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Dakota Ridge Annual Meeting Minutes
May 24, 2023 at 4pm via Zoom
Owners Present: Ron Lemieux, Holly Van Deursen, Bill Noyes, Carrie Hayden, Scott Prochazka, David Dennis, Steve Hofman, Julian Allen, Christie Milano, Phil Rawlins, Robert Turner, John Engle, Martyn Redgrave, Jim & Kay Makens, Neil & June Winward, Mike Keating, Sharon Pace, Nancy Jarchow, Deb Benak, Bev Brooks, Tomas Stone, Laurie Comegys, Lorrie Fuhr, Justin Read, Mike & Arlene Zopf
Present by Proxy: Lots 1, 5, 6, 9, 20, 21, 23, 27, 30, 38, 42, 44, 47, 52, 54, 56, 57, 58, 63, 64, 66, 67, 72
Introductions and Establishment of Quorum
Andrea called the meeting to order a few minutes past 4pm and announced that there was a 50% quorum to conduct business. She welcomed the new members who purchased in Dakota Ridge since the last annual meeting: Mark & Leslie Tammariello (lot 54), Vincent & Christie Milano (lot 10) and Jude & Hanna Buckley (lot 34).
Approval of 2022 Annual Meeting Minutes
With no changes suggested by the ownership, Mike Keating made a motion to approve the minutes are presented in the meeting packet, Deb Benak seconded, and all were in favor with none opposed.
Review of Prior Year Financials & Ratification of
Andrea reminded everyone that the Dakota Ridge fiscal year runs from April 1st to March 31st. Per CCIOA, the budget is approved by the Board each year, then presented to the owners in the annual meeting for formal ratification or denial. Before presenting the approved budget, Andrea highlighted the key negative variances to budget from the prior fiscal year which included $26K in Water User Fee Income (budget based on prior year usage), $12.5K in higher Snow Removal Expenses due to our heavy snowfall this winter, and $10K in Water System Operations due to leak repairs and obtaining spare parts after last year’s lightning strike on our pump house. Although Dakota Ridge has historically finished most fiscal years ahead of budget, last year was an anomaly due to snowfall levels and water system leaks. This resulted in an unfavorable Net Operating Income variance of $48K to be assessed as a retro-active catch-up in the current year budget. The 3/31/23 Balance Sheet reflected $332K in Capital Reserves with a total of $230K spent from Reserves during the previous fiscal year on roads, water system, water leaks, and common parcel wildfire mitigation.
Moving into the 2023/2024 Budget, Andrea reviewed the key line items with budgetary changes from the prior year which included Water User Fees, Legal, Snow Removal, and Water System Operations. With increased expenses of about $20K, decreased water user fees of $15K and a prior year shortfall of $48K, the resulting operational dues increased this year from $1025year to $2435 year. Similarly, with projected Capital Reserve spending of $438K and a prior year [unbudgeted] spend of a $50K on water leaks, the Board decided to double the Capital Reserve Dues for the 2023/2024 fiscal year from $2650 to $5600. Andrea explained that the prior year dues were already invoiced on 4/1 but following this formal budget ratification, the remaining dues balance/increase would be invoiced on or around 7/1/23, 10/1/23, and 1/1/24 with the quarterly water charges.
Multiple owners asked if the operational and reserve dues increases were intended to be the new baseline amounts going forward. Holly encouraged the owners to read the Finance Report included in the Annual Meeting packet which addresses this question. At this point, the Capital Reserve Dues are forecasted to return to around $3400/year for 2024/2025 vs $5600 this year but reserve spending will continue to determine those assessments. Holly also noted that while the Board expects the operational dues to be lower next year, we believe they will fall somewhere in between last year’s dues ($1025/year) and this year’s assessment ($2435/year). Although future years will not include the $48k shortfall (assuming budget is met), operational costs are still likely to remain higher than in years past due to general inflation and the aging water system. Andrea briefly screen shared the Capital Reserve Plan currently forecasted out eight years and intended to maintain a minimum $300K reserve balance established by the Board many years ago as a safety net. Steve Hofman acknowledged he was part of an advisory group of the Board when that guideline was established but asked what had changed so dramatically since then. Andrea explained that the $200K waterline replacement was expedited two years ahead of schedule, an extra $50K was spent on leaks last year, and the Trail Ridge Road work was an unknown at that time without hard estimates. Holly added that a full road replacement was not reflected in the Reserve Plan at that point in time b/c it was projected more than 10 years out past 2030. Now the Board has decided that chip sealing every 5 years to try to pro-long the life of our roads and avoid the need for a full reconstruction could have a significant impact on the bottom line reserve balance as asphalt inflation has more than doubled the cost of full replacement from $2.5M to $6M.
Phil asked for more detail on the work planned for Upper Trail Ridge. Andrea explained that owners can review the NWCC road report on the homeowner portal for more information, but this section of road is the most compromised of all road sections in the HOA. The recommended work includes ditch cleaning, the addition of two culverts, grading on the upper common parcel, and a rock retaining wall below the lot 71 driveway entrance, all to prevent water flow and damage across the road. Jim Makens asked about homeowner vs. HOA responsibility for drainage issues. Andrea explained that it’s possible the road was improperly designed 30-40 years ago, but per Article 9 of the Covenants, the roads, roadside easements, drainage and drainage maintenance are still considered HOA responsibility.
