LITTLE FALLS SWIMMING CLUB
BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING MINUTES
Wednesday, February 10, 2016
5004 Newport Ave
Board members present:
- Review/Approve minutes.
January’s meeting minutes were approved unanimously.
- Review and approve budget.
Board treasurer Greg Wang discussed the 2016 budget, which was drafted by the previous board. The numbers look good. What might change is the dive team budget projection and the extended season guest fee revenues. We got slammed with a $3k penalty for paying our tax bill on revenues from some CDs a few months late. Greg will appeal that fee. He will also look into clearing out the CDs, which he believes have matured and are not earning anything.
A board member inquired about the 20% increase in the pool management line item. Greg explained that we included that increase to cover the fact that the county has raised the minimum wage.
The 2016 budget was approved unanimously.
- Discuss membership mailing and associated issues; approve revised standard motion.
A subset of the pool board members met last week to discuss the membership mailing. They are in the process of updating the dues letter text from last year. They also learned a lot more specifics about Membersplash, including that it’s not set up to send an email to specific subcategories of members – full members, associates, etc. We will ask board member John Crupi to work with Jamie, the MemberSplash vendor, to fix this problem, which is creating a tremendous amount of extra work, as the various categories of members are very complicated. The board also discussed gaining access to the underlying MemberSplash database so that we can make changes ourselves rather than having to run them all through Jamie, the vendor. This begs the question of whether we want to continue with the database and whether we need a more local IT resource. The pool needs a system that allows us to catalog and contact different types of membership/members and is sustainable and can survive and support future changes in board leadership.
The membership committee noted that by the end of February we will know how many full memberships we will have to offer to associate members.
- Revised motions
The member dues mailing will go out Friday, Feb 12th. Members will have until March 11th to pay. After that they will have two weeks to pay, plus a $50 penalty through March 25th. Up until April 11th they will be charged with a $150 penalty fee. After April 14th, termination notices will be issued. Members must respond by April 21st. If they want to join by then they must pay a $250 reinstatement fee.
The board unanimously approved these changes.
Board president Craig Piercy will revise the president’s letter to reflect these new dates. It should also reference how the assessment will be made in May. He will do this, share a draft with the board, and have it finalized for mailing by Wednesday February 17th and be sure to let Carol Schaengold, pool bookkeeper, know about this revised timeline.
- Review Master to-do list for January and February; assign action items.
Minutes from annual meeting: Bob will send Nancy minutes from the annual meeting along with the annual meeting minutes from Jan 2015, which were approved.
Nominating committee: we need three more members of the nominating committee for next year in accordance with the bylaws. Jon Slabaugh and Rob Danegger are the current members.
Security company contact info: Craig will update business cards on file with security company. Joe M. will get all combinations and passwords for the pool and determine which board members are and should be contacted when the alarm goes off.
Security: Joe M. will get a locksmith to rekey the locks since they are old and not working well and also update the combination locks. He will also obtain the alarm code from Chuck or John Crupi.
Claim to property: Craig will send a letter to 5200 and 5202 Baltimore letter asserting the club’s claim to the property that abuts their property.
Taxes due: Greg will look into a note in the master to-do list for February that pertains to the treasurer paying an NLT tax by February 15th.
- Master planning update / next steps.
Board members Cathy Stocker and Greg Wang explained that we are currently in the permitting and zoning phase of the project. The civil engineers need to figure out how to lawfully execute the project that the architect created. John Chadwick arranged an informal meeting with the engineers and ultimately learned that we have to go through the federal FEMA process re: flood plain issues. We now have a new plan that has a neutral impact on the flood plain, which is great. Regarding storm water management, that plan has been approved and we don’t need to install a bio retention area because the water table is too high. What this means is that we are paying a one-time $50k fee to have the requirement waived, but that’s about half of what it would cost to build retention capacity.
The county asked FEMA to sign off on the flood map, which FEMA maintains for the flood insurance. We have all the engineering documents and the county signed off on it. But we need to go through the FEMA process – just need to identify the right person to make sure it doesn’t get stalled.
We are still planning to rent a temporary bridge for construction purposes. However, the temporary bridge moves the flood plain in a way that affects two neighboring properties. This is not a real or immediate risk, but those property owners need to be notified and they need to write letters to the pool explaining that they understand the implications of our erecting a temporary bridge. We need to find out if the bridge will affect their flood insurance, in which case we should offer to cover any increase during the nine-month period when the temporary bridge is in place.
