Vote on Board Members
13 of 26 (50%) houses present, Quorum of 40% achieved. Cluster President Mike called the meeting to order at 7:07PM.
- Mulch will be delivered by Lions club on Saturday, April 16th with 3 cubic feet hardwood mulch at $4.50 per bag. These bags are back to original size of 3 vs. 2 cubic feet for the last couple of years. Please let Mike know if you require any (extra) bags.
- Gutter Cleaning will occur in late May, interior units will be $99, exterior units $125. Please let Mike know if you would like to schedule your gutters to be cleaned.
- Brookshire Cluster Website recreated on line with cluster documents, by-laws, minutes, guidelines for paint etc online – www.brookshirecluster.org
Mike announced that each homeowner within Brookshire Cluster is eligible for a sealed certification of membership to Brookshire. Mike passed out sealed certs to all attendees.
2010 Budget Recap
In 2010 fiscal year, we had an accounts receivable balance due of $1500 for the snow laden fallen tree damage in 2009. This was paid off completely in 2010. From an original deficit in 2009, we came in under budget in 2010 by $1,786.88 and so added that to the existing reserves of $18k. Reserves are targeted for long-range plan of driveway blacktop and sidewalk repair. Reserves are now close to $20K. With $3k of cluster dues plus any budget surpluses put into the reserve fund each year, we’re on track to have enough for paving and parking repairs in the future. Interest on the reserve fund is low at $10 per month interest.
Detailed financial activity for 2010 was distributed to all meeting attendees. The reports showed the Balance sheet and Income Statement for 2010, with the Budget proposal for 2011. Also included were detailed reports of where the monies were spent throughout the year.
Budget adjustments for 2011 – Detail
- Mosquito – increased budget slightly by 3% from $1590 to $1660. Thanks to Cathy for announcing dates and times of spraying.
- Trash increased slightly with dump and Fairfax dues increase to $5400 to $5436.
- Legal Fees: $125 paid to lawyer as registered agent for our cluster, who files the annual report by the cluster.
- Picnic last year didn’t cost a lot of money as Mike funded the food.
- Social events reduced by $100 from $500 to $400.
- $150 .com updates
- $25 each cluster cleanup
- $100 Picnic
- $100 xmas party
- First Friday’s and Halloween on cluster members.
- Landscaping Price went up slightly for 2011 but is good for consistent workload and two new ‘job’ additions to the landscape plan. New to this year are weeding the front bed and a third (3rd) Leaf Blowing in early Spring. Normally we have one in November and one in January.
- Snow removal stays at $750 but will already be too low for costs incurred in 2011 snow storms, as each sanding costs $160 and there have been many sandings in 2011 already. 2011 Snow removal will be increased to cover the snow removals, sanding and salt. [more detail on snow removal below].
- Annual Maintenance fee $700 not used most years. Usually re-allocated to other deficit areas (like Snow removal this year, taking $320 from $700 to cover costs).
- Tree service stays at $3,500. For tree removal, we are getting estimates to feed into the budget plan.
- Repair and maintenance – use for upgrades to landscape this year.
- Submitted first .org financials to IRS. IRS now requires every non-profit to file financial details in the form 990 which shows money in/out for organizations. With this new ruling, we also have to file form 1099 for each vendor (no $ minimum) to show how much each is being paid to correctly represent taxes due for services rendered. Service vendors have to submit W9 (company details) for our records so we can create appropriate 1099 tax filings for each vendor.
- Recommended – No Dues Increase for 2011 was recommended for 2011. It was put to vote at the meeting and was unanimously approved by attendees.
Discussion to reduce Budget:
Options to reduce budget are limited. Ann outlined that costs are controlled, contracts tend to be re-negotiated frequently to keep costs down and utilities like electric stay the same.
Short Term – Proposed Action items for 2011:
- No dues increase.
- Move forward with budget as is. No increase 3 years in a row. Special assessments will be developed and presented to cluster meetings for approval as needed.
- Mulch –$4.50 per bag – 3 cubic feet, 4/16 delivery.
- Gutters – $125 end units, $99 middle houses – May and December.
- Website – good – dues annually for hosting site. Every 3 years for name (brookshirecluster.org)
- Ann purchased update of Quickbooks which is expensed over 3 years.
- Landscaping – Cardinal Landscape or Meadows farms to propose Tree replacement and landscape renovation ‘plan’.
- No discussion on the natural border on moorings.
- No discussion on the lighted entry sign for Brookshire Ct. [mandatory note addition by d]
Long Term Projection and Efforts:
- Proposed budget landscape will be outlined for long-term renovation of gardens and trees.
