July 1, 2010 Board Meeting

The meeting convened at 7:15 PM at the BRCA Marina Clubhouse. The President, Pam Jacobsen, chaired the meeting. Board Members present included: Pam Jacobsen, Grahame Rice, Kurt Karsten, Monica Mount, Jeff Gilbert, Sherrie Kelley, Bill Thomas and Paul Behrends. Bruce Reiter (Web Based Membership Coordinator and Annapolis Cove Representative) was also present. A quorum was present to allow the board to transact business.

Old Business

Reading of the Minutes – Reading of the minutes of the 8 June meeting were waived since the approved minutes are posted on the web site.

Treasurer’s Report

Sherrie Kelley presented a report on the current financial status of the association. There is approximately $148,000 in the operations accounts. Current major annual bills are:

  • DRD Management contract – ~$55,000
  • Electrical Power – ~ $12,000

Pool Security

Jeff Gilbert stated that he has purchased a complete video security system, which is awaiting installation. The systems consists of:

  • Four cameras
  • Central control unit including video recorder providing stop motion recording.
  • Video recording can retain at least 5 full days before overwriting the recording. This will allow review of the tape in the event an event of interest has occurred.

It is expected that the system will be installed within the next week. The system control box will be installed in the guard office, and be under lock and key. The camera locations will essentially provide coverage of all significant areas inside the BRPA fence. A part of the kit includes signs stating “Video Surveillance in Use”.  Bill Thomas will check with the BRPA insurance to see if there is any discount available as a result of the use of a video security system.

Membership Status

Grahame Rice discussed the current status of membership. He noted that the current status is very close to the status at the same time last year. Membership renewals are continuing to be received. He noted that the on line membership data renewal process has been working extremely well this year.

On another aspect of tracking membership, Kurt Karsten reported on efforts to develop a paper trail of regular and charter membership transfers. In the past, some transfers have been made informally, without advising the BRPA of the transfer. The result is an uncertainty on the validity of membership claims based on the transfers. Kurt reported that he has essentially completed the documentation effort for charter members. He has the raw data for the regular memberships, but has not had an opportunity to complete that task yet.

Fire Safety Inspection

Pam Jacobsen noted that the pool was inspected by the County Fire Inspector earlier in the month. The inspection revealed:

  • Emergency Exit Signs not working – The signs have been replaced and demonstrated that they work.
  • The ground level fire extinguisher is mounted too high. The extinguisher has been lowered to the required maximum height of 5 feet above the ground.
  • The standby propane tanks (for the grills) cannot be stored closer than 15 feet from the building. They have been moved to the street side fence. A more permanent storage at that location will be addressed.
  • All electrical power panels should have an access path of at least 36 inches – DRD will restore the pump room to provide that access to the pump room power panel.
  • Exposed wires in the guard office require coverage – The electrical wires in question were inspected by an electrician. He noted that the wires are signal wires, not power level wiring, and as a result the NEC does not require placing the wire in conduit. This will have to be discussed with the inspector during reinspection.

Building Maintenance

Maintenance items addressed included:

  • Fluorescent light fixture lens in the pump room has accumulated water from a previous leak on the second floor. Bill Thomas will remove, clean and reinstall the fixture lens.
  • Grahame Rice reported that the refinishing of the kitchen bar counter will not be completed until after pool season. The finish has ended up uneven and will have to be at least partially redone.

BRPA Monthly Pool Parties

Grahame Rice noted that the July party is currently scheduled for 3 July. It is suspected that the party would have low attendance with many members having other activities for the weekend of the 4th of July. As an alternative, it was decided to postpone the pool party from 3 July to the following Sunday, 11 July. Paul Behrends will adjust the pool rental schedule to reflect this change.

Solar Energy Project

Pam Jacobsen announced the formation of a sub-committee of the board to address the proposal. The sub-committee includes:
Bill Thomas – Chair
Grahame Rice
Monica Mount
Kurt Karsten
Paul Behrends

Pam Jacobsen discussed membership concerns with the project that she has received. These included:

  • The perceived extremely large debt to be assumed by the BRPA. This debt is based on a contract quote of approximately $255K, coupled with anticipated rebates and grants to yield a final debt load for the project of approximately an $150K.
  • Concerns about the location of the solar array panel in replacing the existing pergola and safety concerns about being exposed to electricity under a solar array and adding another shade structure between the pool and the street over a currently grassy area and the effect it may have on grass.

Pam Jacobsen suggested locating the BRPA project in the parking lot, which is BRCA property as the first stage of the overall program so that people could see that solar energy works and get used to the look of the panels before putting it inside the pool area.

