Spring 2017 Newsletter

As usual your LISE Committee Chairs have been working diligently during the cold and snowy winter months to maintain the high quality of living in Scenic Estates. Their Spring updates follow.

But first:

If you have not been to our website, LISECC.com you should look at the new and improved site. It is user friendly, easy to navigate, loads quickly, and has an attractive design. In the near future all governing documents (Declaration, Bylaws, Rules and Regulations, Reserve Study, etc) will be uploaded in their entirety. There is a Board of Directors page, Water Report page, Legal page, News/blog page, LISE History page, Gallery page and contact page.

Spring Update from President Mark Sexton

Dear members,

LISE is moving forward despite the challenges presented to us by our litigious neighbors. I am truly proud of the perseverance shown by this volunteer board to defend LISE from this frivolous lawsuit and continue to improve our facilities. I will update the legal issues, but first here is a partial list of positive accomplishments we have worked on in the last year.

We engaged an outside leak detection firm to help us find leaks in our water system, and they did identify a few leaks, which we repaired, and ruled out several areas that we were unable to check with our equipment. Our water leak percentage did not change much, because our actual leakage averages just over 1 gallon per minute in miles of distribution piping, which may be several very small and unidentifiable leaks. The leak percentage number is larger than in many systems, but the combination of low usage and longer pipe runs between services skews that number upward.

We had our insurance crisis, and I thank you for supporting the assessment to pay for the increase in cost of coverage due to the lawsuit. I hope that with the lawsuit winding down our rates will decrease also.

We replaced the clubhouse roof and added gutters, and will finish the chimney repairs and flashing when the weather improves.

We installed mixers in our 100,000-gallon water storage tanks to decrease stratification, which will improve our control of our chlorine levels. This will improve the taste and odor in our drinking water.

We built dollies for our boat docks in the marina to enable us to install and remove them seasonally without the cost of bringing a crane to Lummi Island to assist us.

We created a new, more functional website to help us keep you more informed. Navigate to lisecc.com and let us know what you think.

After many years of quality service, John Graham is retiring. Please thank him when you see him for his many accomplishments improving LISE. We have hired a new part time trainee Isaac Colgan who resides in Scenic Estates, and have begun the training process. Again I want to thank John for his help over the years.

Now for the lawsuit, here is where we are:

On December 13, 2016, Judge Robert Lasnik, in federal court in Seattle, granted LISECC’s final summary judgment motion and issued judgment in favor of LISECC.  With these final orders, the court rejected every one of the claims asserted by Plaintiffs Charles Ortego, Louise Weber, Victor Armfield and several others against LISECC and its volunteer Board members.  Specifically, the judge ruled that:  

  1. LISECC’s authority to govern Scenic Estates did not expire and LISECC rightfully requires residents to pay dues;
  2. The bound lots policy approved by large majorities of LISECC members many times is lawful and enforceable;
  3. LISECC’s current and select former Board members are not guilty of racketeering;
  4. LISECC’s Board members did not breach their fiduciary duties to the community;
  5. No basis exists to grant Plaintiffs’ request to dissolve LISECC;
  6. LISECC’s Board members did not violate the Consumer Protection Act;
  7. Plaintiffs were not unjustly enriched by having to pay dues just like all of the rest of the community; and
  8. LISECC’s Board members did not act in an unlawful conspiracy.

LISECC has filed motions for sanctions and for attorney’s fees against Plaintiffs and their lawyers to recover the more than $634,000 incurred by LISECC’s insurance carrier to defend this baseless lawsuit.  In the meantime, Plaintiffs and their new lawyer, Greg Albert, have appealed Judge Lasnik’s judgment to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.  Briefs on that appeal are due in April.  As with the proceedings before Judge Lasnik, there are penalties for filing baseless appeals.

Spring Update from the Water and Operation Committee Chair Doug Cash

It looks like we've been hit with some snow this winter. Be sure to call the county if a road hasn't been plowed or sanded, just so they know. If they don't get the call they might not know just how bad are roads are in Scenic Estates. It's been brought to my attention by some members and have also witnessed it myself we have quite a bit of debris on the roads from trees. With that in mind we've been debating possibly purchasing a bigger sweeper, similar to the one that county has, it's just a thought at this time. The goal is to continue to work with the county and see if they will start maintaining our roads in Scenic Estates, now that most of them are paved. This process is going to take some time.

We have revised the water tier structure which will be retroactive to January 1st. It has taken some time and a lot of consideration. We discussed potentially billing per gallon. Unfortunately it would not work with our budget planning process. The rates have changed a little. For some they have gone down and for others they have gone up. In the end we feel this will work well for Scenic Estates.

Thank you for being a great community.
Doug Cash

Spring Update from the Finance Committee-Leslie Dempsey

Greetings Fellow Members! I hope everyone survived the record-cold winter months and that warmer days are soon to follow.

I’d like take this opportunity to highlight some important changes to Policy 7 of the LISECC Policy Statements, which you received along with your January invoice. The updated policy can also be found on our website. If you haven’t read it, I urge you to do so as soon as possible.

First, a little background: As of 12/31/16, LISECC has approximately $185,000 in accumulated delinquent accounts. A significant portion (just over $111,000) is owing just from the plaintiffs. Hopefully the recent legal decisions in favor of LISECC will encourage delinquent members to bring their accounts current as this impacts all of us as LISECC must generate enough income to pay our annual expenses.

Payment plans, liens and water shut off are really the only tools that LISECC has to work with to control and reduce our delinquent accounts balance.

Policy 7 deals with LISECC’s procedures for handling dues, charges, fees and assessments. As you know, Bylaw changes must be approved by vote of the membership whereas Policies, Rules and Regulations can be changed by vote of the Board of Directors. The changes made to policy 7 were approved by Board vote at our November 20, 2016 Board Meeting.

An important change to Policy 7 includes the clarification that our Bylaws specify that dues are invoiced on an annual basis and payment is due on a semi-annual basis (i.e. 1st half due on January 1, 2nd half due on July 1). LISECC has historically offered quarterly and monthly payment options. We have eliminated /the quarterly payment option as it was confusing to administer. LISECC will continue to offer the monthly payment option for the courtesy and convenience of members who maintain a current account status. However, in the event that a member (who initially qualified for and chose to use a monthly payment plan) becomes 30 days delinquent, their account will automatically revert to a semi-annual payment schedule as specified by section 4.5.1.3 of the Bylaws.

  1. Per our Bylaws, payments are due semi-annually in January & July.
  2. Monthly payments are available to Members who maintain a current account status, per Policy 7.
  3. If monthly payments become delinquent, the monthly payment option is no longer available and the account delinquency is measured by the semi-annual plan specified by our Bylaws.

LISECC does not send out monthly 30 day delinquent notices, it is each member’s responsibility to be aware of the status of their account, and we hope that the coupon payment booklet we sent out with each 2017 invoice will help with that awareness. If you have a water connection, LISECC will continue to mail out a quarterly supplemental invoice for water usage. If you ever have questions about your account, please contact our Officer Manager for assistance.

Once an account becomes 60 days delinquent based on the semi-annual payment schedule specified by our bylaws (remember that the monthly payment options is no longer available to delinquent members), LISECC will mail a lien warning letter and if applicable a water shut off warning letter. Delinquent members are encouraged to contact the LISECC Office Manager to structure a written repayment plan to submit for Board approval.

Thank you from LISECC Board