Archives for November 2015

Information Packet for November 23, 2015 Special BCA Board Meeting

Posted November 20, 2015 at 11:42 AM
The information packet for the November 23, 2015 Special BCA Board meeting is now available for downloading. The focus of this meeting will be the approval of Brandermill's 2016 Budget.

Included in this information packet is a memo from Manager Bailey (page 2 of the packet) wherein he describes the protocol of the meeting and his interpretation of the Finance Committee's recommendation to increase 2016 pool fees.

Pages 3-4 of this information packet show the recommended 2016 BCA Fee Schedule.

We encourage residents to attend BCA Board meetings to learn of Brandermill "happenings". For a quick snapshot of what the BCA Board will be discussing, please read the agenda located on the first page of the Board Packet.

Highlights of November 2, 2015 BCA Board Meeting

Posted November 6, 2015 at 6:25 PM
Important Note: The below highlights are reported based on unofficial notes taken by NRC representatives who attended the above BCA meeting. Although we believe the below reporting is reliable and strive for accuracy, we cannot assure 100% accuracy. It is recommended to all readers that they read the approved BCA Board Meeting minutes when published.

Manager Bailey began the discussion on the 2016 budget by giving a brief update of the changes made by the Finance Committee during its Monday, October 28, 2015 meeting. These budgetary changes were based on consideration of member input at the October 26, 2015 Community Meeting. Manager Bailey informed members that the Finance Committee had approved the recommended 4.5% annual assessment increase to fund the Replacement Capital Reserve Fund. Among the changes in the Recommended Budget were:
  • An increase in revenue of $20,000 from the addition of a user fee for credit card payments to the BCA.
  • A decrease of $2,500 in the Contingency line item.
  • An increase in the proposed amount of funding (to $22,000) for construction of a new playground in Harbour Pointe.
  • An increase of $10,000 in pool revenue by increasing the fee for memberships by $10 each.

Member Voice: Harbour Pointe Playground

Lisa Pelfrey (Watch Hill) expressed concern about the original funding request ($28,000 proposed by the Community Services Committee) being decreased to $18,000 by the Finance Committee. She now thinks that we can construct a nice playground in Harbour Pointe for the current proposed amount of $22,000.

Helen Moran (Spinnaker Cove) informed the BCA Board that she supports funding for a Harbour Pointe playground because many of the new families in Spinnaker Cove are young families with children. She noted that her husband Neil Moran is Treasurer of the “dormant” Harbour Pointe Residents Association and recommended that the $1,400 in its bank account be added to the fund to construct a playground.

Joe Herbst, President of the Harbour Pointe Residents Association, responded to Moran by saying that the Harbour Pointe Residents Association has often been inactive but becomes active when the need arises within the community. He noted that the Harbour Pointe Residents Association is independent of the BCA and that a decision regarding its funds was not a decision to be made by the BCA Board.

Member Voice: Proposed Increase in Marina Fees

Tommy Baer (Land’s End) spoke to the BCA Board, noting he believes the die has been cast regarding the recommended proposal by the Finance Committee to increase marina slip fees by 25% in the 2016 Budget (from $800 to $1,000 annually). He characterized the proposal as a "fait accompli" and gave a brief historical summary of past increases in the fee and the efforts by the Association and the marina members to secure and maintain an easement to the marina at the defunct Brandermill Inn. He commented that he had contributed much pro bono legal service in the course of this effort and noted that it was not right for the Association to treat neighbors and friends in this manner - by imposing a 25% increase in fees just because of high demand for boat slips at the marina.

Charles Rayfield (Shallowford Landing) commented that he had almost decided not to speak regarding the proposed increase in marina fees because he believes it is a done deal. He noted that, with the present marina arrangement with Holladay Corporation, the Association’s marina expenses would decline while the marina fees are going up. He asked the BCA Board if that sounded like a proper way to treat residents. He termed the marina a "cash cow" for the Association.

President Davis asked Rayfield if he is still Commodore of the Marina Association. Rayfield responded in the affirmative. President Davis asked if it was correct that the last increase in marina fees occurred in 2009 and if there had been an outcry at that time. Rayfield responded that most of that increase had gone toward increased rent and legal fees.

President Davis then asked if Rayfield knew what the marina fee is at Woodlake and then stated that Woodlake's marina slip fee was $950 annually, with a planned increase for the next budget year. He also noted that its slip fees are much higher than that of most marinas.

Manager Bailey informed the members about the financial history regarding the marina costs and revenue. He clarified that marina fees have subsidized the Association budget at an average rate of about $4,200 annually since 2006 (including the fees to be collected in 2016).

