Spring 2018 Newsletter

To the membership, LISE:

The board is seeking input from the membership on two issues that affect all members of the Scenic Estates community: the means of bringing past due accounts current, and arriving at a means to ensure that new property owners/members are apprised of their responsibilities to the community to maintain the best (and only) surface water system on the island and the most complete suite of amenities of any area on Lummi Island. Our goal is to arrive at new policies that are fair and equitable to all members.

Over the past several months, and after a thorough review and audit of the member accounts, the board and the office staff at LISE has been attempting to bring all member accounts current with the payments for membership dues, water service and maintenance activities here in Scenic Estates. With recently updated accounting processes, delinquencies become more apparent. We’re happy to report that, since the changeover, most accounts have been brought current or are under a payment plan to achieve this end. Thank you.

The LISECC by-laws and policy statements of the community include provisions for both penalties and late fees in bringing delinquent accounts current. While changes to the by-laws require a full vote of the membership, the by-laws allow for policy statements to be amended by a vote of the board members. LISECC By-Laws and Policy Statements are always available for review at www.lisecc.com. A pull down menu from the information tab allows access to the governing documents.

We’re asking for input on how those policies for penalties and interest can be amended to make it fair to all, yet maintain the effect of requiring accounts to remain current for benefit of all members.

The second issue we’d like to address – and are seeking input on – is to develop a continuing dialog with those engaged in real estate sales to make certain that all those interested in acquiring property in Scenic Estates are fully informed of their responsibilities as members/owners and what the by-laws and policies in effect require from them to help maintain community assets. Making certain they are aware that the business office is available to help determine if there are any liens or charges on the property before the transaction is completed so the current owners can bring any delinquencies current.

Scenic Estates is a unique community here on Lummi Island. Our amenities have value for members, and it is our goal to continuously maintain and improve them for the benefit of all. The board meets on a regular basis – usually the third Sunday of the month. All members are invited to attend and bring their comments and recommendations to the board directly and in person.

And finally, the LISECC board is composed of volunteer members, acting on behalf of the entire community. At this year’s Annual General Membership meeting, there will be three open board positions all members will be asked to vote on. We’re looking for volunteers that are interested and willing to participate. It’s a great way to participate in the community and ensure that our community continues to develop and meet the needs of all members. To add your name to the ballot for this year’s Annual General Meeting, please contact the business office by June 10th (360-758-2699).

Finally, we’d like to encourage all to attend the meeting, give us your input, and, if possible volunteer to join us in helping to keep this community valuable to all.

Sincerely,

Board of Directors, Lummi Island Scenic Estates
 

2017 AGM Newsletter

AGM at the Clubhouse, August 26

The Annual General Membership Meeting (AGM) will be held this year on Saturday, August 26th, at the LISE Clubhouse starting at 10:00 am, not at the Grange hall. Up until a few years ago the AGM meetings had been held at the clubhouse so this is a throwback to the past. The Grange Hall apparently has an issue with seating capacity so is no longer an available option.

Parking may be a little tight so if you are able to walk or carpool to the meeting that would help. We know that crabbing will be under way, but we would very much appreciate it if those members with boat trailers could take into consideration parking for the AGM when parking their boat trailers that morning so that our older members or those with physical limitation are able to park close to the club house. Thank you in advance for your consideration.

Proposals

As you know from the mailing that went out in mid-June there are three bylaw amendments being proposed. Hopefully you have retained and reviewed the proposals, but if you have lost your copy they are also being included as part of the AGM materials. AGM materials are also available at the LISE website (see here). Two of the proposals were intended to hopefully make serving on the board something that is a little less intimidating (reducing the length of term from 3 to 2 years for all current board members and those elected going forward) and to try and foster member participation on the board (meeting stipend/credit equal to 1/12 of the dues on a single lot for each regular board meeting attended up to a maximum of 12 meetings starting in 2018).

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the board would once again like to emphasize that member participation is critical to LISE’s ability to function and thrive and that includes members stepping up and doing their part by serving on the board. Please be willing to do your part!

New Directors

If the bylaw amendment reducing director terms to two years is approved, there will be two open positions to be filled at this year’s AGM currently held by Mark Sexton and Doug Cash (both were elected to their current terms in 2015). Doug is running for re-election and appears on the ballot. We are also thankful to have a new member to Scenic Estates, Jeff Smith graciously volunteer to run for the Board (see Jeff's bio here). Mark has decided not to run again and even if the proposal to reduce director terms is not approved, Mark will be stepping down following the AGM, leaving a vacancy on the Board. Don McCuiston was appointed to fill a vacancy on the board when Gloria Maxwell resigned (Gloria was elected at the 2016 AGM) and is on the ballot for a confirmation vote to fill out the remainder of the term (2018 if the term length is reduced to two years, 2019 if not).