Because we don’t know the full cost of the temporary bridge, we asked
John Chadwick to explore the cost of building a new permanent bridge that could support both construction vehicles and fire engines and ambulances. The initial cost for the feasibility study for this was $7k, which seemed high, so John is going to explore other options. It was noted that a new bridge construction process runs the risk of delaying the construction process. Ideally it would be erected prior to the pool’s opening in May.
It was agreed that we will move forward with the permitting process with the temporary bridge and explore the idea of rebuilding the bridge on a parallel track.
Somewhat relatedly, Cathy will meet with a pool neighbor about a tree identified for removal in the 2005 landscape plan that Parks and Planning gave us that still needs to be removed. Cathy will speak with the affected neighbor(s). She will also convene a meeting with potentially affected neighbors on Feb. 17th. Joe M. will discuss the best means to remove the tree.
We’ve released SEI, our architecture firm, to prepare the drawings and specs that we will use to bid out the construction work, which we need ready by May at the latest and then we’ll need to decide on the bid very quickly. Once we have a contract in hand we will need to set up financing. May will be a very busy month and will essentially be the “drop dead” date that will guide whether groundbreaking will be in Fall 2016 or Fall 2017. Permits, however, will be relevant next year so long as the pool design doesn’t change.
In the near term, the next big decision as a board is temporary versus permanent bridge. The next big permitting hurdle is the forest conservation plan, which goes through the Parks Department.
- Swim and Dive Team Update
Both teams have identified head coaches for the coming season, who are all returning from the prior year. Swim team is in the process of recruiting junior (volunteer) coaches. The board needs to send notification to end of season members about the opportunity to participate in both swim and dive teams. It was noted that both teams’ fees will increase this year from $85 to $125 per participant to cover the costs of coaches’ salaries.
- Bethesda Aquatics
The board discussed giving some feedback to Chuck in advance of the coming season. We will add him to the agenda for the March meeting.
The board adjourned at 9:24pm.
Summary of action items:
- Appeal the late tax payment fee.
- Look into clearing out the CDs, which he believes have matured and are not earning anything.
- Investigate a note in the master to-do list for February that pertains to the treasurer paying an NLT tax by February 15th.
- Send an email to John Crupi asking him to meet with Greg and Carol to review the issues and problems that need to be resolved with MemberSplash and report back to the board at the next meeting.
- Revise the president’s letter to reflect new dates in dues payments and late fees. It should also reference how the assessment will be made in May. He will do this, share a draft with the board, and have it finalized for mailing by Wednesday February 17th and be sure to let Carol know about this revised timeline.
- Update business cards on file with security company.
- Send a letter to 5200 and 5202 Baltimore letter asserting the club’s claim to the property that abuts their property.
- Send Nancy minutes from the annual meeting along with the annual meeting minutes from Jan 2015, which were approved.
- Edit those minutes and share with the board for review and input.
- Share the approved 2015 annual meeting minutes and all other 2015 minutes with Carol for posting on the pool’s website.
- Recruit three more nominating committee members for next year’s election, in accordance with the bylaws.
Joe M. will:
- Get all combinations and passwords for the pool and determine which board members are and should be contacted when the alarm goes off.
- Get a locksmith to rekey the locks, since they are old and not working well, and update the combination locks.
- Obtain the alarm code from Chuck or John Crupi.
- Determine the best means to remove the tree identified for removal in the 2005 landscape plan.
- Meet with affected pool neighbors about the above-referenced tree removal.
- Convene a meeting with potentially affected neighbors regarding the temporary bridge and impact on the flood plain on Feb. 17th.
LITTLE FALLS SWIMMING CLUB
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Wednesday, March 9, 2016
Board members present:
Nancy La Vigne
Chuck Montrie, Bethesda Aquatics
- Approve February minutes.
Minutes approved unanimously with no edits or revisions.
- Bethesda Aquatics
Chuck Montrie shared that Mohican is offering again this year an opportunity for Little Falls to pay one flat fee for unlimited use of the pool for its members only (no guests) during pre- and post-season periods during which our pool is closed. Same price as last year: $3500 May 1 through Memorial Day Weekend and from Little Falls’ closing to around October 7th (exact dates to be confirmed). All in favor.
Bethesda Aquatics is preparing for Little Falls pool opening – Memorial Day Weekend. They are in the midst of interviewing guards – just about done. Nick Kettler has been offered the job of pool manager. He is relatively young so will need extra support, but has a solid track record of being very reliable.
The goal is to remove the cover on the first Handy Man day.
Board members discussed that locks need to be re-keyed. Decided to wait until next year after the renovation.
