A lot has been happening over the past couple of weeks! Now that much of it is behind us, we wanted to catch everyone up as we continue to move forward.
First of all, weather permitting, the Common Areas Committee along with anyone else interested in helping are planning to go clean out the old shrubs from the Sapphire Lake entrance this coming Saturday morning, March 9. This is tentative, as the forecast doesn’t look promising right now, but we’ll keep you posted. Whether it’s this Saturday or not, the plan is to make that entrance much simpler and easier to maintain. Instead of dozens of shrubs covering almost 200’ of median, most of that area will be cleared, turning it into clean, easy to maintain grass. The section around the sign will be nicely landscaped and planted, making an attractive, low-maintenance feature where it is most visible. A preliminary rendering of the entrance was drawn up by resident Joe Miller, and is shown here.
Our last official day with Community Management was Thursday, February 28. They gave us our money right before that, but we were able to open our new accounts at Hancock Whitney with no trouble. We have an operating (checking) account, and a Money Market account in which we keep the majority of the funds. That account pays 1.98% interest, almost 40 times what we were being paid previously under Community Management. Our account earned $2.22 for February in just ONE day, compared to the $28.76 interest the old bank gave us for all of 2018! We are already seeing the benefits of having our money in a good, local bank.
After opening the bank accounts, we immediately paid the few bills we had, and on time. All recurring monthly bills, including our utilities, were then set up on auto-pay so they will never be paid late.
We bought QuickBooks Plus, the same version of QuickBooks which the Easterly Lakes HOA has been using for some time. It costs only $60 per month, and we got our first 3 months on sale, at just $18 each.
As we all know, it is tax time, and the same goes for the HOA. After looking through some of the previous tax filings done by whoever CM used, it seems that things may not have been done properly or on time. That plus the known misrepresentation of the accounts receivable calls for a CPA to review the reports we have now, and make whatever corrections are needed so that we have a reliable starting point. We already sent the pertinent 2016-2019 reports to a trusted local CPA, and will be hearing back from him soon. By doing this, we can be confident that the initial accounting is accurate. We’re not signing a contract with him, but if he does a good job, he may end up being the one doing our quarterly CPA reviews as well.
We created a convenient form for residents to subscribe to the HOA email list. That link will only be released on the closed Facebook group for now. The email addresses collected using the signup form will be validated against our database, to maintain the integrity and privacy of our communications. As our website expands, we plan to have a “residents only” login, so that items like this can be distributed. We have taken back ownership of our official domain name, SpringLakeWalker.com. For now, that domain is the same as TheNewSpringLake.com, but once we get other priorities put to rest, SpringLakeWalker.com will become our permanent home, and will have many new features.
Speaking of email: As of now we have over 190 working email addresses in our resident database, and that number is going up all the time! We set up a free HOA account with Mailchimp, which is an excellent mail list service that works very well and has been around for many years. It gives us the ability to send clear, attractive emails quickly and easily, and because of our low volume, there is no cost to us at all.
We have not heard back about which builder is developing the new filing, but we’re still pressing for answers on several fronts. As soon as we hear anything, we’ll pass it along!
Just like everyone else, the HOA’s lawn company has been hesitant to cut the grass due to soggy ground caused by the constant rain. We spoke to them today however, and they said they expect to be able to cut this Friday, March 8.
That’s about it for now. Feel free to send us your questions, comments, and suggestions. In turn, we’ll keep you up to date on everything happening in Spring Lake!