Immediately prior to their March 14 Work Session, the Seven Lakes Landowners Association [SLLA] Board held a closed meeting to discuss dues collections policies with Community Manager Alina Cochran and the Talis upper management team.
“The collection policy brought forward will codify the steps that will be taken, with various notices,” explained Vince Matal, President of Talis Management Group. “The idea is to get a firm stable policy that can be addressed uniformly across the board.”
The proposed collection policy outlines steps for a first notice, second notice, third notice, and then how the matter could be potentially resolved with a lien or foreclosure proceeding. Matal described the policy as standard practice, with a slightly modified approach for Seven Lakes.
It was noted that an account that had been delinquent for years was recently paid in full after a lien was filed on the property.
“It’s fair. It’s equitable. It’s consistent, and it will get us our money,” said Director Kent Droppers. “This is a great step.”
The proposed policy will be posted on the community website and is available at the office for review. Action on the policy will be considered by the incoming Board at a future meeting.
“Our intent is to get this on the table and to get landowners to start looking ahead. It will be up to the next Board to, hopefully, approve it at the end of April,” explained SLLA President Randy Zielsdorf.
Referring to accounting concerns that he addressed in February, Treasurer Denny Galford said that a number of items have been corrected, including the beginning balance sheet.
He also noted that a journal entry was added this month to reflect a two month billing for contracted security services that had been recorded as zero in January and a double expense in February: a problem initiated by SFI’s failure to produce a January invoice.
Galford also noted there was a question about the large amount of money in fines and said the concern will be addressed.
“It was a problem that had been created within our own system, and we need to have it corrected,” he said. “I am disappointed that it has taken until this month to get some of these items corrected, but I’m pleased they have now been corrected.”
Zielsdorf said there had been a few bumps in the road during the transition to Talis Management, but he anticipated the next few months would be a much smoother process.
“Part of what we’re fighting is we had a manager in place for twenty-three or twenty-four years,” Zielsdorf said. “A certain cultural mindset gets built into the process. Some changes that Talis brought in will be better in the long run. We just need to get over the mindset that just because we did it this way for decades doesn’t mean there isn’t a better way to do it.”
Talis has been in place handling SLLA management just over a year. Talis President Vince Matal said the company has occasionally struggled with the uniqueness of Seven Lakes needs.
“But I’m sure we will move forward with better knowledge, and we’re looking forward to getting even better,” said Matal.
Director Bud Shaver expressed disappointment in his fellow Board for their lack of input and progress on recommendations he submitted after his review of the Reserve Study.
“The response has been deafening by its silence,” he admonished.
Shaver recommended that the incoming Board should be provided with a comprehensive packet of materials, including the covenants, current budget, updated rules and regulations, and the Reserve Study documents.
In other business on Monday, March 14, the SLLA Board:
• Voted the proxy ballot for the upcoming Board of Directors election. The top four candidates were selected in the first round and all member proxy ballots will be counted accordingly.
• Approved the use of the fenced area adjacent to the maintenance building as secured on-site storage, as requested by Davenport Landscaping. If space is adequate for their needs, the contractor will supply a lock and, potentially, install security cameras at that location.
• Recommended that Cochran review and reconcile the difference in frequency anticipated for mowing on the dams between the contract with Davenport Landscaping and the recommendation of dam engineering firm S&ME.
• Heard from Cochran that mud and collapsing walls are a problem at the yard debris site. Brooks Hauling, who was recently awarded a removal contract, will present options to fill in the area. In addition, crushed gravel may be added around the facility to reduce mud.
• Discussed a request to install a private dock on Association property. While the requestor provided a deed, property lines and accessibility were unclear. Going around the table, the Board determined more information would be required, including input from neighbors and a legal review, prior to any action.
• Heard a request from Droppers recommending that No Parking signs be reinstalled for the warmer months along Firetree Lane at Sequoia Point and also that split-rail fencing be installed in the parking area.
• Heard a request from Shaver recommending that Cochran contact NC-DOT to have the safety flashing lights reinstalled on Seven Lakes Drive near the entrance gates. The lights were removed and not replaced after repairs were made on the road shoulders.
• Heard a request from Director Bruce Keyser, Jr. to draft a dues policy for septic lots — either set at zero or a proportionate share. Historically, septic lots have not been assessed, but there is no formal policy in place. In related discussion, Zielsdorf also expressed interest in developing a policy outlining responsibility for maintenance of septic lots.