The Board asked Chuck to figure out how to pay coaches who guard. In past seasons coaches’ paychecks have been delayed. The board also expressed an interest in more timely communications and also encouraged Chuck to reply to all on email communications. Chuck advised to email him and copy Terri; email is preferable to texting. He said to contact him by phone if board members or team reps don’t hear back. 301-785-4795 (cell). Work is 301-325-7203. Home is 301-864-0503.
The Board reviewed and discussed membership “flow”. We have 33 full memberships to offer current associate members. They need to pay as though there were no construction – $1,000 in equity and then summer dues. Then they will be assessed the $2,000 for the renovation.
We can also offer 12 full season guest membership options along with similar memberships for households that abut the pool (around 3). These households should be eligible for full swim and dive team participation (unlike end of summer members, who can only participate in B meets).
Everyone else on the waitlist can be offered and end of summer (formerly known as August) membership.
Need to make clear to end-of-season families that kids who participate in swim and dive are not allowed to be at the pool without supervision (some families used the pool as a babysitter last season, which is not acceptable).
- Master Plan
The two properties that are impacted by the temporary bridge that needs to be erected to support construction vehicles and its effect on the flood plane were presented with a package of information and we drafted a letter for them to write that indicates they understand the implications and that they understand that the pool will pay any additional insurance associated with the temporary threat to the flood plane.
The project manager looked into rebuilding a new bridge altogether – one that would support construction vehicles – but determined it was too expensive and would the delay construction start date considerably. The cost of the temporary bridge is less than we had anticipated so that makes it a clear case for proceeding as originally planned.
John (project manager) put bids out to firms to do the prep work for the bridge – they need to do soil analysis, examine the bank, and create the platform. May end up piecing together two bids to save the pool a few thousand dollars. But if that creates issues it may be best to go with one contractor even if for a bit more money. We will convey these thoughts to John.
Motion to approve project manager to hire the firms needed to prepare the temporary bridge for an amount not to exceed $10,000. Approved unanimously.
Board members noted that it is important to do frequent reminders to the members about the assessment – how it will be issued and when it will be due. Would also be good to put it on the website.
First meeting needs to happen after the trees bud to see which trees might be dead and thus subject to removal and replacement – first or second week of May. Joe M (buildings and grounds) may want to attend the first meeting as well. Get list of members from Sarah Farnsworth (former board member and CLC liaison).
CLC requirements are a minimum of three meetings a year, listen to concerns, type up and distribute notes via listserv and website.
- Pool board management
The bookkeeper’s contract needs to be renewed and expanded to include the role played by the resigning membership coordinator. Work has increased with the new website – maintenance and updating. Her hours are 6-8/week spread throughout the season. She requested to go on hourly pay with submission of weekly timecards. The proposal is to extend her contract to compensate her at $50/hour with an amount not to exceed $20,000/year. This is still less cost than what the board would pay to compensate both a bookkeeper and a membership coordinator. All in favor.
- Swim Team Update
All coaches have been hired for the season. Discussed the idea of masters swim program at the pool – not necessarily for the entire summer, perhaps two or three evenings a week, 7-8pm, two lanes. There’s someone who is potentially interested in coaching – members would pay that person directly. Need to find out what the best times would work best. Could be more of a stroke clinic than an actual Master’s program. This would only be for members of the pool.
- Other/New Business
Members expressed a desire to view the Olympics at the pool. Question of whether there is a good set up for viewing during the day. May not be able to do it around the clock but perhaps for major events (like the swimming ones).
Problems continue with MemberSplash, with both email communications and problems members have in logging on and accessing invoices. Also a question of whether people are getting charged the correct fees. It appears that those using PayPal are getting accurate invoices but those paying by credit card are getting an additional 2% process fee but the HandyMan fee may not be included. Bob will ask Carol to investigate who is getting charged what. Need to extend flexibility to those who expressed trouble in paying dues based on problems with MemberSplash – should offer to waive the late fee in such documented cases. Need to track who those people are. Craig will reach out to John Crupi to get him working with MemberSplash.
- Actions Items
Bob will ask Carol to explore MemberSplash invoicing problems.
Joe M – grounds maintenance contract – renewal. Will confirm with Greg the right tree to be removed and that it needs to come down.
Craig will work with John Crupi on MemberSplash problems.
Craig will ask John Crupi to update the list of those on alarm system: Kristin, Bob, Cathy, and Joe.
Greg (treasurer) – shared a conflict of interest policy for all board members to sign.
- Adjournment – Motion to adjourned – all in favor. 10:03pm.
April Meeting of the Little Falls Pool Board
April 13, 2016
Board Members Present:
Nancy La Vigne
Carol Schaengold, Bookkeeper
- Minutes approved with no edits.
- Vote to amend the motions voted on in January to correct the opening date of the pool to Saturday May 28th and to add the $150 initiation fee. All in favor.
