May 19, 2019 Update and Announcements

Here’s the latest on the many things which have been happening in Spring Lake.

I. Dues

A number of residents have contacted us about dues. We thank you for being so diligent!

Annual dues for Spring Lake are $250. They are and always have been due on June 30 of each year.

Invoices will be going out within about a week, both via mail and email.

Payment can be made by mailing a check to:

Spring Lake HOA
PO Box 849
Walker, LA 70785

There will also be at least one, if not two, online payment options as well. You can just wait for the invoices to go out if you like. There’s plenty of time before June 30. The invoice will contain instructions for all payment options.

II. Accounting and Finances

After speaking with several CPAs, we met with one who already handles the accounting for an HOA that’s larger than ours, and does a great job. We decided to go with him. He is:

David Wascom CPA
Partner at Hannis T. Bourgeois, LLP
178 Del Orleans Ave., Suite C
Denham Springs, LA 70726

We did not sign a formal contract with the CPA, as we prefer not to put Spring Lake on the hook with outside firms, at least until we know how they perform. Mr. Wascom’s firm will work on an as-needed basis and comes highly recommended. Their estimated cost for doing everything for us over the course of a year is well under $1000. We provided all pertinent records to them so that they can correct the mistakes made in the past and give us solid figures to implement from this point forward. We expect to have those in about a week or less. After that, they will review our books quarterly, and make any necessary corrections, along with preparing our annual tax returns etc.

We imported our resident data into our new Quickbooks software, complete with outstanding balances and related notes. We will be able to use it to produce our annual invoices, in both printed and email format. As we mentioned above, we plan to send those out in about a week. Most of our bills are automated, and all bank activity imports into Quickbooks with the click of a mouse, making routine operations almost effortless.

As we mentioned, we are waiting on updated and correct financials from our new CPA. Until those arrive, the January reports from Community Management are the most recent “official” financials we have. Yet, those are deeply flawed, as detailed on page 4 of the document viewable by clicking here.

However, to provide something more updated, we took the January figures, added the subsequent bank transactions, receipts, and other activity, and generated a set of financials current through May 13, 2019. These are accurate to the best of our knowledge, though keep in mind they are unaudited and unofficial. Click here to see them.


Note that since moving to self-management, we have collected over $2,500.00 in delinquent fees WITHOUT ASKING! Residents contacted us on their own to settle their accounts, and said it was because we’re no longer saddled with a management company, so their money won’t be wasted.

Also, in less than 3 months, we have earned $142.49 of interest income, compared to $28.76 for all of last year. Over the course of a year, we will earn over $1,000.00 of interest, money that will be put to good use.

IV. Entrances

As you know, a group of residents volunteered not long ago to remove the unsightly old shrubs from the Sapphire Lake entrance as the start of a major renovation. They were able to remove the majority of them, and their hard efforts are MOST appreciated! After looking at the scope of this project, we decided to seek bids from outside contractors for completing it. As previously stated, the goal is to make that entrance much simpler and easier to maintain. Instead of dozens of shrubs covering almost 200’ of median, that area will be turned into clean, easy to maintain grass. We will be getting a stone “box” built around the sign, which will contain the ornamental plants. We haven’t officially accepted a bid, but one was a real standout, and we should be awarding it within a day or two. Removing the dead bushes and the remaining live ones will knock the price down even more, and be a good savings for the subdivision. Yesterday, HOA president Tom Burris and secretary Greg Bunch removed all of the dead ones, with an assist from resident Anthony Todd. (Thanks Anthony – you da man!) We’re planning to rip out the remaining live ones next weekend, weather permitting. After that, the new work can start. Chances are we’ll have the contractor do the other 2 entrances as well, since they quoted those too and were VERY reasonable. Natures Way needs work, while the Cane Market entrance only needs a bit of freshening up. We want all 3 entrances to look their best.

Greg Bunch loading the last of the old dead shrubs from the Sapphire Lake entrance. (Photo by Tom Burris.)

V. Whispering Springs / New Spring Lake filing

Everyone is probably aware of the 8th filing of Spring Lake, which is to be accessed via Garnet Lake, as well as the massive Whispering Springs subdivision being built by DR Horton just to our north and west. Our secretary Greg Bunch has been trying to keep abreast of these developments, with limited success. He has repeatedly checked Livingston Clerk of Court records, but found no plans for the 8th filing. His concerns, which many share, were that DR Horton will be building that filing, and will connect it to their massive bordering subdivision.

Greg found some plat maps for Whispering Springs recorded with the Clerk of Court. They are labeled “Final Plat”, and seem to indicate that Whispering Springs will not connect with Spring Lake. However, a resident sent him a different version of the plat map, showing a connection with the new filing as well as another one to Springlake Drive if and when that street is ever extended past where it is now. (The point of connection is currently woods.)

