Following is a recap of issues discussed and/or approved at the June 26th Somersett Owners Association (SOA) Board of Directors (BOD) Meeting. Related Agenda items are noted. The full meeting Agenda may be accessed via the following link:
Homeowner comments on Meeting Agenda Items were as follows (paraphrased):
- Item 4.e. General Manager Report – An owner commented on a reference in the GM report that The SOA/SGCC Water Facilities Committee (now named the SGCC and SOA Water Management Advisory Committee) had agreed to get cost proposals to determine the viability of a new well near the Canyon9 ninth hole pond. Given that this is a new consideration, it raises the following questions: 1) what purpose will a new well serve, 2) who will benefit from it (i.e., water usage), 3) how will the cost be allocated, 4) was this the only item discussed at the meeting, 5) will formal meeting recaps be issued, and 5) will their meetings be open for homeowner attendance, as has been the case for other SOA Ad-hoc committees?
- Item 6.b. Easement Access Appraisal Proposal for Ventana Ridge – Two owners spoke up against approval of the $4,500 proposal to obtain a professional appraisal for an easement through an unused portion of SOA property as requested by the Ventana Ridge Developer. Opinions being that the proposed process was flawed and did not address what was in the best interest of the SOA. Also, that an appraisal was not necessary, the asking price should be based on what the value is to the Developer, not on the land value itself. An additional suggestion that perhaps the Developer could be approached with on offer for annexing into the Somerset PUD.
- Item 7.d. Ratify Boards Decision to Dissolve CSC – Six owners spoke up against the BOD’s decision to dissolve the CSC. Points made were as follows:
- The vote to dissolve the CSC at the June BOD meeting was illegal as it was not identified as an agenda item.
- No explanation was provided by the BOD as to why the CSC was being dissolved and how this would benefit the community.
- No rules/processes owners must now follow regarding non-compliances have been published (i.e., no path moving forward)
- With the BOD taking over the duties of the CSC, there would be no appeal process (i.e., from the CSC to the BOD), only the filing of a lawsuit.
- Unlike the CSC, the BOD turns over every year, therefore continuity and consistency in enforcing the SOA rules and regulations is lost.
- There was no transparency on the part of the BOD in their actions. Decision was made in secret, it was not identified as a BOD Meeting agenda item, owners were not given the chance to comment, the CSC was not consulted beforehand.
- No understanding on what the BOD wants to accomplish by eliminating the CSC as well as the previous elimination of homeowner membership on the Aesthetic Guidelines Committee. This appears contrary to statements encouraging more homeowner participation in community affairs.
- The Board has enough on its plate without assuming the duties of the CSC.
- Item 7.e. Revised Expense Policy – A Facilities committee member spoke against the proposed revision to the SOA’s Expense Policy. The revision being to increase the dollar limit under which the Board should seek competitive bids from $12K to $25K. Opinion being that this is too high a limit for the Board to make unilateral decisions, especially without input from Finance and Facility Committees.
- Item 7.f. Back Nile Trail Speed Control Device Survey Results – Three owners spoke up in favor of the installation of speed humps along Back Nine Trail (to be paid for by Back Nine Trail owners and maintained by the SOA), citing observed safety concerns and the positive results from the survey. Encouraged the Board to move forward with approval. The Board had previously approved the project but placed it on hold pending homeowner survey results.
- 4.a. Budget & Finance – Acknowledged the efforts put forth by MaryAnn McKinney and Ryan Burns during their tenure on the Committee (Finance Committee has openings for new members). The 2020 budgeting process will be kicked off at a Budget Workshop scheduled for 4:00 PM on July 31st at TCTC, owner attendance allowed. Recommended approval of the revised Expense Policy, per Agenda Item 7.e. below.
