Excellent turnout – 14 of 26 (54%) houses present, Quorum of 40% achieved. Cluster President Wilson called the meeting to order at 7:22PM.
- Mulchwill be delivered by Reston Lions club on Saturday, April 2nd 2016 with 3 cubic feet double-shredded hardwood mulch at $4.70 per bag. Please let us know how many bags you would like before Friday, March 18th.
- Gutter Cleaning will occur in late May, after the spring cat tails fall. Interior units will be $99, exterior units $125. Please let us know if you would like to schedule your gutters to be cleaned.
- AAA trash continues the extra Yard Waste Pickup each Wednesday during the spring/summer and fall. If you have yard waste (only brush and vegetation) – please bundle neatly for pickup on Wednesday mornings. Recycle bins will also be provided free of charge so just let us know if you need one or more recycle bins.
- Hazardous and Electronic waste – Fairfax is now open daily for waste disposal
- Brookshire Cluster Website updated on line with cluster documents, by-laws, minutes, guidelines for paint, trash removal etc. – www.brookshirecluster.org
- Click here for Brookshire Cluster’s Calendar of Events:
- Thanks to Wilson and Rosa Paine for hosting the General Assembly.
- 2015 we bid a sad farewell to German & AnneMarie Martinez and family. We joyfully welcomed Phil and Melissa Jones and family-in-the-making to our cluster. We also bid a very sad farewell to Mike and Saima Hedrick and family. Gone but never forgotten. We also welcome Kelley and Joe as great new tenants to the cluster.
- Safety, weather, traffic and social alerts – many thanks again to Amanda for keeping us in the loop with news and juicy info.
- New post office service opens in Lake Anne again by the Choc shop with full postal services.
- Brookshire participated again in the relay for life Cancer event in May 16th/17th 2015. The team, called “Never Ever Give Up” was another great social opportunity for the cluster. The Relay for Life event for 2016 is set for June 11th currently, but the location has yet to be decided. We also do not have a captain yet to coordinate a Brookshire team. More as the planning progresses.
- Brookshire Clusters Articles of Incorporation and By-laws are rewritten but need to be vetted and approved by lawyers before they are published which should happen sometime in 2016.
- Robert E. Simon passed away on Sept 15th 2015 at 101 years old. As the creator of Reston community and an energetic force to maintain his live-love-laugh view of Reston, he will be sorely missed. As an excellent suggestion, Chris Centner recommends that we pursue changing the name of Washington Plaza by Lake Anne to Simon Plaza, or Simons Plaza in honor of our founder. This was unanimously and warmly approved by everyone at the meeting. Chris will follow up with next steps for organizing the petition.
- Lake Anne renovation which was 10 years in the making and all set to start with spades-down in 2016 was cancelled. With it went an extra increase in our property value but without it we maintain a better quality of life for the next few years. Read more here
2015 Social Activity Review:
Jen and Mick reviewed the prominent social events in 2015, including but not limited to:
- First Friday events at different houses
- Monthly Book club gathering.
- Very successful Halloween Party held by Jenn and Mick.
- Open house the day after Halloween
- Twitter party candle lighting
- Game night with Mick and Jenn which was a series of board games for anyone that wanted to join and play. All were welcome. Very fun and creative.
- Relay for life event in Herndon high school in May to support Cancer research
- Farewell party for Mike, Saim, German and AnnMarie hosted by Deirdre
- Welcome party hosted by Kerry and Joe in Mike and Saim’s house.
- Watt encouraged Brookshire to sponsor a beer tap at the new brewery opening at Lake Anne. The tap is branded Brookshire Cluster (see first tap) and will contain the flavor of the week or cycle. Note – it should be opening soon so you can both drink great beer and help support your local business J
- Also in the line of supporting your local business, Sherry encouraged teams of people to go to an organized evening out in Lake Anne which was very popular.
2016 Social Activity Review:
Jen and Mick discussed ongoing options for social activities in 2016:
- Organize social event like a BBQ after the spring clean-up.
- Organize first Friday social gatherings or on demand or on snow-days.
- Continue Book club gathering – contact Jen for more details.
- Logan’s graduation party tbd
- Host a yard-sale day on May 14th and ensure that all cars move off the parking lot so guests can drive in. Jen to advertise at the local farmer’s market
- Pick a summer Picnic date for all cluster residents and friends
- Poll cluster residents to determine if we are part of the Relay for Life in 2016. Herndon is on June 11th, Reston’s is on May 27th.
2015 Landscape Review:
In Mark’s absence, Wilson recapped the year-in-review for landscaping. In the spring clean-up which went well, Delegate Plum was invited and showed up to meet and greet the community. He also helped plant a new tree by the tunnel. Photos of Plum and the community, especially the younger folk, were posted on both Delegate Plum’s site and on Reston Facebook. The planted tree was embellished with a specially carved plaque for Del Plum.
