PRESIDENT'S REPORT – Nancy Sulzberg

Good evening and welcome to the members of the community who are joining us through ZOOM for this ECIA Board of Directors meeting.

I know that we all are making adjustments to our daily lives in an effort to create comfort and safety for our families and neighbors.  We are living through an historic event that may significantly change the way we all look at the world around us.  Dealing with the unknown, as we have been, can be frightening.  So, it is incumbent on us to find acts of kindness and normalcy to balance ourselves. 

To that effort I would like to thank Jenny Landen of Neighbors Helping Neighbors.  She contacted me, wanting to know how her volunteers could help our residents.  Without hesitation, she asked if I could connect her with  Debra Denker, the Chair of the ECIA Safety Education Task Group.  Together, they set to work with plans to address the needs of our residents.

I bring this up because when ECIA was not willing to sponsor the group, the county stepped in. Eldorado Neighbors Helping Neighbors is vetted and sponsored by the County and all volunteers are fingerprinted and cleared by the County of Santa Fe. The volunteers are available to help Eldorado neighbors with minor household or yard projects, errands (like grocery shopping), pet care, for example and  for those who are unable due to age, illness or handicaps at NO COST.  I for one, am sorry that ECIA chose not to sponsor a group of volunteers so willing to assist our residents in times of pandemic as well as during times of health.  I extend my appreciation to all the Neighbors Helping Neighbors volunteers and want them to know how much they are valued.

Be assured that our community has risen to the occasion…  HOAMCO staff and members of the committees and task groups have adapted to our situation and continue to do the work needed to maintain Eldorado.  Our financial base is secure, our members are informed and the properties receive attention from our maintenance team. 

I realize that many folks were angered with the Board of Directors’ decision to close the dog park, tennis and basketball courts and the playgrounds. It was not a decision taken lightly and as the eblast noted “it is the responsibility of the Board of Directors to establish guidelines during these extreme times, that will minimize transference of the COVID-19 virus. Truly, our wish is to help keep Eldorado as safe and healthy as possible.” 

With this in mind, I’d like to thank the many residents who sent emails in support of the decision. And though you may find this surprising, I’d like to thank the one gentleman that challenged the decision and was willing to spend time questioning and discussing  what the Board of Directors can do in the future should there be other emergencies. That phone conversation has prompted the Policy Review Task Group to develop a policy and with it, procedures to follow, should Eldorado experience disasters in the future. Thank you to all residents who took the time to share their thoughts with the Board.

So tonight, as you listen to the updates and reports, please think about becoming involved. Yes, I know, this is a ridiculous time to ask folks to come forward and volunteer for committees and task groups… but I guess I have to wonder… is there ever a better time than now, when all we  need is a little help from our friends?

Stay healthy and stay informed ….

TREASURER'S REPORT – Sal Monaco

Treasurer’s Report

4/20/2020

Financial Statement: March 31, 2020

Key Points:

~ $1.301M in Operating Fund Cash (up $146K from Feb)

~ $665K in Reserve Fund Cash (down $91K due to reserve expenses)

Total Cash ~$1.966M (up about $55K from Feb)

Accounts Receivable: ~$49K  (prior year assessments); $211K (2020 assessments)

86% of assessments have been collected as of March 31, 2020

Actual vs. Budget YTD: $273K vs. $325K (we are $52K (16%) under budget)

Balance Sheet as of April 20, 2020:

Operating cash balance: ~$1.305M (90% of assessments collected as of 4/20/2020)                         

Items from the Finance Committee:

  1. The Finance Committee revised their annual calendar to be consistent with new Board approved budget timelines.
  2. Finance Committee agreed procedure followed for many years to not include audit notes in Annual Report is appropriate given that the full Audit Report with notes is available on our web site and anyone requesting a paper copy of the full report will receive it.

TASK GROUP REPORTS

  • Policy Review – Mel D’Amore
  • POLICIES REVIEW UPDATE

    Melicent D’Amore

    April 18, 2020

    As noted in my March 16th Policies Review Report and Board minutes (found on the ECIA website), I’ve completed my preliminary search for policies.  Many policies were found to be incomplete, without signatures, dates and/or policy numbers, with some policies no longer in force but not rescinded, and others that were just not found, which meant policy prioritizing by category was needed to determine whether to follow, update, rescind or initiate a new policy.

    The next course of action was to have my volunteers make hard copies of policies found on the website and from Motion and Policy Books maintained by the ECIA office staff.

    With the outbreak of the corona virus and restricted access to the ECIA office for copying and scanning of policies, I’ve devised an action plan to proceed alone at home for the immediate future.

    As of April 11th, I’ve made copies of every policy I could find and have requested committee chairs provide a list of all current policies pertaining to their committee. This will help reduce my time cross referencing.

