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Author Topic: Member Feedback and/or Suggestions, Please.  (Read 14877 times)
Inquizative
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« on: July 18, 2008, 08:47:36 AM »

Hello Everyone,
     I have not yet introduced myself to everyone and would like to speak to as many people as possible and this forum provides the best opportunity for me to do so.  I was newly nominated to the board on July 12, 2008.  I have not yet been assigned a position on the board that is to be determined soon.  None the less I have many ideas and would like to "pick the brains" of others.  We live in a very diversified community with people who have various professions and I would like input.  There is a disclaimer, "YOU MUST SUPPORT YOUR FINDINGS WITH FACT".
     I have some suggestions and some may not like them and some may.  I realized there are may age groups who live here and I would like to consider all opinions.  So let me give you my background and I will get to the point.
    For those of you who were not able to obtain nominee descriptions or attend the meeting; I have lived in various states(CA, WA, NE, IL, and PA.)  I also lived abroad for two years in Germany.  I lived with my grandparents(who are now 84 and 85) through my college years.  I have an AA in Broadcasting Communications and am currently persuing my BA.  I have lived in the Pocono's for almost 10 years.  I have seen this area grow rapidly and had to get use to the commuter lifestyle.  My last employment was as a Process Improvement Specailist.  My specialty was to look at situations that the company's ethical issues and create programs to solve them.
    That said I have looked and looked agian at our community's public records(all of which were found on-line) and I have communicated with some(not many) members of the community to listen to thier concerns.  Listening is very imporant to me which leads me to some suggestions.

     *I would like to interview Patricia Gleason and ask her questions as to NEPA policies and procedures, pertaining to the interaction of NEPA management practices and their communities. ( this should be public record). 
     * I would like to interview Vector's security and ask questions as to their policies and procedures.  (this should also be public record).
     * I would like to know how each member would like to be notified of ANYTHING going on in the community.  *e-mail-*direct Mail-*telephone*-any other form of communication.  I realize some do not have internet access and would like thier input also.
     *Does anyone live in the community that practices law in Monroe County?  I would like information as to "How can you sell and agreement like THE FIRST RIGHT OF REFUSAL"?
     *  What person is in charge of operating the sewer system?
      * I would like to put a donation box by the clubhouse so members can donate things like toillet paper, soap, paper towels and paper plates.  This way when people use the club the donations make sure that there is soap and cleaning supplies to ensure sanitary uses of the facillities.
     *I would like to see us have township roads, the township already plows Summit road and the surrounding residential streets a sweep through here should be no problem, in addition to the snow removal we alredy contract out
     *A mail delivery system would also be nice
     *garbage collection at a discounted cost with recycleing (I hate those blue bins scattered throught the county)
     *How about a new pool.  If the roads are twp. money could in the future reconstruct some of the ammenties.
     *A nicely groomed beach with bateria testing results posted would be nice.
     * A yard waste drop off point in the community, the maintenance man could shred the branches for the beautification commitee and a mulch pile is great natual fertilizer.
      * A posted paving schedule would be nice.
     *  To generate revenue:  Instead of having the security speeding faster than the posted speed limit to catch the ATV and Dirtbike riders.  SLCA license plates.  If the possesor of an ATV, Scooter or Dirt bike shows a certificate obtained from saftey class of operating such:  The certificte number is recorded along with the house lot and street name.  The rider gets a SLCA license plate (with BIG NUMBERS) That can be read from a distance.  If the riders do not obey speed limits or stop signs then security could right the number down in correspondence with the many cameras as evidence to ticket the rider.

Any other suggestions or comments on what I said would be appreciated.  Please handle your tounge in a professional manner.  These are just suggestions and I have no idea except for trial and error to see if it will work.  Please be patient and let me know your thoughts.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2008, 08:58:29 AM by April Bunje » Logged

•   People’s deeply ingrained assumptions, generalizations and images influence how they see the world and what actions they take (McNurlin, B. & Sprague, R. 2006).
•   The only sustainable competitive advantage is the ability to organize effectively, respond to change, and manage well (Lawler, 2003).
GeorgiePorgie
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« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2008, 06:53:31 PM »

I would love to be right there with you during interviews, I have no problems volunteering to put it on Video and keep a record of it. If it's ok with you and the people you are interviewing I would even upload it to the net so people can see the entire personal interview. with no added expenses to the mail and postage. If members insist on privacy and security, I do have the proper procedures to take care of that too!

