Archives for October 2012


POSTPONED: NRC "Let's Get Acquainted" Meeting

Posted October 27, 2012 at 7:36 AM
POSTPONED: NRC "Let's Get Acquainted" Meeting

Due to Hurricane Sandy, the NRC "Let's Get Acquainted" meeting (originally scheduled for this Sunday, October 28) has now been postponed until Sunday, November 4, 6:00-9:00 p.m., Harbour Pointe Clubhouse. Please contact Kathy Cantrell at Membership@BrandermillNRC.com to let us know if you are available to attend.

We especially ask all NRC Reps to reply with either a "Yes, I'll be attending" or "No, I'm not able to attend", if they haven't already done so. Head count for this new date is needed no later than Tuesday, October 30 so we know how much wine, beer and soft drinks to supply for the meeting. Sorry for any inconvenience!

Planning Department Meeting on Roundabout Sign

Posted October 15, 2012 at 5:05 PM
Tuesday, October 16, 6:00 p.m.
Government Conference Room
10001 Iron Bridge Road, Chesterfield, VA 23832


Hosted by the County Planning Department, this is one of the last public meetings (but probably the most important of the meetings) to be held by the County on our roundabout sign. It is vital that Brandermill residents attend this meeting to state their position on the signage. For more information about this public hearing, visit the County web site for case #125N0194.

At the August 6, 2012 BCA Board meeting, President Guthrie reminded residents that regardless of whether you like the roundabout sign or not, it is important to note that the cost to Brandermill for adjusting the signage is roughly $4,300 while the cost of removing the entire sign is about $17,000.

NRC Meeting

Posted October 15, 2012 at 5:02 PM
Sunday, October 28, 2012, 6:00-9:00 p.m.
Harbour Pointe Clubhouse


All Brandermill residents are invited to attend. Pot Luck dinner included. RSVP required. Contact Kathy Cantrell (membership@brandermillNRC.com) for attendance and food items.

2013 Budget to be Finalized by BCA Board in November
The final 2013 budget will be reviewed before approval at the November 5 BCA Board meeting. A final budget must be approved in November in order to meet regulatory requirements of publishing it communitywide by the end of December. This will be residents' last opportunity to publicly voice their opinion about our budget.

During its October deliberations, the BCA Board gave guidance to the BCA Finance Committee and BCA Staff to generate a 2013 budget with a zero assessment increase, with the caveat of adding one maintenance staff member. For more information, visit the NRC web site at http://brandermillnrc.com/?id=6529 and the BCA web site at http://brandermill.com/?id=6525.

What are your thoughts? E-mail us at NRCInfo@BranderimillNRC.com or share your opinion with us in-person at the Green Market on Saturday, October 13 (9 a.m. to 12 noon, Market Square) or at the Autumn Fall Festival on Saturday, October 20 (11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Sunday Park).

2012 Community Clean-Up Day

Posted October 15, 2012 at 5:02 PM
Saturday, November 3, 2012
Rain date: November 10, 2012


Residents who wish to participate in community cleanup should notify the BCA office (744-1035) of their intent by Friday, October 26. Bagsters may then be picked up from (1) the BCA office from October 30 to November 2, or (2) the BCA tent (Jennifer Strader) at the Green Market on October 27. For more details, read The Village Mill article: http://brandermill.com/?id=6524.

Highlights of October 1, 2012 BCA Board Meeting*

Posted October 8, 2012 at 4:26 PM
Important Note: The below highlights are reported based on unofficial notes taken by NRC representatives who attended the above BCA meeting. Although we believe the below reporting is reliable and strive for accuracy, we cannot assure 100% accuracy. It is recommended to all readers that they read the approved BCA Board Meeting minutes when published.

