Minutes - Finance Committee

November 6, 2010 ECIA RAILROAD ROOM

The meeting was called to order by committee chair, Dan Drobnis at 11:25 am.
--Committee attendees: Dan Drobnis, Gisela Knight, Bob Gaines, Nolan Zisman, Pat Bell
--Absent committee members: none
--Others Present: GM Bill Donohue, Board Liaison Todd Handy, Board Members Ed Moreno and Elan Colello

The proposed agenda was adopted after adding user fees and the bookkeeper's report.

Public Forum:
--No one appeared for the public forum.

The minutes of the October 14, 2010 meeting were approved as submitted.

GM Report:
--Dan mentioned that the website minutes needed to be updated. Bill will take care of getting the past minutes posted.
--Bill reported that we have the option of allowing the association members who are late on their assessments to pay by credit card for $9.49 per transaction.
--In a discussion about allowing all members to pay assessments by credit cards, Elan recommended using PayPal. PayPal will add 2.9% + .30 to the transaction as a convenience fee, to be paid by the member. There will be no costs to ECIA and we will receive the full amount of the assessment. The committee agreed that this should be recommended to the board, noting that a decision needed to occur soon if the information was to be included in the annual invoices.
--Bill reported on a $5,000 tractor repair bill. The money will be taken out of the replacement reserve and the tractor life extended from 2017 to 2020.

Board Liaison Report:
--Todd reported that there has been a lot of discussion at the board level about the rental house, but no action has been taken yet.
--A new primary water meter is being installed at the stables. The stable committee will attend the next board working session to discuss their request for a new plumbing system. There was considerable discussion around making sure we understand where and what the problems really are before replacing the entire system.
--As a result of a meeting with the Treasurer and office staff, the bookkeeper has repaired a report on collections and other office procedures. The report has been emailed to the finance committee.
--A bill regulating homeowner associations is being presented to the state legislature. Todd will make the content available to the committee.

Financial Reports:
--The $4K Earthworks bill has been received and paid.
--The water bills remain a mystery. Todd is in ongoing discussions with the Water Board about the situation and the ECIA will be getting the new electronic water meters to improve monitoring.
--Retirement costs are listed on multiple lines in the financials and will be consolidated for next year.
--Lines 7430-7450 (Reserves and Contingency Funds) need to be taken off the operating books and shown separately. Some investigation needs to be done into what QuickBooks can and cannot do in this area.

Audit RFP:
--The committee reviewed the document and suggested some minor changes.
--Nolan moved that we send the RFP out for bid. The motion was approved 4-0, with Dan not voting.
--Bob moved to resend the previous motion and instead to retain our current auditor for one more year and sent the RFP out in May, 2011. The motion passed 3-1 with Nolan voting against and Dan not voting.

User Fees:
--The board needs to reach a consensus that this is an avenue they wish to pursue and then the finance committee will do further work to refine our options.

Replacement Reserve:
--We briefly discussed the document and will continue to refine it over time.

The meeting was adjourned at 1:20pm

The next regular committee meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, December 8 at 9:30am.

