BOARD MEETING MINUTES
Unapproved Board Meeting Minutes of
Aug 9, 2003
CALL TO ORDER
President Todd Graham called the meeting to order at 9:00 AM. Present were 1st Vice President Marv Richardson, 2nd Vice President Scott Hayer, Directors Bob Adair, Larry Franklin and Brian Kozlowski and Manager Gail White. Chuck Bailey was excused. The meeting opened with a prayer.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Marv Richardson moved to approve the June minutes as written. Seconded by Larry Franklin. Motion carried.
For the month of July 2003 the Treasurer reported income of $31,868.21 and expenses of $41,863.58. Cash on Hand at July 31, 2003 was $193,788.17. Bob Adair moved to accept the Treasurer's Report. Seconded by Marv Richardson. Motion carried.
COMMENTS FROM THE FLOOR
Janet Isaac, Lot 514, inquired about obtaining a copy of the most current revision of the Covenants and Restrictions and a copy of the By Laws. Terry Obrecht, Lot 251, presented to the board a copy of a letter requiring answers to 5 of her concerns and demanding the ouster of the President, any board member and all employees who supported him during the recent election as well as to revoke certain rights of those members. Dick Brandt, Lot 285, states that it has been a policy that any written adverse information and unfavorable opinions submitted anonymously should be disregarded due to the fact that the writer does not have the temerity to come forward. John Rose, Lot 547, reported the theft of 2 chained, locked and covered ATV's from his lot. The camper dining room door and window were open and inside was in a state of disarray. Fortunately the only thing missing was a portable radio, extra keys to the ATV's and an extra set of keys to the camper. He would like to see an increase in the level of security. Some suggestions were to do thorough perimeter searches around the boundaries of White Birch checking for any new access points, better lighting at the front gate and improve the nighttime video tape image. The security tape should be regularly reviewed to watch for improper activities at the gate, maybe change how non-members are let in, perhaps entrance by access card only and contact similar organizations to discuss their security policies. Walter Sonnichson, Lot 1377, addressed his remark to Marv Richardson concerning a rebuttal to Theresa Obrecht's scathing remarks as she presented her demands and stated he disagreed with Marv. Chuck Adams, Lot 68, wants an update on the status of the removal of the dumpster at 4901 White Birch Lane. Fran Lombardo, Lot 658, would like to see a bake sale in order to raise funds for new playgound equipment. Chuck Adams, Lot 68, asked if the board was really considering removing the front gate as it was one of the questions asked on the survey. Gail White added that the responses to the survey so far indicate that people do not want to eliminate the gate. Ron Tagg, Lot 246, asked about the survey question concerning a shelter for the school children and inquiring if that would be necessary since there had been talk of having school bus pickups within the association. He was advised the school system will not allow the buses in White Birch. Sharon Sonnichson, Lot 1377, stated that during parties at the campground, the restroom locks are taped so the doors will not lock and this is unsafe. In order to avoid incidents in the rest rooms, the doors should always remain locked and each person should have a key. Walter Sonnichson, Lot 1377, stated that the women's and men's restrooms should have separate keys, not only to protect the people but also to protect the association should there be an attack or incident.
A new committee has been created. This new committee will consist of children in White Birch Lakes between the ages of 12 and 17. Joe Romine and our 2nd Vice President, Scott Hayer will be directing this group of children. The intent of creating this committee is to allow more input from the children of White Birch Lakes as to what recreational facilities and improvements are needed to make White Birch more "kid friendly". This committee will be called "The White Birch Saplings". All children between the ages of 12 and 17 who are interested in working with this committee should sign up on this notice which will be posted right after this meeting. Interested children may sign up for the next 30 days.
Committee Sign Up Reminder:
Sign up sheets for all White Birch Committees are posted here at the Clubhouse and will remain posted until August 16th. All members in good standing are eligible to serve on these committees. Interested individuals need to sign up or call or email the White Birch Office before August 16th.
Release of Information on Members Not in Good Standing:
At our June Board of Directors meeting this Board was asked to allow the release of information regarding members who are behind in paying their assessments. Our legal counsel has advised that the release of this information could be a violation of the Federal Privacy Act so the White Birch Office will not release this information.
I would like to take a quick moment to thank our community for their involvement with our elections this year. We had a total of 317 ballots cast with 141 of those being absentee ballots. This is an increase from a total of 129 ballots last year with 64 absentee ballots. I commend those members who were actively involved in electing your representatives.
