[Clarification: Seven Lakes West Landowners Association Events Director Rosemary Weber expressed concern that this report on the Tuesday, June 26 Board meeting may have created the impression that CAS, Inc. staff are currently involved in the planning and execution of Community Events. Weber told The Times that "CAS has not orchestrated any of the Events for Seven Lakes West -- and will not, until next year, when the Events Director's position will be eliminated, along with the Safety and Security Director position, reducing the Board to seven Directors."]

Responsibility for Safety & Security, as well as Events, will pass from the Seven Lakes West Landowners Association [SLWLA] Board of Directors to the Association’s management company, CAS, Inc. when the terms of current Directors Ed Cockman and Rosemary Weber expire next March.

The Directors had voted earlier in the year to downsize the Board from nine to seven members, a recommendation made by last year’s Nominating Committee. They voted during their Tuesday, June 25 meeting to reassign the functions that Cockman and Weber had been handling.

After the meeting, SLWLA President Stevens told The Times that it was difficult to find nine board members who are willing to volunteer.

“We went from nine to seven because it is more typical,” he added. “All of the associations that CAS represents have boards with seven members. Plus, the Board, over time, is trying to come up with a plan to make volunteering as a Board Member to be more enticing. It’s a better plan get people to volunteer.”

During the meeting, Cockman explained that CAS staff already shares many of both Cockman’s and Weber’s duties, so it will be an easy and natural transition.

“The nominating committee felt that CAS security has pretty well taken over a lot of things that were once the committee’s responsibility when [former Safety & Security Director] Jim McCarthy had resigned,” said Cockman, whose was appointed to serve out McCarthy’s unexpired term. “They have done an excellent job of taking that on. The same is true of the Events Committee. CAS have done a wonderful job. Two had to be picked, and this is a rational choice.”

CAS will be taking over a lot of committees,” said Weber. “They would be like the Board to assign someone to be a liaison to CAS. CAS has a very strong relationship with the community.”

Over the objection of some residents, the Directors did not allow for public comment on the matter before putting the motion to a vote and passing it unanimously.

The board had provided opportunity for public comment on other individual matters taken up during the meeting, as well as during the formal Public Comment period.

Stevens told The Times after the meeting that the Board had the discretion to decide whether they would allow public comment or not on individual items.

“It’s not been what we have done routinely,” Stevens said. “We have allowed for comments on issues based on the amount of emotion in the community. We have to have some kind of control and decorum and follow Robert’s Rules of Order.”

Budget on track

With a new fiscal year comes a new budget. Treasurer Dale Erickson reviewed expected expenditures for the next several months. Other than an unusual expense of $11,000 for electrical work at Johnson Point the budget is on track, he said.

Erickson emphasized the importance the budget plays in allowing the community to save for a rainy day.

“Reserves are so important to us,” said Erickson. “Every month we add $43,000 to our reserves.”

Working on collections

Erickson said he and CAS have worked diligently to address delinquent accounts. Currently, there are several hundred residents that are behind on paying their dues. Reminders are not sent out at 30 days past due followed with notices at 60, 75 and 90 days past due. On the 105th day the resident is referred to an Attorney who attempts to collect the past dues.

“We need to do something to motivate these people and have established some recovery activities,” Erickson said. “We are trying to motivate residents to pay their fines and past dues.”

Those “motivators” can include:

• Deactivate the delinquent landowner’s bar code privilege, so that they must stop at the gate and receive a one day pass to enter Seven Lakes West.

• Rescinding pool passes.

• Rescinding boat privileges.

• Rescinding storage lot privileges.

Past dues currently total $82,288. With the new motivators in place the Association has already begin receiving some payments, said Erickson, who won applause from the audience for his efforts.

Planning Committees Created & Staffed

The board voted unanimously to approve two new committees in the place of the defunct Long Range Planning Committee, one called the “Strategic Planning Committee” and another the “Landowners Advocacy Committee.”

Director Erickson explained that having two committees will help avoid conflict. They will also be smaller, more focused, understand the task at hand, and accomplish what they want to get done.