Submitted by Pat Bell


Call to Order/Attendance: The meeting was called to order by Chair, Dan Drobnis, at 9:30AM. Those also in attendance included members Gisela Knight, Bob Gaines, Pat Bell and Nolan Zisman; GM Bill Donohue, Board President Tom Wilmott and Board Liaison Todd Handy. Residents Dina Deena Joseph and Greta Gretel Underwood were present for the Public Forum. Resident John Calzada attended as an observer. The proposed agenda was adopted without change. The minutes of the Sept. 8 meeting were approved as submitted, with a correction to the “next meeting” date (from Oct 12 to Oct 13).
Public Forum: Ms' Joseph and Underwood, representing the Stables Committee, requested funds budgeted for stable road surface repair be used instead for scraping the top surfaces of the arena floors. Bill explained there was money in the operating budget to cover both and it shouldn't matter to them how it is actually proportionally spent. They were satisfied with this explanation.
GM Report: 1)Bill reported we received only one response to the Stables water system RFP. He feels the bid price is representative of what we will need to spend and will budget based on that bud. He plans to request at least one more bid. 2)We are still lagging significantly on collecting assessments. We discussed the idea of collecting assessment payments via credit card, using an on-line collection service that would not charge the ECIA a fee. It was moved, seconded, and passed by a 4-0-0 vote to recommend this to the Board as a way to make assessment payment more convenient and to incent those behind in their payments to spread them over a longer time period. 3) Staff is working to determine the cost of the process of pursing delinquencies vs. the benefits of additional collections. It has already been determined that late fees should be tacked onto next year's invoice rather than pursue them beyond a reminder notice. 4) about 100 lot owners have been identified as being in arrears on payment of assessments one to five years. The next step will be to verify the contact information on these persons in our data base. Once that is accomplished, appropriate “next step” legal actions will be pursued.
Board Liaison Report: Tom commented on the fact that the Board's retreat was a good way for the Board to learn about the actions of the various committees. Dan responded by indicating his frustration that these same activities do not get reported to the home owners/residents in Vistas. He will take back to the Information Committee some ideas we discussed on how to make that happen. Tom was asked if the Board had yet decided on the future of the rental house as a rental income property. This has not yet been decided. For the time being we will continue to assume the expenses and RR requirements in our 2011 budget planning. Todd reported that he found a written guideline statement allowing us to carry bank balances in individual accounts “to the limits of FDIC coverage”.
Review of Financials: Some variances were explained to the satisfaction of the FC; it is expected the year will end with a positive income; funds available for transfer to the Capital Reserve may meet budget projections. On-line access to our bank accounts has been established.
Review of Office Procedures: Dan reported that a review of procedures by Pat and himself yielded the following conclusions: 1) we need to acquire fireproof file cabinets for our paper records; 2) we need to formalize and adhere to computer backup procedures; 3) we need to document our procedures for writing checks; 4) we need to clarify and document procedures and expectations for backing up financial record-keeping and problem solving when key personnel are on vacation; 5) we should use a laser printer to print checks; 6) we should digitize essential documents and store originals off-site.
New Replacement Reserve Schedule: Nolan reviewed the latest version of this document that he, Pat and Bill had prepared/reviewed. Unfortunately Bill handed out copies of a prior draft but the version supporting the recap statement that Nolan reviewed will become the basis for managing our RR requirements going forward. At a future time, Bill will revise the schedule to have separate line items for “scraping” the stable arena floors vs replacing the underlying base course. Bill is also considering adding a couple of additional line items if existing line items do not properly cover those assets. Dan will analyze the new requirements data to determine the impact on the existing balance sheet Replacement Reserve and implications for future years' assessment requirements.
2011 Budget: The following changes to the Oct 8 draft were agreed to:
• Delete the words “Allowance For” on the first Assessment line; it will now read “Prior Years' Assessments Collected”
• Change the remark for Bookkeeping Services to “Contract Bookkeeper”
• Add a remark for General Operations: Maintenance: “2 full-time; 2 part-time (16 week) employees”
• Replacement Reserve Transfer- - based on the new RR schedulethe transfer should be increased to $74,138. Total Reserves and Contingencies will remain the same by reducing 2011 Capital Reserve Fund Transfer to zero and reducing Contingency Fund from $20,000 to $15,000.
By a vote of 4-0-0 the FC approved recommending the revised budget to the Board.
Draft Charter Revision: Dan will present the proposed revised charter to the Board.
Next Meeting: The November meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 10 at 9:30 AM. Dan also reminded the FC of the Joint Budget Workshop to be held Monday, 10/25 at 7PM.
The meeting was adjourned at 12:30 PM.
Submitted by Nolan Zisman




September 8, 2010 ECIA CONFERENCE ROOM

The meeting was called to order by committee chair, Dan Drobnis at 9:33 am.
--Committee attendees: Dan Drobnis, Gisela Knight, Bob Gaines, Pat Bell.
--Absent committee members: Nolan Zisman (excused).
--Others Present: GM Bill Donohue, Board Liaison Todd Handy.
The proposed agenda was adopted without change.
The minutes of the August 11, 2010 meeting were approved as submitted.

Public Forum:
--No one appeared for the public forum.