Member Voice

  • Dave Wilson (Three Bridges) thanked all the Directors for their time and efforts to serve Brandermill residents. He wanted to know how VDOT determines which roads are to be repaired, and if a resident can request road repair, how he needs to go about making the request. In addition, he asked (1) how VDOT determines the method by which a road is repaired, e.g., significantly repave, repave with patches, patch with gravel and slurried; (2) does VDOT inspect the work done and (3) what can be done to expedite road work.
  • David Schein (Spring Gate) asked the Board to exercise independent judgment and to consider alternatives such as terminating all employees and using only contract labor on an as-needed basis. He said that this would eliminate the cost of employee benefits and vehicles as well as reduce other operational costs. He also asked if the Board had checked if the County has done all it is supposed to do, as Brandermill residents do pay County taxes. He asked the Board to independently consider the staff-prepared base budget.
  • Bob Malek (Regatta Pointe) asked how and which roads are selected to be repaved and encouraged the Board to establish a relationship with VDOT such that the BCA can specify which Brandermill roads should to be repaired. He also asked the Board how long signs, e.g., Lost and Found signs, should be left on display in open space and to devise a process to have them removed.
  • Alan Manden (Huntsbridge) asked if VDOT could clean out the culverts so that water could drain properly.

President's Report

President Guthrie thanked the Crime Prevention Committee and in particular Dee Pisciella for the BranderBelle cruise last month. Guests onboard included Art Warren and representatives from the Chesterfield County Police Department.

President Guthrie reminds residents to attend the October 16 public hearing held by the Chesterfield Planning Department regarding our roundabout sign.

Director Rowe's Board Initiative #4: Blighted Properties (see page 6 of the October 1, 2012 Board Information Packet)

Director Davis suggested contacting our State representatives to help us deal with blighted properties, as this appears to be an issue with many HOA's in Virginia. He and Director Rowe will work to arrange a meeting.

Director Livingston queried if a definition of "blight" for Brandermill had been defined for operational purposes. It was agreed that the BCA Board would approve all properties submitted by Staff as stated in the currently approved Self-Help Policy (see Self-Help Policy 2012 on BCA web site).

Director Hillman's Board Initiative #6: Enhance the Look of Brandermill (see pages 7-8 of October 1, 2012 Board Information Packet)

In pursuit of her Board initiative, Director Hillman proposed a pilot program for curbside leaf pickup in four neighborhoods. Her intent was to have the BCA pay for participating residents' leaf pickup, an understanding different from some of the other BCA Directors.

Director O'Hanley suggested that the cost of $90/home could be reduced, as she was able to get that work done last year for $75. Director Hillman stated that the $90/home was the best price obtained by Staff after contacting 3-4 vendors. She also stated that the $22,500 requested from this year's budget would be the maximum spent on this pilot program, and it could cost less if residents within the designated neighborhoods chose not to participate, i.e., blow their leaves to the curbside within a specified timeframe.

Director Rowe suggested that this program be modified such that the BCA negotiate with a vendor for a discounted price (on a sliding scale) to remove residents' leaves but have the residents pay the vendor directly.

President Guthrie expressed his concern about the cost of this program if it were to be executed for the entire community (approximately $300,000).

Director Bettin asked if BCA Maintenance could become involved in this project. Director Hillman said that it had been considered but wanted to execute this pilot program first to evaluate how many residents would participate. If this pilot program is successful, it would then be worthwhile for the BCA to consider buying a truck and adding maintenance personnel to perform this service communitywide.

The BCA Board elected to have Director Hillman pursue this project as a discounted price program with the residents paying the vendor directly.

Manager's Report (see pages 9-10 of October 1, 2012 Board Information Packet)

The BCA Board approved Jillian Marchant (Fox Chase) as a member of the Community Character Committee.

The tree management project is progressing on Millridge Parkway towards Brandermill Parkway. Downed trees will be removed this week.

Shoreline erosion project has begun, with the work being performed by Grant Miller in Walker's Ferry. This pilot project will test which erosion methodologies work best for various erosion conditions on our shoreline.

Brandermill History Project (BHP) (see pages 18-20 of October 1, 2012 Board Information Packet)

Director Hillman asked that the Review section of the charter be modified to read: "The Charter will be reviewed as needed by the Board." With this change, the charter was approved.