I like most of your ideas, I am just afraid you may be wanting to bite more than you can chew; and again remember, decisions are not up to you alone, you still have the other 6 members to agree with you, so if you can put your ideas in certain priority, and attack them one at a time, without keeping your expectations or ours so high, we may attain some positive results, if any of them don't work, we'll take it as a lesson learned rather than a failure, so we can improve on the next one.

I do commend you for being proactive and posting on this website, as you know, it has not been endorsed by our board yet, however this web site is being monitored  by our board as well as our property manager Patty Gleason.

Let me know.
Sincerely
George
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Inquizative
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« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2008, 10:12:30 AM »

George,
    I am aware of the fact that this site is being monitored by the board and Patty, which is why I wanted my ideas to be posted on it.  I realize that I have many ideas and only some of which can be handled in a timely manner.  I also know that the other board members need to be included which is why I am asking the member forum to provide assistance first.  Any ideas or additional information will be presented to the members of the board for consideration.  I will update as I go.  I do not think that a video recording is a good idea due to the fact that it can be intimidating in front of a camera (from personal experience).  I do appreciate you offering it as a choice.
Thank You
April
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•   People’s deeply ingrained assumptions, generalizations and images influence how they see the world and what actions they take (McNurlin, B. & Sprague, R. 2006).
•   The only sustainable competitive advantage is the ability to organize effectively, respond to change, and manage well (Lawler, 2003).
Inquizative
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« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2008, 10:15:43 AM »

To All Members:
     I will be attending a meeting on August 2, 2008.  If anyone has comments please have your information submitted to the forum by August 1, 2008.
Thank You
April
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•   People’s deeply ingrained assumptions, generalizations and images influence how they see the world and what actions they take (McNurlin, B. & Sprague, R. 2006).
•   The only sustainable competitive advantage is the ability to organize effectively, respond to change, and manage well (Lawler, 2003).
Lydia Nieves
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« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2008, 10:42:54 PM »

Hello April,

It’s refreshing to see yet another board member (aside from Noreen) willing to show some initiative and get thing rolling for US the community. While interviewing Patti, please look into the miscommunication from NEPA. I have emails in which I was told by Patti that the board has to make the decision on a matter, I communicated with the board and only received two responses, and then I receive an email from their attorney (Ralston) who makes the decision by sending us a waiver for us to sign prior to us having our rights. Who is in control?

As far as Vector, can you also look into how the contract was approved without following the by-laws and getting the 3 bids? I would also like to see board members held liable for knowingly violating the by-laws. The three bids were not obtained and we have the evidence on tape.

I personally would like to be notified by both email and phone regarding “ANYTHING” going on in the community.

I would like to know why the sewer system is dilapidated considering the management company has been receiving sewer dues for countless years. Where has the money gone? Also obtain a more accurate estimate for the repair of the sewer system as the board and attorney have given us estimates which started at 10 million and last were at 2 million. Huge difference.

I have never used the club house and it is mainly because it is such a dark and dismal place. In my opinion, the club house needs a little revitalizing (paint job, decorating, ventilation). I believe that if changes are made, members will be more inclined to use it and even donate.

As far as the roads, mail, garbage and pool, I couldn’t agree more. With the rising cost of gas, I would much rather prefer to walk to the end of my driveway and pick up my mail. As for the garbage, we use Panther waste and recently spoke with the owner and asked if they would be able to handle our entire community. He said yes and he would even be able to offer a discounted rate. The current fee for 2 garbage bags weekly and recycles every other week are $29 monthly. As for the pool, the yearly cost of $40,000 to maintain the current one should drop dramatically. By lowering the cost of pool maintenance, we can now incorporate the garbage fees into the dues and still end up paying fewer dues than we currently do.