III. Coaches salaries
The swim and dive team reps presented the following candidates for coach positions along with their recommended levels of compensation:
Dive team salaries – Ryan Blom – head coach – $3500; Brigit Cann – assistant coach – $2500.
Swim team salaries – David Hogan $5,000 – head coach; Ethan Taswell $4500 – assistant head coach; Abby Fry – $4000 – pre-team head coach; Liz Maio and Alex Berger – junior coaches at $3000 each. Preteam assistant coaches (volunteer/SSL) – Carmen Hamm and Ian Sheppel.
All board members voted in favor of coaches salaries for the 2016 season.
- Adult stroke clinic
Grace Swinnerton will be launching this new opportunity for adult swimmers. She will be compensated directly from participants but the board will recommend the fee. The program will run two nights a week – M, T and/or F. No whistles will be used. We view this as minimally disruptive. Two lanes max.
- Renovation update – Board members had a meeting with the county to re-engineer the pool renovation plan to comport with the more stringent county requirements. The county also required FEMA to check on the work; FEMA said it doesn’t do that; the county insisted that we do so in light of a letter from a neighbor expressing concerns about the plan’s impact on the flood plain. A meeting with the neighbor resolved the issue – concerns were discussed and the neighbor retracted the letter, which should set aside the county’s concerns.
Had a hearing with county zoning and permitting requesting an administrative modification to our special exception and it was approved. The next step is the forestation plan; 7 trees are potentially at risk. There are two that are within the footprint of the construction and must be removed. One was slated to be removed years ago but we never removed it. The other four could potentially be harmed but they don’t have to be removed. That said, they want to review the worst-case scenario. Talked with head of Little Falls Watershed Alliance – he recommended removing the at-risk trees and replacing them. The fact is that even if we had maintained the existing footprint of the pool these trees would be at risk and likely subject to removal and replacement. Action item: bring in an arborist to assess the health of the trees in question.
John Chadwick sent out RFPs to three contractors. The responses will tell us both what the cost will be as well as which contractors are able to work in accordance with the RFP’s start date of September 1st and completion date of May 1st . The contract includes a per day penalty for each day after May 1 and after 30 days it will double the per-day penalty. We should hear back from them within 30 days. We are still in line with our timetable; our go/no go deadline remains May of this year – around the time of the pool opening.
Board members discussed with one bank the change in financing in light of the membership vote and they remain interested in discussing a loan. We will secure bids from two additional banks. Ultimately they will need a signed contract; we will move forward with financing when we are certain about the timing of the renovation.
In terms of spending to date, we remain under budget.
Board members discussed how we need to share with members the anticipated assessment schedule. Action item: send out a snail mail letter (can also send via email) to all members about the amount and timing of the first capital contribution. Everyone now owes ~$2k in a capital contribution (if you pay online it’s $2060 and if you pay by check it’s $2000). But we should divide that into two installments to make it more feasible. Give members six months to pay it – $1k due June 30th and the other by September 30th. If they don’t pay the full amount by Sept. 30th assess a late fee. Or penalize on the backend by reducing the equity return. And if they don’t pay at all, terminate membership by October 31st. We will not chase them repeatedly for payment. Also, we need to ensure that we have confirmed email addresses for each household upon check in to the pool.
- Membership dues collection – lessons learned: really need to force everyone to pay online next year. Should start confirming email addresses and phone numbers this summer. Also need to convey that this is a business and we can’t continue hand holding re: dues collections.
VII. Administration moving forward – renewed and expanded on Carol’s contract with an end date of October 31st at which point she will resign. This gives the board time to think through how we want to replace her.
Action item: We need to develop a list of a tasks to be accomplished – scanning membership applications, entering data, etc.
LITTLE FALLS SWIMMING CLUB
BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING
June 8, 2016
Board members present:
Nancy La Vigne
Bonnie Norman, member and past board president
Chuck Montrie, Bethesda Aquatics
- The minutes from the May board meeting were approve unanimously with no revisions.
- Renovation Update
- Craig sign a contract for the pool renovation with N.V. Blue.
- Board members, the pool’s contracted project manager, and the pool’s architect convened to discuss the bath house and pergolas/pavilions. They gave a lot of input to the architect after a lengthy meeting. The architect will come back to the board with ideas that will continue to be discussed and refined over the summer.
- The new fence will go up in August, as will the temporary bridge, so that that they can hit the ground running upon pool closing.
- Community Liaison Committee
- Convened a CLC meeting on May 26th; about 10 people attended, which is more than usual. They were interested in the drawings of the planned renovation. Attendees asked for more transparency around different types of memberships and the financing plan.
