Board Meeting Minutes September 2017

ECHO LAKE PROTECTIVE ASSOCIATION
Board of Directors Meeting
– September 9, 2017

Present: Patti Lennon, Larry Martin, Bill Mann, Terry O’Brien, Nancy Engels, Laurie Gee, Susan Czerepak, Steve Gratton, and Ann Hunsicker

Welcome: Patti

Patti called the meeting to order at 9:10. She welcomed the following new board members:

  • Steve Gratton, who is filling the position last held by Mike Vinton
  • Ann Hunsicker, who is filling the position last held by Jean Wilson and will be taking over as Treasurer when Bill Mann’s term ends next year
  • Laurie Gee, who is taking over the position most recently held by Keith Gee

Secretary’s Report: Susan Czerepak

Motion was made and seconded to accept the minutes of May 16, 2017. All in favor. Approved.

Treasurer’s Report: Bill Mann

Bill Mann submitted the Treasurer’s Report for the period ending September 9, 2017. The Report is appended at the end of these Minutes.

There are now three bank accounts, savings account, checking account and business checking account from which the paid greeters are paid. The business account is funded incrementally, as need dictates.

The latest numbers do not reflect outstanding checks and payment of employee taxes.

Membership dues and donations are down. A mailing has gone out reminding the membership that dues are due. We will have a better sense at the end of year of the status of our membership.

Motion was made and seconded to accept the Treasurer’s Report of September 9, 2017. All in favor. Approved.

Contingency Fund: Bill Mann

Bill led a discussion about the Contingency Fund unanimously approved by the ELPA membership at our 2017 Annual Meeting.

Bill is investigating the purchase of Certificates of Deposit. The local bank offers an 18-month CD at .69 percent with the provision that there would be no fee if we needed the funds for an emergency before the term date. If we purchased a 6-month CD we would not have to worry about getting the money out early. There was discussion about establishing a Finance Committee, but it was agreed that such a committee is not necessary at this time. Bill and Ann will get together to review investment options.

It was agreed that members can made donations and pledges specific to the Contingency Fund, but we will not advertise that option.

There was a suggestion that we add a box to the Newsletter tracking the amount of money in the Contingency Fund.

There was discussion about donations ELPA makes to other organizations. $100.00 to NorthWoods, $100 to Vermont Center for EcoStudies (VCE), and $50.00 membership fee to Federation of Vermont Lakes and Ponds (FOVLAP). We will continue to make those same donations.

There was discussion about doing an audit. We will try to find a member who can audit the books in June before Ann takes over as Treasurer. There was a question as to how much an audit would cost and what we can afford. We will revisit in January.

Motion was made and seconded to transfer $15,000 to a Contingency Fund. All in favor. Approved.

Access Greeter Report: Terry O’Brien

Terry noted that it has been a quiet year with 92 fewer inspections. We had 755 inspections in and out this year. 331 of the inspections were kayaks and a few canoes. The repeated entry of six boats accounts for about 70% of the inspections.

There was a suggestion that we ask kayakers to keep an eye out for invasive species.

This year we sent two samples to the state for evaluation. Both were native species.

One of our greeters, V Pierce, is moving and Terry is trying to find a replacement.

There was discussion about constructing a shelter for greeters, but the determination is that it would not be appropriate for us. It would most likely be vandalized and the greeters are comfortable in their cars.

Kudos was given to Lisa Martin who has been processing the paperwork for the greeters on time with no mistakes, and greatly appreciated.

Joe Kapp from the state did some water sampling for spiny water flea but did not find anything.

New laws regarding boat inspection are now in place.

  • As of mid-July you cannot transport a boat over land with the drain plug closed. The plug has to be opened and drained.
  • You cannot refuse to have a boat inspected. It is now mandatory. There will be signage next spring that indicates that boat inspection is mandatory.

There was discussion about setting up a washing station at the landing. The washing station at Seymour is labor intensive. It requires two attendants. What happens when boats stack up? The consensus is that a washing station is not suitable for Echo Lake.

There had been a suggestion that the state provide vests for the greeters, but there has been no progress on that.

The Greeters attend a special invasive species training program, separate from the Vermont Invasive Patrollers training that our lakeshore patrollers take.

Grant Report: Laurie Gee

Laurie reported on the two grants for which we apply – the Watershed Grant and the Aquatic Nuisance Grant.

Watershed Grant –

Last year we were told not to apply for this grant, but apparently we are welcome to apply for this grant this year. Board members need to track hours spent on ELPA work, as these “in kind” hours are credited in the grant application. Laurie will send an email out requesting hours spent.

Because we did not apply for the Watershed Grant last year, Laurie will contact Cindy Swanson, last to file for this grant, for advice about applying this year.

