HOA Annual Meeting Sept 22 2011

The meeting was called to order at 7:03 by Board President, Mary-Alice Lynch. Mary-Alice Welcomed everyone and introduced other Board members Tom Tomaselli, Vice President and Chair of the Architectural Review Committee (ARC), Rick Sturm, Treasurer, and Rod Read. She also thanked the following owners who served on the ARC or Finance Committees: Larry Scheon, Wayne Mondelblatt, Janet Amedio, Robin Cohn, Brian Kelley, and Jodi Schoen.

Mary-Alice noted that Robin Cohn, who was elected at last year’s meeting, resigned shortly thereafter for personal reasons. The Board subsequently appointed Carrie Arena to the Board, and Carrie served about 9 months; she was instrumental in getting the web site up and producing newsletters. She too resigned recently.

Year in Review

President’s report: Mary-Alice Lynch  Highlights of the Year included the following:

  • Priority of Board was smooth transition from Amedore.
  • Determined structure of the Board and responsibility of each member.
  • Established committees to assist the Board in its work and solicited volunteers.
  • Reviewed all documents (primarily financial) that were turned over by Amedore.
  • Established bank account, established PO Box,
  • Researched/obtained insurance.
  • Researched/interviewed and retained an attorney.
  • Research/interviewed and retained an accountant.
  • Gathered information from town
  • Developed understanding of and obtained corrections in tax bills.
  • Developed process for maintaining owner database.
  • Developed and publicized procedures for the Architectural Review Committee.
  • Developed RFP and obtained quotes for common areas.
  • Developed mechanisms for communicating with owners.
  • Worked on educating owners on requirements in manual.
  • Responded to ARC requests.
  • Responded to owners’ questions and concerns.

Vice President, Chair of ARC ‘s report: Tom Tomeselli

  • Focused on developing procedures for ARC.
  • Developed ARC committee as mandated in manual and developed operational processes and procedures.
  • The ARC Committee responded to 25 proposals. Tom noted that 60 days were allowed for review in the manual, but the committee acted promptly and made recommendations to the Board as quickly as possible, to make most turn around times only 2 to 3 weeks. Owners were cautioned to allow more time than that, however, since there can be delays. Requests can be either sent to the PO Box, or preferably emailed to Tom. (Email may ensure quicker turn around.)
  • Several enforcement issues have arisen and addressed.  Tom reminded that with election season coming up, no political signs are allowed in yards.
  • Three quotes were obtained for common area maintenance this past year. Revelations was by far the lowest quote and has done an excellent job; they have actually done more work than originally contracted for due to additional plantings by Amedore after the quote process.

Treasurer’s Report: Rick Sturm


  • Rick performed thorough review of all financial records turned over by Amedore; this included all checks and tax returns for the HOA from 2005 forward.
  • The finance committee was convened and reviewed HOA’s finances.
  • A CPA was interviewed and engaged to do a review of the HOA finances, prepare tax returns, and merge the fiscal and tax years into the same time frame.
  • Sent bills and collected assessments, both current and delinquent, from all home owners. 100% current with owners’ payments.
  • QuickBooks is used for maintenance of all financial records.

Mary-Alice noted that whenever a home is sold or refinanced, a letter is required by the banks and attorneys involved from the HOA asserting all assessments are up-to-date. Rick has handled numerous such requests in the past year in an extremely timely manner. Please be aware of this and allow a reasonable amount of time for the turn around of these letters.

Mary-Alice also noted the valuable contributions that Rod Reed had made during the past year. Rod was invaluable in researching issues, collecting data, meeting with the town, assisting Rick in collecting and posting assessments, and managing the election process for this meeting.

Rod stated that he enjoyed serving on the Board, and that the Board had worked very hard this year, often dealing with difficult issues on which there was not always agreement.

Rod reported that 34 owners were required for a quorum, and that 49 were currently present, so the voting could take place.


Introduction of Candidates for the Board

Mary-Alice introduced the two candidates present. Charlie Ducar is on vacation in Europe; Mary-Alice suggested a review of his statement of interest and experience on the handout. Tom Tomaselli spoke of his interest in continuing to serve the community, and Preet noted that her family was one of the first two families to build in Southwick Meadows. She loves the community, knows many of its residents, and is interested in contributing to the work of the Board.