    To insure consistency, all policies will be rewritten following a template provided by HOAMCO COO Stacy Maule. After patiently waiting since January for the templates, I began searching the internet and found an excellent source provided by Hindman Sanchez P.C. entitled Sample Board Policies and Procedures. This 18 page document provided invaluable information and will be my model moving forward.

    My goal is to create a “ECIA Policy Book of Governance” which will contain all ECIA policies currently in effect. 

    A record of all policies motioned and approved by the Board of Directors and recorded in the minutes will be retained in the ECIA Motions Book and updated as needed. 

    All current and new policies will be signed, dated and assigned a policy number. Hard copies will be retained in the Book of Governance for the duration of enforcement. In addition, all current policies will be included in the Board of Directors Board Books.

    Maintaining these records will be the responsibility of the ECIA General Manager.

    In order to streamline the current policies review, I’ll propose a blanket motion to rescind outdated policies. In addition, current policies will be re-written and re-motioned in order of priority until this task is completed, which may take an estimated 4-6 months.

    _________________________________________________________

    Blanket motion to rescind outdated policies:

    This policy supersedes and replaces all policies on this subject adapted prior to the effective date of this policy.

    THIS POLICY WILL BECOME EFFECTIVE ON___________________.

  • HOAMCO Review – Monty VanderMay
    • Assigned to develop a survey to see if lot owners want to retain or replace HOAMCO
    • RFP process came up during this time – which was submitted to the Board
    • Gathering information from survey with certain criteria
    • Will present findings to the Board in a useful format
    • Survey has been drafted and edited
    • Is a mix of qualitative and quantatitive questions to get the best answers from members
    • Contract modification – Monty and Amelia have made some notes on the contract
    • Meeting with the Board later this week (April 24) to see what they would like to change in current HOAMCO contract
  • Website – David Sorkin
    • Not ready to make a decision while still deciding which management company we are going with
    • Different management companies have their own website presence
    • Put a rest on this until decide where we are going
  • Safety Education – Debra Denker
    • Thank the community for self-organizing during time of crisis
    • Have more volunteers than requests at the moment – Santa Fe Mutual Aid and Neighbors Helping Neighbors
    • When this crisis is over see if Santa Fe Mutual Aid would like to join Neighbors Helping Neighbors
    • Lynn Moore – point person in case someone had no internet access and needed to be matched
    • Long term goal - create a report on issues important to the community and important numbers
    • Organize volunteer days to clean up greenbelt (once the current crisis is over)
    • Would like to make a call for mental health during this crisis – councilers or psychologists available to residents

COMMITTEE REPORTS

  • Architecture Committee – Mel D’Amore
  • Architectural Committee 4/14/2020

    It seems that COVID19 has not deterred residents from applying for home improvements and variances.

    All simple requests were approved. As already reported there were 3 variances requests forwarded for the board to review.

    The unauthorized shed on 5 Tarro Road had been removed from the property over the weekend and Mark has closed the active violation today. 

    Sadly, six year committee member Steve Taratula sent his resignation letter to the committee.

    I’d like to thank Steve for his dedication to the community.

    Finally, there was discussion on the status of “accessory dwellings” and the ongoing coventnts review.

     The next meeting is scheduled for April 23 at 3 pm via zoom.

  • Conservation Committee – Carol Sanguinetti; cancelled April meeting
    • Eldorado Conservation Committee

      The Conservation Committee meets on the first Tuesday of every month except December, from 7:00 - 9:00.

      The Committee charter states that its mission is

      to advise, assist and recommend to the Eldorado Community Improvement Association (ECIA) Board of Directors actions to protect the existing natural resources of the community and enhance these resources whenever possible, to provide recreational opportunities for the community in the use of these natural resources, and to offer a variety of opportunities for resource education.

      The Committee has a long history as a consensus-driven organization. This is not just appropriate, but essential for a healthy dynamic among volunteers with diverse backgrounds who share an interest in the Eldorado Open Spaces.

      The Committee was first established in 1981 as "the Wilderness Committee." Subsequently (1994), the Community Preserve and the Committee were renamed to recognize that the Preserve is not "wilderness" according to definitions in the federal Wilderness Act of 1964. There is historical information about the Committee in the Community History Windmills and Dreams, supplemented by an appendix (Appx Two, through 2014), which is on the ECIA website.

      Major projects over the years include establishing and maintaining approximately 26 miles of trails in the Preserve, and about 4.6 miles of approved trails in the greenbelts. The principal focus of this work is to establish and maintain sustainable trails, which includes erosion control and other ecological restoration projects.

