January 2013 Newsletter

Hello LRAA Members
Happy New Year from your LRAA Board of Trustees!

Walt Mauldin – President
Tricia Cook – Vice President and Chair of Communications
Nina Jahne – Secretary
Robbie Liechty – Treasurer
Loren Seely – Access (Roads)
Keith Parker – Airstrip Committee Chair
Bob Christianson – Water System Chair
Kevin Latorra – Water Policy Chair
Kyle Larsen – Administration

Since May when the board last addressed the members, a lot has happened. Each trustee has made great strides in the work of their committee. The board has held monthly meetings usually by telephone conference with great attendance which is remarkable in a volunteer group. This board has had lively discussions representing varied perspectives, but in the end has been unified and supportive.

The board visits our work priorities every month. To see this list from each month access the board meeting minutes posted on the web.

Here are some brief notes about accomplishments in the last half of 2012

• The tree trimming project along the north side of the runway was completed.

• The water system committee continues to make strides at working through our water system strategic plan, a continuation of the plan you approved in May of 2011 and updated in May of 2012. Some goals of this work are to improve our water system by adding one well out of the flood plain, improving each systems redundancy by installing automatic pump controllers, further improving the redundancy of the overall system by making the two systems interactive and continuing to improve the reliability of water system lines .The water fund reserve account was fully funded in 2012 and remains fully funded at $50,000.

• We hope that by the May member meeting we will have installed new redundant pump controlling equipment on the lower system, completed the system plan engineering and drilled the new well casing at the fire hall.

• Three major and many minor unplanned repairs have been made to the water system. If 2012 proves to be an average year we will need to discuss annual water fee increases in the future.

    o The main on Harris Road from Mercer to Misty was replaced. This work was approved and budgeted at the May meeting. The work came in at the bid price.

    o The main on Cedar Circle was replaced. This work was also budgeted and approved in May. The work came in exactly at the bid price.

    o The upper system had a leak through last winter. (2011-12) As the snow melted we set out to find the leak. A number of valves were added and replaced in order to compartmentalize the system and find the leak. The leak was located and repaired. This emergency work was not budgeted.

    o A leaking valve was replaced at the lower pump house.

    o Several repairs were accomplished by private owners on private lands to secure leaks in the system.

• Administration continues to make improvements in the way the association is keeping records.

• Snow removal services seem to be going extremely well. Our experience last year with Palm Construction was excellent and we are expecting the same this year.

• The street signage project is under way. The signs and hardware have been acquired and some of the signs have been installed. This work will resume when the snow melts. We will be asking for volunteers help to complete this task.

• The GF reserve fund remains fully funded at $25,000 at the end of 2012.

No change to membership dues and annual water fees

The annual water fee for 2013 is $265/water right and the annual membership fee is $365/member as approved at the member meeting at Memorial Day. These fees remain the same from the previous year 2012.

At the May member meeting the board will present a draft 2014 budget to be approved by the members. The Water Fund (WF) seems to be working at an annual fee of $265/ water right. Assuming we don’t have major problems this winter with freeze-ups and other emergency repairs I would guess that we will propose the same annual water fee. In the General Fund (GF) we are seeing notable increases in costs, particularly in the area of snow removal and insurance. We also need to look at the equipment that we are using to mow the runway and see if we are doing business in the best way possible. This could bring some new costs. Another factor we continue to see is a slow reduction in the number of members we have which results in each member paying a larger share. This happens when a member buys their neighbors property and one member leaves the association. This is an old trend with us losing a member or two each year. All of these things add up to a probability that the board is likely to recommend an increase in the annual membership fee for the 2014 budget year.

Another factor for discussion in May is the value of our reserve funds. Currently they are $25,000 for the General Fund and $50,000 for the Water Fund. At the May 2012 Member meeting we discussed this. We did not make a decision but the general feeling was that we probably need this to be a bit higher. This will be an agenda point to discuss in May.

Three board terms expiring in May

• Nina Jahne will end her three year term. She is serving at the association secretary. Nina has done a great job keeping records of what we have accomplished, managing our insurances program and managing our meeting minutes.

• Keith Parker will end his three year term and has been serving at the Airstrip Committee Chairman. Keith has done a lot to organize our pilots and move forward with maintenance and improvements on our airstrip.

• Kevin Latorra has served at the Water System Permitting Chairman. He has overseen the management of our system permitting and the oversight of our listed water rights. His three year term will end in May.

Please consider if you might be willing to serve your association or who you might support to serve as a trustee. We will be looking for nominations for three board positions for election at the May member meeting.

Financial report on the web

Draft financial reports are available on the web for 2012.

Your association is doing OK financially. The General Fund is probably spending about on track possibly a little overspending because of high snow removal costs and increased insurance costs.

The water fund has overspent significantly because of emergency repairs. This has been offset because the work of the strategic plan is going slower than expected. This fund should be fine through 2013.

