March 19 board highlights

Highlights of the March 19 meetings of the YLOA and YPSUC Boards of Directors:

The project to replace the 49A well (49A) at the golf course-Fairway Café parking lot hit a snag earlier this week when the drill bit broke off deep underground and part of the well casing collapsed. The well will have to be abandoned and sealed and a new drilling begun nearby. The incident will add to YSPUC’s costs, but the driller will absorb part of the extra expense. YSPUC General Manager Jonathan Penrose said it’s well worth continuing because the location has proven to produce a large amount of water, in the area of 600-900 gallons a minute, for the golf course and the entire YSPUC system.

The YLOA board:

• Approved purchase of two used Crown Victorias for YLOA Security to replace a vehicle recently damaged beyond repair and also improve security services to members. Money will come from insurance recovery, anticipated savings on an unrelated expenditure and about $5,000 from reserves.

• Discussed the urgent need to fix horse stall roofs as soon as possible. The Engineering Committee and YLOA General Manager Jonathan Penrose recently examined the stalls and are considering spending up to $20,000 to replace the roofs while a long-term solution is worked out.

• Heard a presentation about the Madera County Citizens On Patrol program, now in search of volunteers to join them. More information is available here or call Cpl. Manuel Ramirez at 559-474-1284 or 559-675-7770.

The YLOA board then voted to:

• Approve a recommendation by the Governing Docs Committee to amend the candidate information packet to comply with the state Davis-Stirling rules governing homeowner associations. Election packets (with ballots) now will be mailed out separately from the annual/budget packets to each lot owner and from 30 to 60 days prior to the close of election.

• Provide $500 from the general fund to help Girl Scout Troop 661 put on its annual Easter Egg Hunt at the Rec Center.

The board also approved these matters related to the 2019 election:

• To mail the annual pro-forma budget and annual packet on the same day, but mail election materials separately to better ensure that members get their ballots and candidate statements in a timely manner

• Mail annual budget and annual packet by April 12

• Set the period for director applications from April 21 to May 21

• Mail ballots to members by June 12

• Set the YLOA Annual Meeting for Saturday, July 20

More information, including financial performance and forecasts, is available in the March 19 General Manager reports posted on our Public Documents page.

Videos of both meetings will be available by Friday on our Videos page.

Pipeline update

YLP’s Pipeline Replacement Project work in the North Dome area is wrapping up. Please check out a gallery of photos on the work below.

Here’s a progress report for February from project manager Greg Wilson:

• Installed 785 feet of 8-inch pipe

• Installed 375 feet of 1-inch service line

• Installed one new fire hydrant

• Began excavation for new pressure station

Tasks remaining to complete project:

• Install concrete box pressure station

• Insert chlorine to disinfect pipes, get tested

• Pressure test new main to ensure no leaks

• Have compaction test done, landscape and clean up area, move equipment and tools to new job site

Next work area: Crystal Cave and Crystal Springs.

Equestrian events

Myself and the YLPEC Committee have received many inquires regarding if we are going to hold horse shows again this year. 

Our YLP Equestrian Committee discussed all of our options and we have decided to proceed with the Trail Trial events and to hold off on horse shows at this time.  We have enjoyed trying something new and have seen a lot of new faces at our Trail Trial events.  We plan to hold horse shows again in the future but for now we have another Trail Trial scheduled for Mother’s Day, Sunday May 12th.  
For more information on the Trail Trial Event, please email equestriancenter@yloa.org or call Karen at 559-341-4764. 

The oak titmouse

The tiny, gray-brown oak titmouse is as plain and drab as a bird can be. Were it not for its distinctive crest, one might easily dismiss this species as uninteresting. Looks can be deceiving, though: it is lion-hearted when defending its territory.

If a squirrel, snake, or even a much larger bird approaches a nest, multiple titmice may gang up against the predator. Dive-bombing, or even pecking, they will harass the interloper incessantly, all the while making a commotion heard throughout the trees until the intruder decamps.

Other birds may join the fray, such as the Anna’s hummingbird and ruby-crowned kinglet I observed one morning as a couple of titmice vociferously protested the presence of a house wren in their tree.

Oak titmice are quite common here in YLP. Nesting in tree cavities, their diet consists largely of insects. They will, however, happily empty your bird feeder of sunflower seeds and cache them away for a rainy day.