President Davis noted that the marina, with 39 slips available, is an amenity that currently serves about 1% of Brandermill residents, and there are currently 28 members on the waiting list to rent a slip.

Treasurer Friedel added that past boards have spent many hours on the marina issue because they had believed that securing an easement to the marina was the "right thing to do."

Rayfield noted that marina members had not previously heard much of the financial history regarding the marina costs and revenue to the Association. He suggested that marina members sit down with the Directors and BCA staff to understand this history.

Manager Bailey responded that much of the financial data regarding the marina was shared publicly on the May 7, 2015 at an invitational meeting available to all marina slip renters.

Robert Cook (Harbour Hill) thanked the BCA Board for its efforts to secure a marina for Brandermill. He does think, however, that a 25% increase in fees is somewhat excessive. He asked the BCA Board to look at other ways to balance the budget rather than increasing marina fees dramatically in one year.

Dan Rucker (Stoney Ridge) agreed with Treasurer Friedel’s comments regarding past efforts of BCA boards to secure permanent marina access and thanked the Directors for their hard work. He commented that Tommy Baer had worked pro bono on the marina for many years and noted that the planned increase in marina fees seems like a "slap in the face". The marina is in poor condition, and the situation seems adversarial.

Later in the meeting Rucker also asked if there had been a change in transparency regarding Association e-mails. He had asked for e-mails of members renting slips at the marina but had not received those e-mail addresses.

Finance Committee Chair Bob Gregory noted that he did not think the marina fee increase was excessive since fees have not increased at all over the past six years.

Maureen Reilly (Millcrest) asked for clarification regarding how much of the planned $200 increase in the marina fee was needed to fund the marina versus the general Association budget.

Manager Bailey responded that the marina has annual operating expenses of about $3,500 and the Association is planning to spend $70,000 from the Replacement Capital Reserve Fund in 2016 to make repairs and enhancements to the facility.

James Lynch (Harbourwood) asked if the increase was in perpetuity. President Davis responded that he does not see it declining after 2016 but also does not expect it to increase annually.

Member Voice: Cleanup of Neighborhood Open Space

Mamie McNeal (Planter’s Wood) spoke on behalf of Hamid Ghorashi (Walker's Ferry) and presented an amended recommendation by Ghorashi to allocate $66,400 in the budget for contract work to speed the cleanup of neighborhood open spaces. Ghorashi had noted that the Manager had said that it will take about 10 years for the proposed in-house resources to clean up the open space in neighborhoods. Ghorashi’s proposal would decrease proposed salaries, payroll taxes, contributions to the swim team and tuition scholarship program, uniforms costs for maintenance staff and the Community Improvement Grant in order to allocate the proposed funding toward contracting out the work to cleanup of open space.

On her own behalf, McNeal said she supports outsourcing neighborhood open space cleanup efforts. She thanked the Finance Committee and Treasurer Friedel for their hard work on the budget and emphasized that she believes we will get the biggest bang for our money by outsourcing cleanup of the open space.

President Davis responded that there is money in the budget for this open space cleanup but how best to accomplish this effort is still being determined.

Chair Gregory added that before we buy new equipment for open space cleanup or hire the people, the Association plans to get bids to determine the cost of outsourcing this work.

Member Voice: Other Matters

Warren Ragsdale (Huntsbridge), a 37-year Brandermill resident, believes the 2016 budget to be the best, most organized budget ever proposed by the Association. He noted that 100% of the proposed increase in assessments was accounted for, and planned spending in the budget is easily understandable.

Joan O’Hanley (Muirfield Green) also commended the Finance Committee and Manager Bailey. She agreed with Ragsdale that the budget is very easy to understand.

Tom Jacobson (Oak Springs), speaking for the Brandermill History Project, presented the group's efforts to produce a book on the history of Brandermill. They have renegotiated some of the private funds pledged to help fund this book project.

The book is intended to focus on the first 40 years of Brandermill’s history: its beauty, design, how it got started, its forested character and how that’s been preserved. Chair Jacobson clarified that the book would be sold at an approximate cost of $40 and would be based on 18 interviews with people involved with Brandermill from the beginning.

Publication of the book would be financed by book sales and by $25,000 in private donations to the project. The project group asked the Finance Committee and BCA Board to fund the project over a 2-year budget cycle ($12,500/year), adding the private donors would be willing to wait until next year after pre-sale of the book and marketing efforts have been conducted. He noted that sale of 750 copies of the book would generate $30,000 in revenue for Brandermill.

President Davis understands the book is to be a high quality “Cadillac” hardback book. He questioned how many long-time and newer residents would spend $40 to purchase the book.

