Annual Owner’s Meeting
January 7th, 2014
The meeting was called to order at 7:05 pm.
Leonard welcomed the owners in attendance and introduced the Trustees. Debby and Gail were re-elected to their positions. Sue Pauquette will be our new trustee. She will have a 1 year term completing Kelly Gray’s vacated position.
Report on Audit
Quality Tax and Bookkeeping Service provided the Trustees with the following letter. “The Hillcrest Trust has retained my services to look over their yearly accounts and to do their yearly tax return. Using the ledgers provided me by your office personnel (and matching them with the bank statements and receipts that were also provided); I was able to complete your 2012 tax return without any problems. It was filed electronically and accepted by the IRS. Thank you for your opportunity to serve you. Sue Lactowski IRS Enrolled Agent.”
New Rules and Regulations Handbook Delivered
The new handbook was delivered to every owner. Each owner signed that they received a copy of the revised Rules and Regulations handbook. Copies were mailed, return signature required, to any owner not living in the complex. The Rules and Regulations are on file at the Hampshire County Registry of Deeds.
Completed Projects for 2013
Gail reported on the projects completed in 2013 which included new sidewalks, replacing the hallway carpets in garden units 37 through 40, replacing the smoke detectors in all of the garden unit hallways, new signs around the pond for people fishing, replacing the pump in the pond which services the complex’s sprinkler system and the fountain pump, removal of the tree in front of Unit 1, repairs to the roof of Building 2 and new plants in front of Units 19 through 30.
Mary Lee Lachowetz asked if the new plants were to replace ones that didn’t survive. The new plants replaced hostas that had been there for years and couldn’t take the heat in the summer. She asked what repair was done on the roof of Building 2. There was a leak which was repaired. During that repair, the contractor found some trusses that needed to be repaired. All of the other roofs in the complex were checked and found to be in good shape. Steve Balicki asked if there was a 5 year plan for the complex. Leonard answered that we just finished a 5 year plan which included replacing the front doors of the units; landscaping, taking down the large old trees, planting new trees and replacing the fence in front of Units 31 through 35. We don’t have a specific 5 year plan at this time.
Leonard introduced Michelle as our light duty maintenance person in the complex. She does a variety of jobs including vacuuming the garden units and laundry rooms, weeding, outside painting etc. She is our go-to person for all the small but important things that need to be done that keeps the complex looking good.
Leonard reported that the Projects for 2014 include replacing more sidewalks, re-striping the parking lot and installing wireless sprinklers.
Increase of 3% in the Condo Fees
During the summer the Trustees had planned on replacing more sidewalks than the two that were done but when the repair was being done on Building 2, the contractor noted that the shingles on the roofs would need to be replaced in 5 to 6 years. At that time, we stopped the sidewalk replacements and had several contractors come into the complex to give us quotes on shingle replacement.
Several contractors looked at the property and all agreed that the shingles will need replacement in 5 to 6 years. At first it was thought that the shingles on the mansards would need to be replaced as well. One of the contractors explained that the shingles on the mansards aren’t as worn as the ones on the tops of the roofs because the snow does not sit on them. It is just the roof shingles that will need replacement. Only one contractor presented a written quote. Other contractors just gave a verbal quote because they understood the job wouldn’t be done for 5 to 6 years. RCI quoted $371,000.00 for replacement of all the shingles and provided us a second quote of 240,000.00 for just replacement of the roof shingles without the mansards. All the money from the 3% fee increase will be put into Capital Reserve for the roof replacement. The door loan will be paid off in 2016. The amount of that payment will be put into Capital Reserve as well. By stopping the work on the sidewalks and being conservative in other areas, we were able to put an additional $8,500.00 into Capital Reserve along with the planned $12,000.00.
The Trustees propose to increase fees in the coming years to pay for the replacement of the roofs and hopefully not have an assessment to the owners. Linda Perry asked about the shingles that fall off the mansards. Those shingles were glued in place and Bill replaces them as they fall off. He uses a small nails to secure them. Patty Clayton reminded the owners of a past roof assessment which equaled an additional months condo fee.
Review of 2014 Budget
The total amount of condo fees were not collected for the year 2013 as one unit has been left unoccupied and the fees have gone unpaid. The attorney for the complex is handling the matter and his fee will be part of the settlement from the bank.
Building Repairs were beyond the projected amount because of the repairs needed for the roof of Building 2.
$20,500 was put into Capital Reserve. The additional money for Capital Reserve coming from sidewalk repair as we only replaced two sidewalks, not the six we had planned.
Equipment Repair included the replacement of the pump in the pond that provides water for the sprinkler system and the pump for the fountain.
The Legal Expense included the fees from both of the Annual Meetings in 2013 along with other requests for legal opinions.
Donations were made to charities for owners who lived in the complex and passed away or who had a relative pass away. The office makes a $50.00 donation in their memory to a charity of their choice.
Steve Balicki asked if we will plan to continue with the sidewalks. In our efforts to save money for roofs, we still need to maintain the property. We plan on replacing sidewalks, with safety concerns in mind but at a slower pace.
Chelsea Downs asked when we plan on putting 10% of our annual income into the bank to make it easier for people to obtain loans moving into the complex. The owners of the complex decide how much to put into the Capital Reserve on an annual basis. With this year’s increase of 3%, it will still not be 10% of our annual income. The Trustees goal is to take care of the complex and save for future projects, not to put the 10% in to facilitate mortgage loans. There have been several sales in the complex this past year and people moving in were able to obtain mortgages. As we continue to plan for the roof replacement, fees will most likely be increased. A ballot question in 2014 will address another increase. It will be easier for the owners to pay a small amount per month rather than have an assessment. Steve Balicki asked why we don’t reduce the budget amounts and put more money into the bank on a monthly basis. The Trustees don’t know what unexpected repairs may have to be made during the year. The Trustees don’t want to put money into Capital Reserve one month just to pull it out the next month to pay bills. At the end of the year, any surplus will be put into Capital Reserve. The Capital Reserve is a savings for larger unexpected repairs.
Linda Perry asked the Trustees if we would replace the sign out on Route 202 because the black sign that is currently there is hard to see at night. It will be on the Agenda at the next Board meeting.
The results of the ballot voting
Question 1, “Should the Board of Trustees consist of only unit owners?” 52% said yes, 2.49% said no.
Question 2, “How much should be charged, per month, to those individuals who park their vehicles in a Visitors Parking Space.” 17.32% voted for $20.00, 15.06% voted for $30.00 per month, 3.35% voted for $40.00 per month, 11.36% voted for $50.00 per month and 7.28% voted for No Charge.
Ann Eaton asked why we are starting to charge for additional vehicles. Parking additional vehicles has been discussed at every Trustee meeting. We have met for the past year with owners, have fined owners and parking is still an issue. Steve Balicki asked if the fee could be rescinded. We will try to resolve the parking issue this year with the fee. If it doesn’t work then we will be talking about parking at the Annual Meeting in 2015. Patty Clayton asked if the spaces in front of the office could be returned to Office Spaces as they were several years ago. When the parking lot is re-striped, they will be changed back to Office Spaces.
Question 3, “Would you like to allow the collection of food for the South Hadley Food Pantry in the complex?” 46.05% voted Yes, 9.13% voted No.
The results of the ballot votes will be delivered to every unit owner.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:55 pm.