I would like to see a volley ball net in the beach area. Something to do other than just swim and sit. I would also like to see a jungle gym, swing set, and slides. A friendlier play area for little children with some benches for the parents. Possible landscaping around the area. I have also noticed that there are many teenagers who enjoy the basketball hoops, you may want to look into having some professional hoops put in where though they may cost a little more now, they will last a lot longer and will pay themselves off.

As for security, would you please look into who receives the payments on any fines issued? I believe that if the community is paying for the service, any payments towards fines should be put back into the community.

I would like to see changes to the by-laws. Some suggested changes would be that homeowners on payment plans and up to date should be allowed to vote and considered in good standing. Another is that ALL members should be notified of all meetings regardless if they are/aren’t in good standing. As far as work on Saturday’s, I believe that it should be modified to state that work can be done on Saturday’s as long as you have neighbor’s approval. Many of us work Monday through Friday and only have the weekends to work on our homes. If neighbors do not have a problem, it should be allowed. Of course, we may want to consider a system where there is a max amount of trucks allowed in on the weekends so there isn’t a traffic issue. We have to work with each other, more so when homeowners are working on beautifying their homes as it will only encourage others to do so and in return increase the value of their homes and others around them. Lastly I strongly feel that proxy voting should be allowed as there are many homeowners here who are in good standing/limited good standing who are unable to make it up every weekend. By not allowing proxy voting, we are not giving them a fair chance at having their thoughts/opintions heard. For now, these are just a few suggestions. I would have to go through the by-laws again before making any other suggestions.

I would also like to thank you for posting on the site and most importantly ASKING US WHAT WE WANT. Thank you!!!
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Inquizative
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« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2008, 08:06:33 AM »

Lydia,
     I appreciate you taking the time to respond to my post.  I agree that miscommunications between NEPA and the board are an issue.  When I go to the meeting in August, I will be able to ask many questions and communications between the management company, Vector, Sewer, maintenance and the board need to be addressed.  Small steps I have in mind are cross communication.  I would like to see all of the board members knowing what each other are doing.  This way in a meeting if a board member is not available for comment someone else can back them up. 
     I will look into the 3 bid Vector situation and payments of fines issued then post information. 
     I have an e-mail registered on this site if you would like to send me your phone number confidentially please do so.

   The sewer system is currently being studied by an engineering firm for the cost to update the facility.
     The independent auditor’s (Zavada & Associates) purpose is to “obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements are free of material misstatement”. (Independent Auditors Report, 2007).  The findings of the audit; "SLCA and subsidiaries as of Dec. 31, 2007and the results of its operations and its cash flows for the year ended in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America. ”. (Independent Auditors Report, 2007).
With that said, we must wait for the engineering firm to provide details as to how much it would actually cost to fix the sewer facility.  It still does not explain why it has dilapidated the way it has, but, the accounting practices shows with proof funds were directed correctly.*(side note: I use to do auditing at my old job too*)
Lydia, I would assume that the costs of doing minor repairs to the sewer facility just to keep it working minimally (like the situation with the pool) have not paid off.  I did notice that the utilities for the sewer facility have gone up to $27,000.00 (Independent Auditors Report, 2007).  Much like tar and chipping the road; if you use a short cut at some time down the road the major repairs to deconstruct and reconstruct will need to be done, (which cost more *in my opinion*).  Do things right the first time is a standard I always live by.
I recently visited Pocono Farms west who has a golf course, nice beach and playground equipment.  I would like to model ours after theirs.  I AGREE that we could use some upgraded amenities, but that costs money, hopefully making the roads twp will delineate fees for those purposes.  This will not be instant though.  All I can do is post progress.
Garbage, I use "Bucky", $38.50, because I have more than two garbage bags, (sometimes three cans) the recyclables need to be taken to those awful bins that seem miles away.  I would like to see if you could contact various companies and do a price comparison for me.  Please post the information on this site so everyone knows.
Finally, I agree that proxy voting should be allowed also, the bi-laws and regulations need to be corrected to reflect the membership’s point of view and not just the boards and managements interests.  The way the current documents are worded are confusing and allow a lot of grey areas.  They need to be clarified.
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•   People’s deeply ingrained assumptions, generalizations and images influence how they see the world and what actions they take (McNurlin, B. & Sprague, R. 2006).
•   The only sustainable competitive advantage is the ability to organize effectively, respond to change, and manage well (Lawler, 2003).
Spitfire
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« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2008, 04:46:26 PM »