Being unremarkable in size and color, titmice blend into their surroundings. You most likely will hear them, if you see them at all. Interestingly, the male titmouse has a repertoire upwards of 12 calls or songs. Occasionally, when I hear a vocalization I don’t recognize, I will forage excitedly though the brush looking for a “new” bird, only to discover a diminutive titmouse belting out another song.

Keep your eyes and ears tuned. This little bird is worth a second look.

Keep birding….
Robert Groos

Previous posts:

The oak titmouse in YLP

Mountain lion sightings

In the past two weeks there have been two mountain lion sightings.  One around the clubhouse lake trails and one on Titan Drive.  Use caution when walking pets, especially the smaller ones and make sure they are on a leash at all times.  Do not allow your pet to roam without keeping a visual on them.   Below is information from the Fish and Wildlife website at:  https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Keep-Me-Wild/Lion.  

Posted March 8 on Facebook by Cale Lopez: “Heads up… just spotted a young mountain lion in our backyard (near the clubhouse).”

Time to ‘Fix Our Stuff’

By Jonathan Penrose
YLOA & YSPUC General Manager

On Tuesday night (2/26) we had another great Town Hall. We started the evening with a delicious pizza buffet fresh from our new pizza kitchen (we have another pizza buffet scheduled for March 7th and will be opening for regular business soon!).

Dinner was followed by a spirited discussion of our current reserves and a presentation of a 5 year plan to address deferred maintenance of our amenities and how to fund repaving our roads.

As General Manager for YLOA and YSPUC (and a fellow homeowner), my first priority when looking at our existing operations is to be ‘smart’ about our existing budget – I always want to get the best value we can from the dollars we already have. This is a philosophy that I call ‘Smart Spending’.

Smart Spending is based on 5 key ideas:

  • Get the most value from our existing budget
  • Spend a little more for better efficiency
  • Do things right the first time
  • Prioritize items that affect the most residents
  • Plan for the future, not just the present

Our reserve study is an important financial tool that projects the future cost of replacing and updating our infrastructure. It identifies how much we should save for future repairs and how much we should be spending now to replace worn out infrastructure.

In reviewing our current reserve study, we have identified some major items that were missing from the existing plan and some that didn’t have accurate cost estimates for repair/replacement (like roads, vehicles and ADA updates).

During the Town Hall, I discussed the importance of addressing these items and how failing to do so wastes our money in the long run, reduces our property values and places us at risk of lawsuits (which is NOT Smart Spending).

Part of Smart Spending is setting aside a little bit of money every month for long term repairs. If we do this consistently, it is painless. For example, if we had increased dues just $2/month over the last 20 years, our existing budget would be $1,083,840 more each year, and we would have had $11,380,320 in additional income over that time to fund reserves and maintain our amenities.

Unfortunately, we do not have the funds in our existing budget or reserves to address the deferred maintenance that urgently needs to be done. We can continue, for a short time, to put this off, but our facilities and equipment are past due for repair and failing at an increasing rate. For example, the clubhouse roof leaks, AC units are failing (and inefficient), 3 refrigerators at the Heron have failed this year alone and ADA requirements need to be addressed.

The longer we wait to get started, the more expensive and more painful it will become.

At the Town Hall, I presented a 5 year plan that I called ‘Fix Our Stuff’ (or FOS) based on the philosophy of Smart Spending. The FOS plan prioritizes repairs by identifying the items that generate the best return on investment and reduce risk to the Association. It focuses on our primary amenities, while simultaneously setting aside funds to address our roads in year 6. It also increases our maintenance budget to help extend the life of our existing infrastructure.

With this plan, we would spend $300,000/year to repair/update our amenities over the next 5 years and retain sufficient funds to start paving our roads in year 6.

A detailed plan for the first year addresses major deficiencies at the clubhouse, including: fixing the AC (which will save an estimated $12,000/year in electric costs); replacing the leaking roof; installing ADA compliant bathroom, floors, thresholds, access ramp, compliant parking and walkways; updating the men’s bathroom; replacing old water heater and dishwasher; maintenance of the upstairs office to fix sagging/soft floors (before they fail and injure someone).

This would be followed by addressing issues at the Cafe/Golf Course in Year 2, Swimming Pool in Year 3, Equestrian and Rec Center in year 4, Clubhouse decks and misc in year 5, and repaving roads starting in year 6.

It will take $21.93/month/lot to fund the plan next year, with future dues increases planned primarily for inflation and labor costs driven by minimum wage increases – this is anticipated at approximately 5% for the next few years as minimum wage increases artificially increase inflation rates and business expenses.