- Bonnie thanked the board for their work on the renovation. Advised that transparency is going to be important going forward. She expressed her concern for preservation of the trees and requested to walk the property with Cathy Stocker. She also expressed hope that the board has retained a good arborist who is about preservation, not efficiency. She advised that the board needs to be very vigilant and may need to invest a bit to protect root balls and it also needs to consider trees on the margin that may not appear to be at risk but are due to their drip lines/roots.
- The board agreed that natural shade is best and expressed a desire to do all it can to preserve the trees. The board asked Bonnie if she would assist in identifying an arborist.
- Bonnie also raised an issue of the operating expenses and the required increase in staffing with the addition of a middle pool. She referenced a false rumor that the baby pool is so deep it will require a lifeguard. The board needs to clear up this misperception. However, Chuck confirmed that the pool would need to increase guards and operating expenses by 30% assuming that the entire pool areas are open at all times. If only the main pool is open it would not require additional staff. The board will refine the operations plan (and associated financing) based on usage experienced by other pools with similar configurations.
- Bonnie also suggested to inquire with John Chadwick and the contractor about what guarantees are associated with the integrity of the pool shell post renovation.
- The assessment is out. The board anticipates that some people will have problems paying and would like to be both accommodating and consistent (treating all members in need equally). The board discussed the process that would be employed and the types of relief the board could provide. The board agreed that accommodations for cases of hardship should be as consistent as possible. The board also agreed that any member requesting an accommodation will be able to pay in full (or over time) provided that payment in full is received by November 1, with no late fee incurred. Any other arrangement will require board approval (but the member will be anonymous).
- The board agreed that if we don’t have the payments in by July 5 we will start making calls. The late fee is $100, which will be assessed on July 15. The board also agreed that another mailing is important, in addition to the emails that we will be sending out regularly. We could also put something on the bulletin board and other prominent locations on the pool grounds.
- Operational issues
- Soda sales – some parents asked to stop selling soda to kids. The board agreed that, while it can explore other beverage options to offer, it cannot ask the lifeguards to monitor what types of beverages kids purchase; parents need to monitor this on their own.
- Bathroom cleanliness – Bannockburn is using a new service to do a thorough cleaning and sanitizing of porcelain fixtures and the whole bathroom is disinfected. It costs $55/week. The board voted unanimously in favor of trying for the season.
- Check-in procedures – End of season guests are hard for the guards to flag. We currently have 75 households that fall in this category. Twenty of them are on the swim and/or dive teams. Some share drop the kids off and the kids stay after practice and the families join them. The board agreed to send a communication out to end of season guests whose kids are on the team to say that we are aware that some people are violating the rules, reminding them of the consequences of doing so, which are severe.
- Administration transitional plan – the board needs a game plan for when Carol Schaengold steps down as bookkeeper (financing/accounting with QuickBooks and MemberSplash), webmaster (also through MemberSplash) and membership coordinator. Requires a diverse skillset – both finance and tech savvy. Bannockburn uses a firm and it works very well. Craig will find out what they are doing for Bannockburn and how much it costs. The board will ask Carol to write a job description for each role and tell us how much time she is dedicating to each of these roles. The board will review a job description at the next meeting.
- Committee reports (as needed)
Membership: have to clean up the waitlist – 75 people have never opened the email telling them where they are on the waitlist. The board agreed it should ask Carol to snail mail them a letter and ask them to contact the bookkeeper to update their email. This need not happen anytime soon.
Social: the Mexican fiesta is coming up on Saturday June 18th.
Tennis: The court on the creek side got pretty slimy under the trees but it seems to have cleared up.
Adjournment: 9:01 p.m.
LITTLE FALLS SWIMMING CLUB
BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING
July 18, 2016
Board members present:
Nancy La Vigne
Tony Attard – pool manager at Bannockburn
- Approve minutes
Approved unanimously with no revisions.
- Renovation update
Cathy Stocker described the status of the renovation. She shared that we obtained the flood permit and are awaiting the Parks and Planning forest conservation permit. It looks like we’ll have a hearing at their very first meeting in September. We expect that to go smoothly, after which all the other permits will be signed off on (requires Parks and Planning sign off first). Cathy and Craig also met with Roger Berliner about the renovation; he was enthusiastic about the project and offered to assist in any way he can.
Bathhouse: The current SEI bid includes a minimal amount of bathhouse. We have had some meetings about interior remodeling (requiring nothing more than a basic construction permit) but SV Blue said it would cost an additional $18k for design plans for the bathhouse, which seemed exceedingly steep. Instead, the board decided that we should bid out a design/build contract for the bath house not to exceed an amount determined in consultation with the project manager.
