September Letter to Neighbors

September 2016

Dear fellow Bridge Pointe neighbors,

This message follows letters written in April and August about recent changes in the neighborhood. Those letters are on our neighborhood website, (Please contact us if you require a login).

Thanks for the calls, emails, and discussions asking for more information about the five-year plan which was adopted on August 7, and about the recent dues increase for 2017. Your questions and comments helped identify what information must be clarified.

A quick background:  For many years, the Association used five-year plans for long-range needs. Gradually, these plans slipped away.  Last year came the realization that much of neighborhood’s assets are 30 years old. A major water bill spike was traced to a leaking swimming pool, leaking toilets, and a weak pump/filter. The pool area deck is cracked, the retaining wall is flaking, some furniture is broken, and the pump house shows considerable wear. Even with diligent maintenance, neighbors can expect repairs and, eventually, replacement will be needed — costing a lot of money. Without knowing when or how much, the first step was to study the needs.  The September 2015 edition of the neighborhood newsletter, The Pointe, invited ideas for developing a plan.

In January, five volunteers (Brian McCrary, George Roberts, Pat Rainey, Dave Mecklenburg, and Mike Power) began spending many hours on reviewing records from Bridge Pointe and researching other associations to estimate what needs to be done, and when, and at what cost. Neighbors were invited to a special meeting on April 19 to hear the proposed plan’s presentation from this Five-Year Planning Committee. The Board asked for changes to the proposal. Several neighbors expressed thoughts at board meetings on May 1 and June 26, which led to  more changes. On August 7, a modified plan was adopted. The plan calls for annual reviews, to change the plan each year as needed. As recommended in the plan, annual dues have been increased by $48 ($4/month) to $370 for 2017.  (Compare:  If dues had kept pace with inflation since 1986, they would be $442.) This increase fills immediate needs for maintenance and repairs, and increases cash (called “reserves”) to pay for major expenses in the future, as identified in the  plan.

So what happens now? The plan will serve as a carefully thought-out guide for coming years. The plan is only a guide. Things change and the plan will change accordingly.   No matter what plan is in place, the unexpected can be expected, which will require adjustments.  Many neighbors will recall when the old wooden deck by the baby pool suddenly was found to be rotten beyond repair.  Neighborhood volunteers scrambled to remove it, but cash had to be found quickly to replace the deck.  Of course, there may be years when nothing goes wrong, which will allow the reserves to grow more.  The plan will be updated and revised twice yearly before being adopted for the next year.  Major projects will be needed, such as  maintaining the retaining wall and signs at the North Wayne entrance.  The plan is not locked in place for five years.  It will change as needed.  Dues increases, if any, will be considered each year, but only as needed.

To be effective, a plan must have projections.  The current plan estimates major repairs and replacements at different periods, and that dues increases will be necessary to cover these repairs.  Those estimates may change as time marches onward, and new information is received.  Cash will accumulate until needed.  Measures are in place to show everyone how neighborhood funds are spent each year.  More accountability measures are being researched to use when more substantial amounts of cash accumulate.  The Association needs reserves because it cannot borrow money to replace big-ticket items or major  repairs.  The by-laws prohibit borrowing, and no bank would make such loans because it would have no way to fix a default.  Also, saddling neighbors with special assessments is not an option because many neighbors simply won’t pay.  Being diligent with finances will ensure the pool continues to operate and to protect all property values, even for those that do not use the pool.

Thanks for reading this communication and for the thoughts, ideas, suggestions, questions, and comments.  Please visit the website and read the plan, meeting minutes, communications, and the calendar for upcoming board meetings.  As concerned neighbors themselves, the Association’s Board and Five-Year Plan Committee members have volunteered much time and effort  to make the best recommendations and decisions possible.  Please keep the questions, comments, and ideas coming!  Respectful conversation about neighborhood issues is what keeps Bridge Pointe a great neighborhood.

Lastly, a quick update on other happenings:

  1. The new pool filter and pump worked well to clean water throughout the pool season.
  2. Water use was lower this year due to decreased back-flushing, among other reasons.
  3. The key-fob pool-entry system generated good feedback. Usage reports will be coming.
  4. A leak-detection inspection revealed two leaks which can be fixed when the pool is painted and sealed this fall.
  5. As recommended by the plan, the pumphouse was inspected for termites and other deterioration, revealing damage on the west-side wall. Three bids will be considered for termite control.  Rot and screen damage also will need to be repaired.
  6. All security-system wiring is complete. The key-fob entry system and new Google Fiber internet wifi service are in place, but turned off for the off-season.

Once again, thanks to everyone — Board members, committee members, Block Captains, and every single volunteer — for all you do to make this neighborhood such a great place to live. There is much more to do, but we truly believe we are on a good path for a continued strong future.

Your neighbors,

Jason White, Chad Brantley, Matt Ryan, Joanne Link, Kristy Cofer, Jeff Lee

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