We will also contract with a third party to conduct a revised, more detailed and more accurate reserve study and we will engage with a professional engineering firm for advice on a maintenance plan for extending the useful life of the existing roads..When we have this information we will fine tune the FOS plan for future years.

You can find a copy of the Town Hall slides on our website (or our office) along with a video recording of the presentation.

Our next Town Hall will be Tuesday, March 26th where we will dig more deeply into the budget proposal for FY 2019-2020. There will be a budget meeting, led by Board President Rebecca Brannon at the clubhouse on Saturday, March 30th beginning at 10 AM.

New Equestrian Center chair

This month we say farewell to Sharra Kelley as she relocates. We thank her for her service as chair of the Equestrian Center Committee.

Now in that position, we welcome Sarah Jackson.  Sarah and her husband, Ethan Jackson (you may have seen him at previous Town Hall events in uniform, representing our local California Highway Patrol) moved to Yosemite Lakes Park in October from the Wishon/Bass Lake area.  They chose to move their family to YLP for the Equestrian Center and Rivergold School, and have been enjoying the community here.

Sarah recently resigned from CHP after 10 years to care for their four children.  Prior to serving as a CHP officer, Sarah was a cost accountant for Flory Industries in Salida, and an editor for the American University of the Caribbean.  You might see Sarah at the barn, riding her palomino mare, Vitesse (pronouced Vee-TESS, after the Bugatti) with her 4-year-old daughter and her pony, Morning Glory.  Sarah has been barrel racing since she was 7 years old, and still competes today.

Let’s welcome the Jackson family to YLP and Sarah to the chair position on the Equestrian Committee!

Back row left to right: Ethan, Sarah, Brett (22), Promise (15). Front row: Kelly (4), Seth (8)

February topics

Highlights of the Feb. 19 meetings of the YLOA and YSPUC Boards of Directors:

YLP will be replacing its eight public phone numbers with new numbers in the near future, General Manager Jonathan Penrose explained. After an exhaustive effort to keep the current numbers failed, management decided to make the changes in order to fix multiple problems with the aging Sierra Tel phone system. YLP residents will be getting more information on the new numbers and what happens when the old numbers are called.

General Manager Penrose’s monthly financial forecast is delayed until the end of the month because of absences in the accounting office last month. It was reported that YLOA’s finances are in good shape, but operating on a tight budget. The association’s financial reserves will be the topic of the third Town Hall scheduled for next Tuesday, and a budget workshop is planned for March.

At 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 26, just before the Town Hall on financial reserves, Executive Chef David Pol will premiere the new pizza oven with a $9.95 pizza buffet.

Ken Sartain, chair of the Communications Committee, announced that YLP will take over maintenance of the big green-and-white wooden sign at Highway 41 and Yosemite Springs Parkway. In a deal with the owner of that parcel, YLOA will maintain the grounds around the sign. Plans are to paint it and make repairs and replace the “Real Estate — Sales” text at bottom with a left-pointing arrow and “Public Golf and Dining.”

The Engineering Committee announced that it had received bids for partial rebuilds of the horse stalls at the Equestrian Center, but recommended more research with the objective of completely replacing the stalls with all-steel construction.

The YLOA Board voted to approve:
• An updated code of conduct for directors
• An ethics policy for directors
• A packet to provide rules and guidelines for potential board candidates

The board also named an Election Committee for 2019 consisting of President Rebecca Brannon, Ken Sartain and Michelle Piotrowski, who are not up for re-election this year.

Return to sender!

YLOA members all have been sent an envelope labeled “Urgent-Please Return.”

Inside are four sheets — an explanatory letter from YLOA/YSPUC General Manager Jonathan Penrose, along with these forms:

• Member Contact Information
• Electronic Mail Consent Form
• YLOA Voting Proxy Form

Each are very important for different reasons, which are explained.

Please return according to the instructions at the bottom of each form.

Thank you for helping keep Yosemite Lakes Park a wonderful place to belong!

Town Hall Tuesday

Following the successful January Town Hall comparing YLP to three other similar-sized California HOAs, General Manager Jonathan Penrose will present a Town Hall this coming Tuesday, Feb. 26, looking at our financial reserves. It will begin with a pizza buffet, fresh from our new pizza oven, at just $9.95 a person. Dinner starts at 5:30 p.m., followed by the Town Hall at 6:30 p.m.