Next steps: We need to secure financing, which is a prerequisite to getting the performance bond (we needed a signed contract with the builder before we could go to the bank and secure financing). We plan to approach three different banks for this purpose. It was noted that members are interested in more details about our financing plan and we should make that information public as soon as possible. We are planning on using as much as we have while reserving $100k as contingency resources.
The board discussed the need to be more transparent about all the different types of membership categories, along with associated privileges and costs. We should post that information on the website, ensuring that the information is up to date.
The other big piece of the renovation is the landscaping, which has taken some time because we intend to go far beyond the requirements of the county. Bonnie Norman helped identify arborists that advised on how to protect the trees and make some adjustments to the plans to preserve trees. So we are pulling in the design plan by 8 feet – this doesn’t change the plan meaningfully but makes a big different for the health and integrity of the trees. One of the arborists will be providing a bid based on our conservation plan and will develop a plan for what we can do before and during construction to preserve the health of the trees. This includes limiting the routes of construction vehicles. We are very pleased that NV Blue has been receptive to our concerns about tree conservation. One of the reasons we picked this builder is that they took our concerns seriously as opposed to the other bidder.
Pool member Campbell Graub questioned why the board is not reaching out to the membership for help – he and others have experience as civil engineers and would love to offer advice or assistance. Craig Piercy, Board president, explained that the project is under way and in good hands with project manager John Chadwick. We are always open to new ways of looking at it but we are making good progress. Craig invited Campbell to pose the engineering questions to John Chadwick right now. Campbell asked about the need for borings because if you encounter bedrock it’s going to increase your excavation costs by a factor of 20. John said that there are no borings in the diving well area. Driving borings into the diving well was deemed too disruptive. However, he took four borings in nearby area – the soil types were consistent and the soils engineer thought it was reasonable to assume that the soil type in the diving well is similar. Cathy has a copy of the soil borings if Campbell would like to see it.
Campbell stated that the contractor needs to make decisions about how the excavated soil is hauled off (or used as backfill). John Chadwick explained that the civil engineer inspection firm that we hired will make that decision assessing the compaction of the soil and other factors.
Campbell also expressed concern about the likelihood of a cost overrun. He understands that it’s a fixed price contract. But when the contractor encounters problems and claims cost overruns, what do we do? Do we have some prudent preparation for what happens if we encounter a cost overrun? John Chadwick explained that the cost overruns related to the soil would be based on encountering different soil, in which case we will renegotiate it and end up paying more. He also explained that the contingency is $180,000 ~7% percent. Craig affirmed that the biggest likely source of a cost overrun is if we encounter bedrock. Other than that, the contract has penalties for late completion and also bonding requirements. We have quantified and guard-railed most of the risks in this project to bring them down to an acceptable level. If the excavation becomes a problem we will know that by the end of the year. If we had built the expectation of boulders into the contract and the bids would have been $25-$50k higher and we wouldn’t have gotten the money back if they didn’t find the boulders. So we had to balance the risk with cost efficiency. It’s also the case that when the current diving well went in they didn’t find any boulders – that’s a very big boring right there. John Chadwick didn’t think it was necessary to put in a unit price for encountering a boulder. But in terms of total project costs you are not talking about a lot in terms of the entire project.
Pool members present expressed concerns about change orders. John Chadwick said he checked SV Blue’s references with Palisades and they came back excellent and they weren’t hit with change orders.
Members were relieved to know that we had given some thought to these issues but encouraged the board to develop a plan for how the pool will pay for costs that are over and above what we’ve scheduled already.
Cathy explained that we have cash reserves. We are spending a lot of cash but retaining $100k in reserves. The cost for the pool is lower than anticipated. So we have a meaningful cushion above and beyond the contingency. That said, when we review lenders we will discuss the potential need for additional cash.
Pool member Bennett Uptson asked where the new fence line will be. Answer: it will go out about 10 feet further out than it currently is, following the tree line, running parallel to Little Falls Drive. We may not put in a concrete pathway in the interests of preserving the trees. We will need to get bids from arborists to get the best answer for what the material for the new path should be and where exactly it will wind (it will probably not be straight though, or concrete, or bike-able). We are aiming for more of a nature trail.
Pool member Bonnie Norman referenced the fact that the current diving well may be sinking, so it’s good that the renovation is moving forward. She expressed concern about encountering water – is that factored into the bid? John Chadwick said that yes, there is a plan for encountering water, and pumping it out is part of the bid. Bonnie also thanked Cathy and the entire board for their efforts to develop and implement a tree protection plan – you can see the value of the trees and the importance of preserving them.