- State of parking lot fund: $20,000 plan is for 2015 – update sidewalks, and in 2017 we estimate replacing or redoing the surface coat of the parking lot ~ $30k. Currently we have $11K deficit of that number but should be on target at that time. The long term goal is to completely replace the parking lot in 2131 (25 years after full replacement).
- Issue B1: It is time to patch the cracks, and maybe reseal the surface.
- Action B1: Mike to contact some vendors to reseal or patch areas.
- Additional large projects are currently not budgeted. Any plan will require full home-owner assembly, 40% quota to approve projects and ‘special assessments’ that may ensue.
A number of people mentioned the excessive amount of sand and salt deposited by the snow removal team during the early snow storms this year. The sand in particular stays on the parking lot and is hazardous to children trying to bike, skate or skate board. It also damages car paint when wind gusts take hold.
Action: President Mike to call vendor to discuss two things:
1. After the 1st main sanding, request that they do not sand again until further instructed by Mike or one of the board members or unless they see it as absolutely necessary.
2. Request that they carefully remove more snow nearer the cars.
Still on the snow removal setup, the board will send out reminders to all cluster home owners during an impending snow storm to not park in the two parking spots at the top of the cluster. These spots are to be left clear for the snow plough to dump the snow. One option mentioned here is to put hazard cones in the parking spots as a reminder to leave them clear on snow days.
Action: From a budget perspective, Mike to check other vendors to compare price points for snow removal services.
Jackie proposed the cluster getting a snow-blower to remove snowfall on the main pathways as the snows tend to be getting worse over the years. She noted that it would help with all pathways – including those leading out of the cluster towards the tunnel to Lake Anne. Discussion followed about where to keep the blower as it should be in a common enclosed space. Discussion also followed about who would buy the blower (cluster???) and maintain it. No final decision was made re: snow blower.
Cathy began by thanking everyone for turning out to gather and clear away debris at the last cluster cleanup. She noted that overall the common grounds are under control. Tysons Tree company came out in in October to remove left over debris from storm. .
Cathy will be working with Tysons Tree or Cardinal Landscaping to:
- Provide general survey of trees and land, scanning for potential hazards
- Outline future work to be done
- Homeowners are welcome to add any home tree work to the cluster work estimate to help save costs (all pending DRB approval).
As a result of the heavy snow and ice storm, the cherry tree by the volleyball court was split. Other trees around the cluster were worse and need more attention.
Cluster cleanup is targeted for 9AM Saturday morning, April 16th as the weekend after is Easter and as the mulch arrives that morning. On the clear-up, the focus will be on gathering and removing deadwood, planting annuals and perennials. Painting the railings was completed already.
Landscaping Plans for 2011
We signed the renewal contract for Cardinal Landscaping to continue with landscaping and leaf removal in the fall. Although the contract was 3% higher than last year, we added two new tasks for Cardinal: weeding the main garden areas AND a new 3rd leaf removal in Spring. Note: Anyone who wants to weed in front or in any of the gardens is very welcome. If you’re unsure of what to weed, leave the plants be.
This year, we will make an effort to revitalize the front garden and main gardens throughout the cluster. The current plan is to plant more knockout roses and lilies, drought tolerant perennials that will last through the summer and hopefully flower throughout the seasons. For those who can’t make the cluster cleanups, all donations will be gratefully received and will help fund the revitalization project.
Re-grassing is done each year by Cardinal but we may focus on that also this year.
Sprayings will begin in July and will go for
six seven sprayings through October. Cathy reminded attendees that the mosquito spray is walter soluble, and environmentally friendly. The spray kills the larvae mosquitoes so they don’t repopulate. Just in case, Cathy notifies cluster members prior to each spray so Children and animals can be kept inside while spraying occurs.
Action: Cathy to ask for quotes on price for an extra spraying or two over the course of the year. Several parents offered to fund the extra sprayings if the cost is reasonable. [Update: Clark quoted $265 for each additional mosquito spray. Eight houses agreed to pay for the extra spray. In 2011, there will be 7 sprayings in total].
With the mosquitos, Cathy asked the cluster members to keep an eye on stagnant water around the community and at home, by tipping water out of pots. We should work with Fairfax County again to check for anti-mosquito assistance it can offer (Amanda to assist with Fairfax county members).
Mark brought up the option of bat cages as a natural alternative to spraying and will look into it in more detail. Mark will talk to Cathy about the options to build/place bat cages in the neighborhood.
