late fees, and contributions from cluster members.

2015 Expenses stayed well in line with budget with only a few over budget items like:

 

$170

Landscape add on aeration and fertilization charges for grassy areas

$50.16

Trash and recycling cost increases.

 

Special Projects expenses in 2015:

 

$367.16

Trees, Soil and tree plaque engraving Spring Clean up

$1,000

Drainage project by back row of houses

 

2015 Net Income for Brookshire closed out with a budget surplus of $7,205.32. The surplus was comprised of:

 

$4,000

Tree Service budgeted amount not spent,

$2,350

Legal Fees to finalize Articles of Incorporation and by-laws not spent:

$1,297.84

Special Project and Grass Seeding money carried over to 2015/2016.

($442.52)

Miscellaneous budget variance from 2015 Budget to actual costs. 

$7,205.32

 

 

2016 Budget Estimate discussion:

 

The surplus was then split to fund two different Cluster funds for use in 2016 and beyond: and added to the 2016 Budget:

 

$1,297.84  

Special project and Grass seeding project carry-forward through 2016.

  $177.16

Special Project and Grass seeding – donations by Chris in 2015

  $1,475

Total Special Project /Grass Seeding funds for 2016

 

 

$5,730.32

Reserve – Operating funds. This fund was established in 2015 to cover variances on expenses like tree removal and excess snow charges or other emergency costs unplanned by the cluster annual budget.  The goal was to start with $675 budget in 2015, adding $1k per year thereafter and capping at $5k. Any funds in excess of $5k would contribute to the Reserve – Capital funds designated for larger infrastructure projects.  With so much budget surplus in 2015, and with snowmageddon already at our door, the board met and decided to overload the Reserve – Operating funds to offset excessive snow charges in early 2016 as well as covering the legal fees still needed to vet the Articles of incorporation and by-laws.   Adding the $675+ from 2015, we start 2016 with $6,582 in the Reserve Operating budget. 

 

 

Starting the 2016 year, the cluster has the following funds allocated:

 

$39,987.89

Capital Reserve for cluster infrastructure projects covering stairs, railings, retaining wall, light posts, curbs, storm drain in addition to the sidewalks and driveway/parking lot

$6,582.48

Operating Reserve for budget costs overages and cover legal fees.

$1,475.34

Special Projects and Grass seeding.

$48,045.71

Total Funds allocated

 

With the Planned Budget for 2016, the cluster expects to:

Income: Maintain income from HOA dues and late payment fees.

Expense:  Adjust line item expenses to cover:

 

On the 2016 budget, planned expenses exceed income so the Net Income shows a deficit of $1,365. This is because of the legal expenses budget line item carried over from 2015.  The funds to support this are also carried over in the Reserve – operation fund but are not counted as Income earned in 2016, hence the budget shows a deficit for the year.

 

With the budget in a very healthy and well managed state, Ann proposed no dues increase for 2016. She put it to a vote and it was unanimously approved by all present. Dues continue to be $285 per quarter/house – lower than the average for Reston.

 

Ann noted the most difficult part of her job is collecting funds in a timely manner from home-owners and depositing the funds into the bank. Mick recommended that we add PayPal as a payment option for home-owners to pay immediately and using a variety of payment options including credit card – thus solving both the collection and deposit concerns together. This would entail the following steps:

  1. Ann would setup a PayPal account for the cluster tied to the cluster bank account,

  2. Ann would setup non-profit organization payment processing on the PayPal account

  3. Anne would integrate Quicken with PayPal to include a “PAY NOW” option on the cluster dues invoices. 

  4. Any processing fees or extra credit charges would be paid by the home owner.

 

Amanda noted she is familiar with setting up payment options within PayPal and would work with Ann to setup the PayPal solution.

Open Discussion:

Legal Documentation for Cluster:

As mentioned, 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.

Snow Removal

Snow removal: 2015 was not a great year for snow but the contracted snow plough vendor did a poor job of showing up or correctly removing the snow. The board met with the vendor in spring 2015 to go over expectations of levels of service. With the world of promises, and the lowest cost on the market, the board opted to stay with this vendor for this past winter.

Fast forward to snowmageddon and the vendor was a disaster. The vendor showed up once to plough with about 12” on the ground and didn’t show up again while the remaining 20+ inches covered the parking lot/driveway.  The vendor claimed his machines were all out of service.  Wilson contacted other suppliers and managed to get a team to offer support in clearing the snow. By late Sunday night, the snow was still too deep for their ploughs to clear, or for their bob-cats to shovel out. The only solution was for them to send in a costly crew of laborers to manually dig out enough snow to allow the snow plough to come through.  Mark rallied the entire neighborhood on Monday to help with the dig out so the cluster which turned into an awe-inspiring community event.

  

Once a path was cleared, the new snow removal team was able to clear the parking lot and driveway of snow and put down ice melt. Between both vendors, costs to clear the snow completely went through the estimated budget for snow removal in 2016. 

Following on from that, the board cancelled the original snow vendor and hired another company to clear the snow. This company has stricter minimum charges which is more expensive for us especially for lighter snow events, but it is a vendor with 16 trucks vs. 2, and more crews to plow snow. They also plow snow away from our cars – such a small thing for a truck, such a nice thing for us trying to clear out our cars.

Note – both spaces farthest in on the cluster are reserved for snow drifts during heavier snow days.  In addition, please try not to park directly across from the entrance on Moorings Drive as that is also a designated snow-drift area for our cluster.  Neither Fairfax nor VDOT supply (nor support) signs for no parking during snow days over 2 inches.

Concrete: 

Chris C noted that the concrete leading up to Chris & Irene’s, and David/Shari’s home needed to be repaired. WE discussed replacing the concrete, repairing it in patches or pumping the slabs up from beneath.  Wilson to find contractors to review the concrete repair needs for the cluster in general. Amanda noted she has contacts that would be licensed and bonded.

Community events:

Amanda noted that the give-a-gift Angel Tree event to gift toys to needy children before Christmas was exceptionally well supported by Brookshire and that a ton of presents were supplied to the children.

Sherry noted the continuation of supporting local events like ‘Francesco’ night – Sunday night events in Mont Martre at Lake Anne.

New Fountain switch in park by Brookshire:

Mike noted that Reston mailed a DRB application for us to review (not necessarily approve) outlining planned changes to the water fountain area in the park beside our cluster.  Throughout the summer of 2015, the touch-to-start button at the fountain was broken, so water flowed all summer. This year, Reston plans to install a motion sensor switch on for the fountain that will automatically stop after a period of inactivity.

Vote on board members:

Board Members 2016:

Contact us here

Meeting concluded at 9:12PM.

 

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