Minutes - ECIA Governing Board

Board Actions and Summary July 20, 2020

Meeting was called to order at 5:01 PM. Nancy Sulzberg, President, Mel D'Amore, Vice-President, Sal Monaco, Treasurer, Carol Sanguinetti, Secretary, and David Sorkin, Director were present at the July ECIA Board of Directors Meeting held via ZOOM.  A quorum was met and the consent agenda approved. HOAMCO staff including GM Julie Navarro, Facilities Manager Mike Rogers, Pool Manager Jessica Collins, Executive Assistant Rachel Turnbough, and Office Assistant Sarah Skagen also attended. Motion to approve the meeting agenda made by Mel D’Amore, seconded Sal Monaco, 5 in favor, no opposed.

The following architectural variance requests and motions were reviewed and approved:


  • To allow for the existing shed at 23 Caliente Rd to be located 35 feet from the home
    • Motion to approve made by Mel D’Amore, second by Nancy Sulzberg, 5 in favor, no opposed
  • To allow construction of a new privacy wall 14 feet into the 50-foot roadside setback at 1 Esquila Rd
    • Motion to approve made by Mel D’Amore, second by David Sorkin, 5 in favor, no opposed
  • To allow for the encroachment of a coyote screening fence 13 feet into the 50- foot roadside setback at 7 Esquila Rd
    • Motion to approve made by Mel D’Amore, second by Sal Monaco, 5 in favor, no opposed
  • To allow for the addition of a portal that does not match the existing roof style but is only slightly over the maximum size allowed at 136 Verano Loop.
    • Motion to approve made by Mel D’Amore, second by Carol Sanguinetti, 5 in favor, no opposed


  1. To adopt the new records request form; [it is uploaded on the website under Forms and Applications].
    • Moved by Nancy Sulzberg, second by Sal Monaco, 5 in favor, no opposed
  2. To affirm AFJ Custom Paving as a Sole Source contractor as permitted in Section 8 of the ECIA Procurement Policy. AFJ has been the association’s preferred provider for more than 10 years and has completed all work on the hike/bike trails in a diligent manner, consistently on time, within budget, and without change orders.
    • Moved by Sal Monaco, second by Nancy Sulzberg, 5 in favor, no opposed
  3. To accept resignations from Tana Monaco, Kathy Cashiola, Mary Lee Morgan, Melissa Smock and Sandra Young from the Welcome ad hoc Committee.
    • Moved by Carol Sanguinetti, second by Mel D’Amore, 5 in favor, no opposed
  4. To accept the resignation of Mary Clark from the Conservation Committee.
    • Moved by Carol Sanguinetti, second by Nancy Sulzberg, 5 in favor, no opposed
  5. To approve the Board of Director committee liaison role [it is uploaded under the Board and Committees tab on the website].
    • Moved by Nancy Sulzberg, second by Mel D’Amore, 5 in favor, no opposed

Sal Monaco reported on the management company selection process.  Contract negotiations with HOAMCO will begin in the upcoming weeks.  Residents can review the RFP on the website and will have access to the contract once completed.  The Finance Committee and the association’s attorney will review the contract before Board approval will be considered.

As of the date of the Board meeting, 97% of homeowner assessments have been collected.  Those who have not submitted payments have been contacted via letters and phone calls.  Most have agreed to a payment plan;  accounts for homeowners who have not arranged payment will go into collections.

Mike Rogers reported on amenities. The pool’s feeder barrel is to be removed from inside the mechanical room and a storage cabinet will house it adjacent to the building.  Maintenance has removed old tanks and will backfill the holes with dirt.  The parking lot lights are complete but need remote settings adjustment.  The tennis courts will be getting a wind screen, new net and chip repairs.  Jessica Collins announced that the lap sessions will remain at one [1] hour.  Once schools open, a pool schedule will be announced based on lifeguard availability. 

Joseph Gutierrez, County Liaison for the Board reported the County will use $150K for trail work on Avenida Eldorado near the fire substation.  With the $200K from a 2019 request, the county will design right of ways, plan design and land acquisition to extend the hike/bike trail from Torreon to Rt. 285.  There is an additional $150K for paving; once the money is absolutely confirmed the chosen road will be announced.

Amelia Adair, Chair of the Stables Committee presented an overview of the stables amenity.  The presentation has been posted to the website in the Stables Committee tab.  Pam Henline presented the findings of the recent logo survey.  Though there was a clear preference, the Board has agreed to re-visit the RFP and send it to graphic design firms in Santa Fe.  The logo must be chosen before the new website can be completed.  Bonn Macy will assist with the request.

Sheila Sullivan updated the Board regarding the Dark Skies initiative.  She will confirm ECIA’s status with the International Dark-Sky Association.  Once confirmed, residents will be asked to complete a survey regarding the process. The Board of Directors supports this initiative as long as all covenants are followed.


