Minutes - Stables Committee


1. Time and place.  The April 2018 business meeting of the Eldorado Stable Committee (“the ESC”) was held on April 24, 2018, at the ECIA Community Center, and was called to order at 7:10 pm by the Chair of the ESC.  Copies of the Agenda, past meeting Minutes, Financial Reports, and copies of the ECIA Stable Amenity Maintenance Schedule were available.

2. Quorum, Attendees, Agenda.  A quorum of ESC Members was present, specifically Amelia Adair, Gretel Underwood and Elsa Kloess.  In addition to ESC members, ESC Board Liaison John Henriksen and the following barn owners were present: Dina Seigel, Jessica Stewart, Karla Lauritsen and Carol Loewy.  Amelia Adair presided as chair of the meeting. Elsa Kloess served as Acting Secretary.  The Agenda was adopted as amended, with the following changes or additions: the issue of fence heights, arising out of the Barn Inspection was added as an item of new business.

3. Minutes.  The Minutes of the January 2018 ESC Business Meeting were previously approved by e-mail; there were no corrections to those Minutes.

4. Committee Resignations, Members.  The Chair announced that ESC members Karen Cameron and Luci Wienczkowski have resigned from the ESC for personal reasons.  The ESC thanked them for their service. As a result, the ESC currently has 4 members, 3 of whom were present, representing a majority of the members.

5. Stable Story.  Amelia Adair recognized and thanked Stable volunteers Victoria Verzuh, Pat Donahue and Lisa Bessone for their initiative to raise money for a care package for long-time, former Eldorado barn owner Amanda Kimera, who suffers from health issues. The ESC is grateful for their support of our Stable community.

6. Open Forum.  Barn owners present were invited to raise issues and questions.  The following issues were raised:

  • Carol Loewy asked whether all ESC members are in good standing as required by ECIA Bylaws.  The Board Liaison did not have that information but agreed to inform the Chair whether any members are not in good standing.

  • Gretel Underwood mentioned that the Stable gates have been left open more often recently.  Amelia will send a reminder to the barn owners.

7. Chair’s Report.  Amelia Adair gave a report on the following topics:

Annual Inspection and Horse Count: Both were held on April 18.  Presently there are 52 horses in the Stables; 3 more are coming in May.  Maintenance issues were mostly minor, consisting mainly of loose posts and top or bottom rails and broken wire.  Letters are going out this week to all barn owners where maintenance issues were noted. 

Upgrades: Barn 8 is currently undergoing major repairs as per the new owner’s plan as previously approved by e-mail.  Barn 11 is also undergoing major repairs.  Both these barns will be inspected on the re-inspection date of May 21.  As a result of the efforts of new barn owners since the last inspection, many barns are much improved from last year.

Manure Management: dumpsters are being moved when necessary to maximize usage of about 5 – 7 horses per dumpster.  After the annual road work is complete, ECIA staff will install gravel pads in front of the dumpsters to ensure accessibility during wet weather, and to help make them easier to use by functionally lowering the height of the dumpsters.  In addition, the ESC has rolled out the “Adopt a Gardener” program to make it easier for gardeners to get manure. 8 barn owners have agreed to participate. Amelia has spoken to several gardeners; so far most have been just shoveling manure out of the dumpsters, but one has made arrangements to have a truck pick up and deliver manure to her.  Information about the program will be in the next Vistas.

Communication Improvements: Amelia discussed several issues regarding improving communication between the ESC and barn owners, the Board and the ECIA community as a whole.

o Recently we’ve welcomed community members to the Stables including the Plein Air painters, gardeners and dog walkers.

o The new plan of posting placards at the gates and placing information on the Stable bulletin board kiosk is not working that well, because people can’t easily read things on the kiosk.  E-mails (ideally not too lengthy) are the best way to communicate, with signs on the gate (maybe color coded for urgency) for critical issues.

o Amelia as ESC Chair should be the first point of contact for non-emergency issues, who will share those issues with the ECIA; emergency issues should be directed to ECIA General Manager Isabel Ugarte with a copy to Amelia.

o Vistas articles: Amelia plans to continue to seek ideas for articles about the Stables in the Vistas.  Dina Seigel suggested a monthly profile spotlighting a barn owner and horse and volunteered for the first one.  Other ideas and suggestions were welcomed.

o The ESC thanked Courteney Handy, ECIA Community Relations Coordinator, for updating the Stable information on our website and for assisting in getting Stable information into the Vistas.

