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Brookshire Cluster General Assembly Minutes 2017

Tuesday, Feb 7TH 2016 7:00PM

 

Attendees

Excellent turnout - 13 of 26 (50%) houses present, Quorum of 40% achieved.  Cluster President Wilson called the meeting to order at 7:27PM.

 

Miscellaneous

·       Mulch will be delivered by Meadows farms on Thursday, April 6th  2017 with 3 cubic feet double-shredded hardwood mulch at $4.70 per bag. Please let us know how many bags you would like.  Note this is the first year Reston Lion’s club is not delivering so we are going with Meadows farms instead.

·       Gutter Cleaning will 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 trash continues the extra Yard Waste Pickup each Wednesday during the spring/summer and fall. If you have yard waste (only brush and vegetation) – please bundle neatly for pickup on Wednesday mornings. Note:  Starting this summer, we cannot use plastic bags for yard waste. It has to be in a recyclable bag or bundled with string. Recycle bins will also be provided free of charge so just let us know if you need one or more recycle bins.

·       Electric Sundays are no longer scheduled for select days, and are now open daily for electronic waste and hazardous material every dayhttp://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dpwes/trash/disphhw.htm

·       Parking:  Just a quick reminder of the parking rules for the cluster.  Each home has one designed space  and space permitting with the guest spots, can have onemore guest spot. No more than 2 cars per home in the parking lot at any time. Guest parking is based on an honor system so please be respectful of your neighbors’ parking needs.

·       Brookshire Cluster Website updated on line with cluster documents, by-laws, minutes, guidelines for paint, trash removal etc. – www.brookshirecluster.org   

·       Calendar of Events: Calendar.html  

 

Community

·       We bid farewell to Burkeman Black at 1550 and welcome Kristina and Krager Sanders to the community.  We also bid farewell to Diane Boss and Joe, and welcome Scott and Allison Heider to 1555.

·       We are delighted to welcome three new babies to the cluster:

o   Kason Thomas Paine, both July 19th 2016 to Wilson and Rosa Paine

o   Riley Rose Jones, both August 9th 2016 to Phil and Melissa Jones

o   Asher Stockton, born September 13th 2016 to Susan & Joe Stockton

·       The Relay for Life event for 2017 is set for May 20, 2017 at South Lakes High School in Reston, or June 10th-11thin Herndon currently. More details will be available from your host.  

·       Brookshire Clusters Articles of Incorporation and By-laws are being processed by a legal team and should be complete early 2017. The new documents will bring us up to code for this millennium.

·       Watt Hamlett wrote and Jill Vinson illustrated, and published  a wonderful children’s book, “Reston A to Z. It is available for purchase through the local shops, Barnes and Noble and Amazon.

·       During the 2015-2016 winter, we maintained the same vendor for Snow removal. This vendor showed up promptly when needed. We renewed this vendor for 2017 and they showed up to pre-treat our area 3 times in January. As there are minimums for each visit, Wilson agreed to confirm with the vendor when treatment would be prudent and necessary going forward.  

·       Reminder:  On snow days, please do not park on the two guest spots on the back two guest spaces during a snow day – this is the designated snow-removal zone at the inside of the cluster property.  Likewise, please do not park directly across from the opening of the cluster as the plow will move snow across the road from the cluster parkway.

 

Social

2016 Social Activity Review:

Mick reviewed the prominent social events in 2016, including but not limited to:

·       Social gathering after the Spring cluster clean up

·       Very successful holiday party at Julie and Watt’s home before xmas

·       There was no Halloween party this year for the 1st time in 16 years

·       Book club continues to meet monthly

2017 Social Activity Review:

Jen and Mick discussed ongoing options for social activities in 2017:

·       Organize social event like a BBQ after the spring clean-up.

·       Organize first Friday social gatherings or quarterly social gatherings, on demand or on snow-days.

·       Continue Book club gathering – contact Jen for more details.

·       Host a yard-sale day on May 13th and ensure that all cars move off the parking lot so guests can drive in.  Mick to advertise at the local farmer’s market

·       Pick a summer Picnic date for all cluster residents and friends

·       Also in the line of supporting your local business, Sherry encouraged teams of people to go to an organized evening out in Lake Anne which was very popular. Drink a beer from the Brookshire tap in the brewery, enjoy a good coffee at the coffee house, eat drunken noodles at the Thai café etc.  Every little bit helps keep our community alive.