Wilson noted the fall clean up went very well and recommended that organized to-do lists really helped folks achieve work done in minimum time. As part of the cleanup, ten trees and tons of tulips bulbs were planted throughout the cluster. The trees and soil were very kindly sponsored by Chris Centner. The trees include a variety of Crepe Myrtles, dog woods, smoke tree and witch-hazel. Spring should bloom beautifully around the cluster. Wilson noted (per Mark) that the cluster may not need that many new trees in 2016, giving that we should see how the last few years of growth pan out this year.
A new sign “No Parking Snow Day” was installed during the fall cleanup on the designated snow-removal zone at the inside of the cluster property.
2016 Landscape Discussion:
Wilson noted the ‘Grass and Special Projects’ budget still has $1,475.34 cash remaining and reviewed some options Mark has in mind for projects this year:
- Organize Spring Cluster clean-up for April 16th– rain date Sunday 17th 9am- noon.
- Organize Fall Cluster clean-up for Sat Oct 22nd – Rain date Sunday Oct 23rd.9am- noon.
- Mulch order arrives on April 2nd. If you ordered mulch, please pick it up by the Fire Lane area.
- Once the weather improves, review the front garden and see if it requires updates/enhancing
- Enhance the side garden by the first set of steps close to the entrance way. Keep the outline and plant consistent with the front garden. The discussion here was for Cardinal Landscaping to renovate the garden on either side to match the front garden. Next garden will be up by the lamppost in the center of the parking area.
- Walk the perimeter of the cluster and note areas to be improved visually, including any areas that should be rebuilt or reseeded with grass.
- Create rock-garden or concept garden on either side of the steps by the tunnel. Expand on the idea of the tree arch and create something on either side that flows well with the arch, the landscape and has the added benefit of stopping soil runoff, and helps absorb the water that flows under the steps.
2015 Actuals Budget Review:
Income from dues and interest went as planned in 2015. The cluster also made $145 extra cash from late fees, and contributions from cluster members.
2015 Expenses stayed well in line with budget with only a few over budget items like:
|$170||Landscape add on aeration and fertilization charges for grassy areas|
|$50.16||Trash and recycling cost increases.|
Special Projects expenses in 2015:
|$367.16||Trees, Soil and tree plaque engraving Spring Clean up|
|$1,000||Drainage project by back row of houses|
2015 Net Income for Brookshire closed out with a budget surplus of $7,205.32. The surplus was comprised of:
|$4,000||Tree Service budgeted amount not spent,|
|$2,350||Legal Fees to finalize Articles of Incorporation and by-laws not spent:|
|$1,297.84||Special Project and Grass Seeding money carried over to 2015/2016.|
|($442.52)||Miscellaneous budget variance from 2015 Budget to actual costs.|
2016 Budget Estimate discussion:
The surplus was then split to fund two different Cluster funds for use in 2016 and beyond: and added to the 2016 Budget:
|$1,297.84||Special project and Grass seeding project carry-forward through 2016.|
|$177.16||Special Project and Grass seeding – donations by Chris in 2015|
|$1,475||Total Special Project /Grass Seeding funds for 2016|
|$5,730.32||Reserve – Operating funds. This fund was established in 2015 to cover variances on expenses like tree removal and excess snow charges or other emergency costs unplanned by the cluster annual budget. The goal was to start with $675 budget in 2015, adding $1k per year thereafter and capping at $5k. Any funds in excess of $5k would contribute to the Reserve – Capital funds designated for larger infrastructure projects. With so much budget surplus in 2015, and with snowmageddon already at our door, the board met and decided to overload the Reserve – Operating funds to offset excessive snow charges in early 2016 as well as covering the legal fees still needed to vet the Articles of incorporation and by-laws. Adding the $675+ from 2015, we start 2016 with $6,582 in the Reserve Operating budget.|
Starting the 2016 year, the cluster has the following funds allocated:
|$39,987.89||Capital Reserve for cluster infrastructure projects covering stairs, railings, retaining wall, light posts, curbs, storm drain in addition to the sidewalks and driveway/parking lot|
|$6,582.48||Operating Reserve for budget costs overages and cover legal fees.|
|$1,475.34||Special Projects and Grass seeding.|
|$48,045.71||Total Funds allocated|
With the Planned Budget for 2016, the cluster expects to:
Income: Maintain income from HOA dues and late payment fees.
Expense: Adjust line item expenses to cover:
- Increase Landscaping to include aeration in 2016 from $9,100 to $9,270
- Increase snow removal budget from $1,100 to $2,000 based on contract cost increases
- Increase capital reserve from $3,200 to $4,500 to cover all infrastructure items
- Lower Tree Service budget from $4,000 to $3,400. This is now split into Tree service (maintenance) of $3,000 and Special Tree/Grass project of $400 (new budget line item).
