VOH Association meeting – October 11 – 10AM
Board Members present: Stephen Hill, Dave Halla, Kent Ellis, and Fran Hamilton
Also present: Dick and Vicki Garvey, Bryan Smith
Meeting was called to order by Stephen Hill.
Angel Spellman (Corolla U.S. Postmaster) opened with a brief presentation of her new business, “Assure Property Care”. This business will offer interior and exterior inspections, replacement of air filters, fire alarm batteries, power washing, screen repair and window washing. Needs can be personalized including opening a house for guests, placing food and drinks in the home, securing rentals and security checks after guests leave. Angel and her business partner, Ken, will also do pet sitting either on an hourly schedule or in home 24- hour care if requested. Contact information: Angel (252) 305-9444, Ken (252) 305-0343, Office (252) 597-1000, email: email@example.com
Stephen Hill opened the general meeting with a welcome and the announcement that Rod Bradshaw withdrew his name from consideration for a board position in 2015/2016. He also noted that a new vendor, Michael Cherry was approved for the beach chair/umbrella concession beginning in 2015. Stephen then announced that Bryan Smith has been named as the new management company for VOH after extensive interviews with seven prospects that in the end focused on two highly qualified candidates. Bryan was introduced to the members present and remained as an observer for the entire meeting. Bryan will work with the Garvey’s from now through December to facilitate his transition.
The Spring (2014) Meeting Minutes were approved.
Kent Ellis discussed the 2015 budget. He explained the three to five year road paving project and noted how the capital reserves will dip during this phase but rapidly return to pre-paving levels. Kent suggested that another reserve study in 2015 might reassure owners who are uncomfortable with the reserves dipping in 2017. Steven noted that we can repave in the next several years or rebuild the roads if we wait too long on repairs. Rebuilding is much more expensive than repaving. A question was asked about ongoing drainage issues at Windance and Homeport Court (these water issues will be addressed when street repaving commences on Windance Lane in 2016). Another question concerned options for the repaving project that won’t impact the reserve fund as severely. These include a special assessment, financing or opening a line of credit for emergencies. Stephen commented that a special assessment on top of an annual 2% increase on homeowner’s fees might be too much, but the board would consider ways to reach out to the community on how to finance the project beyond 2015. Dave noted that many infrastructure projects have been completed in the past two years making this an appropriate time to begin the larger road paving project. A new homeowner who is a contractor asked for clarification on when we gathered the road paving prices and pointed out that asphalt pricing is based on oil prices and no one can accurately project long range costs for paving. In response it was explained that the road paving strategy was based on detailed estimates from two prominent asphalt contractors – and that such estimates would be updated based on the actual cost of asphalt at the time that the re-paving takes place and on the actual amount of asphalt used. In addition, when finalizing the 2015 Budget recommendation in the weeks prior to the annual meeting, the Board decided that the bulk of the re-paving project should be done over three years instead of two years in order to lessen the impact on the Capital Repair & Replacement Fund. It was again reiterated that the Capital Reserve Fund’s sole purpose is to repair or replace existing infrastructure such as streets & parking lots – and that the use of such funds for this purpose was discussed and agreed to by VOH’s accountant.
Vicki began her budget analysis by revealing that the Fitness Center income is tracking lower, and that revenue from the Ocean Front Snack Bar was below 2013 levels because of a slow start to the 2014 season. Salaries have increased due to vacation being offered to long term employees. Legal fees and irrigation expenses were less this year, but repair, maintenance and utilities were higher. The trash roll-back expenses were discussed leading some to note that they did not quit the volunteer service previously in place. The Board has, on file, a written resignation from the bulk of the roll-back committee that led to the Board’s decision to hire an external contractor prior to the start of the 2013 summer season. Much discussion ensued on when, how and on what days roll back of trash cans should occur. Rental companies should be encouraged to pick up trash that doesn’t get collected on Saturdays, particularly if the home has a Sunday turnover. It was noted that a problem exists because the trash trucks now come so early that renters might not get their cans to the curb in time for pick-up. Kent offered to work with homeowners on resolving some of the issues surrounding roll back. It was noted that possibly a volunteer service could operate in the spring and fall, but in the heat of the summer with twice weekly trash collections it is probably not advisable for volunteers to be saddled with this task.
Questions continued from members with one concerning the $10,000 allocated for the transition from one management company to another. The money was budgeted for recruiting a new management company, negotiating a new contract with accompanying legal fees and special projects. All candidates interviewed for the 2015 VOH management company quoted what their fee would be for special projects outside the boundaries of their contract. An example of fees for special projects would be the closing of the books in 2015 by Dick and Vicki Garvey, the ongoing training for Bryan Smith in 2014 and for consultation by the Garvey’s in 2015. Another question concerned broken chairs and bulk trash left on the side of the road that is not picked up. The trash company has to be notified by owners in advance for bulk pick-ups.
Vicki continued her budget analysis by noting that the 2% increase in fees was suggested by our accountant and any excess not need in a yearly budget could roll over to the reserve fund. One budgeting problem is uncollected homeowner fees. Three owners owe approximately $41,000 in fees and one already has three legal judgments against him. A homeowner who owes fees already has a lien placed on the property to be paid when the house is sold.