2013 BCA Budget Review (see pages 21-36 of October 1, 2012 Board Information Packet)

Finance Committee Chair Buddy Whitfield presented a draft budget for 2013. The base budget indicates a 2013 budget shortfall of $36,160. To include the Board-specified 2013 MPOC and 2013 Staff-recommended projects as well as a 2.5% salary pool increase, the shortfall would increase to $137,510 (see pages 31-32 of October 1, 2012 Board Information Packet), an approximate 7%-8% assessment increase. Chair Whitfield noted that assessment rate changes were solely dependent on the amount required to fully fund the Operating fund.

To reduce the assessment percentage, the Finance Committee recommended that the pool RFP ($15,000) and a portion of "Show Me Brandermill First" MPOC project ($15,000) be funded from this year's budget. The committee also proposed that the Contingency account ($10,000), NRC 2013 budget ($4,100) and Reserve contribution be reduced by $10,000, $3,350 and $47,000, respectively. If the Board accepted these recommendations, an assessment increase of 2.5% would be needed for 2013.

Director Davis led a discussion about the use of the Reserve fund to revitalize Brandermill. President Guthrie and Chair Whitfield agreed that this fund should be used for that purpose but that projects also needed to qualify for such funds.

Director Davis also raised the question of whether the data in the base budget had been "scrubbed." Chair Whitfield indicated that the Finance Committee had reviewed each line item earlier in the year and that now they were looking at the "bigger picture" to generate the draft budget.

Resident Member Voice about the Budget
  • Dave Wilson (Three Bridges) asked if the Board would consider a different paradigm for the 2014 budget to include what the budget might look like if there was more outsourcing of community services. President Guthrie commented that the Board had decided to assign this task to the new community manager.
  • Bob Malek (Regatta Pointe) asked that the Board consider the 2.5% salary pool increase as the unemployment rate is still high (about 8%). He also asked about the $10,000 line item for a Master Gardener. He felt there were many master gardeners in our community who would donate their time.
  • Alan Manden (Huntsbridge) asked why the Board was going to spend $5,000 for dredging permits. He asked if that meant the Board had already committed to spending an approximate $100,000 to dredge The Landing.

Board Discussion on the Budget
  • Director Davis led a discussion about the proposed 2.5% salary pool increase. He suggested that the new community manager be charged with doing an office efficiency study and that the salary pool increase not be included in the 2013 budget, particularly since unemployment remains high.
  • Director Rowe led a discussion on the 4th of July fireworks. She suggested eliminating the fireworks on the 4th and having a "Brandermill Day" for residents. She added that the cost of having fireworks on the 4th of July is about one-third more than having the fireworks on another day, to say nothing of the extra maintenance work required to clean up the area due to non-resident attendance. Her proposal included having fireworks on "Brandermill Day." Director Davis felt that input from residents was needed before eliminating the 4th of July fireworks.
  • Director Livingston raised a question about the Master Gardener line item. President Guthrie asked about the impact on staff if the Master Gardener was eliminated. Acting Community Manager Raimo commented that the description may be misleading as the primary function of that person was to inspect the buffer zone for Chesapeake Bay Act compliance. Directors Rowe and Davis did not feel inspection of the buffer zone was necessary (supported by the fact that no other nearby HOA did this). Director Davis felt it was the responsibility of the County to ensure the requirements of the Chesapeake Bay Act were met. Director Hillman noted that inspection of the buffer zone by Standards staff would reduce the number of home inspections to be performed. Director Rowe expressed her hope that improved Standards efficiencies may be found with the use of handheld devices. Director Davis suggested that the line item be eliminated for 2013, with reconsideration of this decision in 2014.
  • Director Rowe asked about the Architectural Services line item, as most of the lots are now built-out. She suggested that the line item be reduced from $26,210 to $8,000. Acting Community Manager Raimo stated that this would have a much greater impact on staff than eliminating the master gardener line item. He told the Board that in his conversation with Community Manager Julie Joyner, Woodlake spends approximately 16 hours per month to review their ARB applications. He also reminded the Board that Woodlake has very little commercial property as compared to Brandermill. This would create a potential hardship on Standards personnel, unless members of the ARB reviewed the applications. Director Rowe recalled several instances when the architect tended to ARB applications, but professional certifications of an architect was not needed for an application decision.
  • Director Hillman suggested that some of these budgetary cuts be forestalled until after the new community manager was hired.
  • Director Livingston asked about the Computer Services line item. Acting Community Manager Raimo stated that the line item covered limited technical support from ForwardPass to the BCA as well as licensing of property management and accounting software.
  • Director Hillman raised the question of how long the dredging permits might be valid. She stated that if the permits are time-sensitive, then perhaps the dredging project should be postponed for another year when the project was more fully developed. Director Davis stated that if the permits allowed for boring samples of the channel to fully evaluate the cost of dredging The Landing, he would be "for" spending the $5,000. Acting Community Manager Raimo responded that the $5,000 did not include drilling for such samples. President Guthrie suggested postponing this project until costs for drilling samples could be determined.

