Country Walk’s 2nd Annual Homeowners’ Meeting
The 2nd annual Homeowners’ Association meeting was held Oct. 15, 1998 at the Brownsburg Public Library. Fifty-six homeowners were present that evening, either in person or by proxy. The majority of the discussions centered on the budget proposal for 1999, changes to the community covenants, and the possibility of adding street lights to the community.
While most seemed to agree that the lowest possible bids had been found for all HOA expenditures, a vote on the 1999 budget of 32-for and 24-against (plus the 41 not represented) did not meet the 75% approval required by the covenants. Therefore, the 1999 dues collection will be $140 using the consumer price index adjustment.
Please take a little time and read through the attached minutes for more detailed information!
We are sorry to report the resignation of Jennifer VonDeylen as HOA President, effective Oct. 15, 1998. Jennifer’s letter is available for review from John Mullen. Thank you for all your hard work, Jennifer!
This open position will be filled for the remainder of that term (2 years) by Greg Creese, 16 Cinnamon Ct. Also, John Mullen was unanimously elected to a second term at the HOA meeting in October. Congratulations!
In order to accurately gauge how everyone in the community feels about the ACC guidelines used for Country Walk (i.e. the list originally from Ryland that details fence types, placements, no mini-barns, etc.), an anonymous survey will by conducted early this coming year. This survey will cover many areas of what structures should and should not be approved in our neighborhood. **PLEASE** make sure to fill out and return this -- your input is very important!!
Street Lights & Lamp Posts
First, the usual reminder to keep an eye on your outdoor lamp post. Please replace any burned out bulbs promptly -- thank you! If you’re concerned about electricity usage, you can always go down to a lower wattage. Also, if you’re having trouble with the bulbs shorting out frequently, contact Ryland Customer Service at (317) 845-0674.
Secondly, a request has been made for street lights to be installed in the neighborhood for safety. This will be included in the community survey, but if any one is interested in pursuing costs, sources, and logistics, your help would be greatly appreciated!
It happens even in our little neighborhood! A neighbor’s purse was stolen recently from her vehicle, inside their open garage, just after dark. This was no little prank as the credit cards were rung up throughout the night of the theft. Please keep an eye on valuables and report any suspicious activity in the neighborhood.
Now that school is in full swing and the days are cooler, we may not be seeing much of our neighbors over these next few months. Here’s wishing everyone a Happy Holiday season and a safe and successful New Year!
Lee Geupel, Kirkpatrick
Summary of the Minutes of the Country Walk
Annual Homeowners’ Association Meeting
October 15, 1998
INTRODUCTION: On October 15, 1998, at 7:00 p.m. at the Brownsburg Public Library, the second annual meeting of the Country Walk Homeowners Association (HOA) took place. The HOA board members, Becky Bayless and John Mullen, homeowners and Property Manager, Lee Geupel from Kirkpatrick Management Company attended the meeting.
The meeting was called to order by Becky Bayless. Becky stated that Jennifer VonDeylen had submitted her resignation that day and would no longer be the HOA president. John noted that homeowners with an outstanding balance due to the association would not be allowed to vote. The proof of notice of the meeting was displayed.
1997 Budget Information:Becky initially showed the August-December, 1997 budget, explaining that our original management company (Ardsley) had under-estimated our expenses, but that this was mostly bills owed, and paid, by Republic. Also, eleven of the 76 homeowners had not paid dues as of 12/31/97. The bottom line was a $1,089.70 SHORTFALL for 1997.
Questions were asked: Why did we choose Ardsley and why were not all of the 1997 dues paid? Becky answered that the management company was chosen, through the time of the Association turnover, by the developer, Republic. Also, collection of late 1997 dues was pursued with notices only because there was no contingency money available for legal action.
1998 Budget Information:Becky displayed the 1998 forecasted budget and explained the actual costs, forecast expenses for the year, and the variances incurred. Becky noted that the HOA was able to collect 1997 and 1998 dues from Ryland Homes totaling $1065 (this money was not expected when the 1998 budget was prepared). However, four homes still owe late fees for 1998. Also listed were the many expenses from the contingency account including: shrub trimming, weed killer, trash pick-up in the ponds, dead water fowl removal, muskrat removal, berm repairs, rip rap replacement, tree replacement and legal action. Once the bottom line was shown, the HOA account was $417.04 UNDER budget; HOWEVER, we were actually OVER budget since the budget did not include the Ryland dues payment. Questions were asked: 1) why couldn’t homeowners mow out into the common area to decrease the mowing expenses; 2) why do we get charged so much for the lake treatments when they rarely treat the ponds; 3) is the pond-treatment harmful and should we get rid of it; 4) why haven’t the dead trees been replaced. Becky and John responded: 1) Homeowners would mow at different intervals, different heights, and different patterns, so the community would not look good. Most homeowners present agreed. 2) The ponds are inspected weekly by ASAP, the pond maintenance company, and they treat with copper sulfate when needed. They differ the dosage as to not hurt the wildlife and do not treat every time they come, only when needed. 3) John noted that copper sulfate has been used in the United States since 1904 and that the HOA has documentation from ASAP to show that the treated water is safe. If the EPA thought that the copper sulfate was harmful, surely they would have prohibited treatments by now. 4) While the board has bids for the replacement of the dead trees, it is in the best interest of the community to wait on this until we know if we can pay 1999 bills (i.e. budget passes).
