Board Meeting Reports

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

PRESIDENT'S REPORT - Nancy Sulzberg

Since the time of the February Board Meeting, ECIA Board Members and staff have attended  several meetings; some were learning opportunities, some were network building and some were social in nature.  All of the gatherings served to strengthen the staff and Board as a working team.  I summarize the activities with the following.

Board Members along with approximately 30+ representatives from other HOAMCO managed associations in Santa Fe area attended a HOAMCO Board Training on February 18.  The presentation covered topics including documents that govern HOA’s, roles and responsibilities of Boards, Committees and Manager and meetings, minutes, community input, executive session and HOA financials.  ECIA Board Members left the session with a clear sense that we are addressing these governing issues according to best practices.

About seventeen realtors that serve the Eldorado community met with ECIA staff and Board Members on February 18. Breakfast was sponsored by Fred Raznick and Sue Garffit.  The Q and A session about Eldorado and its covenants and guidelines was thorough and since most realtors were new to this community, the exchange was quite helpful.  It has been proposed that this meeting might become an annual event.

On February 26, ECIA staff and Board participated in a one-hour CAI Webinar about dealing with mental illness.  The session focused on legal limitations the association has with residents who display behavior consistent with mental illness and reviewed what responsibilities staff and Board has regarding warning, intervention, and reporting.  Though much of the content related to California law, the overview helped ECIA staff and Board understand a bit more about this complicated issue.

Joseph Gutierrez, Melicent D’Amore, Mike Rogers and I met with County representatives Ed Moreno, Olivia Romo, Gary Giron, Public Works Director, Diego Gomez, Public Works Projects Engineer and  Philip Montano, Facilities & Projects Director on February 27. The meeting was very successful and agreement was made to keep each other well-informed about plans and opportunities for projects in Eldorado.  Communication is key.  The county agreed to provide Eldorado a heads-up before starting projects so residents can be informed.  Follow up meetings are planned with County staff, Mike Rogers and relevant Eldorado Committee Chairs.  Unfortunately, since this meeting, the Governor has redirected money for road improvement.  Eldorado stands to lose $500,000.

About 20 people attended and brought wonderful food to the Leap Year Pot Luck.  Several folks were new to Eldorado and it was a great way to meet neighbors.

This year, ECIA must decide whether to continue to have HOAMCO as a management company or seek other options.  With that in mind, the Board held a Special Board Meeting to introduce the HOAMCO Review Task Group.  The  group will gather information from membership, as well as review the current contract and any future contract.  During this research time, the Board will be interviewing other management companies.  There will be an RFP [Request for Proposal] put out to vendors so that the Procurement Policy is followed. The goal is to have decision in July, as the community  will need at least six months to ensure accounting policies and integrity of financials. Sal Monaco, Treasurer, will be the lead on a Transition Team.

Along with Board Members, Committee Chairs James A. Mason, Nolan Zisman, Paul Butt, Dan Drobnis, Pam Henline, Kathy Ritschel, Betty Knight, Mike Ault [for Amelia Adair] met with Stacy Maule, HOAMCO COO and Julie Navarro,  GM.   During this open discussion Committee Chairs questioned HOAMCO about performance measures and personnel.  It was noted that CAI [Community Association Institute] membership and programming should be extended to Committee Chairs.  In addition, Chairs will poll their members about HOAMCO during the upcoming review. 

And of course, it would be negligent if I did not address the current state of our community, our region, and yes, even the world.  COVID-19 has changed the manner in which we all conduct business and communicate with each other.  I hope that residents in Eldorado are able to connect with neighbors and friends, while maintaining social distancing and that folks who are in need will reach out to those who can assist.  This is a time for the true sense of the word community.   