There were suggestions of possible items to mention in the report to advance our cause, such as:

  • Being the first lake in the state to receive the Gold Lake Wise Award
  • The establishment of a Contingency Fund
  • The proposed on-site VIP training program that Patti is organizing

Aquatic Nuisance Grant

We get this grant every year. The application is due around March 8th. The report for the prior year is due December 31st. Laurie will start working on the report soon.

Town Appropriation: Patti Lennon

The question of whether we can get more than $1000 from the town was raised at the annual meeting. That appropriation is currently bundled with other town expenditures. According to Dean Bennett, it is unlikely that the town would support an increase. There is no public beach and the Fish and Game Department has been fining people for using the parking lot other than for fishing. Some in the town mistakenly blame ELPA for the fines.

Dean Bennett’s term on the Board of Selectmen is coming to an end. The question was raised if there are year round residents who are sympathetic to the goals of ELPA who could fill that position. Suggested names were Tom Wagner, Peggy Stevens, and Samantha Stevens.

Proposed 2018 Association Dates: Patti Lennon

Patti proposed the following dates:

  • January 13th – Board Meeting
  • May 26th – Board Meeting
  • July 1st – Color Challenge
  • July 21nd – Annual Meeting
  • August 18th – Annual Picnic
  • September 8nd – Board Meeting

Fall Newsletter Date/Content: Susan Czerepak

The Newsletter will go out before Thanksgiving.

Committee Chairs will submit articles regarding their areas of interest.

We will not include the Membership form in the Newsletter. The Membership Form should be sent out separately.

Website Security: Susan Czerepak

Several weeks ago we experienced a spoof/spam problem where someone hacked into our iPage account and sent an email from Patti’s echolakeassociation.net web mail account to Bill’s echolakeassociation.net account. These mail accounts had been set up as simple forwarding mail accounts. I have removed them all and replaced them with full email accounts secured by strong passwords.

IPage also suggests buying their Domain Privacy tool for $9.99 a year. This provides no further protection regarding webmail, but would protect us from outsiders accessing personal information through whois.com and similar public sites that provide information about web domains. Currently the personal information of those who initially set up our web site is exposed.

Motion was made and seconded to approve a $10.00 annual fee for the iPage Domain Privacy tool. All in favor. Approved. 

Membership Committee: Larry Martin/Steve Gratton

This year there has been little progress on the Membership Committee. Plans for next year include:

  • A physical mailing next spring of the membership form to all property owners
  • A door-to-door campaign for new members
  • Preparation of a Renter’s packet for all rental properties on the lake 

Membership Email Use: Patti Lennon

There was discussion about the appropriate use of membership email.

We don’t want to set a policy that may be exclusive. Generally, emails we send to the membership should be for meeting reminders and activities related to our mission.

If there are other suggestions for emails, the board will consider them on a case-by-case basis.

Lakewise Update: Susan Czerepak

This summer we received the Gold Lake Wise Award for reaching the 15% threshold last summer. We had an additional 7 evaluations this summer, bringing the total to 37 evaluations. Twenty-two properties representing twenty-three percent of total Echo Lake properties have now received the Gold Lake Wise Award. Ten properties have qualified for certificates, which will be mailed shortly.

Heather Murphy and Amy Picotte are working on the Echo Lake Gold Wise video, which will be posted on You-Tube. We should be seeing that some time this fall.

Seymour Lake has just qualified for the Gold Lake Wise Award.

VIP Training on Echo: Patti Lennon

Patti noted that people who do the inspections know what milfoil is but don’t know what the other stuff is in front of their homes is. She proposed that we arrange for VIP training on our lake so that we know what all the aquatic species are. Josh Mulhollem and Kim Jensen (Ann Bove’s replacement) are willing to arrange to run such a training session in late July or early August. The training would be open to all on a first come first serve basis.

Milfoil Insurance: Larry Martin

Following up on a suggestion that was made at our Annual Meeting, Larry is looking into insurance for milfoil remediation.

Larry observed that there are some lakes that have a dedicated diver to help remediate milfoil.

The issue of jet propulsion was raised. Watercraft that use jet propulsion pose a particular threat. They suck weeds up into their systems and are very difficult to clean, raising the probability that they will transport invasive species from one lake to another and not be detected upon inspection. We have two jet skis on Echo Lake. Should the use of jet-propelled watercraft on Vermont lakes be brought to the state level?

Donation to Charleston School: Patti Lennon

Last year an anonymous donor donated $1,250.00 to ELPA for the Siskin Ecology project at the Charleston Elementary School. A similar donation has been offered for the 2017-2018 school year for a program that uses field trips to Echo Lake to foster appreciation for our natural resources.

Last year’s program was well received. There had been a planned celebration at year-end, but because of weather and scheduling conflicts the celebration was not held and postponed to the beginning of this school year. Now that the classes involved have moved on to higher grades, it has been determined that the celebration will have to be foregone.