Bonnie also noted that the current pool is 25 meters long and 25 yards across; will the new pool go all the way to the fence and very close to the trees? Cathy sent the arborist the trees that were potentially at risk and he thinks that he can preserve them if we take some protective measures.
Bonnie also asked if there was value to have both arborists bid? Cathy replied that she can envision hiring them both because they have very different strengths and areas of expertise.
Pool member John Drayson questioned the new pool design, for which the section between the base of the pool and the wall is curved, noting that the curvature appears to vary based on the depth of the pool. How do you form that and why does it vary? Chadwick explained that part is poured and part is gunnite; the variance is in accordance with code and the pool design.
John Drayson also asked about access to the pool by construction vehicles: what route will the trucks be using? John Chadwick explained that the vehicles will come down River, turn onto Little Falls drive, and turn on the temporary bridge. Drayson conjectured that the weight limit on the Greenway bridge may not accommodate construction vehicles, and noted that Ventnor road is already shot and if the construction vehicles muck it up more then they the pool may be responsible for the cost of repairing the roads. John Chadwick thought differently but Craig said he will take that up with the contractor.
John Drayson also inquired about parking. In the past when members paid annual dues they had to say that they wouldn’t park on Allen, Glen Cove, and Baltimore, and they had to give their tag numbers. Will that continue? We may also need to impose additional restrictions on adjoining streets. Cathy explained that on swim meet days there is a parent volunteer who wears a florescent vest and monitors parking. She also explained that this is a county imposed mandate – part of the operating agreement as part of the zoning variance in the 1950s – and not likely to change. We can ask people not to park on additional streets but we can’t enforce it with the county backing us up. The board agreed to redouble our efforts of parking on swim meet days. Will also ask the team reps to encourage the visiting team to carpool.
- Assessment collection update
Bob Scribner shared that with the first installment of assessment, all but 30 people have paid and of those about 12 have not replied at all; the rest have expressed intention to pay. Some have asked for a few weeks delay in which case we will relax the late fees. We need to make a decision on how to assess the late fees and to whom. The board agreed that anyone who hasn’t replied at all will be assessed the late fee. There are 5 of the 30 who didn’t pay who plan to resign in September. The board agreed to divvy up the 12 people to do personal outreach. Bob will send the script that we should follow. The board also discussed that if the second installment is not paid we should apply another late fee and at some point revoke membership (if neither installment is paid). It was agreed that this will require board action: we will cross that bridge when we come to it, reassessing at the next board. Board members expressed gratitude to Bob and Kristin for their great work on this very challenging job.
- Safety and Pool Rules Enforcement
It was noted that kids are doing multiple bounces on the boards, and that the rule of single bounces should be enforced for everyone, including members of the dive team. Nancy La Vigne, swim and dive team liaison indicated she would talk to dive coaches to ensure this policy is followed.
A board member noted that the guards are getting to lax about kids being in the pool without passing the tadpole test. If they have a flotation device on we know they haven’t passed the test. The guards also need to be more vigilant about running on the pool deck. Chuck asked members to report any problems or issues we have observed.
Water wings: they are now allowed in the county. But these are new water wings – they have a device that makes it hard for the flotation device to come off. They do seem to help with water familiarization. They are ubiquitous. What would the rule be? Board members noted that county policy is that if a child has one of these devices they must have an adult within arms reach.
Joe Callicott proposed to issue an announcement that will go out to membership to remind them of these and other safety tips and also about not eating outside of prescribed areas. This includes reinforcing county rules that nonswimmers, including those with certified water wings, must be supervised by an adult in the water with them and within arms reach. We also need to clarify that the tadpole test is a proxy for “swimmer” versus “non-swimmer”. Joe will revise the rules description and circulate.
- Pool Administration Transition
Board member Greg Wang reported that longtime bookkeeper and webmaster Carol Schaengold steps down at end of October so we need someone on board in September to allow for adequate overlap and training. Carol drafted her contract, which describes the duties and skills of the job. Some are unique to MemberSplash, requiring a training period. But the accounting piece is important. John Crupi researched this a bit and learned that Moira Williams, who does Bannockburn’s bookkeeping, including MemberSplash. It was agree that Craig will enter into discussions with one or more prospective replacements.
Craig will also start a By Laws review and revision process to make them consistent with how the board wants the pool to operate and function with the goal of ensuring they are clear, comprehensive, and in compliance with county rules and operating agreement. This includes codifying the senior emeritus pass, which can only be done through the By Laws. Would need to present this to the membership with a goal of floating a revised version Fall 2017 and voting on it in January 2018 annual meeting.