Stay informed … Stay healthy

TREASURER'S REPORT – Sal Monaco

Treasurer’s Report

3/16/2020

Financial Statement: February 29, 2020

Key Points:

~ $1.155M in Operating Fund Cash

~ $756K in Reserve Fund Cash

Total Cash ~$1.911M (up about $451K from last month)

Accounts Receivable: ~$69K  (not including Assessments due – about same as last month)

73% of assessments have been collected as of Feb 29, 2020

Actual vs. Budget YTD: $168K vs. $200K (we are $32K (16%) under budget - mostly payroll)

Balance Sheet as of March 9, 2020:

Operating cash balance: ~$1.253M (79% of assessments collected)

Items from the Finance Committee:

  1. FC recommended getting debit card for use by GM to order items for Reserve expenditures. This will avoid needing to transfer funds from operations to reserves.
  2. FC recommended revised capital budgeting procedure which will lead to a final 2021 budget by November 2020.
  3. FC prepared and recommended a revised collection policy for delinquent accounts.
  4. FC recommended deferring investing operating cash in CD until a larger portion of unpaid 2020 assessments is collected.

TASK GROUP REPORTS

  • Policy Review – Melicent
    • Finished preliminary research
    • Will need to determine which policies are current, need revision, or should be rescinded.
  • HOAMCO Review – Nancy
    • Monty met with Julie and will be meeting with other ECIA staff.
    • First meeting scheduled for April 28
    • Margaret Shakelee will assist with web survey
  • Website – David
    • All volunteers asked to identify their skill sets
    • Garrett providing a program for committee members to use while working on project; allows updates and edits for all to see.
  • Safety Education – Nancy
    • Covid 19 has made contacts limiting; the Senior Center is closed
    • Contacted Neighborhood Watch with no positive results
  • Strategic Planning – Sal
    • On hold
    • Plan one day retreat in the summer to develop plan

COMMITTEE REPORTS

  • Architecture Committee - Melicent
    • Currently has 7 committee members
    • All architecture applications brought were approved
    • People attending are requesting variances for solar arrays
    • Discussion held about guideline revision
  • Conservation Committee – Carol
    • March and April schedule created may now be on hold
    • Has 7 members and would like to have 8 members
  • Election Committee – Sal
    • One candidate for the 2020 election
    • When there is one candidate can they be elected by acclimation?
      • Would need a Bylaws amendment
    • Have 5 committee members
  • Facilities & Grounds Committee – David
    • Pool on schedule to open Memorial Day
    • 6 lifeguards that are returning; still looking for at least 4 additional
    • All maintenance modules have been entered into Caliber; staff will start working with it
    • Mike Rogers is responsible for hike/bike – Nolan has relinquished control
    • Stables would like whilte vinyl fencing to have these taken out at CC and put at the stables for their use; may not be feasible
    • Bubble at bottom of the pool will be fixed and will eliminate need to replace r for the next few years
    • Have 5 members and would like 7 members
  • Finance Committee – Sal
    • Only have 3 members and would like 6 members
    • Concerned about risk liability for water district with separating the lot at the stables
      • If the easement is deeded to water district need to refer to Stable Committee – have some caveats
    • Information Committee – Melicent
      • Web data is mostly complete back to 2012
      • New logo specs sent to Julie and Nancy; Julie will send out RFP
      • Mel, Pam and Sandra developed strategies to keep the cost of the Vistas down
      • Absolutely no last minute articles accepted after the 5th and must be delivered to printer on time
      • Have 3 members and would like 5 members
      • Information has proof readers but are not active committee members
    • Road Committee – Melicent
      • New recruit  attended first meeting – making 3 new recruits
      • Roads committee and county show same roads need attention and maintenance
      • County has come and done repairs on bad roads
      • Did some regrading – did not stay because of bad weather
      • Currently has 3 members; think 5 would be a good amount of members
    • Stable Committee – Carol
      • Met in Feb instead of March
      • Would like the water district to take over their easement but have concerns about what they will do to the land
      • Strategic planning begun
      • Have 5 members and are happy with this number
    • Welcome ad hoc Committee
      • Held first meeting
      • Tana Monaco was voted in as chair of the committee with a rotating secretary
      • Next meeting March 25 and first event for new residents – end April to mid-May
        • Suggestion to have booths with all the different committees to solicit for new membership
      • First event will be for people who have lived here for a year; next event will be for new residents only lived here for 6 months
      • Possible home visit by committee member to the home of new resident
      • Have staff member at all events to sign up residents for eblasts and Vistas
      • Have 4 members and are good with this number