- 4.b. Facilities and Strategic Planning – Working on the preparation of a “Future Capital Projects Prioritization” document. Recommended disapproval of the proposed TCTC external sound system upgrade. Proposed the following for 2020 budget consideration: 1) expanding the TCTC work-out room, 2) repurposing the TCTC stage for extended work out space, 3) utilizing solar or geothermal projects to reduce TCTC electrical costs, 4) installing electric charging stations at TCTC, and 5) a Lap Pool cover. Owners are encouraged to attend Committee meetings to voice their own opinions and project suggestions.
- 4.c. Communications – Working on SOA website improvements and recommended approval of the D4 Advanced Media proposal (Agenda Item 7.f. below) to accomplish same. Also, recommended $10K be budgeted in 2020 for additional improvements. Spoke on the controversy over the issuance of four free TCTC guest passes to owners. These passes were approved back in 2017 and included in the 2018 budget. However, it was apparently not included in the 2019 budgeting process, raising the question as to whether it was only intended for 2018 and not a continuing benefit. Further complicated in that some 2019 SOA owner communications indicated they were available for pick up at the TCTC front desk. Committee recommendation was that these passes continue to be available until such time that the Board officially extends or suspends the program and notifies owners accordingly. Resolution expected by next Board meeting.
- 4.e. General Manager Report
- The GM noted that the SOA had in the last month experienced 13 mainline irrigation system breaks along with some vandalism which has resulted in some stressed turf areas along the Parkway, which is being adequately addressed by Brightview (Note: in a homeowner comment it was noted that there are stressed areas where irrigation is working properly. and that if irrigation and fertilization does not solve the problem, perhaps replacement is in order)
- The GM advised that minutes for the Water Facilities Committee meeting would be published and placed on the SOA Website, also future meeting schedules and that homeowners could attend. With regard to the potential of drilling a new well, this would be to replace Well 5 in Sierra Canyon that it is not currently producing water at the rate it should be for irrigation of the SGCC, and that installation of a larger pump (note that when the original pump failed, the SGCC elected to install a smaller pump) would be a short term solution, which in the long term could create a bigger issue that it would solve due to the condition of the well. Hence the decision to obtain cost proposals for a new well. Tony Fakonas (who as Board President oversaw the preparation of the SGCC Purchase and Lease Agreement) interjected that per the Agreement, the SGCC was completely responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of Well 5 and that the SOA should not incur any costs in this endeavor. The GM sort of danced around this premise by opining it was “our golf course” and that the SOA needed to insure it was maintained correctly. However, when further challenged, he advised no SOA funds would be spent unless approved by the Board.
- The latest update on SOA Engineering Projects as prepared by Padovan Consulting is available via the following link: SOA Engineering Update – June 2019
- 5.b. May 2019 Financials – The SOA Treasurer (Joe Strout) summarized the May financial balance sheets, which were then approved by the Board.
- 5.c. 2018 Audit – The Finance Committee reviewed the draft 2018 Audit Report with the auditors and recommended approval by the Board, which was then approved. One take-away from the audit report was that the combined 2017 and 2018 rockery wall repair related expenses totaled $2.8M. For 2019, the Gypsy Hill rockery wall repair contract with R.L. Wadsworth Construction was $1.7M. This along with other related rockery wall expenses (e.g., change orders, landscaping, wall monitoring and legal expenses) could conceivably add an additional $500K in 2019 expenses, for a grand total of around $5M, which necessitated the $1200 Special Assessment.
Note: For those interested in the statements of revenue and expenses for both operating and reserve funds, consolidated or for the individual cost centers (i.e., Common Area, TCTC, Gates & Private Streets and Town Square Properties) these are contained within the BOD Meeting Packet and available on the SOA Website.
- 6.a. Legal Updates – Regarding the Rockery Wall lawsuit, a hearing was held on July 15th in which the Defendant’s (Somersett Development Company, et. al) motion for a summary judgment was heard as well as the SOA’s motion to strike the defendant’s statute of limitations and repose defenses. A written opinion from the Court on these motions is expected within the next two to four weeks.
- 6.b. Easement Access Appraisal Proposal for Ventana Ridge – After much discussion, the Board unanimously approved the $4,500 proposal from Valbridge Property Advisors to appraise the value of an easement access through SOA property as requested by the Ventana Ridge Developer. Commenting that they believed Valbrigde Property was aware of all considerations pertaining to the easement request.