Just wanted to let everyone know that the board meeting scheduled for August 2nd has been rescheduled to this Thursday, July 24th @ 7pm.

As per the waiver Attorney Ralston had Lydia and I sign in order for us to vote(See attachement), there is an additional clause that states that all meetings will be posted on the bulletin board in advance, and that, (Pending we are in good standing), we shall receive notices of all anual and special meetings.

FYI...we are all entitled to attend this meeting per by-laws, though participation is not allowed by members.

I will keep you all updated in the event this Thursday's meeting is rescheduled and/or the board fails to notify us of any future meetings.  Wink

« Last Edit: July 20, 2008, 05:02:13 PM by Spitfire » Logged
SODOM
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« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2008, 08:08:34 PM »

I hate to burst April’s bubble!
     But, if the Township takes over the roads, the association will no longer be able to assess “dues” for road maintenance, or snow removal!  So tell me again, "hopefully making the roads twp will delineate fees for those purposes."
     Where are those “fees” going to come from?  The only amount which the association may legally assess, is for the crappy recreational facilities, which no one in their right mind will want to pay for!
     It also means, that the only rule, regulation, or by-law which the association will be able to enforce is, “NO DIVING FROM THE EDGE OF THE POOL.”   A rule which will be easy to enforce, since the only person using the pool will be the lifeguard!  Huh
« Last Edit: July 20, 2008, 08:21:26 PM by SODOM » Logged
Spitfire
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« Reply #8 on: July 20, 2008, 08:41:26 PM »

Sodom, I hate to have to refill the bubble,

but if the township takes over the roads, they'll "take over the roads." This means the repairs and snow removal are on them. Far as the "crappy" facilities...I'll speak for myself for the moment; If the money goes for what it is supposed to, then I have no problem paying. In my last post you'll notice an email from that "Knowledgeable/ expert" (as you referred to him as) in which he clearly stated that we (actually the board) borrowed $3 million dollars. Half was used to fix the sewer and the other half is apparently going to be used to sue to get the other half back.  Roll Eyes  Roll Eyes Go figure...

I believe that once the books are open and we know exactly what everything actually cost, we could surely make some positive changes that most homeowners will see as fair. As long as we know where it's going, we'll keep paying for our "fair share."

As far as the pool...I haven't used it as of yet, but from what I observed, I would prefer to see it filled in Jello. I'd pay to see the Life Guard dive in to that...Smiley

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GeorgiePorgie
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« Reply #9 on: July 20, 2008, 09:25:05 PM »

the roads and the road fees are the only reason this board is staying afloat !

Members feel the need to pay for the upkeep of the road, and the board uses the road fees to be comingled within the dues !

I would hate to see the township take over our roads, I have no doubts they will do a better job at the paving and the snow removal, what most members don't realize, that a speeding ticket under the community juristiction is only 25 Dollars or so, but the same citation would cost at least 120 Dollars once the towship takes over the roads, and that's only one example.

If you decide to have a block party and block the road, it's so much easier to do it as long as our roads are private. There are many other advantages to have the roads under the community control, it seems however, that the administrative fees to manage the roads and other facilities are very high by way of ratios.

