03/09/21 BOD MEETING: SYNOPSIS AND COMMENTARY BY VICKI ROBERTS WITH ASSISTANCE FROM ARTHUR ANDELSON
Posted March 9, 2021. Your Editor provides the following synopsis of the March 9, 2021 Board meeting, with assistance from your Roving Reporter, and with commentary and satire indicated inbold blue and pictures.
Editor’s Opening Monologue:
This edition is entitled “But Wait, There’s More!”
At the conclusion of the March 3, 2021 Board meeting, Board member Eileen Olitsky thought she had to endure only one more Board meeting as a Director, but alas, that wasn’t to be…
Because here we are again in yet another Board meeting between regular Board meetings. This one is a one-trick pony with one Agenda item. Originally, a notice of the meeting was sent out which was very nebulous and did not include the residents’ input session as required by statute.
So naturally we sent an email mentioning these failings. That faulty notice was then recalled, and a new proper notice replaced it the next day. And then all was well in the kingdom.
Or was it?
This Board meeting was to talk about the percent required for the community as a whole to accomplish a change or alteration to the common areas. It is currently 75% with the added requirement that a majority of the 600 homes must cast a ballot on the question for it to even count.
The Amendment also includes a proposed reduction in the percentage of the budget for which projects whose budget exceeds that amount would require a community vote. That part of the proposed Amendment was not in the notice (tsk, tsk, naughty, naughty). Lumping the two independent issues together as one ballot choice is wrong, because it forces the community to have a one up or down vote concerning two unrelated issues.
Of course, when a Board on its own votes to remove temporary and non-permanent sheds and to install a permanent structure called a Utility Building, and justifies it by calling it a “replacement,” apparently, they don’t consider that to be a change or alteration that requires a community vote.
But for something such as altering the sports center courts to a new and permanent surface, such as the pickleball courts, that would be an alteration of a common element that requires a community vote.
But it is odd that some people think that voting for a specific mailbox which you own personally could possibly be construed as an alteration of a common element, since it is not community property. And some people love their mailboxes and don’t want to lose them.
That being said, whether or not you want to change the community vote requirement from 75% to 66 2/3% is entirely a judgment call and there are pros and cons to be said on both sides of the issue. The same may be true for the second part of the Amendment concerning the single project rule and the proposed reduction of the percentage of the budget for such a project to require a community vote.
But one thing is for sure: don’t allow yourself to be bullied into voting to one way or the other just because you’re being goaded to do so by others.
So make your own independent decision without regard to what your neighbors think or say. And remember, it’s supposed to be a secret ballot, so aside from the individuals counting the results, no one will know how you really voted.
And now the monologue is over. Thank you for your applause. You’ve been an awesome audience!
Board Meeting: Audio and Video Up and Running; Zoom meeting online starts at 7:00pm.
Board Members Present:
Richard Greene (Board member and office of Treasurer)
Linda Arbeit (Board member and office of Secretary)
Bob Dingee (Board member)
Eileen Olitsky (Board member)
Sue Schmer (Board member)
Harvey Ginsberg (Board member) *
*Editor’s note: the office of Vice-President is vacant if you’re following the rules; if you deviate from the rules, or have no respect for them, then Harvey is occupying that office. And let’s not forget how we spell respect:
Call to Order: Harvey Ginsberg.
Pledge of Allegiance: led by Harvey Ginsberg. [Editor’s note: Harvey had a flag and all Board members stood.]
Harvey Ginsberg’s Opening Remarks and Announcements: Marion is ill and unable to attend; therefore, I will be conducting the meeting.
[Editor’s note: Let’s just get to the matter at hand; Sue presented the agenda item, followed by Eileen as the co-host of the presentation, and there was a lot of discussion among the Board members concerning the matter.]
“1. Proposed Amendment: Presentation regarding 75% to 66 2/3% for common element changes.”
[Editor’s note: The item phraseology above, taken from the official notice of the agenda that came from the property manager’s office, is very misleading and completely unfair. The actual verbiage of the proposed Amendment appears below your Editor’s remarks.
The Amendment also includes a proposed reduction in the percentage of the budget for which projects whose budget exceeds that amount would require a community vote. Not including this as part of the notice was wrong, misleading, and outrageously irresponsible. We are not blaming the property manager. We blame whoever on the Board prepared and approved the proposed notice.