1999 Budget Proposal:Becky displayed the 1999 budget and explained each of the itemized expenses. John explained that Becky had received many bids and quotes for all of the expenses listed in order to get the lowest price. The bottom line was that it would take $185 in dues for 1999 (slightly less than our two $125 payments over 16 months in 1997 and 1998). Many questions were asked 1) as to why the mowing was so expensive and could we pay on an as needed basis (per mow); 2) why do we need the management company; what do they do, 3) why do we need a contingency, 4) what insurance do we have (what does it cover), 5) why are the administrative costs so high?
Becky, John and Lee Geupel answered: 1) We received bids from many local lawn services and chose the cheapest. If we were to pay per mow, the per-mow cost is higher, and the annual cost would be no different than a scheduled weekly mowing plan. We still have the option of not mowing (and not paying) any given week under the scheduled plan. 2) The management company provides many administrative services, can get some services cheaper since it manages many associations, helps with legal and tax issues, coordinates with and pays all of the services we hire out, and sends mailings to the homeowners. (i.e. they save MANY man hours from an already busy volunteer position). 3) A contingency account is needed to pay for any items that may or may not occur in any given year and in varying amounts, such as legal action, dead tree replacement, muskrat removal, rip rap replacement and so on. Without the contingency, we could be unprepared in the event of high dues delinquency, vandalism, or other events. 4) We have insurance to protect the Association, board, and homeowners against law suits from someone injuring themselves in the common areas or other legal action. 5) The administrative costs seem high because of all of the mailings, billings and bill payments that the management company does for the HOA, especially with the long periods of dues delinquencies we’ve had in 1997 and 1998.
Another budget was introduced by Becky showing that if the needed budget did not pass, the HOA board could pass, without a vote from the homeowners, a budget based on using the Consumer Price Index adjustment that would cost each homeowner $140. However, if this "decreased" budget was used, there would be no funds left for bed mulching, redefinition, decreased weeding and pruning, no trash or water fowl removal, and the HOA would have a restrictive contingency account. There were similar questions compared to the previous budget.
Becky asked for a vote on the needed budget, and the result was 32-yes, 24-no votes. Since 41 homeowners were not present or represented, the 75% approval was not achieved. Instead, the 1999 dues collection will be $140 per homeowner.
A question was asked about Mr. Ghosh’s budget being presented. Mr. Ghosh declined to explain his budget and asked for it to be removed from the agenda. This was accepted.
Election of the New Director on the HOA Board
Becky repeated the announcement of Jennifer VonDeylen’s resignation. Jennifer’s letter was then read by John. Per the Association by-laws (shown to the present homeowners by John), that open position will be appointed by the other two directors and will last for the remaining two years.
Becky opened the floor for nominations. No one was nominated. John Mullen was already nominated on the ballot. A motion for voting was given by Becky Bayless and seconded by a homeowner. An oral vote was done. A unanimous vote for John Mullen followed.
Thus, the two current directors are Becky Bayless and John Mullen and the third board member would be found by the board. Becky then asked if anyone present would be interested. A few questions were asked about how much time the board members need to spend on the HOA. No one said that they would be willing, though a few said they would like more information.
As of November 13, 1998, Greg Creese is the third director of the Country Walk HOA.
Fountains: John Mullen then gave a presentation for fountains to be installed and maintained in both ponds. The following statistics were shown: 1) Aquamaster (1/2 hp.) fountain would cost $5126.50 for two fountains, wired and installed, $450 for running costs, $200 for Spring/Fall install/pull out, and $300 for a 10-year replacement contingency. Total for the first year = $6076.50 ($64 per home) and $10 per home every year after that. 2) Otterbine (2 hp.) fountain would cost $9128.40 for two fountains, wired and installed, $1510 running costs $300 install/pull out and $725 for replacement contingency. Total for the first year = $11663.40 ($123 per home) and $27 per home every year after that.
A motion was called to NOT pursue the fountains, it was seconded and approved.
Miscellaneous: Questions were asked about the possibility of having mini-barns in the community. Becky and John explained that the board’s position has been to stay consistent with the initial guidelines given homeowners by Ryland. Homeowners were concerned as to whether we should be restrictive on sheds. Becky and John offered the option of surveying the community to determine exactly how many homeowners want mini-barns, different fence types, etc. Beth Mitchell and Amy Waggoner volunteered to be in charge of a committee to survey homeowners about ACC guidelines. ** This survey will not be initiated until after the beginning of the year, 1999. This would give people a chance to get through the holidays before the survey is distributed, but before new spring construction.**
Homeowners asked if we could eliminate the HOA. Becky explained that she called the town manager and was told that the town would absolutely not take over maintenance of the Country Walk commons area. This community was platted with commons areas as the responsibility of the homeowners and it is our requirement to keep them up. This is part of the reason behind the covenants stating a 20-year duration of the HOA without any provisions for changes.
Due to a request from the 1997 annual meeting, Becky then asked the homeowners if they would like a community directory. Becky and John received a lot of positive feedback and would determine if any of the homeowners object to having their phone number in the directory via the survey.
A homeowner asked if we could obtain street lights in the community. He explained that the installation costs are minimal and the town would pay for operational costs. This will be included in the survey.
Becky summarized that the homeowners should expect a bill for dues in the amount of $140 for next year.
Becky asked for a motion to adjourn the meeting. A motion was made and seconded by the homeowners, and the meeting was adjourned.
John Mullen 600 Country Walk Dr. 852-9085
Becky Bayless 754 Homestead Way 858-8689
Greg Creese 16 Cinnamon Crt. 852-9154