GM Report:
--A review of the collection policy shows that we can charge up to 15%, which our attorney has recently reconfirmed. The document also requires the board to approve negotiated settlements. Bill and Todd will review the document for possible revision to work better with Quickbooks procedures and to adjust dates as necessary to improve processes.
--We are still awaiting bids from contractors on the stable plumbing project.
--The office how-to manual is almost complete.

Board Liaison Report:
--Accounts Payable: One vendor is billing us late, so we are working with them to bill us in a more timely manner. One vendor is consistently presenting incorrect bills which take a lot of office time to reconcile. We are looking at options to improve the billing accuracy or to help with reconciliations.
--Board Retreat: Scheduled for September 18th. Dan urged FC members to attend to hear project proposals related to the 2011 budget.
--Banking and Investments: Bank signature cards need to be updated and the board needs to pass a resolution authorizing the signatures. Bill will add to the upcoming board agenda the proposal to change the Bank investment limit from "$100K" to the "FDIC insured limit".
--Collections: The staff is getting special training in how to accurately document payments and also in making phone calls for late payments. Bill will follow up on the possibility of allowing 3rd party credit card payments. We may in the future consider the use of collection agencies. For now, Bill and Todd will investigate the option of obtaining judgments against owners with overdue payments. Bill will place an item on the Board Retreat Agenda to discuss the use of Neighborhood Watch information for identifying empty houses and vacation homes for which we may have incorrect billing addresses.
--Workmen's Compensation: During a recent workmen's comp audit, we were required to pay the insurance premium for 2 contractors who last year did not provide proof of insurance. Bill is following up with contractors this year to insure that they provide appropriate documentation and Todd will withhold payments until the documentation is provided.
--Financials: In reviewing the financials, the committee requested expanded reporting of the capital and replacement reserve budget items. Bill will begin providing these next month.

Operating Budget. The group discussed the following changes to the draft budget:
--Account numbers will be added to the budget at some time in the future.
--Under Revenues, the 2010 General Assessments projection should be $830K and the 2010 Allowance should be ($27K) instead of ($12K). The 2011 Allowance should be ($27K) instead of ($18K).
--Under Revenues, an additional line for Allowances collected from prior years will be added for $9K.
--Under Expenses, the word "new" will be removed from the description of the community service manager (I36).
--Under Expenses, a comment will be added to describe the increased wilderness expenses related to additional signage.
--Under Expenses, a comment will be added to explain the increase for the information committee.
--Coke machines expenses will be added after investigation.
--Repair and Replacement: decided to leave the transfer amount at $60K and the group discussed the need to continue to improve and refine the list of items.
--The group noted that the 2011 budget is very tight, with little or no money to increase the capital improvement fund.

Draft Charter:
The group discussed changes to the committee's charter. Dan took notes and will present the updated draft to the group.

Financial Controls:
A subset of the group will meet with Bill on Wednesday, September 15 at 10:00am to monitor some of the financial controls.

The meeting was adjourned at 11:27am.
The Board Retreat is scheduled for Saturday, September 18 at 9:00am.
The next regular committee meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, October 12 at 9:30am.

Submitted by Pat Bell


August 3, 2009

The meeting was called to order at 4 pm by Chair Dan Drobnis. Present were members Pat Bell, Bob Gaines, and Gisela Knight, as well as GM Bill Donohue, Board Liaison Ed Moreno, Board member Sandy MacGregor, and Todd Handy. Nolan Zisman was excused to attend the Facilities and Grounds Committee (but returned near the end of the meeting) and Jean Stokes was absent without excuse.