PRESIDENT'S REPORT – Nancy Sulzberg

Recently, the Board of Directors met with our attorney, John Hayes.  Though we discussed current litigation, the bulk of our conversation had to do with what documents are available to homeowners according to the HOA Act.  Mr. Hayes was quite clear about what is and what is not considered public information.  The HOA Act lists the following documents as available to any homeowner:

  1. The Declaration of The Association;
  2. The name, address, and telephone number of The Association's designated agent;
  3. The Bylaws of The Association;
  4. The names and addresses of all Association Members;
  5. Minutes of all meetings of The Association's Members and The Board for the previous five years, other than executive sessions, and records of all actions taken by a committee in place of The Board or on behalf of The Association for the previous five years;
  6. The operating budget for the current fiscal year;
  7. Current assessments, including both regular and special assessments;
  8. Financial statements and accounts, including bank account statements, transaction registers, Association-provided service or utility records and amounts held in reserve;
  9. The most recent financial audit or review, if any;
  10. All current contracts entered into by The Association or The Board on behalf of The Association; current insurance policies, including company names, policy limits, deductibles, additional named insureds and expiration dates for property, general liability and Association director and officer professional liability, and fidelity policies
  11. any electronic record of action taken by The Board.

The HOA list is specific in its requirements and does not include documents under development. So what’s not in the list?  Drafts … works in progress … contracts in negotiation … anything under legal review … even policies !  ECIA will follow these rules and try to accommodate requests as appropriate.  Though some might resent that particular documents cannot be shared, and may consider this a lack of transparency, we hope with this explanation, they will agree that ECIA must follow the law.

In addition to meeting with the lawyer, ECIA Executive Staff Julie Navarro and Mike Rogers, David Sorkin and I met with ECIA’s architect, Courtenay Mathey who has worked on the design for the Family Changing Room.  This project has been put on hold for a variety of reasons.  Most importantly, this Board felt that after investigation into how the project was originally awarded in March 2019, it became evident that the ECIA procurement policy had not been followed.  Since the project had taken on a significant change in scope, it should have been sent out for bids as defined in the Policy.   The meeting with Courtenay was extremely productive.  In addition to explaining the sequence of events that led to the Changing Room project delay, Courtenay has agreed to review our Procurement Policy and make recommendations to bring it up to best practice standards.  He will also develop and point-based scale to use when choosing contractors.  With these tools, staff should be better equipped to process and select the right professionals to complete ECIA projects.

On February 6 and 7, Executive Staff from HOAMCO made an on-site visit.  Stacy Maule, COO, Michael Smith, Regional Director and Nigel Burgess, Executive Director of Management Services, attended meetings with the Board of Directors and the staff.  The Board’s discussions were frank and honest and covered a wide scope of topics including our higher expectations of staff, the need for staff training in management, leadership and project management, and the development of tools to measure outcomes.  Stacy also met with residents who shared their concerns about contract and vendor management and on-going office procedure matters.  I left the meeting with a sense that changes will come. I know, many of you might say, been there, done that.  But I have to look forward, not to the past.  I have subsequently received drafts of reporting tools that both the General Manager and Operations Manager will be expected to utilize.  Stacy and her team will be returning March 5th and 6th for follow-up meetings with Board and Staff, and this time will have a meeting with ECIA Committee Chairs.