“The Long Range Planning Committee was deactivated earlier this spring for a number of reasons,” Erickson said. “It gave me opportunity to start from scratch and start with something new.”

After much input from the community, the newly named Strategic Planning Committee will focus on “strategic thinking, sensitive to residents’ values,” Erickson said. “It needs to coordinate with other committees. It also needs to recognize the availability of money and restraints. We only have so much money, and we have to balance what we want to do with a budget,” Erickson said. “Both Committees will have the same objective of improving the quality of life in Seven Lakes West.”

Both Committees will be a diverse, according to Erickson: “The volunteers are all residents. Some live on the lake and some off the lake, on golf courses, retired and working people, mature people and there are young people with families. Some of the people on the list have been here several months and some have been here many many years.”

Members of the Strategic Planning Committee include: Dale Erickson, Ron Shepard, Dan Lamber, Diane Krauss, Jeremy Rust, Denis Sherian, and Brian Clodfelter.

Members of the Landowners Advocacy Committee include: Dale Erickson, Jim Beaty, Lori Lattin, Tom Holleman, Parks Cobb, Bernadette York, Andy Smith, Jack Lattin, and Patti Cleary.

Weber asked whether having members of these new committees serving on other SLWLA communities would create a conflict of interest.

“I know that some members already serve on two committees, and it hasn’t been a problem,” Erickson said. “I would consider it an asset and appreciate that they are bringing that knowledge with them.”

Four Way Stop

Residents residing on Morris Drive signed a petition asking for the removal of the stop signs at the intersection with James Road. In 2006, the intersection was heavily trafficked. Since then, a bypass was created and the amount of traffic was reduced.

Resident Ray MacKay reported on a recent study of traffic at the intersection. After several days of observation, it was determined that the stop signs should be removed due to low traffic.

“They counted everything,” MacKay said. “Morning rush hour and coming home from work traffic. Ninety percent of traffic is on Morris Drive and ten percent is on James Drive.”

Cockman said, “I would be remiss if I did not speak for safety and security. When this first came up before the Board, I sat at James and watched the traffic go through that intersection. I think it just slowed people down. Many didn’t stop; they just rolled on through. It did slow down traffic enough to be a deterrent to speeding on that road.”

The Board opened the floor for resident input. All but one agreed with Cockman that it was a good deterrent to speeding. Others said the four-way stop protected children riding their bikes down the hill.

Betty Milligan, who lives on Morris Drive, was in favor of the removal of the stop signs.

“The people who spoke here do not live on Morris Drive,” Milligan said. “There was a petition and a number of people signed it. Where are all the children that live on Morris Drive? There are not that many. Morris is a very quite street, with very little traffic, and it is not the thoroughfare that it use to be.”

The board put the recommendation to a vote, and the motion died due to lack of a second. The intersection will stay as it is.

Jim Ballew Remembered

Daniel Blue spoke respectfully of the late Jim Ballew, an Architectural Review Committee [ARC] member.

“One of the ARC members passed away,” Blue said. “I would like to take a minute to recognize his effort and energy he brought to his position. What many may not have known is that he was actually helping one of his neighbors when this accident struck. He was a passionate advocate and supporter of ARC, and he will be missed.”

Patriotic Celebrations

Seven Lakes West’s Events Committee has planned a variety of events for the upcoming Independence Day holiday, including:

• July 4 - Kids parade at West Side Park.

• July 5 - Red Line Band Concert at Johnson Point

• July 6 - Boat Parade (Line up around Pine Island parade will begin roughly around 1:00)

• July 6 - Firework Show

Other July events include:

• July 19 - Family Game Night.

• July 20 - Women Empowerment at 10:00 am.

Don’t run for the Border

“I have one comment,” said Legal Director Chuck Watkins, “our fireworks show is the legal way to display fireworks in North Carolina and in our community. Others are limited to pistol caps, pop streamers, and noise makers.”

“I would like to ask that everybody honor the fact that we are very susceptible to fire.”

“Even though South Carolina is just a few miles away, don’t run down there, load up, and bring them back here and shoot them off here.”

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