Maintenance Schedule:  maintenance supervisor Mike Armijo is no longer working for ECIA; a new maintenance supervisor will be hired. Meanwhile, there is a new maintenance crew, who is doing a great job harrowing the arenas.  The ECIA Stable Amenity Maintenance Schedule has been approved by Isabel Ugarte and is being followed.

o Weeds, “Green Stake” opportunity: Mowing of common areas is scheduled to start mid-May, after the pool maintenance is complete. Barn owners voluntarily wishing to maintain areas near their barns may place stakes to show the maintenance crews which areas they will maintain.  Simple bamboo stakes are up at barn #36, and barn owners are invited to check and see if they raise safety concerns; stakes cannot be too large or else they become a hazard for horses.  The ESC confirmed that the ECIA crews will mow the aisles between barns.

o Gophers & water meters: Gopher trapping is scheduled to begin shortly.  Some water meter boxes have heavy landscape fabric or metal plugs closing the holes in and bottoms of the boxes; others have nothing and as a result gophers fill them with soil regularly.  Issues regarding water meters discussed included:

Billing discrepancies: ESC members informally shared their recent 4th quarter 2017 water bills and determined that there are large discrepancies between barns with the same number of equines.  Since the ECIA cannot share individual financial information with the ESC, the ESC will ask barn owners to voluntarily provide water billing information to be collected and compared in a spreadsheet.

Billing frequency:  The ESC asked the Board Liaison to consider billing water more frequently, to avoid large bills due to unrecognized leaks, and allowing those bills to be sent out contemporaneously rather than in advance.

Holes in meter boxes: Barn owners provided suggestions for closing the holes in the meter boxes, discussed problems with leaks and meter failures which have been encountered, including the difficulty of reading some meters since they are so deep in the ground.

Ownership of meter boxes: The ESC will work with the ECIA to determine who owns the meters themselves, to be clear in case of errors or problems with those meters.

Stable Amenity Rule and Charter Revisions:  The ESC has been working on a revised draft of the Rules; those Rules will go to the Board Liaison to ensure they meet the Board’s concerns, they will be shared with all barn owners for comments and suggestions.  Amelia discussed some Board members’ expression of concern about fines as part of an enforcement policy for the Stables; John Henriksen is willing to entertain fines as long as the standards are clear, and propose that to the Board.

8. Emergency Preparedness Plan.  Barn owner Dina Seigel presented an overview of the Emergency Preparedness Plan.  The ESC and the barn owners shared tips for being prepared; discussed areas of concern; and options for helping owners take responsibility for making an evacuation plan for their equines.  Suggestions included mowing behind barns next to the arroyo (but NOT removing all vegetation as is done inside the fence, for erosion control), leaving halters outside of barns so people can assist in evacuating your equines if you are unable to get to them, and buddying up with your barn neighbors to plan for evacuations.  Dina has updated the Plan and reconfirmed key phone numbers. Amelia will distribute the updated plan via the Stable e-mail and confirm that the GM will start the phone tree.  The ESC will work to develop a phone tree, hoping to get as many barn owners engaged as possible.   The ESC thanked Dina for doing such a great job on the Plan and for continuing to advocate for the importance of this Plan. 

9. ECIA Report. Board Liaison John Henriksen reported that bills for Stable expenses for 2018 will go out in May, as per the Revised Stable Funding Guidelines.  Bills for property taxes will be send out after they are received from the County; water will be billed twice per year.  Bills are going out later than planned, due to the challenges of starting this new system.  The ESC discussed the challenges of prorating the bills as the numbers of horses change, and asked him to consider a proposal to simplify the billing. He is open to such a proposal.