Board Guidance to Finance Committee

After much discussion, the BCA Board agreed to (1) fund the 2.5% salary pool increase, (2) remove the Master Gardener ($10,000) line item, (3) reduce Architectural Services to $10,000, (4) reduce the NRC 2013 budget request by $3,350, (5) remove funding of dredging permits ($5,000) and (6) reduce the 2013 Reserve contribution by approximately $63,000. This would generate a "no assessment increase" for 2013.

Director Davis asked about adding an additional maintenance person. President Guthrie suggested making it a part-time position, and Director Rowe stated she was agreeable to a small assessment increase to hire a full-time maintenance person.

Note: The BCA Board will need to finalize a budget for 2013 at its upcoming November meeting. Residents who wish to speak about the proposed 2013 budget or any other agenda item may phone the BCA office and ask to be added to the list of Member Voice speakers.

Community Manager Search

There are now 40 applicants; most Directors feel the quality of the applicants are excellent. Directors Rowe and Bettin will review the other Directors' feedback and generate a list of 10 applicants for phone interviews.

Self-Help Properties (see page 37 of October 1, 2012 Board Information Packet)

The BCA Board approved the proposed Self-Help work to be done at 3232 Fortunes Ridge Road, 4016 Poplar Grove Road and 13708 Winterberry Ridge Terrace.

Curbside Sanitation Pickup

The request to allow curbside sanitation pickup was denied by the BCA Board.

Brandermill Fall Festival

Posted October 8, 2012 at 3:58 PM
Saturday, October 20, 2012
11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Sunday Park

Co-sponsored by the BCA and The Brandermill Church, this free event will include food, games, bounce house, pumpkin decorating, cake walk, a live blue grass band and more!

Community Meeting: BCA Budget Process and BCA Pools

Posted October 8, 2012 at 3:56 PM
UPDATE:

Due to the number of slide downloads (576 in three days), a video of Director Livingston's pool presentation at the September 25, 2012 community meeting hosted by the NRC is now available for viewing. Be sure to listen to the informative Q&A session at the end of the presentation.

You may also download and listen to the audio file of the entire September 25, 2012 Community Meeting.

Congratulations, Sandy Schrecengost! Sandy Schrecengost has won the NRC's drawing for 4-seats onboard the BranderBelle, Saturday, October 27 from 4:00-6:00 p.m. Sandy and her guests will be served wine and cheese by the NRC officers, while all enjoy the beauty of our community.

May 24, 2012 Minutes

Posted October 1, 2012 at 11:13 AM
Minutes of our May 24, 2012 meeting are now available for download.

Information Packet for October 1, 2012 BCA Board Meeting

Posted October 1, 2012 at 11:06 AM
The information packet for the upcoming BCA Board meeting is now available for downloading. Please note that the first draft of the 2013 budget and a budget worksheet for the BCA Board are included in this packet. To better understand where we are in the budget process, listen to the presentation (first 15 minutes of audio) made by Buddy Whitfield, Chair, Finance Committee at our recent Community Meeting. Our 2013 budget needs to be approved by the BCA Board of Directors at its November meeting to meet regulatory requirements.

We encourage residents to attend BCA Board meetings to learn of Brandermill "happenings" and to voice their comments/opinions during the "Member Voice" section of each meeting. For a quick snapshot of what the BCA Board will be discussing, read the attached agenda.