Explanation of Budget options on Ballot

Tom took the lead in reviewing the different budget options. The “no option” choice would allow the HOA to do only what it has done this past year with no added enhancements for weeding and mulching other than at the entrances; it would also substantially reduce the HOA fund balance. Option A would increase mowing frequency to every week in all common areas except the field, which would be mowed every 2 weeks. It would include mulching/weeding around all trees and shrubs in all parts of the common area. Option B includes mowing every 10 days and field every 2 weeks; mulching would be limited to entrances.

Rick provided an overview of the budget; the options presented effect both the amount of maintenance we will be able to afford and the amount of the fund balance in the HOA coffers when all bills are paid.

Questions/suggestions from the floor:

  • Does the town have any responsibility in maintaining the land or walking path? No. Meetings with town officials made clear that the land owned by the HOA would not be maintained by the town except for the watershed areas which they alone, through agreement with the Army Corp of Engineers, can maintain.
  • What are the administrative costs of the HOA? Paper, supplies, software, maintenance of PO Box, etc.
  • Can’t all communications be electronic? We tried to move in that direction this year with mixed reviews. This is an area that needs more work; we still do not have everyone’s email address. We are required by the manual to do some paper mailings (e. g. assessment bills, notice of annual mtg., etc.)
  • What are the reserve funds for? Long term large expense items like maintenance/refurbishing  of  walking trail, funds for any needs for damaged or replacement of trees, shrubs, etc. in common area, funds for attorney fees  in case any litigation arises, funds in case a management company needs to be hired for the HOA, etc.
  • Suggestion that there should be an option to maintain current level of maintenance, but add to fund balance so that down the road no large owners’ fees are required for special projects or maintenance.


There seemed to be a consensus that current maintenance was adequate. A show of hands was requested if owners felt no additional was necessary; a clear majority raised their hands.

Ballots were collected for counting.

Open Forum

The Board put forth 3 questions that they would like owner input on, and then entertained other questions or issues from the floor.

Has communication from the Board been adequate?

It was suggested that there be an increase in electronic communications. It was also suggested that the number of meetings be changed from 1 to 2 per year so that there were more opportunities for the membership to communicate with the board. By a show of hands vote it was determined that a majority of those present would come to two meetings per year.

How strictly should the requirements in the manual concerning swing sets be enforced?

There was a lively general discussion of swings and sheds. Tom noted that sheds, swing sets, fences and satellite dishes in violation of the code had been approved previously by Amedore. Rick noted that removing these violations to the code that had been allowed by Amedore was unrealistic. Rod noted that we had to find common ground in setting requirements for the future. With regard to swing sets it was suggested by one owner that they be screened from the street; another suggested they be treated on a case by case bases with review from the ARC and Board.

How might we better address the issue of individual lawn maintenance?

Individual lawn maintenance also provided lively discussion. It was noted that a letter should be sent by the board to the any neighbor who is not mowing their lawn, and fines should be imposed. It was suggested that the town may have lawn maintenance requirements, and we could get them involved when homeowners are derelict and they may provide enforcement.  Several members voiced the opinion that the association should be more aggressive in dealing with individuals who do not maintain lawns.

An issue was raised concerning the speeding of cars through the development. It was suggested that the town be contacted to determine whether “children at play” signs could be erected in the development.

It was suggested that the winter news letter discuss snow removal and not having the individual plowing your snow deposit it in your neighbor’s yard.

It was suggested that it would be helpful to know in advance before Amedore does the final road paving so homeowners could be prepared.


The three individuals nominated for the board won by proclamation

Dues – option A received 1 vote, option B received 24 votes and staying with dues at the $150 level received 28 votes.

A motion was then made by Allen Van Cleef and seconded by Preet Akula to increase the dues by $25 with the additional funds being added to the reserve fund.  The motion passed by a majority.

Mary-Alice thanked the owners for coming and entertained a motion to adjourn at 8:40 p.m.

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