1. Adoption of Agenda – Adopted as presented
2. Minutes of June 1, 2009 meeting - Approved
3. Financial reports – Late assessment payments are higher than normal. Bill has speeded up the late notices and lien process to avoid possible losses due to foreclosures.
4. Adopt process for Capital Projects – The 3rd draft was reviewed and approved.
5. General Manager's Report
Capital Project Requests:
Stable Committee-Capital Project Proposal for fencing (635ft.) - Dan will arrange for an estimate of the maintenance costs and prepare a report for the Board (no stable perimeter fencing is in the replacement reserve schedule, only the arena fencing). Bill will ask the EAWSD about sharing maintenance costs. The proposal is intended in part to reduce liability from straying horses. Dan will ask the Stable Committee: 1) can the SW gate be locked except when in use? 2) why so many gates? and 3) should the main gate be configured to remain closed except when in use?
Conservation Committee-Capital Project Proposal for fencing (4161ft.) - The Conservation Committee should ask the Board whether it wants the FC to review the project for possible funding.
Facilities and Grounds-Capital Project Proposal for lighting (foyer,LR) – The FC agrees that lighting is not furniture, so the project cannot be funded except by Board action would need Board approval as a Capital project. Dan will prepare a funding proposal for FC.
Possible Security Changes – Bill is preparing a proposal for the September Board meeting to replace the security contractor with an in-house security program.
6. Board Liaison Report – Sandy reported that the Vistas cost options will be discussed at the next Board work session.
7. Review 1st draft of ECIA 2010 Operating Budget – FC instructed Bill to prepare a revised budget that: 1) raises the annual assessment to $280, 2) has a zero Appropriated Fund Balance, 3) has a Capital Reserve Fund Transfer of $30,000, and 4) sets the amount in the Contingency Fund to balance income and expenses.
8. New Business – No new business.
9. Public Input – No public input.
10. Next Meeting: FC agreed to change the regular meeting to 9:30 on the first Wednesday of each month. The next meeting will be on Wednesday, September 2.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010  9:30am ECIA Conference Room

---The meeting was called to order by Chair Dan Drobnis at 9:30 AM. Present were members Bob Gaines, Gisela Knight and Nolan Zisman, Board Liaison Todd Handy, and GM Bill Donohue. Pat Bell was excused.
---The item of Job Descriptions was added to the agenda. Minutes of the June 9 meeting were approved as submitted. No one appeared for the public forum.
---GM Report: The Stable Committee has submitted a request for replacement of the stable water system, an item included previously in their master plan, including all main lines, arterial lines to each barn/corral, individual barn shutoffs, spigots and meters. Reasons: Frequent leaks, freezing and occasional insufficient pressure at end of the line barns. A preliminary estimate cites cost incl. labor at $54,000, $29,000 for main lines and arterials to barns, $25,000 for meters, shutoffs and hydrants at each barn, to be paid from the R&R Reserve, with an offer of partial reimbursement of $300 by each stable owner. At present only the large meter is listed in the R&R 25-year schedule; addition of a new properly mapped system would require revision of schedule estimates.
---Lengthy discussion focused on the division of responsibility between ECIA and barn owners. Maintenance and repairs to common amenity properties are regarded as an ECIA responsibility; however the question of added convenience for barn owners by the proposed improvement (e.g. no need to carry heavy water buckets during winter) deserves consideration. GM Bill suggested a 50/50 sharing. Also considered was the possibility of investigation of the current system for possible repairs, but the lack of a system map is a problem. The FC agreed that since the problem is technical as much as financial, a plumber should be engaged to explore with test holes etc. to provide more detailed information.
---New budget line items have been added (e.g. Bookkeeper). Bill asked FC members to suggest possible additional ones before he begins drafting the 2011 budget.
---Items added to the R&R Schedule include the barn and main building elements. Bill suggests to have two documents, one by year and another by assets. This idea was well received by the FC.
---Board Liaison Report: Board financial training will be given by FC Chair Dan Drobnis on Saturday, July 10, from 10 AM to noon in the classroom.
---Financial Report Development and Assessment Collection Lag: Todd explained variances in the P&L report, as well as discrepancies in the accounts receivable analysis (mostly assessments). Financial reports were reviewed. Assessment collection continues to lag. The first collection letter was delayed by the issue of partial amnesty. The Amnesty idea was dropped and Dan argued again for the letter to go out immediately. The FC discussed how else to respond to the collection lag, and ideas explored were phone call reminders, hiring collection agency, obtaining Small Claims Court judgments, garnishments--usually leading to extra expense. We continue to impose liens and maintain separate lien files. Further discussed were fee levels and the possibility of replacing fees with interest charges. The attorney will be consulted on this.
---The budget calendar was approved. The items of Charter Revision and Job Descriptions were deferred to the August 11 meeting. Meeting adjourned at 11:25 AM.