Cathy mentioned that there are plants in Reston that are on the not-natural, invasive list for our areas which means these plants are not native and can spread quickly obliterating the true local plants. Under common law, we are prohibited from planting these plants. Here is more information on the invasive plants in Reston.
Cathy noted that removing trees in the cluster is something we need to approve through the Design Review Board of Reston. As trees are removed from the cluster – either on private or common grounds – we should replace them with native, like trees that are not on Reston’s invasive tree list. Failure to adhere to the native tree request may result in a request to the home-owner to replant an approved tree. The application to request tree removal to the DRB is here: https://www.reston.org/PropertyOwnerResources/DesignReview/ApplicationReviewProcedures/GeneralInformation/Default.aspx?qenc=HzT9ACzZbNs%3d&fqenc=LqyucvXZMe5S%2bXBM0VBR5A%3d%3d
Again this year, the drainage issue with water clogging between 1540 and 1550 was addressed. The issue is that in the rain season, the area is congested with clogged water and mud run-off from the sloped green area. We noted that we got two quotes for an overhaul of the drainage in that area that ranged from full solution – $11k full drainage overhaul with retaining wall on the grassy slope to $7k full drainage without wall. The full drainage would account for a new, deep French drain across front of houses and down through the grassy area with new pathway sections over new drain areas. Members also noted that the project is too big for members to handle in a cluster cleanup and would require professional help.
Mike proposed forming a committee to focus on the drainage issue, come up with proposals and solutions for the cluster to address the drainage once and for all. It was recommended that each housing section would be represented on the new committee, so the committee was formed with six members.
The committee’s objective is to:
- outline the drainage issues for the affected area (and other areas if possible)
- contact vendors (reasonable fees for plans to be approved by finance)
- gather proposals and survey information
- Assess best course of action for cluster
- Present findings, tactical plan and budget request to the cluster board and members
- Finalize action plan to address drainage solution.
As the approved budget for 2011 does not include any monies for the drainage correction, we would call an all-neighborhood meeting to approve the Drainage solution budget and the appropriate ‘special fee’ that would result for all home owners.
2010 In Review
It was a fun year was had with a lot of social events, some planned, some impromptu.
- Book group is running really well but could always use more participants – particularly more males. Amanda promises no chick lit books will be reviewed. Next Book Club meeting is on April 9th “Let the Great World Spin”
- First Friday was sluggish over the winter with the holiday parties and ongoing snow. Amanda expects it to resume in March
2011 Social Plan
Amanda noted that most cluster events focus on adult activities and recommended some options to include whole families and the younger cluster members:
- Easter Egg Hunt: There will be an Easter Egg hunt around Easter weekend, final date tbd. All home owners are welcome to put out eggs for the little ones. The hunt starts around 9am.
- Camping: To vary up the activities, and to offer more for the children of the cluster – Amanda proposed a camping trip in Spring, it was recommended that the cluster members go camping in Lake Fairfax in May.
- Picnic was moved from July as it’s too hot and muggy outside, so Amanda proposed moved the picnic to June (hopefully not to conflict with weddings in June). It was decided to have the Cluster Picnic on Saturday after school ends – currently June 25th
- Bowling night – Amanda to send out details
- Christmas and Halloween decorating competitions – Cluster members would vote at the cluster picnic for “Best In Class” for house decorating on the holidays.
New schedule for Social Events
for upcoming events will include dates for:
- Easter Egg Hunt – Saturday April 23rd
- Yard Sale (May sometime)
- Camping in Fairfax (May Sometime)
- Bowling night: TBD
- Summer Picnic Saturday, June 25th
- Halloween Festivities Saturday, October 29th
- Holiday party in December. TBD: Saturday 10th or 17th
See the online calendar of events https://www.brookshirecourt.org/calendar/events/
Vote on Board Members:
Membership on the board was put to a vote welcoming any candidates for any role. No candidates were proposed and the current board was unanimously re-elected for all applicable roles.
Sand – need to determine a way to remove the surplus sand on the parking area and driveway. The question also arose where to dispose of the sand as it also contains salt which would kill any nearby tree. [Update: part of the cluster cleanup on April 16th is to broom and remove the sand in AAA bins.]
Electric Car: BRAND NEW: David is getting an electric car and has submitted a request to the DRB to install an outlet by his parking space. The DRB request covered installation issues such as: weather proofed, not crossing any pathways, buried underground (not to be cut by lawnmowers), child-safe, animal safe, tamper-safe, locked-down and un-obtrusive. As much as we would like consistency with standards, there are no precedents for this in Reston already, so David is breaking ground (no pun intended) with this new, ultra green technology.
Meeting concluded at 8:30PM.