Proposed Budget

The proposed budget, adopted by the Board, reduces dues by $25 a year even after factoring in the director stipend should that be approved. The budget also anticipates our insurance cost remaining high for the next year or more, as a result of the litigation brought by Chuck Ortego, Louise Weber and others (see comments related to the special insurance assessment at last year’s AGM for specifics). Although we are hopeful that at some point our insurance cost will eventually come down, there is no way of knowing when that will happen so the budget necessarily is based on insurance cost as they currently are, not as we wish they were. In short, the increase in insurance cost resulting from the litigation, accounts for about an extra $108 per year per dues paying lot.

Personnel Changes

On the personnel front, there have been some changes over the last year. Specifically, as many of you are already aware, our long-time operations manager, John Graham, retired back in May. We all wish John a long, restful and happy retirement. Long-time operations employee, Kevin Southworth, has taken over the position of operations manager. LISE is fortunate to have Kevin’s years of experience, knowledge and dedication. Earlier this year, Isaac Colgan was hired as an operations trainee to work with Kevin on the operations side. Isaac is a great addition, and since being hired has tested for and received his operator in training certification.

In addition to the forgoing changes, as of the date of this writing, our office manager, Glenda Peterson, has given notice that she will be leaving, with her last day being July 25th. We wish Glenda well in her new endeavors. Needless to say, Glenda’s leaving at this time poses some challenges for the board but we will do our best to navigate them but please keep in mind that we are a volunteer board made up of members who have lives, jobs and other commitments, so please cut us some slack during this transition period.

Operations Update

On the operations front, the roof on the clubhouse was replaced since the last AGM. We also added mixers to the water storage tanks. These were major expenditures that were paid for out of reserves. The Board recently accepted a bid to replace the existing dock ramp with an aluminum ramp that should last for years to come. The ramp will hopefully be completed this fall so it will be ready when the docks go in the water next spring.

Also, operations staff worked with a leak detection company which went over the water lines looking for leaks and located a few which have now been fixed. As has been pointed out in the past, LISE has over 28,000 feet of water distribution lines in a very rocky terrain which poses issues for our system. None the less, please keep in mind that even a one gallon per minute leak over that 28,000 feet of line would come out to over 43,000 gallons per month. The dilemma facing the Board and staff, is even if it were possible to eliminate all water loss, how much money is LISE willing to spend to try and eliminate every drop of water loss? Also keep in mind that for the most part the amount of water loss is a relatively fixed figure (allowing for events out of the norm), consequently, in high usage months during the summer the percentage that water loss represents of overall usage goes way down and in the low usage winter months when many people aren’t using their LISE homes, the percentage of water loss to overall usage goes up. In short, the Board has tried hard to address leaks/water loss prevention in a prudent, cost effective fashion, knowing that it is virtually impossible to eliminate all water loss.

Reserve Summary

AGM materials include the Reserve Summary (see here). As already noted, the board used money from reserves to replace the clubhouse roof and to install mixers in the water storage tanks. These were major expenditures and they highlight the usefulness of the reserve planning/funding process in trying to avoid the type of situation where current lot owners defer needed improvements in order to keep dues low only to stick future lot owners with the total cost of replacing or upgrading big ticket items.

Please note that the level of reserves and the percentage of funded is something that will fluctuate over time as we continue to fund reserves and as projects are completed. The important thing is that based on the most recent reserve study the enclosed summary concludes LISE should have sufficient money to meet its obligations over the next 30 years provided it continues to make its recommended reserve contribution (adjusted for inflation). In short, the current board is trying to take a reasoned and prudent approach to reserve funding.

Lawsuit Updates

Finally, as many of you know, all claims brought by Chuck Ortego, Louise Weber and others in Federal Court, were dismissed via a series of summary judgment motions. The Plaintiffs have filed an appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Their opening brief was due a few months ago but they have requested and have been granted, an extension of time to file their opening brief which, is now due August 11th.

As a side note, in the underlying Court case, the judge had awarded a judgment for cost, jointly and severally against all the plaintiffs, in an amount over $24,000. Our legal counsel then filed the judgment in counties where the Plaintiffs own property. This came as a rude awakening for one of the Plaintiffs when they went to sell property they owned in Grays Harbor County and found out they would have to pay the judgment in full to remove the judgment lien. The judgment did in fact get paid.

Also as an aside, the membership may be interested in learning that we have been informed by our legal counsel that Mr. Ortego has filed a Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition.

Thanks for your consideration and we hope that you will take the time to attend the AGM in August.