Chair Jacobson added that the book would also serve as a great marketing tool for Brandermill.

Director Pearson asked what the committee would say to the private donors if Brandermill decided not to fund the project. Chair Jacobson said he would ask the donors to be patient.

In response to Manager Bailey, Chair Jacobson clarified that the $15,000 for the book in the proposed budget is to cover the upfront costs for an author, designer and photographer. He noted that the funding would be a loss to the Association if the book was never produced and sold.

Upon closing Member Voice on the Recommended Budget, President Davis informed the members that the BCA Board will meet later in November to finalize the 2016 budget. This special meeting to approve the 2016 budget is scheduled for 7 p.m. on November 23, 2015 at The Brandermill Church.

Board Discussion on the Recommended 2016 Budget and Introduction of Amendments

Director Leonard proposed that all user fees be increased 25%. He also proposed, due to the problem with our underfunded Replacement Capital Reserve Fund, that we delay all New Capital Projects including the purchase of a bucket van, a chipper/shredder, street lamp globes and playground in Harbour Pointe.

President Davis asked if any of the other Directors agreed with Leonard’s proposals. None did except for Director Pearson who said he was undecided, as he feels the Association must find ways to decrease spending.

President Davis asked if any of the Directors supported delaying the construction of the Harbour Pointe playground. None did.

Director Leonard commented that the Finance Committee had identified $27,000 that could be moved to the New Capital Reserve Fund. He noted that by enacting these measures, the proposed assessment increase could be decreased from 4.5% to 2.5%.

President Davis asked if any of the other Directors agreed. None did. Upon query by President Davis, Chair Gregory stated that the reserve study had indicated the Association's need to increase assessments for the next 3-4 years in order to fund the Replacement Reserve Fund. An increase in the 2016 assessment would just be a start to fix the replacement reserve problem. Reducing the proposed assessment increase to 2.5% would be sending the wrong message. Chair Gregory also noted that if the BCA Board could find excess funding in the budget, it should be put toward funding the Replacement Reserve Fund.

Director Hillman commented that she believes we should increase the marina fee by only 5%. She proposed a number of other items be adjusted resulting in a net contribution to revenue of $15,500.

President's Report

President Davis thanked the Finance Committee and noted that he had gotten an education.

First Vice President's Report

First Vice President Pearson reported that the Communications and Marketing Committee might have enough money to remodel the Brandermill website. He also reported that the Association has about $40,000 of free advertising space in The Chesterfield Observer that must be used in the next 18 months or it will be lost. He again asked for volunteers to work on the Communications and Marketing Committee.

Director Hillman motioned that the Association distribute a flyer to seek qualified volunteers for the Communications and Marketing Committee. This motion was seconded and approved by a vote of 5:1 with Director Leonard voting against the motion.

Other Director Reports

Director Malek commented that the Association needs more people to run for the BCA Board, especially younger residents.

Director Leonard reported that the Reserve Study had identified over 1,000 capital asse5ts. He proposed assembling a task force to examine these items to determine what they contribute to the community.

Community Manager’s Report

Manager Bailey reminded members that the final vote on the 2016 budget will occur at the 7 p.m. meeting on November 23 at The Brandermill Church.

He also noted that the staff has met with three vendors regarding website development.

Amendments to the Rules and Regulations on Boats

Director Malek stated that he did not think we should allow storage of boats on Association property which cannot be used in the reservoir.

Manager Bailey asked the Directors how the Association could address storage of boats that cannot be used in the reservoir. These would include power boats and pontoon boats with gas engines; there are 7-9 such boats stored at The Landing today.

President Davis noted that any boats that return to The Landing for storage must have current registrations. He noted that the same will be true for the marina when it is renovated.

Director Malek asked if there is a limit for the number of boats that can be stored on a T-rack. Community Services Director Jennifer Strader responded that the Association is trying to limit the number of boats per T-rack to two.

Director Leonard asked if boats stored on private property must also be registered.

The BCA Board asked the Manager to look at combining the language in the rules and regulations for Item 38
A waterfront property homeowner or tenant is granted revocable permission to moor, beach or cradle one motorized boat in the open space or in the water and one non - motorized boat outside the water but maintained in the open space area of the waterfront or under the deck or porch of that property. Each boat would be considered stored on the home beach and therefore assessed the yearly storage fee.
and Item 41
A Waterfront property owner may store non - motorized boats in an appropriate screened or covered area on their property. Such boats must be registered with the BCA and will be assessed the yearly storage fee in place at that time.
The Boating Rules and Regulations as amended was passed unanimously.