Fellow Bridge Pointe Neighbors,
So much has happened in the past four months that I’m going to try to summarize here. A new website has launched, dues increased, old trees are gone, lifeguards won’t be at the pool, new security features and a pool pump are installed, and a five-year plan is being considered. Here are some details.
First, while the website has existed for only a month, it already is showing it can to serve this neighborhood with many useful functions: Quick communication of breaking news, a central location for important documents (covenants and restrictions, by-laws, forms, meeting minutes,) contact information, photographs, videos, a calendar, history and much more. Please go to https://www.bridgepointekcmo.com to review the website and provide suggestions, constructive comments, and ideas for future uses and functions of the website.
Second, a dues increase was adopted last fall and discussed at the January 11 annual meeting. I described some difficult realities facing the neighborhood. For instance, even with an increase in dues, expected increases in expenses would consume most of the funding for 2016. This is not for lack of trying. Frank Tittone (past landscaping chair), showed that Illusion, our long- time landscaping company, agreed to remove the last dead pine tree by the parking lot, and to complete the flower bed work on the northeast corner of the pool area (where bushes had been removed), all at no cost.
The increase in last year’s water expense also was investigated. Weekly communication with the pool management company yielded answers: The problem was a combination of small cracks in pool-edge skimmers, increased backflushing of the filter by pool personnel, and keeping the pool’s water level too high. Besides closer monitoring of the pool level, a new pump and filter will require less backwashing, and skimmers will be fixed for less than $400.
Third, The water recirculation rate has been a concern for years. It did not pass initial city inspection in 2014. It finally passed in 2015, but left doubt about whether the old system would pass inspection this year so the pool could open on time. The board was faced with the difficult choice between lifeguards or spending every last bit of savings. After much discussion and careful analysis, and lengthy negotiation with the pool management company, the board chose to omit lifeguards, which reduced the management contract’s cost by $15,000 this year. This savings freed funds to pay for the needed repairs to the pump and water filter, and to install a new entry system with security upgrades. The entry system and lighting became necessary with lifeguards being absent. Our insurance carrier recommended the improvements regardless of lifeguards being present or not. The costs of repairs and security upgrades, and the savings from omitting lifeguards, are detailed in board meeting minutes on the website. Expensive maintenance will continue next year. Painting and sealing the pool will be necessary and we will be able to put money away for this even with the expenses.
Fourth, dealing with this – and next — year’s challenges has shown clearly that a long-term plan is absolutely necessary. Five neighbors have been working hard to estimate what must be fixed or replaced, and when, and at what cost, and how to get the cash. Mike Power, Dave Mecklenburg, George Roberts, Brian McCrary, and Pat Rainey are a cross section of the neighborhood, with diverse skills, experience, and professional expertise. They presented a five-year plan to the board of directors to consider. The board, in turn, wants to gather information from all neighbors. So, the proposal – not yet adopted – is posted on the website for all to see, consider, and comment.
Certainly, maintenance of jointly owned assets is important to all residents.. For many years, this maintenance has been delayed because current income was spent on current expenses, without setting aside enough money for a rainy day. Until recently, the amount of annual dues was kept unchanged, so funds simply were not available to reserve for these mounting maintenance concerns. We are now being faced with the reality that these major maintenance repairs can no longer be delayed. Please understand this year’s board and five-year-plan committee are working extremely hard to find solutions for this year and into next year with the neighborhood’s best interest in mind.
I view the maintenance of an aging pool and pumphouse in the same manner that I view our own homes: Without some upkeep, things go downhill quickly. The five-year committee has looked at every detail — tiles, concrete, the crumbling retaining wall, and many other things. The committee has provided analysis, estimates, and recommendations. To be sure, the sky is not falling, but we all need to get serious about this to create a solid future path that includes necessary reserves. Certainly there is no blame to lay. There will be many opinions and not everyone will agree. But the reality cannot be ignored, or resolved in one year.
Tough decisions must be made. Board members are committed to continue working closely with all neighbors by being transparent with all decisions, and to increase efforts to communicate through the new website. Please feel free to call us, email us, with any questions, constructive comments, or suggestions for consideration.