We also need to appoint an audit committee. Board members discussed that it might be desirable to use an outside firm so we know that we are doing everything accurately, making it clean and easy for next treasurer and board, especially going into a $1.3M renovation and financing effort. Greg will follow up on that. It was noted that we still need an audit committee of three members in accordance with the By Laws – the board will reach out to them.
- Other business
Tony Allard with Bannockburn proposed providing group lessons for a fee from August 1 through Labor Day, running in one-week segments. Classes would be 30 minutes, M-F and and $70/swimmer and would be contingent on instructor availability. Lessons would take place in shallow end. Would need 10 yards between 11am to 1pm in half hour increments. Classes would be between 2- 5 students each with at least a 3:1 ratio of kids to instructors. Instructors teach from the water. The August members might welcome this option. Nancy will review this proposal and get board member Claire Slabaugh’s input given she is one of the swim team reps.
The meeting adjourned at 9:46 p.m.
LITTLE FALLS SWIMMING CLUB
BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING
September 14, 2016
Board members present:
Nancy La Vigne
- New business
Greg Wang introduced Moira and Michelle, with Envision, who are our newly contracted bookkeepers/membership coordinators/webmasters effective October 1, 2016 to allow a month overlap with Carol Schaengold. The board discussed with them the nature of the work and some of the issues and challenges we have encountered and how they might approach the job in a way that is most productive and effective, particularly in the area of dues collections. We discussed the many membership categories Little Falls has created to accommodate the maximum number of members possible.
Envision has experience in this role, having served in it for Bannockburn for several years. They described how they handle membership issues at Bannockburn, which is very similar to how we do business. They also have experience with MemberSplash and Mail Chimp, which are the membership, web, and communications platforms that we use at Little Falls.
- Approval of July board meeting minutes
The meeting minutes from the July board meeting were approved unanimously with no edits.
- Renovation Update
Park and Planning staff has recommended that the planning board deny our application to do this project. There is a hearing still scheduled for Sept. 22nd but we don’t want to go if we know we will get shot down unless that’s a strategic/political move on our part. October 15th is our goal date for getting the green light. Any time after that and we are running the risk of not opening by Memorial Day 2017. Need to develop a strategy and a contingency and communications plan.
We have a meeting scheduled with the staff for tomorrow. Our understanding is that someone staff was promising a timeline that were very difficult for subordinate staff to meet – not enough time to do the analysis to make a well informed recommendation for approval with conditions.
The issues for denial are a bit vague: we did not justify why the plan was consistent with the 1990 Master Plan and why it adhered for restrictions for being in the Palisades area. There were no specific issues listed, like location of fencing, etc. We were told that we would receive specific conditions by Sept 1st but we did not receive them. We’ve reached out to an attorney who has a good relationship with Parks and Planning staff. So we have the advice of a lawyer. And Roger Berliner’s office is aware of this setback. So we are going to go in tomorrow and ask what it is specifically is holding up approval of the permit and discuss how we can minimize the environmental impact. One approach would be to hire the attorney to re-write the justification. We essentially have a month to make this deal work. The hearing date remains Sept 22nd. Craig got some intel from Mohican, who had a similar problem due to delays on the part of Parks and Planning staff that was a big factor in them losing a season.
We discussed requesting to move the hearing from Sept. 22 to Sept. 29 in the hopes that we can get a revised staff recommendation before the board (which has to be in 10 days before the hearing). But it could be as late Oct 9.
Approach the meeting with the goal of getting a list of things that we need to do to meet their criteria for recommendation of approval. We will need at least a couple of weeks to document that the new plan meets these criteria. We should come in with a long list of remedies, start with 3-4 of them, and see what we need to give up that will satisfy them.
Chuck will continue chlorinating the existing pool to buy some time while we determine whether we may need to plan on reopening the existing pool next May.
Recap: Cathy will go in and not agree to giving anything other than crafting some new language on justifications with the assistance of an attorney and then ask if that’s all that will take to get to yes on the 22nd. If not, what is? Need to just hear what they suggest and pin them down with as much specificity as possible.
Craig will set up a conference call for tomorrow for a debrief with Cathy.
Contingency: does anything change if we don’t get the green light in time? No, we need to collect the assessment fees. The only things that may change are the season fee for next year (not as high as if we had a new pool) and some type of up front payment to NV Blue to keep them engaged.
Communications strategy re: Park and Planning hearing. Lawyer advised that we want to have written letters of support to accompany the package that is presented to the board.
Craig will write the testimony on behalf of the board with board review, and then use that document as a means of communicating the status to the membership.
Concessions: less space between the training and main pools;