Good evening and I hope this meeting finds you all in good health.  For the most part, residents of Eldorado are complying with wearing masks and practicing social distancing.  Though the incidence of active COVID 19 cases has increased in the 87508-zip code area, I do think that because of community peer pressure, we’ve been able to keep the numbers low.  I know that the guidelines placed on the use of our amenities has many disappointed and annoyed but please try to remember  the HOAMCO staff and the Board make decisions about access for the whole community.  

This past Thursday, the Board of Directors interviewed a potential candidate to fill one of the two positions that remain open on the Board.  Our interview was pleasant and informative and it was very clear that the candidate honestly wanted to become involved with ECIA’s governance.  His enthusiasm was evident.  However, after some deliberation, the members of the Board agreed that the candidate needed to become more familiar with how the ECIA Board and committees operate.  As a result, we recommended that the candidate attend several meetings, ask questions, make comments and get a firsthand understanding of the time and work required.  Our candidate agreed and we hope to re-interview in a few months.

Lest you deem this interview process unsuccessful, I would like to share some realizations that have appeared.  Currently, residents who would like to be appointed as committee members must meet requirements listed in the respective charters.  In addition to being a member in good standing, a minimum number of meetings must be attended. So, for appointment to the Conservation, Facilities and Grounds, Finance, and Information Committees, a resident must attend 3 meetings; for the Roads it is 2 meetings and for the Election and Stables it is 1 meeting.   What I see as missing here is any such requirement for potential Board of Directors membership and I have to wonder if that is reasonable.   Should the community expect its Board of Directors members to be fluent in the governing documents,  the business management practices, the committee’s missions and procedures, the laws governing HOA’s and on and on.  Should a potential candidate need to have attended at least a majority of the standing committees prior to submitting a credential package?

I would like to explore these questions further, perhaps by setting up a discussion group that gathers input from existing volunteers, Board members and residents.  This group could prepare recommendations for the Board to review, that outline what qualifications potential Board members should possess, as well as, provide a realistic description of the time and work needed to be effective. Whether or not these recommendations ultimately become part of the Bylaws would be further explored.  I realize that this action might be setting up barriers for folks who might otherwise step up, but I do believe it serves the community better to have qualified leadership.  And just because “we’ve never done anything like this” doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. If anyone is interested in working on this, please email me and we can start a conversation.

With that being said, and in my commitment to transparency, I will say that I did not have ECIA committee meeting experience, nor was I fluent in the governing documents, etc. when I applied for a Board position. What I did bring to the table was a 40-year career in not-for-profit management including Board membership and Board staffing.  I learned quickly and was able and willing to spend significant blocks of time doing so. 

The other issue that the recent candidate pointed out is that there is a lack of “young family” representation on the Board and on many of the committees.   As one might expect, parents with young children or teens tend to have limited volunteer time, especially now with the possibility of online, at home schooling.   That doesn’t diminish the need for input from this important and growing demographic.  If Eldorado is truly to be a family-friendly community, we should try to be more sensitive to the unique needs of younger families.

To address this issue, I will follow the suggestion made by the recent Board candidate to call for a “parents council” composed of a group that can meet regularly, but not frequently, to explore how Eldorado can best serve the families.  This doesn’t mean that Eldorado’s budget will support extensive capital projects but certainly could look into activities that might entertain and enrich our younger residents.  Again, if you are interested please email me to start a conversation.

As always, I want to acknowledge the community volunteers who have contributed their expertise and time during the past month.  To the members of the Management Contract Proposal Review team – Monty Vandermay, Amelia Adair, Dan Drobnis, Sal Monaco and David Sorkin – thank you for your serious deliberations and recommendations.  The first segment of this very important selection process has been completed with the community’s best interests as a priority.  In addition, thank you to Monty and Amelia for moderating the Town Hall about the management company selection. Thank you to Debra Denker who coordinated and moderated the recent Fire Prevention Town Hall.  So many residents have expressed their gratitude for bringing this information to our community.  And I would be neglectful if I didn’t also thank the HOAMCO staff who have worked diligently to maintain our amenities and administrative responsibilities.  Thank you all.


Treasurer’s Report


Based on Financial Statement: June 30, 2020

Key Points:

~ $1.2M in Operating Fund Cash

~ $522K in Reserve Fund Cash

Total Cash ~$1.7M

Accounts Receivable: $80K (Assessments); ~97% of 2020 assessments have been collected; ~$26K (uncollected 2020 Assessments)

Other Receivables (interest, stables, lien fees): ~$60K

Actual vs. Budget YTD: $553K vs. $785K (we are ~$232K under budget, primarily from lower expenditures in capital projects, pool operations and payroll). Any excess funds at year end will be used to build our reserves.

Items from the Finance Committee (FC):

  1. First draft of 2021 Budget was reviewed at the July 14 FC meeting. The FC found the operating budget to be in compliance with our financial model.
  2. FC will continue to review and revise the current procurement policy at the August meeting (Dan Drobnis and Amelia Adair will lead effort).
  3. FC agreed with recommendation to make early transfer to R&R and invest resulting cash in a CD.
  4. The FC is reviewing new software (Asset Panda) to use for the R&R database and forecasts.