      Fencing and signage along the Preserve Boundaries have been installed and maintained. A significant part of the ranch-era fencing is in need of repair or replacement, but the first step in the process is to begin a condition assessment. The perimeter of the 4,094 acre Preserve is approximately 26 miles.

      The Greenbelt ecology & fire risk/community fire risk mitigation and safety educational event scheduled for March 14 was postponed due to public health concerns. When it is safe for public meetings, the Committee can assist in re-developing the presentation agenda and locating speakers. A successful presentation will require the ECIA Board's assistance and continued good support from HOAMCO staff, in order to ensure that communication with the Eldorado community about the event is done well.

      All group Conservation Committee projects planned for 2020 are currently on hold. These include:

      • Ecological restoration project (phase 1 completion) in the meadow area adjacent to Trail 404
      • Ecological restoration project (phase 1) in a badly eroded area adjacent to trail 401 ("401 Gully Project")
      • Library Trail completion. This project was started in 2018 but was delayed until the Los Alamos Park greenbelt boundary markers in the area between Ave. Torreon and the Rail Trail had been surveyed. This was completed at the end of February.
      • I have drafted an article about the presence of the survey stakes in the greenbelt and the status of the trail completion project for the June Vistas.
      • Trail maintenance - projects in the 100 and 300 trail series are being discussed
      • Preserve trail signs and brochures will be updated in 2020. The project to prepare the artwork for signs with updated trail and other information, for posting at the trailheads and trail intersections in the Preserve is nearing completion. Once this has been done, a request for quotes for the sign printing will be issued. Preparation of the updated Preserve brochure map, text and artwork will be completed once development of the updated signs is complete.
      • We may try to prepare an updated Greenbelt brochure in 2020, but will probably need to present a request to the Board for additional funds to cover printing costs.

      As the Board members are aware, all ECIA Committees could use additional members. Although 1 or 2 additional Conservation Committee members would improve our ability to meet the objectives stated in the Committee charter, I think there is a greater need to develop our ability to recruit volunteer "hands," and keep them engaged in the Committee's activities.

      I believe that as the community composition continues to change, there will be a need for greater funding for specialist contractors to do conservation and ecological restoration in the Eldorado open spaces in the future. This is the reason the Committee submitted an expanded budget for 2020, and this will drive a request for an increased budget in 2021.

      Recently, there have been incidents in the Preserve that require action. The first of these is another incursion of cattle, this time from the Galisteo Creek side of the 400 series trail area. Mike Rogers was informed of the incident and has talked to Kathy Miller, who in turn contacted the owner of the animals, who was renting grazing land in the area from the Miller family. I don't know if the animals have been removed. Once this has been confirmed, a fenceline patrol is probably the next step, to see where the cows got into the preserve.

      The second incident was a series of reports of destructive activities by rock climbers in an area adjacent to trail 401. Permanent anchors have been bolted into the rock and some sort of paint has been used to mark or treat handholds.

      In this case, and in a related situation with the AllTrails website, hiking and rock-climbing information have been posted on the internet. The climbing area is posted on the REI "MountainProject" website. Both websites indicate that the Preserve is private property. Mike Rogers sent a takedown request to AllTrails, which they declined.

      These incidents will be discussed at the Conservation Committee's May

      tele-meeting, but it's important that the Board is aware of them, and it will be useful for the Committee to have the sense of the Board about options for addressing these problems.

      Thank you.

  • Election Committee – Sal Monaco
    • Board met electronically and agreed to modify the Board’s traditional Election Counting Procedures for this year only due to Health emergency caused by COVID-19 pandemic
      • The Railroad building will be utilized for tallying and tabulation instead of Conference Room
      • No observers will be allowed to physically be within the tally room
      • Zoom will be utilized to broadcast the tally procedure to the community instead of CCTV – video only no audio
      • The results of the election will be communicated to the Secretary of the Board via email instead of physical handoff
      • A single count of Quorum Proxy Statements, the count being suspended once the minimum necessary has been achieved
      • A single count of Director’s Election votes, the count being suspended once sufficient votes have been tallied to certify the election
      • A single and full count of the Sixth Amended Bylaws votes replacing the normal double count. However, if the Bylaws vote results are within plus or minus five percent of the required sixty percent approval level, then double count of Bylaws vote will occur
    • Doors to Railroad Building will be locked on outside so nobody may enter while counting is being done, members will be able to leave if needed
    • Portable toilets will be set up for Committee Members
    • Everything will be sanitized prior to committee going in
    • No more than 3 people in the room at a time
  • Facilities & Grounds Committee – David Sorkin
    • Pool rehabilitation – has been completed
    • Tracking calendars has been done
    • Inspection of assets to be replaced – deferred some topics
    • New chair, Kathy Ritschel – add concept of enforcement. How do we stop the non-compliance? Need a disciplinary process in place
    • Making an annex to dog park – for small dogs or dogs with special needs
  • Finance Committee – Sal Monaco
    • Covered in Treasurer’s Report
    • Happy Amelia has joined Finance Committee
  • Information Committee – Mel D’Amore 
  • Information Meeting CANCELLED

    The April meeting was cancelled with the May Vistas articles review conducted via email.