Our revenue in the both the WF and GF has been slightly above predictions because of one time payments received in 2012 as a result of collections work. This windfall revenue will serve to offset some exceptional expenses and delay some probable increases in annual dues and water fees.

Update on collection actions

In May of 2011 the members directed the board to make collection of delinquent accounts our first priority. I am happy to report that we currently have only one account that is above the mark we set to take collections action. That one remaining late member has been served with foreclosure papers and the waiting period has expired. We have submitted a request to the county to approve the default and have the Sheriff auction the property.

Those members that are not current on their accounts will find a notice in this billing packet warning that as per the bylaws we will move promptly at the first of April to Lien properties of accounts with a balance over $1,000 or with any debt over 3-years old. All attorney and processing fees for application and removal of liens will be the responsibility of the member per Washington State law. It costs about $275 to apply and remove a lien.

View 2012 Delinquent Account Notice

Work with new Corporate Counsel

Last year the board selected the Seattle law firm of Betts, Patterson and Mines to be our corporate attorneys. Through the year we have been working with them to review the Articles of Incorporation, bylaws and other association legal documents. We have learned that our legal documents in particular our bylaws are generally in good shape. We expect to have a proposal in May of a new set of documents that will be structured better. It is our intent as we go through this to continue to do business in the same way, just improve the supporting documentation.

Review of our authority to enforce correction of unsafe and unsightly properties within our association is a part of this study.

May meeting reminder and info on how to participate

Mark your calendars for Sunday May 26, 2013 @ 9:00AM. This is the annual membership meeting held at the fire hall. You, the members, are the boss! We, the board, need to hear from you. How are we doing? How could we do better? What do you want us to work on? Please plan to attend, and stay for the picnic and social after the meeting.

The Annual Member meeting is a great opportunity for the board to update LRAA members on the state of the association and progress on goals. Even more importantly it’s an opportunity for the board to hear from the membership.  There are three ways that you can have your voice heard at the meeting: 1) bring an issue to the Annual Meeting for a vote; 2) vote in person or by proxy; 3) request to speak at the Annual Meeting.

Our by-laws provide for the following process and deadlines for getting your voice heard:
If a member or access owner wants to bring an issue to the Annual Meeting for a vote by the members/access owners, mail it to the board in writing by April 28, 2013 (PO Box 1272).  Submit any proxies in writing to the board by Tuesday, May 23, 2013. A member wishing to speak at the meeting needs to notify the board no later than the morning of the Annual Meeting, May 26th, 2013.  These presentations will be limited to 5 minutes.  No matters may be brought to a vote unless they have been submitted in writing by April 28th, 2013.

Look at our website

Our members have asked the association to continue to improve how we communicate with the membership. The communications committee has met the mark. Sign up to receive outgoing communications from the association and send us a comment about how you think we are doing. We want to hear from you.

Snow Removal Update

Last winter season the board elected to move to a new business model for snow removal services. We contracted with Palm Construction for snow removal. We used a document that we have built called “LRAA Snow Removal Values” which expresses what is important to the association. This document was the basis of a new agreement. The values document is available on our website. Please take a look and let us know what you think.

After working with Palm Construction for a season we elected to negotiate a new 3-year agreement with them for snow removal. The new agreement is mostly similar to what we used the previous year except it is a three year agreement and instead of a fixed price for services it has a minimum/base price which includes a specific amount of service, then moves to a set per service cost that is paid by the association. This allows the association some potential savings in a light snow year and protects the contractor from losing money in the event of a massive snow year.

The association owns the Unimog which was used in the old business model for snow removal. As the contractor in the new business mode will use his own equipment, the Unimog is no longer in service. The Unimog has been “mothballed” and is resting comfortably. It is probably time for us to discuss selling the Unimog as it has not been used at all since we have been contracting for snow removal.

Land swap on Susan Road

For more information, please review the Proposed Property Swap Notice, which includes a map, describing a proposed land swap between the association and a member. Please read this and comment to the board via the web site.

A few things looking forward

• Water Meters – We are learning that water meters are going to be required on our system in 2017. There is a lot of work involved in how physically to do this and how to pay for it in addition to developing new policies and practices to support a system with meters. The board needs to develop a section in the strategic plan to get started planning this expensive and complex project.

• Dust Control- At the last member meeting you directed the board to research potential dust control programs. This presentation will be made at the May 2013 member meeting.

• New trustees – We are losing three trustees in 2013 and three more in 2014. In 2013 we will be looking for new leaders as the Secretary, Airstrip and Water Permitting committees. In 2014 we will need a new President, Treasurer and Water Operations committee chairman. Please give some thought to supporting our association.

Thank you for your time in reading our newsletter! We hope to see you in May!

We would love to hear from you. Please visit our Contact Us page to make a comment.

Or write to us at:
PO Box 1272
Winthrop, WA 98862

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