Four candidates will stand for election to three open seats on the Seven Lakes Landowners Association [SLLA] Board at the Annual Meeting on Sunday, March 23.
Nominating Committee Chairman Bob Racine introduced the candidates, which include Paul Chavez, Mary Farley, Sandy Sackmann, and incumbent Director Chuck Leach, during the Friday, January 31 SLLA Open Meeting.
“I would like to thank you and your committee," President Steve Ritter told Racine. It is always tough to find people willing to sit up here and be the focal point.”
A Meet the Candidates Night will be on Wednesday, February 5 at 7:00 pm in the North Clubhouse. Candidates will share information about their background and their interest in serving on the Board. Written questions will be taken from members, and the evening will include an opportunity for the membership to speak one-on-one with the candidates. Seven Lakes Times Editor Greg Hankins will moderate the session.
Are smaller dues increases, more frequently, more desirable?
The Board voted unanimously, during the January 31 Work Session, to ask the membership to approve a $25 dues increase at the Annual Meeting.
Treasurer Conrad Meyer made a motion to recommend the dues increase and to adopt the Fiscal Year 2015 operating budget as presented.
“I guess, to kick this thing off, I would like to make a motion to adopt the draft of the operating budget that is in the package,” Meyer said. “It includes a recommendation to ask the community for a $25 dues increase for all lots."
"When we went through the process of asking for a $100 dues increase this last year, we got a lot of feedback — 'Boy, that $100 dues increase is painful' — and I don’t dispute that at all. What we heard was: 'Wouldn’t it be easier to ask for increases in smaller bite size chunks, instead of bigger requests less frequently?' We are asking the community if they agree with that logic or would they rather have less frequent, larger increases. That’s what this is all about."
If the increase is approved at the Annual Meeting, SLLA homeowners dues would increase to $1,025.
Packets for the annual meeting will be mailed out in February.
Dock & boat slip repairs approved
The Maintenance Committee is finding it difficult to prioritize which of the SLLA's docks and boat slips need to be addressed first.
“The Maintenance Committee was asked to prioritize docks," Director Chuck Leach said. "They all were in such deplorable condition, that prioritizing was difficult-to-impossible to do.”
With problems ranging from splintered and rotten wood to exposed nails and compromised supports, Leach recommended that all docks and slips be repaired.
Leach credited Manager Ray Sohl's initiative in assessing the support structures under the docks. “We have a unique manager who will get in and swim underneath the structures and the docks.”
Bids were solicited for the dock repairs and a local company’s bid accepted. Work will be completed this year and is guaranteed for twenty-five years. To reduce the expense, SLLA maintenance staff will be responsible for deconstruction work.
The Board voted unanimously in favor of the repairs, which include:
• Upgrade of the eighteen boat slips at $36,512
• Big J swim dock and poles at $4,850
• Replacing the existing Sequoia swim dock at $6,620
• Repairs to the Launch ramps at $5,460
Local Contractors are Available
For contract work over $5,000, SLLA management is required to obtain three bids.
During the Open Meeting, Director Bob Darr asked: “What is the process of obtaining bids? I have had a couple of calls this week from local contractors that have said, 'You got stuff on here that I would have liked to bid on.'”
Sohl encouraged contractors that would like to be considered for any future jobs to submit their qualifications so that they can be approved and added to the SLLA's list of qualified contractors.
“We use existing sources, word of mouth, and CAS Management’s list of contractors," Sohl explained. "Any contractors that are interested, we will add them to contract list. We would like to develop that list.”
The Board voted unanimously during the January 31 Work Session to approve a Submarine Operating and Safety Protocol that will be required for all submarines used in the lakes. The SLLA is thought to be the only homeowners association in the nation that has need for such protocol.
“We are history in the making,” President Steve Ritter said. “No other HOA in country has had to deal with a submarine protocol.”
The submarine in question is one being built by NC State Engineering student David Widman. Widman's father, Mark Widman, has encouraged anyone who would like to see the submarine to stop by the Widman home on Lake Sequoia.
Stephan moves from Judicial to ARB
Donna Stephan has stepped down from the Judiciary Committee. Alternate Eric Ritchie will be made a full Member. The Board voted unanimously to appoint Stephan to fill an empty seat on the Architectural Review Board.
Stable Manager Resigns
Though no details were provided during the January 31 meeting, it was announced that Stables Manager Kate Pennington has resigned.
“There will be a Recreation stable meeting on Monday [February 3] at 4:30 pm for anyone interested in the stables and where we are going from here,” Recreation Director Darr reported.