    The ECIA is accepting proposals for a new logo. The deadline for submissions is May 13.

    Anyone interested please contact Julie Navarro for details. There will be a link on the website.

    The committee is looking for submissions for the June issue and rainbow pictures for upcoming issues. Committee chairs, please remember that whoever has signed up for June must have their article to Pam by May 5th.

  • Road Committee – cancelled Mel D’Amore
    • Road Committee CANCELLED

      The April meeting was cancelled although James has written an article for the May Vistas.

      Paul Ingraham has been accepted as a member of the committee. I’d like to thank Paul for volunteering. The committee is looking for dedicated residents to step forward as the committee is in need of qualified participants.

      James, Mike Rogers and Joseph Guiterezare preparing for the upcoming Public Works Staff meeting on April 23. More details will follow.

  • Stable Committee – Carol Sanguinetti
    • Since unfortunately our ESC meeting happens tomorrow, after this month’s Board meeting, I wanted to send you an update.  You are on our Stable email so you are up to speed on most of this information already, but here are my thoughts on Stable status.  Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns, thanks!

      • New ESC Member: ESC has had one member resign, and has recruited another qualified candidate, who should be recommended for appointment to the Board at our meeting tomorrow night
      • Reasons for Mike Ault’s resignation: he has less time, as he’s in more demand during this business cycle. But he also felt pressure from several enforcement issues that arose during my vacation.  We will open the discussion about a Stable enforcement policy and process at the upcoming meeting
      • Thanks to maintenance crew & Mike Rogers.  The ECIA maintenance crew has done exceptional work this spring clearing the backlog of maintenance projects not done for a good year at the Stables.  Delays were due to the water project, not having the larger tractor operational, and a colder than normal winter.  Most recently the crew worked to remove the potholes left behind by our water system contractor, and add gravel to key areas of our roads.  They’ve improved drainage at the lower arena and round pen, and significantly improved the footing in our lower arena and arroyo field.  And they have been consistently responsive, polite and respectful while doing so. GOOD JOB!!
      • Benefits of hiring the right staff.  The ECIA maintenance crew, now equipped with the big tractor, is saving all of us a considerable amount of money, because we have employees on staff who know how to operate a tractor, how to use the equipment we have, and how riding arenas work. 
      • Upper Arena Use.  As it has for the past year, upper arena use continues to generate controversy.  (The following may be “too much information” for the Board, but for your information…) By my count:
        • At least 17 riders at the Stables, some who share the same horse or barn, regularly use, enjoy and support the training equipment in the upper arena (which, by the way, is not necessarily for jumping: many of us use the equipment for in hand and flat work)
        • That includes 7 young people under 25 years of age, a demographic we are hoping to support and encourage
        • 3 people do not use the equipment and strongly object to training equipment being left out in the upper arena.  At least 2 others have expressed support for putting the equipment away after use, although they do not use the upper arena regularly
        • At least 5 people who either don’t ride in the upper arena or don’t typically use the equipment, nevertheless support the equipment being left in the arena.  Most other people who ride regularly either don’t use the equipment or don’t use the upper arena

      One root problem driving the controversy is that the increased use of the upper arena -- including by young people at home with more time to ride now -- infringes on what used to be more often a quiet, open, empty space for solitary riding.  The ESC sees this situation as demonstrating the success of our new arena use guidelines, but some people object to these changes. 

      In hopes of reducing the controversy, the ESC is continuing to seek ways to increase use of all the common areas, including use by young people, supporting multiple riding disciplines, and communicating with everyone at the Stables about these goals.    

      • Possible future capital improvement project.  We are also seeking ways to expand the use of the arroyo field to take pressure off the upper arena. This may include a request for a fence as a capital improvement project.
      • Water.  The water system is working and not leaking!  Bills are going out with clear explanations, and I have not heard complaints or concerns.  People do have questions about operating their meters; a planned in person training for this spring has had to be postponed.  We are working on creative solutions
  • Welcome Committee – Carol Sanguinetti
    • Last meeting done by Zoom
    • New Committee and purpose is to welcome new people to the community
    • Want to provide people with information on the community
    • Working on new welcome packet and new letter from the Board
    • Have idea of an event, given restrictions are removed, one person from each committee would attend and educate new residents about what they do in the community
      • Sunday afternoon, very informal, dessert but not feed people