As of this evening, I am putting out a request for volunteers familiar with contract negotiation, to serve on a team that will review ECIA’s current contract with HOAMCO, that will develop methods to garner residents’ feedback regarding HOAMCO, and make recommendations to the Board based on information gathered.  The opportunity to use electronic surveys, direct mailing, town halls, among others, will be supported so that whatever decision is made, it reflects the majority of the residents’ wishes.  If you are interested in working on this team, or know someone who you think might be beneficial to the process, please email me with the contact information.

And finally, the Board met with our new Insurance Agent, Madelyn Samuel.  We reviewed our current coverage and discussed how certain pool equipment might increase our premiums and perhaps, put our renewal at risk. If ECIA chooses to have log rolling, wiggle boards, jump boards and the like, our policy will increase by $6000 with a loss of all credits;  our agent explained that in "insurance terms" a swimming pool is for swimming. Because our pool is not Olympic sized, the underwriter will not recommend insuring it with the equipment mentioned,  it is essentially too small and does not qualify as an aquatic center which is built with specific scale for water activities. We anticipate hearing from Maddie with additional information about pool insurance questions

In conclusion, I must take time to acknowledge all of the volunteers, those on committees and those who work independently, my fellow Board members and the staff.  Without the investment these folks make on behalf of ECIA, our community would be woefully depleted.  I thank each and every person who attends a meeting, submits a VISTAS article, cleans our trails, cares for our wildlife, photographs and shares the beauty of our sunsets, chooses to welcome differing viewpoints on ECIA’s future endeavors, participates in forums and maintains a positive attitude in the face of negativity.  Thank you all.

TREASURER'S REPORT – David Sorkin, Board Director, speaking on behalf of Sal Monaco, Board Treasurer.

As of the January 31, 2020 Financial Statement:

  • Approximately $694,000 in Operating Cash Reserves
  • Approximately $153,000 in a CD at 2.5%
  • Approximately $766,000 in R&R Cash Reserves
  • $675,000 in CDs, one will be cashed in at end of February.
  • Approximate Total Cash $1.46 mil.
  • $68,000 in Accounts Receivable not including assessments.
  • Is there any range or formula for cash reserve we have?
  • Coming up with five year reserve. Raised fees at 4.8% which is cost of living for the past two years.
  • Nancy Sulzberg– We have 2776 lots, only 41 have unpaid back dues. Yes we are following up on that, but this is an incredibly participatory community when it comes to paying the bills.

COMMITTEE REPORTS:

  • Architecture Committee
    • Melicent D’Amore – 8 new plans all approved. Discussed 2020 Guidelines, neighbor notification requirements, need for follow up on non-responses, Joe Gutierrez reach out to County Manager Kathryn Miller. 2/25/20 next meeting.
  • Conservation Committee
    • Carol Sanguinetti – Greenbelt Ecology and Fire Risk Mitigation Event on 3/14/20 from 10am-1pm. Presentations followed by Q&A. Surveyor out next week, finish project in May or June Ave. Torreon to the Rail Trail. 3/7/20 is next meeting, members are welcome to attend.
  • Facilities & Grounds Committee
    • David Sorkin – Public Forum at F&G on 2/5/20 – Discussion on goat head removal and how to possibly eliminate, phase II pool schedule and projects, and pool activities. Cracks in pool shell, in process of determining repair. KPIs and financial operation metrics discussed.
    • Nolan Zisman – Updated 5 year plan for projects. Picked 5 concepts to go into survey for community feedback. Form the basis for what and how we spend money.
  • Finance Committee
    • David Sorkin– recommended approval of adjustments to Reserve Fund and a transfer of $17,489 to the Operating Fund. Reviewed RFPs with insurance.
  • Information Committee
    • Melicent D’Amore – Last meeting was 2/10/20.  New Eldorado logo discussed, contact Pam Henline if you have an idea. Submission deadline for articles is the 5th of each month. Committee will do best to accommodate. Authors will have opportunity to read edited version. Backlog of articles for next month. Received encouraging remarks about Vistas. Next meeting 3/9/20 at 7 PM.
    • Nolan Zisman – Bob Christie wrote an extremely good article in Eldorado Living.
  • Road Committee
    • Melicent D’Amore – Last meeting held 2/5/20. James A. Mason, committee Chair, spoke with District Four County Commissioner about road conditions in Eldorado. New Director of Public Works, Gary Giron, invited to attend future committee meetings. Need help to contact LANL for air sampling study. Contact Melicent D’Amore or Mr. James A. Mason if you know someone.
    • Looking at fly ash and lime cement for possible solution for RAP roads. Road inspection and basic observation concluded poor culvert maintenance and poor engineering of ditch drainage. Appropriate repair or removal of RAP is necessary, design and use proper ditch drainage, and plan to repair culverts.
    • Thanks to Amelia (Adair) for acting secretary. Next Road Committee meeting 3/4/20.
  • Stable Committee
    • Carol Sanguinetti – Dial-My-Calls Training in January, broadcast e-mail put into place for barn owners, emergency plan developed and posted on ECIA website, common area use rules being discussed. New sign at main entry – information more readily available and will include a list of barns for sale. Solar lights installed in January. Source of water leak still undetermined. On 2/18 water will be shut off to locate source. On 2/22/20 there will be a new barn owner welcome party potluck at barn 7 from 4-6pm. Next meeting on 2/25/20 – Moved up a month.
  • Bylaws Review Ad-hoc Committee
    • Nancy Sulzberg – Almost complete and easier to read. Members can vote with information.
    • Pam Henline – Can we consider voting on specific items, versus the entire document?
  • Website Task Group
    • David Sorkin – Awarded survey participant gift certificate. Garret Vreeland updating website. Plug-in for Caliber for individual logins, secure sites, site for public, and individual accounts. Approved volunteers for the Website Task Group and will now become much more active.
  • Policy Review Task Group
    • Melicent D’Amore – Creating list of policies from motions book, cross-referencing, going through minutes for policy motions. Pam Henline is assisting and searched past minutes and provided list to reference. Recruited two residents to assist with the project. Goal is for accuracy and to be dated and signed before entered into new Policy Book.

PRESIDENT'S REPORT - Nancy Sulzberg

Good evening and thank you all for coming to tonight’s meeting. I want to start by telling you all about some of Eldorado’s resident led activities. Libby Maclaren has stepped up to coordinate a youth event in February and has involved ECIA’s Pool Manager, the stables and local parents. Joseph Gutierrez has stepped up to become the Board’s County Liaison which will help us connect with county officials. He is also taking a lead role in making the Boys and Girls Club program available here in Eldorado. Residents have stepped forward to work with David Sorkin on the new ECIA website and with Melicent D’Amore on the Policy Review Task Group. I thank all of you who volunteer their time to enhance Eldorado.

This year the Board’s tasks are many and even though we are two directors short, we are working to fulfill our responsibilities as listed in the Articles of Incorporation and the Bylaws. In light of the community’s concern about fire, we want everyone to know that the Board of Directors agrees with the need to address fire safety here in Eldorado. What appears to be a sticking point is that actions need to happen, but happen within the ECIA system. What is essential to this process are qualified community volunteers who will step forward and serve on the Safety Education Task Group [formally the Public Safety Task Group. The name of the group will be officially revised this evening to reflect ECIA’s actual role.] We cannot provide direct public safety; that is for the county’s sheriff’s office, fire department, etc. Without an established group of knowledgeable volunteers who will develop plans and budgets, the Board is limited in its actions.

In the recent past, community members were angry and very vocal about how the Board disregarded policy, procedure, procurement and bylaws and basically made decisions without community input. This Board is not willing to act in the same fashion. We will follow the bylaws and policies so that all our actions are legitimate. Even though this may mean projects take a bit longer, our feeling is that it’s wiser to take time to review and get all the information needed, get budgets approved by the Finance Committee, make sure the plan makes sense to the community and then ultimately get Board approval than to move forward without consensus and community support. This is a diverse community with intense feelings on this issue and it’s important to hear from all sides. The Board has an obligation to work for the interests of the full community.