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION COMMITTEE -Chairperson Chick Witchell reported that in regards to the dumpster at 4901 White Birch Lane there have been several letters sent from which there has been no response. We do not have the authority to remove the dumpster - the owner has the responsibility. The committee will continue to try to make contact. For June and July approvals were granted for 1 new campsite, 6 tree removals, 2 driveways, 1 garage, 1 dock, a porch and a contiguous lot status. A reminder to the campers that there are many complaints about 2 campers on a site - only one is allowed per site unless you get a 14 day permit. At the end of the 14 day period the second trailer must be removed for 15 days before another permit can be issued. Certain camping rules are as provided by a court order. A reminder that all that can be left on the lot after October 31 is just a picnic table and wood pile. As for recommendations to secure the nature trail, no progress has been made because each scheduled meeting has been rained out.
ACTIVITIES COMMITTEE - Chairperson Shirley Brandt stated she had had good reports about the luncheon served at the annual meeting. The next activity is posted at the door, the cookout and dance at the campground for the Labor Day weekend. Last year we had close to 300 people. Information received from Kewadin about a bus trip gives us a price of $72.00 per person which provides the tranportation. Leaving on a Wednesday morning the tour would be stopping at St Ignace then up to Sault Ste Marie for the rest of the day and evening, the nights lodging, $50 in play money or coins, a breakfast buffet, and a luncheon buffet. Tentative date is November 12. As soon as a date is confirmed there will be a sign up sheet for 46 people. Payment must be received at the time of signing. The Halloween party is also coming up and it should be a fun fall. Also a possibility of having a bake sale in early fall.
CAMPGROUND COMMITTEE - Fred Witchell reported that the campground must be made ready for the Labor Day cookout and dance. Costs of campsites for the 2004-2005 year's storage are being reviewed. There will be 77 sites in the campground. There will be a minimum of 4 campsites vacant during the winter months. Sites will be assigned on a 1st come 1st serve basis. The storage area is being reorganized. This winter there is the possibility that campground facilities will be closed from December into spring as the sewage facilities freeze and need to be replaced.
SECURITY - Fred Witchell reported there has been 22 incidents of thieves entering campers and relieving the owners of all alcoholic products. In most cases not much else is being taken. He suggests that alcoholic products not be left in campers nor should any cans or bottles be left outside which could indicate the presence of alcoholic products. Police will be stepping up patrols.
If possible, please report any suspicious activity observed at campsites in your area. Call me at 588-6797 or the Sheriff at 539-7166. In regards to a proposal for identifying lots, some metal plates have been found which may be used to identify lots. Chuck Adams reported that his property is adjacent to Old State Road and have had 4 wheelers coming across the property. One weekend 15 young people walked through our property.
NOMINATING COMMITTEE - Marv Richardson extends thanks to all those who participated in the elections and those who counted and recorded the ballots. There have been comments as to how to handle the counting of the ballots and it should be a goal of the next nominating committee to look at how we might more efficiently cast and count those ballots.
BY-LAWS COMMITTEE - Basically on hiatus for the time being. Anne Hobart has decided to resign as chairperson of that committee.
HOT TUB PROJECT - Cheryl Constastino is looking at the purchase of an industrial type hot tub which would hold about 7-8 people. She would like to solicit at least 3 bids. Should you like to make a donation, please write a check so that you could receive recognition for your donation in the Birch Bark. As for the discussion of the placement of a possible hot tub, the manager advised that the south wall of the pool area is bowing out and will need replacement in the future. At that time there is the possibly the wall could be extended to permit the installation of a hot tub.
To date there have been 114 responses received and tabulated and the results indicate that 81 chose to leave the entry access as it is now, 13 by proximity cards only, 20 chose to leave the gate open from 7AM to 7PM on weekdays and 8 chose to eliminate the gate. As to allowing voting on line at the website 70 answered in the affirmative and 38 negative. The rating of the 4 remaining items - #1 lake renovation, #2 addition of the school bus stop building, #3 update interior of the clubhouse, #4 paving the roads. The committee had met previously at the entrance to discuss the safety of the children as they await the arrival of the school bus. One possibility could be a larger building placed adjacent to the route of outgoing and incoming traffic. At present the street signs present a problem for emergency personnel because they are not reflectorised and are hard to read. Marv Frayer is looking for ways to update the road signs. Friday there was a meeting with Reiss Real Estate and we have listed 7 lots and 4 more will be coming in which will also be listed. Lien letters have been sent out advising members that liens have been placed on their property for non payment of assessments. There were 11 responses to the first set of 20 lien letters sent out to arrange payments or the return of the lots. Good response is coming back to foreclosure letters sent by the attorney, Mr. Dryer. In your packet is a sheet showing the 1995 structure of fees charged at the campground. Costs of running the campground are being reviewed with the possibility of increasing charges at the campground should that be warranted. In response to complaints at the gate, consideration is being given to notifying the entire membership and revamping all entry codes. There are too many existing numbers and they have been passed around. It would be feasible to allow everyone to pick his/her own 5 digit pin number, it can be registered to that person and that would establish a whole new data base.
