Archives for November 2014


Information Packet for December 1, 2013 BCA Board Meeting

Posted November 28, 2014 at 3:30 PM
The information packet for the upcoming BCA Board meeting is now available for downloading.

Items included in this information packet are:

  • Consideration of Memorandum of Agreement with Midlothian Tennis Club
  • Committee Liaison Assignments
  • Consideration of 2015 Pool Fees
  • Brandermill FY 2015 Budget as Adopted by BCA Board of Directors on November 18, 2014

We encourage residents to attend BCA Board meetings to learn of Brandermill "happenings". For a quick snapshot of what the BCA Board will be discussing, please read the agenda located on the first page of the Board Packet.


Highlight of November 3, 2014 BCA Board Meeting

Posted November 7, 2014 at 2:34 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

George Lawson (Huntsbridge) commented on the proposed 2015 budget. He stated that he likes the maintenance and upkeep items in the budget, including the budget proposed for pickup of brush and deadfall. He questioned the amounts proposed for a doggie park and for a second Branderbelle. He said that all items need to justify the spending. He commented that he doesn't approve of the proposed 3% BCA salary increase. He noted that no salary comparison study has been completed to justify the increase. He urged a comparative wage study.

Community Manager Bailey responded by saying that there was no salary increase in 2010-2012, a 2.5% increase in 2013 and generally a 3% increase in last year's (2014) budget. He also indicated that the Finance Committee had discussed the issue again following the community meeting and had remained solidly behind the proposed 3% salary increase.

Warren Ragsdale (Huntsbridge) stated that he has a home on Sutter's Mill Court. He noted that there were two houses on the street that were in horrible condition. He reported that one of them had been cleaned up during the past year but that the other home is still in bad condition. He informed the Directors that he had contacted Chesterfield County Zoning Enforcement and stated that Chesterfield County had taken action to force the home owner to clean up the property. Ragsdale urged the Directors to continue the campaign to require residents to keep their properties clean.

Director Pearson responded by saying that the Task Force on Abandoned and Rental Properties would meet again on November 4, 2014 at 4 p.m. at the BCA Office. He commented that members of the Task Force and the BCA staff are interested in better enforcement of the community standards. Manager Bailey noted that the staff has drafted language to incorporate into the "Self-Help" policy that could allow for some work to be done to improve abandoned property structures, not just landscaping.

President's Report

President Davis reported that two state legislators have introduced legislation to restrict the authority of HOA's in Virginia. He commented that this has resulted from the failure of some HOA's to take a "Common Sense" approach.

Treasurer's Report

Treasurer Hillman noted that the Association continues to be in good shape financially. The entire monthly report is included on pages 8-13 of November 3, 2014 BCA Board information packet. Treasurer Hillman also noted that the Financial Policy is being reviewed by the Finance Committee and that a meeting is scheduled for December 1st. She noted that the results of this work should be ready for the BCA Board's review in January.

With regard to the 2014 budget, Director Pearson asked why the violation charges had increased. He asked if this was a result of increased staffing. Treasurer Hillman responded that full staffing could be a factor in the increase.

Members of the Board

Director Hillman made a motion to appoint Gail Plante as a voting member on the Finance Committee. This motion was approved by a vote of 5 in favor, and one opposed. President Davis voted "no" on this motion.

Director Pearson then motioned to appoint Terry Edwards to the Communications and Marketing Committee. He noted that Edwards is a former Director of Marketing for the Richmond Times Dispatch. He commented that Ms. Edwards has a lot of background in media and is eminently qualified. This motion was approved unanimously.

Director Pearson also motioned that Thomas Flynn be appointed to the Planning Committee. He commented that Flynn is an RN and EMT. He has served two years as a member of Friends of Pocahontas State Park. This motion was approved 5:1, with Director Leonard opposing.

President Davis then appointed Director Pearson to be the Board's liaison to the Communications and Marketing Committee.

Director Hillman asked about the plan to install perennials in the landscaping. She noted that the landscape contractor was supposed to put a plan together regarding perennials. Manager Bailey made note of this question and will follow up with the contractor.