- Lower Reserve- Operations fund from $1000 to $0 as the fund is fully loaded for 2016.
- Keep legal fees for Article & By-law review of $2,475
On the 2016 budget, planned expenses exceed income so the Net Income shows a deficit of $1,365. This is because of the legal expenses budget line item carried over from 2015. The funds to support this are also carried over in the Reserve – operation fund but are not counted as Income earned in 2016, hence the budget shows a deficit for the year.
With the budget in a very healthy and well managed state, Ann proposed no dues increase for 2016. She put it to a vote and it was unanimously approved by all present. Dues continue to be $285 per quarter/house – lower than the average for Reston.
Ann noted the most difficult part of her job is collecting funds in a timely manner from home-owners and depositing the funds into the bank. Mick recommended that we add PayPal as a payment option for home-owners to pay immediately and using a variety of payment options including credit card – thus solving both the collection and deposit concerns together. This would entail the following steps:
- Ann would setup a PayPal account for the cluster tied to the cluster bank account,
- Ann would setup non-profit organization payment processing on the PayPal account
- Anne would integrate Quicken with PayPal to include a “PAY NOW” option on the cluster dues invoices.
- Any processing fees or extra credit charges would be paid by the home owner.
Amanda noted she is familiar with setting up payment options within PayPal and would work with Ann to setup the PayPal solution.
Legal Documentation for Cluster:
As mentioned, by-laws and Articles of Incorporation have been updated. Final, revised versions will be posted and published for you once they pass legal inspection and final approval.
Snow removal: 2015 was not a great year for snow but the contracted snow plough vendor did a poor job of showing up or correctly removing the snow. The board met with the vendor in spring 2015 to go over expectations of levels of service. With the world of promises, and the lowest cost on the market, the board opted to stay with this vendor for this past winter.
Fast forward to snowmageddon and the vendor was a disaster. The vendor showed up once to plough with about 12” on the ground and didn’t show up again while the remaining 20+ inches covered the parking lot/driveway. The vendor claimed his machines were all out of service. Wilson contacted other suppliers and managed to get a team to offer support in clearing the snow. By late Sunday night, the snow was still too deep for their ploughs to clear, or for their bob-cats to shovel out. The only solution was for them to send in a costly crew of laborers to manually dig out enough snow to allow the snow plough to come through. Mark rallied the entire neighborhood on Monday to help with the dig out so the cluster which turned into an awe-inspiring community event.
Once a path was cleared, the new snow removal team was able to clear the parking lot and driveway of snow and put down ice melt. Between both vendors, costs to clear the snow completely went through the estimated budget for snow removal in 2016.
Following on from that, the board cancelled the original snow vendor and hired another company to clear the snow. This company has stricter minimum charges which is more expensive for us especially for lighter snow events, but it is a vendor with 16 trucks vs. 2, and more crews to plow snow. They also plow snow away from our cars – such a small thing for a truck, such a nice thing for us trying to clear out our cars.
Note – both spaces farthest in on the cluster are reserved for snow drifts during heavier snow days. In addition, please try not to park directly across from the entrance on Moorings Drive as that is also a designated snow-drift area for our cluster. Neither Fairfax nor VDOT supply (nor support) signs for no parking during snow days over 2 inches.
Chris C noted that the concrete leading up to Chris & Irene’s, and David/Shari’s home needed to be repaired. WE discussed replacing the concrete, repairing it in patches or pumping the slabs up from beneath. Wilson to find contractors to review the concrete repair needs for the cluster in general. Amanda noted she has contacts that would be licensed and bonded.
Amanda noted that the give-a-gift Angel Tree event to gift toys to needy children before Christmas was exceptionally well supported by Brookshire and that a ton of presents were supplied to the children.
Sherry noted the continuation of supporting local events like ‘Francesco’ night – Sunday night events in Mont Martre at Lake Anne.
New Fountain switch in park by Brookshire:
Mike noted that Reston mailed a DRB application for us to review (not necessarily approve) outlining planned changes to the water fountain area in the park beside our cluster. Throughout the summer of 2015, the touch-to-start button at the fountain was broken, so water flowed all summer. This year, Reston plans to install a motion sensor switch on for the fountain that will automatically stop after a period of inactivity.
Vote on board members:
- Wilson P was unanimously re-elected as president of the cluster for another year.
- Mark M – Unanimously re-elected as cluster Landscape Director.
- Ann D – Unanimously re-elected as Treasurer even though she tried to talk her way out of it.
- Mick and Jen were unanimously re-elected as our cluster Social Directors.
- Deirdre – unanimously re-elected as Secretary.
Board Members 2016:
Contact us here
Meeting concluded at 9:12PM.