·       The cluster is not hosting a booth at the Herndonrelay for life on June 10th, Reston’s is on May 20th.

 

Landscape   

 

2016 Landscape Review

 

In Mark’s absence, Wilson recapped the year-in-review for landscaping. In the spring clean-up which went well, the cluster re-organized the front garden and replanted some of the plants to even out the flow.  Some of the plants may not have survived the replant as well as hoped. Ann noted that the front garden is part of a design and asked that we are mindful of that design during the clean up processes.

 

The tree planted for Delegate Plum also took a beating in one of the storms.  Thank you to all who watch the tree and make sure it’s propped up OK. Chris and Irene donated a beautiful dogwood to replace it, but was moved to replace a dead tree nearby while Plum’s tree continues to live.

For the fall cleanup, the cluster folks cleared up a lot of the area on the right side on entry to the cluster.  Well done!


Earlier this year near that area otherwise known as no-man’s land, a tree fell down crossing into the Brookshire area near Moorings Drive. After some (heated) debate with RA and Chatham on whose responsibility it was to clear the tree, Wilson and team finally agreed for Brookshire to clear the tree on the condition that the land between Chatham Colony and Brookshire Cluster becomes part of the Brookshire terrain. They agreed on email, we removed the tree so now claim that land as part of Brookshire Ct.  More to follow on finalizing the new boundary to our cluster lands. On this map, our boundary is the light blue line.

 

On this map, it’s a thin grey line.  We will be looking to get a formal site map from Fairfax.

 

 

2017 Landscape Discussion

Wilson recommended that organized to-do lists really helped folks achieve work done in minimum time.

Wilson reviewed some options Mark has in mind for projects this year:

·       Organize Spring Cluster clean-up for April 22nd – rain date Sunday 23rd  9am- noon.

·       Organize Fall Cluster clean-up for Sat Oct 21st  - Rain date Sunday Oct 22nd 9am- noon.

·       Mulch order arrives on Sunday April 2nd. If you ordered mulch, please pick it up by the Fire Lane area.

·       Once the weather improves, review the garden between Sherri and Amanda, and in front of Carols, and in front of Clarence’s to see if any require updates/enhancing

·       Enhance the side garden by the first set of steps close to the entrance way. Keep the outline and plant consistent with the front garden. The discussion here was for Cardinal Landscaping to renovate the garden on either side to match the front garden.   Next garden will be up by the lamppost in the center of the parking area. Wilson noted the ‘Grass and Special Projects’ budget still has $1,475.34 cash remaining and discussed the option that this would be spent restoring the garden on the right by the steps close to the entrance way.  This would be to create a similar look and feel between the front garden and the first garden on the right – others to follow.  It will include the same plants as are in the front garden containing:

o   Viburnum 'Winterthur'

o   Virginia Sweetspire 'Little.Henry'

o   Shenandoah Switch Grass

o   Goldenrod Fireworks

o   Aster – October skies

o   Iris - Caesars brother

o   Rose – knock out rose (may be harder to contain in such a small area)

·       Walk the perimeter of the cluster and note areas to be improved visually, including any areas that should be rebuilt or reseeded with grass.

·       Create rock-garden or concept garden on either side of the steps by the tunnel. Expand on the idea of the tree arch and create something on either side that flows well with the arch, the landscape and has the added benefit of stopping soil runoff, and helps absorb the water that flows under the steps.   

 

Finance

 

2016 Actuals Budget Review:

 

Income from dues went as planned in 2016 with all home owners paying on time by year end. Note: some dues payments were deposited early in 2017 so don’t show up in the revenue from 2016.

 

Income: with the dues all paid, interest on capital funds, late payment fees of $340 and other income, the cluster ended up with a surplus net income of $1,390.08.

 Income:                   $30,991.75

 Expenses:                $29,601.67

 Net Surplus Income: $  1,390.08

 

Expenses:

Most expenses came in on or under budget.