Once the roads are turned over to the township, I bet the number of members who would like to denounce their membership would hit the roof, especially that we have discovered that membership in this community is strickly voluntary. There won't be much money left for the other amneties, the board would have to work very hard and efficiently to attract members.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2008, 09:31:11 PM by GeorgiePorgie » Logged
Lydia Nieves
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« Reply #10 on: July 20, 2008, 10:41:00 PM »

April,

I will try to do some research and see what I find; however, I ask that you keep in mind that this is the first time I will be working on obtaining a deal. I will try my best and then post my findings.

George,

I am not sure I understand your rational for the community remaining in control of the roads. You state that we don't realize the inflated cost of a speeding tickets under the township; however, isn't the speeding one of the major complaints of the community.

Once the speed bumps were removed, it increased the number of speeding motorists. Don't you think that with the township taking over and people being aware of the heavy fines it may just have everyone think twice before increasing speed?

Also, I personally would feel safer with an armed police officer cruising the neighborhood than the security we currently have.

As for block parties, I have been here nearly two years and I have only heard of the one on Alter which was only recently. How often does this occur? We can research the towns requirements for closing a block for the day and have it accessible for any and all members who wish to do so.

As for money left for other amenities, once NEPA is out and we can truly work on building this community and having actual/usable amenities, I will continue to pay my dues. 

If I am misunderstanding you, please clarify.

Thanks,

Lydia
« Last Edit: July 21, 2008, 09:06:21 AM by Lydia Nieves » Logged
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« Reply #11 on: July 21, 2008, 09:48:54 AM »

Hello Lydia, George, Sodom and Spitfire,
     I am glad to see you all interacting, this allows valuable feedback. 
Stating that it is pointless for the roads to become twp is understandable.  I expected some opposition and like to hear every side of a debate.
      Have you ever seen other private communities who have twp. Roads?  There are not many, but, the amenities are very well kept and up to date (in this century). 

     Sodom, George:  I would like to take the funds that are spent on maintaining the roads to update our facillities.  As per the financial statement (Independent Auditors Report, 2007) SLCA spent $220,000.00 on road maintenance alone.  If you can find some proof of communities who have opposite reactions to having township roads, please do so. 

     Just so you know I wanted to use the funds to re-grade the beach fix the fenced in area and de-construct the pool and make a nice sloped one.  A sloped pool allows more area for adults with children and gets rid of the PVC piping used as a guard for the children to venture further.
     I would like to contact the fish and wildlife association to see about stocking the back lake.

     I find that bacteria results posted at the front lake are a must.  I and others have gotten sick in the past and it is necessary to prevent that sort of thing happening on a larger scale.

     I would also like to see the clubhouse deck be enclosed to expand the inside room, (for meetings) during inclement weather.  The beach bathrooms are atrocious and when I take my children to relieve themselves I am afraid they will get sick, there is often no soap.  When I am sitting at the beach observing (because I still have that anonymity) I frequently see people enter the gate (while security is on patrol) and take stuff from the third door behind the bathrooms on the deck.  I would like to purchase T-Shirts to identify SLCA staff to alleviate the mystery. 

     If redirecting the 200K to these purposes are not sufficient or attractive (for you to still pay your dues even if you are not paying for road maintenance), then please tell me another way besides actually raising your current dues.

Spitfire, RKR Hess Associates, INC was the company who handled the (so called repairs) to the sewer that was not done properly.  The auditor’s report states that “The amount of Stillwater’s claim against RKR Hess is in excess of $750,000.00”. (Independent Auditors Report, 2007).  The EPA has threatened fines against Stillwater Sewer Corp. for violations of the Clean Water Act relevant to the infiltration and flow problems associated with the sewer system.  Stillwater is negotiating with DEP regarding these claims and has engaged the services of HRG Consulting Engineers.  Stillwater seeks to negotiate with DEP to forgive the fines in exchange for a plan to fix the sewer system being put in place (Independent Auditors Report, 2007).  I would like you to do some foot work and see what public records are available (if you have time)


My main purpose is to get everyone involved not just the board and NEPA, so any comments in any form are welcome and Thank You for all forms of feedback.
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•   People’s deeply ingrained assumptions, generalizations and images influence how they see the world and what actions they take (McNurlin, B. & Sprague, R. 2006).
•   The only sustainable competitive advantage is the ability to organize effectively, respond to change, and manage well (Lawler, 2003).
Spitfire
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« Reply #12 on: July 21, 2008, 12:57:04 PM »

George,

Please correct me if I'm wrong, and in no way am I trying to be facitious, but your statement regarding the speeding fines implies that homeowners at Stillwater lakes might prefer to pay lower penalties for breaking the law.