Jean Wilson will serve as the liaison for this year’s program. The board suggested that both NorthWoods Stewardship Center and Siskin be given an opportunity to design a program for this year and let the school decide what would be most suitable.

Amy Wagner has been approved by the state as a volunteer for the Charleston Elementary School.

Adjourned: At 12:35

Submitted by: Susan Czerepak – September 25, 2017

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

2017 Balance Sheet
As of 9/9/2017 (Cash Basis)

Account 9/9/17
   
ASSETS  
   Cash and Bank Accounts  
       ELPA Savings Account $29,444.87
       ELPA Checking Account $237.74
       Business Checking $2,417.01
       Total Cash and Bank Accounts $32,099.62
   
   TOTAL ASSETS $32,099.62
   
LIABILITIES & EQUITY  
   
   LIABILITIES $3,376.45
       Payroll / Taxes $3,227.45
       Postage $49.00
       NorthWoods Stewardship Center $100.00
   
   EQUITY $28,723.17
   
TOTAL LIABILITIES & EQUITY $32,099.62
   

Income/Expense by Category – 2017
As of 9/9/2017 (Cash Basis)

Category 1/1/2017 – 9/9/2017 OVERALL TOTAL
     
CASH CARRIED FORWARD FROM 2016 $23,969.67 $23,969.67
     
INCOME    
   Dues* $1,545.00 $1,545.00
   Donations* $3,140.00 $3,140.00
   Color Challenge $7,019.57 $7,019.57
   Charleston Appropriation for 2017 $1,000.00 $1,000.00
   Watershed Grant – 2016 2nd payment $900.00 $900.00
   Aquatic Nuisance Grant – 2016 2nd payment $4,260.00 $4,260.00
Aquatic Nuisance Grant – 2017 1st payment $2,512.00 $2,512.00
   Interest from Savings $19.31 $19.31
   TOTAL INCOME $20,395.88 $20,395.88
     
EXPENSES    
   Payroll Costs $9,582.99 $9,582.99
   Access Monitor Expenses $-   $-  
   Liability Insurance $550.00 $550.00
   Workers Comp. Insurance $1,198.00 $1,198.00
   Newsletter $-   $-  
   Postage $49.00 $49.00
   Color Challenge Expenses $364.67 $364.67
   P.O. Box Rental – 1yr. $52.00 $52.00
   Annual Meeting $-   $-  
   Picnic $282.40 $282.40
   NorthWoods $100.00 $100.00
   FOVLAP $50.00 $50.00
   VCE $100.00 $100.00
   TOTAL EXPENSES $12,329.06 $12,329.06
     
INCREASE/(DECREASE) $8,066.82 $8,066.82
     
OVERALL TOTAL CASH ON HAND   $32,036.49
     
* $30 Dues, $200 Donations received in 2017 for 2016    

Financial Highlights for 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014

INCOME 2017 2016 2015 2014
Dues $1,545 $2,265 $1,975 $2,220
Donations $3,140 $5,710 $3,900 $4,198
Aquatic Nuisance $6,772 $7,940 $3,400 $5,000
Town Grant $1,000 $1,000 $1,000 $1,000
Map Sales       $10
Watershed Grant $900 $4,600 $5,000 $4,000
Color Challenge $7,020 $5,343 $3,889  
Blueberry Bushes   $992    
Savings Interest $19 $25 $17 $10
Total $20,396 $27,875 $19,181 $16,508

 

EXPENSES 2017 2016 2015 2104
Payroll $12,810 $13,356 $13,767 $11,556
Monitor Bonus/Incentive   $525    
Insurance $1,748 $550 $500 $500
NorthWoods Donation $100 $100 $100 $100
VCE Donation $100 $100 $100 $50
FOVLAP $50 $50 $50 $50
Shoreline Workshop       $100
501(c)3 Application Fee       $400
Web Site Hosting   $432    
Color Challenge $365 $833 $1,439  
Blueberry Bushes   $992    
Charl. School Program   $1,250    
Miscellaneous* $383 $561 $296 $484
Total $15,274 $18,749 $16,252 $13,240

 

Bank Account 2017 2016 2015 2014
Beginning Balance $23,969.27 $14,864.22 $11,936.27 $8,691.75
Ending Balance

·       Checking

·       Savings

·       Bus. Checking

$32,099.62

$237.74

$29,444.87

$2417.01

$23,969.67

$50.68

$23,918.99

$14,864.22

$43.22

$14,821.00

$11,936.27

$67.04

$11,869.23

Change $8,130.35 $9,105.45 $2,927.95 $3,244.52

 

Memberships 2017 2016 2015 2104
Family 47 68 59 70
Single 7 10 10 12

 

*Annual meeting, picnic, mailings, misc. expenses