Director Bettin reported that negotiations with Holladay Corporation regarding their plans to build an assisted living facility on the site of the former Brandermill Inn are moving ahead. President Davis noted that Chesterfield County Planning Commissioner Russell Gulley had held a public meeting on this proposed development of the site. President Davis noted that Commissioner Gulley expects this issue to be on the consent agenda at its November 19, 2014 Chesterfield County Supervisors meeting.

Manager's Report

Community Manager Bailey first reported on the work of the Property Management Department. He noted that 33 applications were processed by the ARB in October.
  • Manager Bailey noted that 96 violations were issued by Covenant Enforcement, and another 96 violations were resolved during October.
  • Details regarding the transition to new mailboxes are included on page 15 of November 3, 2014 BCA Board information packet. There are now 24 brown mailboxes remaining to be upgraded. Manager Bailey reported that 11 of these will be replaced in the next 30 days.
  • Manager Bailey reported that the entrance sign to Market Square was significantly damaged by a driver, adding that this sign had been frequently damaged in the past. There was discussion about relocating the sign, and this will be considered.
  • Manager Bailey reported that Dominion Virginia Power will provide the BCA with a map on which the Association will use to identify the power boxes needing repair and repainting. Dominion will do the work to improve the appearance of the boxes after the Association has identified those needing attention.

Appeal of Hearing Panel Decision Regarding 2600 Sutter's Mill Terrace

Property Management Director Al Raimo and Hearing Panel Co-Chair Jenny Jones represented the BCA. They reported that the owner of this property had received three violation letters and two additional letters. The owner of the property located at 2600 Sutter's Mill Terrace was not present at this Board meeting. (More information on this case is available on pages 25-36 of November 3, 2014 BCA Board information packet.)

Property Management Director Raimo commented that he could not report on the basis for the appeal given that the owner's letter did not state a reason. He told the BCA Board that he did not know if the basis of the appeal was procedural or substantive. Raimo reported that the owner had received a certified letter informing him that the appeal was being considered by the BCA Board at its November 3, 2014 meeting. Raimo further reported that the owner had not attended any of the Hearing Panel meetings regarding the violation. The BCA Directors unanimously denied this appeal.

Co-Chair Jenny Jones commented that the Hearing Panel is a wonderful committee that is willing to work with residents to resolve problems.

Consideration of Changes to Design Standards Regarding Temporary Signage

Director Leonard motioned to approve the changes to signage standards as recommended by the ARB (see page 37-39 of November 3, 2014 BCA Board information packet). Director Pearson wanted to make certain that temporary signs were also approved by Chesterfield County and VDOT. Director Leonard noted that the revised language requires that temporary signs be approved as required by the local governments. The motion was approved unanimously.

Consideration of Changes to the Design Standards Regarding Solar Panels

Director Leonard gave background for his motion to change the design standards. He reported that the ARB had received a request to put solar panels on a house and garage. He stated that without written standards, the Association has no basis to deny an application to install solar panels. He reported that Dominion Virginia Power and the contractor had helped to craft language (see pages 40-42 of November 3, 2014 BCA Board information packet). Director Leonard noted that this technology continues to develop, and the ARB recognizes that the standard will require updating and modification as the technology develops. Director Leonard moved that the draft language be adopted to update the design standards, and this motion was approved unanimously.

2015 Recommended Budget

Manager Bailey recapped the highlights of the recommended budget.
  • There is a recommended increase of 2% in overall spending.
  • The recommended budget would require an increase in the annual homeowner assessment of approximately $20 annually or an additional $1.66 per month per residential property.
  • Total salaries represent 48.4% of the recommended budget.
  • The budget recommends a salary increase of 3%.
Member Comment
George Lawson (Huntsbridge) again stated that he is not opposed to a salary increase for BCA employees but noted that salaries are approaching half of the total budget. He expressed his position that the BCA needs to justify the proposed salary increase by doing a salary comparison study. He also raised the question as to which employees would receive an increase. He noted that, when the county gives an salary increase, everyone receives the same increase.