Actions are already being taken that can form the basis of a plan. The Los Alamos Greenbelt will be surveyed to define the Library Trail. The Conservation Committee has scheduled a symposium for March 13; information will be available there. The county and local fire departments are aware of our concern and have let us know they are here to assist. We just need qualified residents to engage and plan. The group must be composed of folks with differing perspectives on the problem and possible solutions.

So if this issue is important to you and you want the best for the whole community – well then, step up and be part of the process instead of just sending out emails and commenting on blogs. For instance, the National Fire Prevention Association is currently offering $500 grants to communities to hold a day event. The Great Santa Fe Fireshed Coalition has details on their website. Last year, Eldorado received the grant to rent a chipper – residents brought their tree refuse. Though it was promoted throughout the community only David McDonald and Libby Maclaren volunteered.

The Board encourages you to apply to be part of the Safety Education Task Group. There are many county and state resources available to use at no cost. Fire professionals can help the task group develop a plan that reflects the whole community; not just those with the loudest voices. An effective, qualified, open-minded group of residents can make short work of recommendations and budgets. The Board will be as responsive as possible.

Thank you all for what you do.

TREASURER'S Report and Finance Committee – Sal Monaco

  • The community is financially very healthy. Starting the year off with over $300,000 in Operating Reserves
  • $1,138,000 in accounts before any assessments were collected.
  • New projects – parking lot lighting, family changing room, security cameras, mechanical room, pool shade structures
  • Bid for comprehensive insurance for the community center

COMMITTEE Reports

  • Conservation Committee – Carol Sanguinetti
    • Defining objectives for providing community education and facilitating access to additional sources of information and assistance with understanding wildland fire risk and implementing fire risk mitigation. Committed to advise, assist and recommend to ECIA Board of Directors actions to protect existing natural resources in the community and enhance those resources whenever possible.
  • Facilities & Grounds Committee – David Sorkin
    • Issue with pool sporting equipment; in particular the log roll. Concerns about the learning curve on the log roll. Did research and there are ways to anchor log roll so people are not hitting their heads on the side of the pool. Will also need more lifeguards to make sure everybody is safe. Alternative to log roll would be wiggle bridge.
      • Need to research liability on any of the equipment and the cost for the additional staff needed
    • Information Committee – Melicent D’Amore
      • Meeting was conducted via phone. Bon Macey resigned and it was accepted. Website implementation was discussed. Reformatting data will be handled by Jessica Collins. The web project will take 6 months. Survey has about 120+ responses with many similar comments. ECIA logo was discussed and enlisting local Eldorado talent. Articles for March Vistas issue.
    • Road Committee – Melicent D’Amore
      • James A Mason is chair and only member. Two residents who are interested on being on this committee and have almost met the requirements. Concerns about RAP roads. Mason has detailed plan about getting our roads in better condition.
    • Stable Committee – Carol Sanguinetti
      • Emergency procedure when a horse dies unexpectedly. It’s difficult to get a horse off the property. Arenas – upper and lower. People want to be able to leave equipment out and not have to drag it out every time want to use it. Footing in upper arena is better than in the lower. Lights are now solar panel, low wattage, with motion detection.
    • Bylaws Review Ad-hoc Committee – Nancy Sulzberg
      • February 13, 2020 from 6-8 pm is the forum. A chance to look at changes to Bylaws and have discussion.
    • Website Task Group – David Sorkin
      • Six members in this group. Have not met yet and David has not met with Garrett yet. A little less than 130 responses about website. Happy with the input people have been giving. Asked people what they like, dislike, and want to see changed. Have one individual communite with person doing the website so we can make the website easier to use. Will be a “members only” section.