 Budgeted Expenses   $31,178

 Actual Expenses        $29,601.67

 Expense variation 2016                         $1,576. 33

 

Detail of Expense variation

Description

Over

Under

Over-budget

Snow removal

$520

 

 

Mosquito spraying

$31.36

 

 

Tree Service

$1,515

 

Charges carried forward to ‘17

Legal Fees and agency dues

 

-$2,475

Under-budget

Common Grounds

 

-$355

 

General assembly social

 

-$150

 

Repairs & maintenance

 

-$350

 

Special Project

 

-$151.36

 

Electric, Trash, other fees

 

-$161.33

Total

 

$2,066.36

-$3,642.69

Expenses under paid in 2016

 

 

-$1,576.33

 

Capital: There are two forms of capital outlined on our budget:

1.   Reserve:  Long term capital designated for asphalt and concrete repairs, stairs and supporting walls on common grounds. The capital reserve received $4500 from budget so it closed year end at $44,488.

2.   Operating: Shorter term capital set aside for larger incidentals on any given year or for items not included on the normal budget or where no special assessment is levied for an event, like the legal fees. The operating reserve for 2016 was $6,582.48.  The net income of $  1,390.08 was added to this bucket for 2017 bringing the operating reserve to $7,972.56.  

 

Legal fees: The two components on the legal fees of $2,475 are:

1.   Annual registration of Brookshire. Normally we retain a lawyer to process this form. Ann became an agent and submitted the forms saving the cluster $125 in legal fees.

2.   Home owners by-laws – originally estimated $2,350, the actual for this in 2017 is $3,200 + fees (not reflected on the budget issued at the General Assembly).  These are the legal fees to redo our Articles of Incorporation and by-laws written in 1965, updated slightly in the 80’s.  The legal team was selected and hired this January so the monies set aside in the budget carry through to this year so it appears as a loss on the actual vs. budget but it is a straight pass-through.  The estimated fees in 2016 were $2,350 but the revised estimate in 2017 is $3,200.

 

All home owner dues were paid on time even if some deposits didn’t occur until Jan 2017. The cluster also made $340 extra cash from late fees, and $850.64 from contributions from cluster members and other sources.

 

2017 Budget Estimate discussion:

 

Special Reserve for trees/grass:  No monies were spent on long-term landscaping projects in 2016, so the special trees/grass/landscaping budget carries forward to 2017 at $1,475.  This will be spent on the new garden-by-the-steps in early 2017.

 

Capital – Operating Reserve will start 2017 at $7,972.56.  The estimated legal fees of $3,200 will be paid from this bucket, so the budget for 2017 to bring the Operating reserve back to the $5,000 cap is $227.44.

 

With the Planned Budget for 2017, the cluster expects to:

Income: Maintain income from HOA dues, interest from the capital reserves and late payment fees.

Expense:  Adjust line item expenses to cover:

-        Increase Landscaping to include aeration in 2016  from $9,270 to $9,550 (3%)  (update – actual contract is for $9,726).

-        Increase snow removal budget from $2,000 to $2,775  based on contract cost increases

-        Maintain capital reserve of $4,500 to cover all infrastructure items

-        Maintain operating reserve at $5,000 after legal fees payment

-        Maintain Tree service (maintenance) of $3,000 and Special Tree/Grass project of $400.

-        Estimated legal fees for Article & By-law review of $3,200

 

On the 2017 Preliminary budget, planned expenses exceed income so the Net Income shows a deficit of $3,029.47.  This is because of the legal expenses budget line item of $3,200 carried over from 2016.  The funds to support this are also carried over in the Reserve – operation fund but are not counted as Income earned in 2017, 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 2017. 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.

 

On the option to issue invoices by email, to be paid by pay-pal or through another credit card processing option online, Melissa said she would work with Ann to setup easy-pay options for our cluster members to pay dues and in sundry charges like mulch bags. More on that as it becomes available.

 

 

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: Early in 2017 we had some icy days and our snow vendor – who thankfully is prompt and efficient – pre-treated our cluster entrance ways.  With a hard minimum in place for each event, the snow budget took a rapid hit. Wilson spoke with the snow vendor and they agreed not to pre-treat unless we approve or request it, and not to remove snow less than two inches deep.

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:

Sherry urged all present to support your local café, restaurant and shop whenever possible. Sherry specifically noted those on Lake Anne, like the new coffee & wine bar, the beer house with Brookshire beer tap, the Thai restaurant, Reston Books and Mont Martre.

Vote on board members:

·       Wilson P was unanimously 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 even though she tried to talk her way out of it.

·       Mick and Jen were unanimously re-elected as our cluster Social Directors. 

·       Deirdre – unanimously re-elected as Secretary.

Board Members 2017:

All board members reelected unanimously.

Meeting concluded at 9:24PM

 

 

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