You might not like reducing the community vote requirement, but you might like the reduction in the percentage of the budget for projects whose budgets exceed that amount as requiring a community vote. So now, you’re going to have to make a choice that you never should have had to make.
We believe that mixing the issue of reducing the amount required to kick in a community vote with the separate issue of reducing the requirement for passage of a project was patently unfair and wrong. Those issues are separate and independent and should never have been lumped together.
We believe that lumping the two issues together in a single ballot, instead of separating them out as they should have been, irreparably taints the process, and we therefore recommend a “no” vote for that reason alone. This does not mean that we are necessarily against either or both; what this means is that the community should be presented with two separate ballots on these two unrelated issues. Let the people decide what they want on each issue. That is the only fair way to do this.
Do it over, and do it right.
Board member Sue Schmer stated during the meeting that they are together essentially because they are together in the Amendment. Our response: So what. That’s irrelevant in our opinion. Sue stated they are linked and that they really go together. We disagree. They are completely separate issues and never should have been presented in this fashion.
That being said, do you want things that require a community vote to require 75% of the community to agree to it (as it currently stands) or do you want it reduced to 2/3 of the community required to effectuate a change in a common element? Because the current percentage is 75%, in order to reduce it to 2/3, that itself requires a vote of 75% to pass.
To be specific, per the governing documents, 75% of the voting households would have to approve reducing the required passage rate to 66 2/3%, and a majority of households would have to have voted on that specific topic before this could be implemented.
There are 600 homes which means there is a maximum of 600 votes. This means that at least 301 houses need to cast a vote for the vote to even count. If 301 or more houses vote, then it would require 75% of those voting to pass such a resolution. If less than 301 houses vote, then the vote does not count even if it were 100% in favor of the change.
We here at the News Site do not believe that anyone should be pressured into voting one way or the other. We think that’s wrong. Vote for what you really want. Never mind what the chattering class is saying. We trust your ability to weigh the pros and cons and to make an independent decision on this matter.
For that reason, we are not transcribing herein the balance of the comments made by Board members pushing for one way or the other (other than what we reported above concerning Sue’s comments and some of the Board responses to residents’ comments below).
Again, we believe that lumping the two issues together in a single ballot, instead of separating them out as they should have been, irreparably taints the process, and we therefore recommend a “no” vote for that reason alone. This does not mean that we are necessarily against either or both; what this means is that the community should be presented with two separate ballots on these two unrelated issues. Let the people decide what they want on each issue. That is the only fair way to do this.
Do it over, and do it right.]
Here is the text of what is before you to decide:
“Item 1. Article VII, Section E of the Declaration of Conditions, Covenants, Easements and Restrictions for Cascade Lakes (“Declaration”) shall be amended as follows:
E. Alterations to Common Areas. The Common Areas may not be altered, modified or improved (not including an acquisition or conveyance of real property as set forth in Article II [B] above) without the approvals required within. Alterations, improvements or modifications of a single project costing up to, but not in excess, of one-half percent (1%) (1/2%) of the budget then in effect, including operating expenses and reserves, may be approved by the Board of Directors, provided that the total cost of all such alterations, modifications or improvements within a fiscal year willthe last 12 consecutive months do not exceed five three percent (5%) (3%) of the respective budgets then in effect, including operating expenses and reserves. Alterations, improvements, or modifications of a similar nature, as determined by the Board, should be combined as a single alteration, improvement or modification for the purpose of determining whether a vote of the Members is necessary. Where the cost of any alterations, modifications or improvements exceeds the aforementioned monetary thresholds, the alterations, modifications or improvements must be approved by at least seventy-five percent (75%)sixty-six and two-thirds percent (66 2/3%) of the Members, present and voting, in person or by proxy, at a regular or special meeting at which a quorum is established, but where at least a majority of the total membership participates, or by written agreement with the participation of at least a majority of the Members.”
2. Resident Input Session: Questions and answers pertaining only to agenda item.
[Editor’s note: those wishing to speak, please raise your hand or indicate your desire to speak in the chat function.]
1. Paula Simon: It’s Paul Friedlander, we’re together. A year ago, the Board repurposed the facility of a tennis court without getting the permission of the community. The result is not bad (pickleball), but I’m against the way it was done. It should be voided and voted on.