Warren Ragsdale (Huntsbridge) applauded Manager Bailey and the Finance Committee for making the budget process transparent. He also suggested the Association consider hiring retirees to fill staff positions as a way to lower costs since retirees generally do not require health insurance or other benefits. He also commented that he was not sure how he felt about a 3% increase. He commented that most businesses kept salaries to roughly 30% of operation costs and noted that Brandermill salaries represent a much higher portion of the budget. He emphasized his support for the transparent budget process.

Mamie McNeal (Planter's Wood) suggested that the printed subscription cost for The Village Mill be adjusted to $15 annually, rather than $10. She commented that she believes that Brandermill should not make a profit on reproducing The Village Mill but should at least break even on the cost of printing hard copies and postage.
Board Discussion
Director Pearson shared a proposal for the 2015 budget that would require no increase in the assessment. He proposed that the budget be kept essentially even with the 2014 total budget by the following measures:
  • No cost-of-living increase in salaries. He suggested selecting an outside firm to conduct a market survey of salary levels by early 2015. He noted that there had been no voluntary turnover in BCA staff which suggests that salary levels are adequate. He also noted that employees had received a 3% increase in the 2013 budget. This measure, if adopted, would save $24,000 from the proposed 2015 budget.
  • Eliminating the $10,000 Christmas bonus and asking the Finance Committee to consider a merit-based bonus system for 2016.
  • A 2-year trial of two additional employees for the Maintenance Department for brush pickup as opposed to the proposed three additional employees. This would save $41,000 in salary and benefits.
  • Reducing the pool marketing budget by $2,000 and using the free advertising offered by the Chesterfield Observer.
  • Eliminating the proposed $2,000 scholarship contribution, as this set a bad precedent.
  • Eliminating the dog park from the proposed capital budget. This would save $30,000. Pearson suggested referring this proposal to the Planning Committee for study to determine location and resident demand.
  • Deferring proposed improvements to the Harbour Pointe pool area and referring these to the Planning Committee. He also noted that the Harbour Pointe pool accounts for only 7% of pool traffic and asked the BCA Board to consider the potential impact of the planned water park at Commonwealth Center. Delaying these improvements would potentially save $65,000.
Director Blom commented that he is in favor of the budget as proposed by the Finance Committee. He believes that the Association should not deny the proposed 3% increase in salaries just to perform a salary study. He indicated that he would support doing a salary study, but the BCA should do the study in advance of next year's proposed budget. He went on to say that he is not in favor of a 3% cost-of-living raise. He feels we should do a 1.5% cost-of-living and possibly a 1.5% merit increase as recommended by the Community Manager. Director Blom went on to comment that the proposed water park at Commonwealth Center is not here and that he is not in favor of using the Harbour Pointe Pool property for other purposes.

Director Leonard commented that he does not want an assessment increase. He believes the BCA Board should direct the Community Manager to operate within the 2014 budget total.

Director Bettin commented that there is nothing in the proposal by Director Pearson that improves property values. He stated that he is willing to spend an additional $1.66 per month more on assessment to invest in making our neighborhoods better. He noted that he trusts Manager Bailey to manage the salary budget and any increases. He stated that he does not agree with a 3% cost-of-living increase across-the-board for all employees.

Director Hillman noted that she supports the budget as proposed by the Finance Committee. She believes that the Community Manager and the Finance Committee have thought about the manpower needed to clean up the brush and the common areas. She noted that she understood the proposed 3% increase in salaries to be a "pool" of money to be allocated based upon merit.

President Davis asked the Community Manager to provide clarification on this point. Is the proposed 3% an across-the-board cost-of-living increase for all employees or a pool of additional funding to be allocated by the Community Manager based upon merit?

Director Hillman responded that generally in the past, salary increases had been given across-the-board to all employees. She also commented that she did not want to see Brandermill fall further behind on cleanup of the community.

Announcements

The Board of Directors will hold a special meeting to adopt the 2015 budget on Tuesday, November 18, 2014, 7 p.m., Harbour Pointe Clubhouse.