Note: The requested easement is through a short section of SOA unused native land at the upper end of Painted River Trail. Easement will permit a Ventana Ridge road to connect to Peavine Creek Road in the residential area adjacent to Somersett. There will be no access to the SOA’s Painted River Trail from Ventana Ridge.
- 7.a. Willow Removal Proposal from Brightview – No action required by the Board. A low cost proposal (under $3K) which was within the GM’s ability to approve.
- 7.b. Trail Patch and Root Barrier Proposal from APS – The Board Packet did not contain an actual proposal, only the RFP generated by the SOA’s Engineering Consultant, Seth Padovan. However, Padovan advised that the proposal price of $160,000 did not make sense (way to high) for what the SOA wanted to accomplish. Therefore, the proposal should be rejected, the RFP modified and sent out for competitive bid. The Board approved this action.
- 7.c. Scott Valley Ct Ditch Clean out and Erosion Control Proposal from EPS – The Board unanimously approved the $25,738 proposal from EPS to clean out approximately 430 ft of drainage channel and construct a 350 ft Rock Wall, rip rap buffer and fiber trench to abate future sediment and debris from filling the ditch. There was some discussion about approving this single source proposal given that the Revised Expense Policy increasing the suggested competitive bid amount to $25K (see Item 7.e. below) had not yet been approved.
- 7.d. Ratify Boards Decision to Dissolve CSC – The Board ratified their June 24th Board Meeting decision (i.e., on a 4:1 vote with Board Member Roland voting no) to dissolve the Community Standards Committee. In discussion, the Board President apologized for not thanking the Committee Members for their service. That the decision was based partly on confidentiality issues that needed to be addressed in Board Executive Sessions anyway. That the Board recognized that a new process needed to be developed and communicated to all homeowners (one would think that this would have been accomplished before dissolving the CSC). Also, that this agenda item was added to alleviate concerns over how the vote was handled at the June Board meeting, which on attorney advice, they believe was legal.
- 7.e. Revised Expense Policy – The Board approved on a 4:1 vote the proposed revision to the SOA Expense Policy that increases the suggested amount for competitive biding from $12K to $25K. In discussion, the GM advised that the proposed policy would provide flexibility in awarding contracts directly to vendors who we have worked with in the past, are familiar with the SOA infrastructure, and are convinced they would be the low bidder anyway.
- 7.f. Website Enhancement Proposal from D4 – The Board unanimously approved the $3,222 proposal from D4 Advanced Media for SOA Website enhancements.
- 7.g. Back Nine Speed Trail Control Device Survey Results – The Board approved moving forward with the owner funded speed hump installations along Back Nine Trail on a 4 yes and 1 abstention vote (Board Member Fitzgerald abstained due to living along Back Nine Trail). Homeowners are obtaining cost proposals for the project. The SOA GM is familiar with the proposed homeowner engaged Project Manager and will work with him to insure SOA needs and requirements are addressed.
Additional Homeowner Comments
Homeowner comments (paraphrased) at the close of the meeting included the following: 1) Inadequate Parkway maintenance, several dead grass areas that need to be corrected, no additional add-on work money to Brightview until they get the Parkway under control, 2) Unsafe (excessive speeding) and illegal operation of dirt bikes within Somersett, perptrators need to be identified and corrective action taken, 3) The four free TCTC passes policy was intended for ongoing use when previously approved, therefore, they need to be honored in 2019, 4) Vandalization of irrigation system components continue, some within the irrigation system control boxes which need to be made more secure, 5) Identification of a 41 acre parcel of land above Village 6 which is on the market for $1.4M and reportably suitable for residential development. A Washoe County map indicates it is within the Somersett PUD boundary. The Board indicated it was unaware of this parcel and its significance to the SOA and will look into it.
As usual, SU welcomes any comments and/or corrections to the above Board Meeting recap.