Harvey: It was my motion, $4,700, we checked with the lawyer, it was no change in the amenity, not the surface; permanent courts with permanent nets would be a community vote.
Paul: you repurposed the facility; you took it away from tennis. Eileen: there was tremendous controversy. Legally it was not repurposed, but it’s a very fine line…if we are to do anything further with this court, it would have to be a community vote.
Richard: this I discussed with the lawyer. It was based on the dollar amount…we talked about putting an amendment…any repurpose would require a community vote…not in now…it’s a very gray situation about repurposing something…you can use it for both even though technically it’s pickleball…
Eileen: right now, this is not in the Amendment; it was discussed and decided not to be in the Amendment…stick with what’s in the Amendment.
2. Jeff D. Green: last night, I got six phone calls, why is the 75/66 and the one and five percent on one vote? That was never the intention of the Audit Committee…they don’t have a choice for each…should have gone out as two separate votes. Not done properly…one vote, two items which are completely different.
3. Paul Friedlander: [Editor’s note: this concerned the amount of people required to pass the Amendment; we addressed this in the Editor’s note above.]
4. Ray Schechtel: I agree with Jeff Green, both items… are great ideas, however, it does not give the individual owner the chance to make a decision as to what they think…the ballots should be just disregarded…go on to the next Board… what’s the rush to get this done now?
5. Alice Silver: it should be two separate questions so you can say yes or no to either. I would like to make individual choices and not have things bundled together.
6. Paula Simon: male voice: [Stephen Kleinman?] I also agree it should be two separate questions…and can the Board make changes to the use of a significant facility without the members’ approval? Richard: I disagree with Eileen…decision about improvements…splitting the votes…at this point the amendment is not a community vote…not addressed in the amendment. [Editor’s note: he is referring to the issue of the change to the use of a significant facility.]
7. Leonard Tannen: I agree with the speakers…split the portions of the current proposed amendments…I’m an original owner…I bought in for one reason only; for the dollar amount it cost me, I get all of the amenities that I was interested in. What I hear, the change in the demographics of the community… many people were not here… other communities, they could have done so[bought there] … but they elected to purchase here. As my mother used to say, you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.
Improvements – make what we have the best possible…people are still gonna buy… because of the dollar value it gives them… changing the limitations to 66 and 2/3 makes change more possible. Stop… live within our budget and our square footage…you can’t keep changing the conditions we have here…needs to be satisfying – the best appearance for potential buyers…with what we presently have, and then if you reduce the percentage… will make us less of an enticement because our maintenance costs will move quickly out of control.
8. Keith Lichtman:[Editor’s note: this gentleman indicated in the chat function that he wished to speak, but when called upon, there was no response.]
9. Diane Rogovin: I understand how everybody feels about separating the two proposals, however, we have been going through this for years…personally, I feel it is essential [to lower it] … we have much to do in this community… we need a lot of work done… clubhouse redoing, streets redoing…let’s get this done. I’m an original owner, too.
Harvey: the amendment is not gonna change; some votes have already been put in the ballot box…we can’t change it now.
[Editor’s note: somehow the discussion morphed into a Round Table Discussion with some Board members commenting further on the matter. We will just report on what one of them said here.]
Bob Dingee: We’ve all said enough tonight.
[Editor’s note: actually, he said the least. He said the Pledge of Allegiance and then he said his five words above, and frankly, we’re totally fine with that. We like the fact that he wasn’t pushing for one way or the other. Truthfully, we felt that some Board members were overselling it and were not flexible on how it was prepared and presented on the ballot.]
Adjournment: Harvey: do I have a motion to adjourn?
[Editor’s note: Bob and Sue simultaneously made the motion. There were no seconds. Harvey called the question, your Editor was too busy writing down the transcript to look up to determine if all six Board members’ hands were raised, and Harvey then immediately adjourned the meeting at 7:53pm.]
[Editor’s note: A big shout-out to Zoom operator Mike Blackman and his faithful assistant, Arnie Green, for doing a great job administering the Zoom meeting. We thank them for their continued service and volunteerism.]
And so concludes the Board meeting of March 9, 2021; next Board meeting: March 17, 2021 at 9:30am. Cheerio until next time.