The Environmental Committee is fully staffed with Dick Garvey, Dave Halla and JaneMarie Morrison. Dave outlined 27 violations from last year with all but 6 having been successfully resolved by the owners. For 2015 there will be, at least, 31 violation letters sent out (including 6 carried over from last year for owners who have neglected to address the problems they were cited for). A new policy is being considered to levy a fine for homeowners who do not address EC violations that they have formally been cited for. This proposed change in policy will be reviewed by the Association’s attorney. Architectural guideline changes are also being considered to loosen the VOH 25-foot rear setback for a pool which is more restrictive than county requirements as well as all other Corolla communities. Our policies are being updated to more closely mirror current Currituck County guidelines. The EC committee is considering a uniform color palette for home painting guidelines and may seek input from the community on this issue.
Next Dick discussed the 2014 & 2015 Capital Repair & Replacement Budgets and the 2014 & 2015 Maintenance Operating Budgets. Dick and Larry Wickline are sealing the cracks on Lakeside Drive to prepare this westside road for repaving in 2017. Sealing the roads in-house will save thousands of dollars. Both pools underwent extensive renovations prior to their 2014 opening – including major repairs to the floor and support structure of the oceanfront pool building. A number of sports court medal fence poles that are broken and will be replaced this fall. The surface on the sports court is badly cracked and the installer will not repair it. Dick will attempt a repair job this fall. A storage shed was built for the association golf cart. Storm water drainage trenches were periodically cleared and the settlement pond near NC12 was cleared of vegetation which required pumping out the pond. The oceanfront pool concrete deck was completely replaced due to it sinking below the surface of the pool’s perimeter which created a tripping hazard – as cited by the NC authority that inspects the pools every year. We were cited by that same authority for a trip hazard around the lakeside pool that was caused by the pool settling relative to approximately one-third of the wooden deck that surrounds it. Those portions of the wooden deck that constituted a tripping hazard were replaced prior to the season. Without the fixes to both pools, neither would have been approved for opening in 2014. The dune walk-over portion to the main beach access walkway (adjacent to the ocean pool) was repaired in the spring – including installation of new deck boards and construction of two new benches on either side of the dune walk-over. Deteriorating railroad ties were removed from the Sandcastle entrance off NC12 and Dick will work with the Landscape Committee to fashion a replacement for this entrance that is often overrun by garbage trucks. An owner suggested that signs be placed on the beach which point to where VOH pathways to Sandcastle are located. All three beach access boardwalks and dune walk-overs were recently pressure-washed and stained in order to protect the wood surfaces from the elements – especially UV sunlight that causes rapid deterioration of the wood. The newly stained walk-overs (including railings and steps) will make them very visible to owners/guests/renters returning from the beach as the only walk-overs stained are VOH community accesses. Large deposits of sand were removed from both sides of Sandcastle Drive this fall and Dick suggested that a maintenance plan be devised going forward to have this done on a routine basis. A big item in 2014 was a serious leak at the oceanfront pool that had the potential to shut this amenity down for weeks. Again, Dick and Larry worked together to devise a solution which had the pool up and running within 24 hours! Dick even managed to have the pool refilled in a matter of hours after the repair from a fire hydrant (as opposed to days with a garden house) obtained the water at no cost!
New projects for 2015 include a renovation of the Fitness Center with repairs to interior wall & ceiling cracks, a full interior re-paint, added exercise machines and a rubber matt flooring system (to replace the current carpeting). The children’s playground adjacent to the tennis courts is slated for refurbishment – including the addition of a second playscape. The southern section of tennis court fence will need to be replaced as it was vandalized late in the summer and is showing extreme degradation due to age & weather. Dick next discussed the road paving at length with slides to accompany his presentation. Methods and costs associated with this project were discussed. A phased project over a period of years was outlined with estimates of costs involved. Dick emphasized that this is exactly the type of project that the reserve fund is designed to cover and he noted that the reserve fund is NOT meant for hurricanes or other disasters – it is exists solely to repair & replace existing VOH infrastructure such as roofs, tennis courts, streets, parking lots, etc. We have insurance for expenses that result from fire, weather and other acts of nature. He expressed confidence in the levels of the reserve in all years as the road project is implemented. The reserves will reach a low point in 2017 but will re-build quickly after that point. The 2007 and 2012 Reserve Studies completed by an outside consultant specify the type of projects that the Reserve Fund is to be used for (as does accounting regulations) – and street re-paving is the single largest use of such funds specified in both Reserve Studies. The use of a special assessment is not warranted as owners have already paid into the Capital Reserve Fund over many years – and the sole and correct use of that fund is to pay for repairs or replacement of existing infrastructure such as roads, parking lots, roofs, etc.
Dave Halla presented the Garvey’s with a plaque honoring their 9-year tenure as the VOH management company and invited owners who participated in the meeting to a reception hosted by the board marking 25 years since the inception of VOH. The reception also offered an opportunity to thank the Garvey’s for their service and welcome Bryan Smith as the new management company for VOH.
The meeting was adjourned at approximately 12:10.