After all questions were answered, Deb Benak thanked all the Board members for their hard work and made a motion to ratify the budget as presented. Neil Winward seconded the motion and all those present were in favor with none opposed.
Board Member Elections
There were two 3-year terms up for election for Ron and Scott’s expiring Board seats. Andrea announced that per the Bylaws, nominations were technically due 45 days prior and a reminder email was sent at that time, but no additional nominations were submitted to CPG. She opened the floor again for volunteers but there were none. Therefore, Mike Keating moved to re-elect Ron Lemieux and Scott Prochazka for three-year terms. Steve Hofman seconded the motion and all were in favor with none opposed.
Committee Report Summaries (details in Annual Meeting Packet)
Finance Report – Holly Van Deursen (highlights and questions previously addressed in meeting)
Water Report – Scott Prochazka
The prior year revenue shortfall and expense overage resulted in roughly $82K of unanticipated water costs summarized in the report. On the current year project list, the HOA is spending roughly $200K on the waterline replacement which is the final problematic section of DIP in the water system. Scott noted the Board has been focused on identifying an acceptable leak/loss rate in the system which consultants have indicated to be somewhere greater than 5 gallons/minute. This loss rate is partially driving the Board’s decisions about where to spend money managing the aging water system. Another expenditure recommended by multiple consultants in the long range includes the installation of meter pits at the curb stops to try to identify loss (or implied loss) within the service lines. Because of the size of this expense, this would be a phased project of 5-10 installations per year potentially starting in 2024. Secondly, given the age of the system, the Board also added an extra $350K in the Water CIP (Capital Improvement Plan) for other projects recommended by our water advisors. Based on his experience with water loss and water systems, Mike Zopf did not think meter pits would be a wise investment of money given the Steamboat climate and felt there were more cost-effective ways of identifying loss. Andrea thanked him for his input and said the Board would welcome his involvement as that proposed project is further discussed.
Sharon Pace and Mike Zopf asked about the running water at the intersection of Agate and Aspen and multiple owners shared concerns over another leak vs. an underground spring. Following the meeting, Civil Design, Tim Gibbons and Native all investigated the area and confirmed it to be groundwater, but suggested a French drain before paving. Ron also asked CPG to look into the sink hole that has developed near the top of the south meadow from the heavy run-off this Spring and see if it would be prudent to add some dirt/fill for the safety of those that walk their dogs or snowshoe or cross-country ski on that common area parcel.
Road Report – Bill Noyes
The reports from our engineers and road maintenance vendors indicate the Dakota Ridge roads are in good shape with the exception of Upper Trail Ridge. The HOA added a longer lasting crackfill material called mastic to the annual maintenance schedule which seems to have helped with the larger cracks. Trail Ridge Road is by far the most compromised to the point that trash trucks will not service the road in the winter and severe alligator cracking and road deterioration has occurred on the lower section due to water damage. Once the drainage issues are addressed, the Board plans to test a 5/8” chip seal finish. Because of steepness and winter snowfall, NWCC engineers believe it will not only add traction but prolong the overall lifespan until full reconstruction. Holly added that Andrea could provide locations around the County that had recently been chip sealed. Mike Zopf mentioned mosquito control as it pertains to road ditches and ditch cleaning. Andrea said she would follow up with Native for recommended areas of ditch cleaning other than Upper Trail Ridge and Mike said he could send pictures of other areas of concern.
ARC Report – Carrie Hayden
Carrie thanked the other committee members (Sarah Jones and Tom Valicenti) and reminded everyone the purpose of the ARC is to maintain property values in the neighborhood and minimize the neighborly impact of construction and modifications. Any owners planning to perform any exterior work need to submit their plans in advance to the committee through the homeowner portal or by emailing CPG. Steve Hofman asked if there were any new building projects this season and Carrie and Andrea reported there were no new submittals, only ongoing/previously approved projects and remodels. Arlene Zopf made a comment about construction trash and CPG said they would send reminders to the owners with active construction projects. Andrea also reminded everyone that trash cans cannot be put out the night before service. Lastly Carrie provided a brief reminder about wildfire mitigation and the recent Routt County wildfire conference; all fires must be approved by the Board and require a permit from the fire department. In addition to fire mitigation, Holly reminded everyone that noxious weed mitigation is also the responsibility of each lot owner.
Covenant Review Committee Report – Ron Lemieux
On behalf of the Committee Chair, Sarah Jones, Ron reported that the CRC is close to presenting owners with a unified document of recommended redlines. Once completed, a draft will be disseminated to the owners with a cover memo explaining the most significant recommended changes. The CRC will also hold an informational town hall (with our outside legal counsel present) so that homeowners can ask questions and provide the CRC with their feedback. The CRC will consider and evaluate this feedback and create a final proposed restatement of our Covenants for a ballot vote by all homeowners. The goal is to complete this process before Labor Day.
Steve Hofman encouraged the Board to consider returning to an in person annual meeting forum. Andrea said she would make a note of it, but explained a mixed format of remote and in person can be challenging from a technology perspective and suggested a social event might accomplish the same goal. Holly said she would help the Board organize a social event later this summer.
Lorrie Fuhr reported she had a package stolen from the cluster box. Andrea mentioned packages had been left unlocked in the parcel boxes without the carrier putting the parcel key securely inside the recipient’s mailbox. Steve Hofman said he recently addressed this issue with the post office, but please let the post office or postmaster know if there are continued problems with missing or stolen packages.
With no further questions, the meeting adjourned at 5:33pm.
Commercial Property Group