ACCOUNTS PAYABLE - Payables were reviewed. Marv Richardson moved to pay the bills. Seconded by Bob Adair. Motion carried.
The motion to limit access at the gate to proximity cards only was further tabled until more survey results are returned.
Damage done to the gate by individuals - Marv Richardson moved that any future damage done to the access gate be billed directly to the individual responsible for damaging the gate. The billing would include the cost of replacement plus administrative and labor costs. Seconded by Scott Hayer. Motion carried.
Procedure for getting information from office - Brian Kozlowski made a motion that all requests for information from the office, particularly fiscal records, must be made in writing including an explanation as to the reason for such information and the intended use of such information. Motion seconded by Bob Adair. Brian Kozlowski added an amendment to the motion to add a fee structure of 50 cents per sheet for 5 sheets or less and 75 cents per sheet for all sheets over 5. Amendment seconded by Bob Adair. Motion and Amendment carried.
Procedure for access through the gate for private parties - The gate will no longer be left open. Marv Richardson made a motion that members must get a temporary gate code free of charge or pay an attendant $10.00 per hour to man the gate during the party hours. Seconded by Bob Adair. Motion carried.
At this time Marv Richardson stated that he would not make an apology for his outburst towards Ms. Obrecht. The reason is, this board is made up of individual human beings, and over the past several months members of this board, myself included, have been under personal attacks, verbal attacks, phone calls, attacks in our places of employment, letters have been sent to individuals and groups of people and party invitations and it has been disastrous for not only individuals but also for White Birch that this kind of stuff has been allowed to go on. It's time for White Birch and these individuals who are into character assassinations to put an end to this adversity. This board, myself included, has received not one dime for all the hours that we put in on this board. That is what we get for putting up with what we've had to so I can't apologize. I know my outburst was out of line but I think we have reached a point when we should bury the hatchets and start moving forward for the positive effects that all of us working together can have for White Birch.
Marv Richardson presented the following resolution -In light of the outrageous disruptions experienced by the previous by-laws committee and in light of the high emotions, the violent nature of verbal assaults, threats and attempts to intimidate some of the members of this committee, particularly the verbal assault and the intimidation directed at the chairperson of the by-laws committee, I believe it would be in the best interest of the association to invoke a cooling off period or a moratorium on establishing a by-laws committee. During this cooling off period no committee should convene for the purpose of reviewing or discussing possible changes to the bylaws. I move for adoption by this board that a six month moratorium or cooling off period be invoked during which time no committee shall be established for the sole purpose of reviewing or making recommendations for changes to the White Birch by-laws. A discussion followed and Brian Kozlowski stated he knows there is a big concern by some of the membership and a lot of the information that has been given by word of mouth appears that it may be that they don't completely understand how the By-Laws and the Covenants and Restrictions were adopted and the dates and methods by which those were agreed upon, published and became part of our organization. Basically the point is I understand your concern for the moratorium and whether it will cool or inflate tempers remains to be seen. If the board adopts that, I would like to know whether the board would entertain an amendment to that motion that a full disclosure as far as times and dates and methods by which past ones were approved would be publicly known. I know it's a matter of record but until such time as someone came in and did that they are going to continue to be fed information by word of mouth and that's what's probably feeding some of the furor. I can support the concept of reviewing the by-laws to take into consideration that things do change as we move along and maybe some of the by-laws need changing and maybe some new ones need to be made. As far as the moratorium, this is an issue that concerns many people and to just say we're going to stop, it's incumbent on us to put forward immediately what the bylaws are we have now, they were adopted at such and such a time and what is the original covenants and restrictions and deeds - when did they happen. This is not public information -it's by word of mouth out there - so we should at least publish that information. Motion passed with one abstention.
Bob Adair bought up the subject of the cost of electricity at the campground during the winter months. He expressed the concern that if electricity is available for the 4 camping sites then it's available for all sites. Therefore the campers should be charged for the cost of the power.
Fred Witchell is looking for volunteers to help with insulation and drywall for the office addition. Right now it is at a standstill while waiting for commercial building state and county approvals.
The President officially welcomes Brian Kozlowski to the White Birch Board of Directors.
Bob Adair made a motion to adjourn. Seconded by Brian Kozlowski. Motion carried.