Kurt Karsten explained that the parking lot was owned by BRCA and was not exclusively leased to the Pool Association as the area inside the fence was. For BRPA to use that area, the BRCA/BRPA Lease and the Conservation Easement held by the BayLands Trust and MET may have to be re-written, which may be quite difficult. Regarding the issue of adding debt to pay for electricity for the pool, Kurt noted that currently, electricity was the second major expense of the pool, behind pool management, and that the Pool Association required electricity to run the pumps and filters that allow use of the pool. Electricity is a fixed cost as much as debt service is, in operating a pool – if the electricity bill is not paid, there will not be a workable pool for the members to use.

Currently, conservative modeling of these projects indicates that the Pool Association could save up to $4,500 per year in short term electricity costs (roughly 3% of its operating expense) and over $50,000 in long term costs, while fixing those costs at a defined level despite rising and volatile energy prices. Reducing the cost of the electricity and fixing the cost to a certain amount are therefore desirable, if it can be accomplished, in order to be able to manage costs as a Board and in order to make predictable budgets. Kurt also responded that various concerns by the membership might require discussion and dialogue in order to see if a viable pool solar project that was embraced by the membership was feasible. Toward that end, he suggested that the Solar Subcommittee that was appointed in the June meeting should meet to discuss the project.

Regarding the parking lot project, Kurt also discussed the long range plans for green power. The parking lot project would be a much larger project than the pool proposal. It’s anticipated to be at least two years in the future. The intent of the BRCA Energy committee is to open a dialog with the BRPA on the approach to be taken. The BRCA Energy Committee has not committed to any specific approach at this time. but has been investigating possible projects so that the memberships of BRCA and BRPA might be given fair, reliable and impartial information about possible ways to reduce both short term and long-term energy costs for the membership while implementing environmentally responsible projects in keeping with our partnerships with CBF and our location as a waterfront community that is threatened by sea level rise from long term climate change.

Pool Association Financial Status

Kurt Karsten identified several concerns in the status of future finances for the pool association. The issues included:

  • Kurt Karsten noted that when the pool was first built, an extensive investigation of how Community Pools fail was done by the initial Pool Board. What was found was that Community Pools tended to fail when those who were managing the pool failed to prepare in a fiscally responsible way for large unexpected expenses and failed to maintain a proper reserve fund for those predictable large expenses. When large expenses occurred, the membership resisted assessments and simply joined another pool and left the existing pool to fail for lack of membership. The Pool then did not have sufficient capital to make the necessary repair. The initial BRPA Pool Board tried to prevent that risk for BRPA by investigating the likely time period of certain large expenses such as the acid wash of the pool and the re-surfacing of the pool (and the concurrent expense of re-filling the pool) and the replacement of the pool filters and pool pumps and the pool building roof. In light of that original schedule and the fact that BRPA is now 10 years old, the pool has several large maintenance expenses it may be facing in the relatively near future and that budgetary discipline is particularly important in light of the declining pool membership of the past few years.
  • Kurt Karsten also noted that the current status of the pool reserve fund should be evaluated to ensure that it provides adequate reserves to support those impending capital needs. He noted that it should be at least $100K placed in CDs and not counted as part of the Operating Account.
  • He stated that the annual budget review should be held in November to allow planning for the next year. Given that our “competitor” pools – such as Mears – have renewal deadlines of late February and early March, BRPA should be initiating the member renewal process in January so that people who live in Annapolis Cove and potential new members from Bay Ridge are aware of the pricing for the BRPA membership when they select which pool they want to join. At the very least, an email and flyer should be delivered to all the residents and property owners in Bay Ridge and Annapolis Cove in late January or early February telling people the projected costs of the various memberships for the upcoming summer. Over the past few years, this information has not been made available to potential new or renewing members until late March or April and many potential members have already committed to a competitor by that time because of the early deadlines. Kurt also noted that, in order to ensure a good lifeguard crew, BRPA must make try to reach an agreement with DRD (or its replacement) immediately after the end of the active pool season as the Pool Management companies select their core staff and main pool operators and commit them to pools that they know they have in the November/December time frame.

New Business

SCUBA Training Classes – Kurt Karsten announced that a class leading to SCUBA certification is planned for 11-13 and 22, 23 July at the pool. The class size will be restricted to not more than 20 students. Five students are currently enrolled.

Meeting Schedule – The official schedule for future meetings of the Pool Association and its Board of Directors includes:

  • General Meeting –Monday, 9 August at the BRCA Marina clubhouse.
  • Board Meeting – Tuesday 27 July at the BRPA Pool.

Adjournment – The meeting adjourned at 9:25 PM.

Respectfully submitted:
Paul Behrends, Secretary