Sunday, November 15, 2015

Minutes: Autumn Walk HOA Annual Meeting 11/9/15 - Draft

Autumn Walk HOA held its budget meeting in the Emerson Clubhouse on Monday, November 9, 2015.

Topics Discussed:

  • Current Financial Status
  • FY16 Budget
    • New landscaping contract 
  • Monument Sign
  • Reserve Study
  • Maintenance issues
    • Some houses need to take remedial action
  • Parking issues
    • Fire Marshall is going to declare new firelane 
  • Miscellaneous
    • Solar Panels
    • Snow removal
    • SHCCA


  1. Attendance:
    1. Board: Dharmesh, Damon
    2. CAS Management: Kim Hanger
    3. Residents (2): 9836, 9854
  2. Meeting called to order
  3. Minutes from November 2014 Meeting adopted
    1. Note: Minutes from the Annual Meeting in June 2015 can only be adopted at another Annual Meeting
    2. Because we write our own meeting notes, Autumn Walk is able to save on note-taking fees
  4. Current Financial Status
    1. Accounts are in good shape, split an operating account and reserves, with some of the funds held in CDs and a money market account
    2. $0 liabilities
  5. FY16 Budget
    1. After reviewing 2014 and 2015, the 2016 budget is virtually the same
    2. Homeowner assessment fees will remain unchanged
    3. Comments as the budget was reviewed in detail:
      1. Management fee rises slightly with new contract (+3%)
      2. Postage and printing the same, did not use all of it this year
      3. Reserve Study (see below) was completed in 2015, so not in 2016 budget
      4. Landscaping and Maintenance (see below)
        1. Old contract expires in December 2015
        2. New 3-year contract, have a hardcopy for signature
        3. Has 60-day termination clause, no auto-renewal clauses, so we aren't locked into it if the contractor fails to perform
        4. Same contractor is used for snow removal
          1. Paid per occurrence
          2. Prior to winter storms, Autumn Walk President gets an email providing options for response
            1. For large storms, contractor will come unless cancelled
            2. Other storms: will only come if called
            3. Ad hoc: can also be called afterwards, but is more expensive and will be a low priority so they may not arrive until late on that day or even later in the week
          3. Primary responsibility: sidewalks adjacent to the common areas and parking spaces (not the parking spaces themselves)
          4. We are expecting a bad winter, though costs have been light the previous winters
    4. Reserve
      1. We are ahead of the projected levels needed
        1. Reserve Study was completed this year, will look to post it to the community
        2. Plan to add $3.2K/year going forward
      2. $7K for monument sign
        1. Action has not been completed
        2. CAS will follow up with some vendors, with opportunity to review their work
          1. Comments that it should be high quality, or not done at all
        3. Goal is to get it done by Spring
          1. Want a signed contract by that point
    5. Budget adopted by the Board
  6. Maintenance
    1. Most houses are in good shape, but a small number need attention 
      1. Haven't responded to the informal reminder mailed to every house (including both tenants and owners of rentals)
      2. Largely issues with missing mulch (bare ground/roots), weeds, and bushes that are dead or need trimming
        1. Some homeowners seem to be confused by what the landscaping contract covers
        2. Sidebar comment: Because we aren't in our yards as much since the contract takes care of much of the yardwork, we should check to make sure we don't have problems
          1. For example, a downspout had slipped and was dumping water on ground
      3. Kim will contact Emerson since we had deferred to their standards, to see if they will send a notice
      4. Upkeep is in the Autumn Walk bylaws, but Board might need to establish a policy
    2. CAS will also look into getting the rip rap (crushed rock) installed at exit of drainage pipe next to Lots 27 & 28
      1. The drainage is eroding the ground and leaving pools of water
      2. This item has been on the books for a while but slipped through the cracks
  7. Parking
    1. Howard County Fire Marshall intends to make entire large island a no-parking firelane
      1. Safety issue with emergency vehicles being able to get through
        1. Also, fire trucks need 18 feet to set up stabilizing outriggers to allow ladders to reach third stories
      2. Will lose many spots, may have ripple effect
      3. Some residents concerned that guests will have no place to park since many of the parking spots are always occupied
    2. Board prefers to try to work this through voluntary compliance first, keep things friendly
      1. Creating parking policy complex, and towing signs have a lot of verbiage that makes them large and ugly
      2. Will wait till after the fireman is designated
        1. Emerson hopes to complete process by end of the year
      3. Expired tags are a different issue - enforced by the County
      4. Board will send out a message, perhaps in time for the Holidays when there may be many guests
  8. Miscellaneous
    1. Q: Approval of solar panels?
      1. House is getting solar panels installed; company owns the panels, uses the roof and sells the electricity at a guaranteed rate
      2. Homeowner believes it will enhance value of house
        1. Have option to transfer the contract when the house is sold, or have the company move the panels if within BG&E service area
        2. Company owns the panels and takes care of all servicing
      3. But, homeowner is concerned that the solar panel company only got a verbal approval from Emerson HOA
        1. Answer: Emerson has stated that by Maryland law, they are not allowed to prohibit solar panel installation
        2. They have issued voluntary guidelines largely focused on aesthetics (symmetrical placement of the panels, clean routing of conduit and cables, etc.)
    2. Q: We have a problem with snow removal in the corners around the large island. For large snows (above 5-6 inches) it blocks the gutters and causes pools of water to form.
      1. Board will ask Brickman to remove it on a case-by-case basis
      2. Expect the fee to be reasonable
    3. Comment: Residents should track Southern Howard County Civic Association (SHCCA) meetings
      1. They have been successful in getting Howard County officials to attend, including Howard County Executive Alan Kittleman
      2. Mostly long-term issues that have a big effect on our community, but also including traffic and crime
  9. Meeting adjourned

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