In my book, that just doesn't cut it. I'll be the first to admit that I possess a heavy foot when driving; however, between the fact that there really is no pedestrian walkway, many children, an abundance of deer--and not to mention, other small animals; higher imposed fines may be a good thing. Especially the fact that non payment of those fines could result in suspension of driver's license.

Let's forget the fact, for a moment that speeding in the community could result in a fatality.

Imagine the offender kills someone's beloved pet, or child for that matter after the 4th $25 Vector issued speeding ticket.

Now imagine after the 2nd $120 dollar Regional issued (State) speeding ticket...

Don't you think you would think twice about speeding after just one Regional ticket? Wouldn't it reduce and/or illiminate chances of a third ticket as well as a fourth, which would include criminal neglegence for killing someone's pet or child?

It's just not enough rationale for not allowing the town to take over. (My opinion only)

Spitfire



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GeorgiePorgie
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« Reply #13 on: July 21, 2008, 01:12:49 PM »

There are many advantages to having private roads, I don't know why I am the only one who is seeing it that way, and in reply to your inquiry, I am sure there are more than few communities who like to keep their roads private.

I own properties outside SLCA,  the Saw Creek community has excellent roads, with the best speed bumps you ever saw, I promise the next time I go there, I'll make a short video about their speed bumps. And no one in Saw Creek, whether community members or board members are in favor of turning the roads over to the township.

As long as we own the roads, we have the option of ruling the roads, and deciding who enters our community, and what type of vehicules are and are not allowed on our roads, curfue hours and so forth. Once the roads are turned over to the township we will lose all those priviliges, not to mention the loss of having the sense of a community. But again, everything comes at a cost !

So far, we have not excercised all the options to best utilize our roads, we are too busy with other problems poping out, I am not necessary in favor of keeping the roads private, nor in turning them over to the township, instead, I believe we should explore all the advantages and disatvantages, and more importantly inform all our community members of both options, no one should be in favor of keeping people in the dark , which was the reason for the chaos on June 21.


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SODOM
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« Reply #14 on: July 21, 2008, 10:04:28 PM »

             It seems like a debate over the roads has lead to a multiple topic debate.
             Mr. Moore was appointed to the board by virtue of the wisdom of our board directors.  Our board of directors was elected by virtue of the wisdom of our community.  Mr. Moore was kicked out by the wisdom of the voters.  Mr. Moore had his chance at the plate and struck out big time, on June 21, 2008 .

            Curtis, I don’t think that I need to remind you of your attitude while you were on the board of directors. “Sit down, shut up, you’ve got nothing to say,” is obviously not what this community was looking for.
 
            Sorry Spitfire, but once a bubble has burst there is no way to “refill it.”  We can only create a new one, and create new ones we shall: “This means the repairs and snow removal are on them.”
   
             Bubble #1.   So, if it is on them; what makes you think that you can continue to charge property owners who own property along a "Township Road" the same “fair share” as we are currently paying?
 
   Bubble # 2.   As you folks keep saying, “proportionate share of the common areas.”  The only “common areas” will be the Lakes, (which will automatically become available to all outsiders for boating and fishing) the Clubhouse, and the crappy "Jello" filled Pool.
             Not to mention the inevitable meaningless sign outside the clubhouse and the pool which shall read:  “FOR MEMBERS ONLY!”

   Bubble # 3.    I can just picture the masses line up at the clubhouse each Spring, willingly extending out $400.00 in membership dues, each year, to become members at the elegant Stillwater Lakes Beach Club.   Dream on!

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