10. Sub-Committee Reports.  The following Sub-Committee Chairs reported on the activities of their Sub-Committees:

      • General Maintenance/Roads: Gretel Underwood reported that bids for annual road work plus drainage improvements should be going out shortly to 3 vendors, and that the ESC has been working with the GM to develop a plan for road maintenance bids.

      • Arenas: Amelia Adair reported that the GM has approved the bid from Triple T Excavating to refurbish the upper arena, which will include redoing the fencing to be consistent with the lower arena.  We are waiting on a date for the project to begin.

11. Committee Vacancy Recommendation.  The Chair reported that there are presently 3 potential vacancies on the Stable Committee. Our Charter allows us to have a maximum of 7 members.  John Henriksen reported that other ECIA committees vary greatly in the number of members, ranging from 2 – 3 to 5 on average. Some are as large as 7.
       • Nominations:  The Chair reported that Mike Ault, owner of Barn 19, has agreed to be nominated to serve on the ESC. Karla Lauritsen, owner of Barn 9, also volunteered to be nominated.

       • A motion was adopted unanimously to request that the Board appoint Mike Ault and Karla Lauritsen as new members of the ESC.   John Henriksen will place this request before the Board at the next meeting.

       • The ESC will vote to appoint a new secretary at our next meeting.

12. Old Business.  The following items of old business were discussed:

       • Horse Compost proposal.  Amelia Adair discussed the proposal to allow horse composting in the area between the road and the 285 fence line, consistent with Santa Fe County recommendations.  Luci Wienczkowski will continue working with the ESC on this proposal, to get it ready to present to the ESC then the Board.

     • Fly Predators:  Amelia reported that fly predators have been ordered and the first shipment should arrive in early May.  Jessica Stewart offered to assist with distributing the bugs.

     • Tabled Issues: Agenda issues of electronic gate history, a program of greeters for new owners and horses, community day planning, and fence heights were all tabled until the next meeting.

13. New Business. The following items of new business were discussed: 

      • Road Names: ECIA will provide road signs so we can identify the exact location of things in the Stables.  Barn owners present at the meeting were encouraged to suggest names for the roads.  Amelia will prepare a survey of suggested names for barn owner feedback.

       • Arroyo Spring Cleaning/Fire Mitigation Day: Amelia will work with ECIA staff to plan the logistics of a volunteer day to help clear slash and debris out of the arroyo, for fire mitigation and to improve the usability of the area.

       • Next ESC Meeting: scheduled for June 5, 2018, at 7:00 pm at the ECIA Community Center.

14. Action Item Summary:  The following action items were assigned during the meeting: Action Item Responsible Person Deadline

      1. Remind barn owners to close the gates Amelia Adair 5/10/18

      2. Advise Chair whether any ESC members are not members in good standing John Henriksen By next meeting

      3. Establish communication plan Amelia Adair Next meeting

      4. Stakes will be provided for barn owners ECIA 5/10/18

      5.  Prepare water billing spreadsheet, investigate errors ESC Next meeting

      6.  Determine who owns the water meters ESC Next meeting

      7.  Meet and introduce new maintenance supervisor to the Stables Amelia Adair As soon as hired

      8. Draft Stable Rule & Charter Revisions completed Amelia Adair Next meeting

      9.  Distribute the updated Emergency Preparedness Plan; develop a phone tree; ensure ECIA staff will start it Amelia and ESC Next meeting

    10. Seek Board approval of new members for the ESC John Henriksen Next meeting

     11. Develop horse compost proposal for ESC consideration ESC Next meeting

     12.  Road name survey to barn owners Amelia Adair Next meeting

      13.  Plan the Arroyo Clean Up Day Amelia Adair Next meeting

      14. Adjournment. The meeting was adjourned at 9:02 pm.

By: Elsa Kloess, Acting Secretary Date:  5/3/18