To hopefully get a solid answer, Greg met with the Livingston Parish Planning Commission in person.

What they said seemed to confirm our worst fears. They told him the new Spring Lake filing will indeed be sold to DR Horton, and be connected to Whispering Springs. Supposedly the other possible connection way back past Spring Lake Drive, which is still just woods, will not be a connection, but as we all know that could change. Supposedly the “Final Plat” that’s recorded is not actually final, and the Planning Commission approved the revised one which connects the two subdivisions. However, as of today, the one showing no such connection is the only one recorded with the parish. And, there is still no plat map of the 8th filing of Spring Lake recorded.

If what the Planning Commission said is accurate, then it seems that the new Spring Lake filing was, in some ways, falsely represented, and is just a way for DR Horton to get a free entrance into Whispering Springs, through OUR subdivision!

The new Spring Lake filing goes all the way out to Walker Road, just north of the existing entrance. We feel that if DR Horton wants an entrance to Whispering Springs, they should build one there, and make that part of Whispering Springs instead of Spring Lake. The sign that went up said “Spring Lake 8th Filing”, but apparently nothing seems to be engraved in stone. We would rather that filing be part of Whispering Springs than have that monstrous subdivision connected to ours.

We will keep working to find out what the true plans are, and will let everyone know. If anyone has any inside knowledge of these plans, the Planning Commission, or any other entity related to this, please get in touch with us. We do not want Spring Lake to become a driveway for Whispering Springs!

VI. Rentals

The Spring Lake restrictions have always prohibited houses to be used as rentals. Over the years, several owners have said that since they were “leasing” their houses, they were not in violation of the restrictions. Each time, past boards consulted a real estate attorney, who confirmed that a lease does in fact constitute a rental, therefore does violate our restrictions. We could not find those prior opinions in the documents we were given, so we obtained a current written opinion from one of the most respected real estate attorneys in the Baton Rouge area. That document can be seen by clicking here.

The board will be continuing to implement stiff fines and collection procedures on any and all rental properties remaining in Spring Lake.

VII. Insurance Policy

Our blanket insurance policy, which provides liability coverage for residents and board members, as well as casualty coverage on structures, signs, etc was up for renewal. We received quotes from several sources. After carefully reviewing the options, we renewed with the existing carrier at a cost of $4117, about the same as last year. Other similarly priced options had no advantages over them, and the existing company has gone from a B+ rating to A. The only coverage available from a standard (“admitted”) carrier was from State Farm, with a premium of about $8,000.00. We felt that any possible benefits were not worth paying almost twice the price.

VIII. Summer Bash

We have begun preliminary planning for a really nice summer party. We’ll give plenty of notice and details as things firm up.

That’s about it for now, though more is on the very near horizon. As always, 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!

March 14, 2019 Meeting Minutes and Update

First of all, you can click here to see the meeting minutes from 2/11/2019 through 3/11/2019.

This past Saturday, March 9, 2019, a hardy group of volunteers met at the Sapphire Lake entrance. Their task was to pull up the MANY old shrubs which covered much of the 2 medians at that entrance. The crew consisted of:

Joey Armstrong
Danielle Bunch
Justin Caldwell
Richard Carter
Brandon Domingue

Richard Carter takes a break after winning a hard-fought battle with the deeply rooted shrubs.

These folks provided the effort, enthusiasm, tools, and even a winch! The HOA supplied cold drinks and a lot of heartfelt appreciation for the great job they did.

The shrubs proved to be no match for Joey Armstrong and his power winch!

In a short period of time, they managed to remove about 3/4 of the shrubs, along with the old iron edging which was in place. They also pulled some other weeds, etc. A small patch of shrubs remains, and will be removed soon. After that, sod will be laid down in place of the shrubs, and a nice border and landscaping will be done around the sign. The entrance will be much neater, better-looking, and easier to maintain when this project is finished.

Board member Justin Caldwell and his mighty axe. We may have to let Justin handle collections of past due accounts!

Again, our sincere thanks to those who participated! For everyone who missed out, there will be opportunities to work on this and the other 2 entrances coming soon!

We wanted to let everyone know that with the almost constant rains lately, we realize that keeping yards cut has been almost impossible lately. We will not send out any undeserved violation notices because of the bad weather. It’s affecting everyone! Once the soil dries though, be sure to get those yards cut as soon as you can, because we never know when the next monsoon will start!

Also, keep in mind that if you have clippings from lawns, shrubs, etc. Waste Management won’t pick them up unless they are in bags.

Since the departure of the management company, several residents have come to us on their own to pay their overdue balances. This is truly appreciated, and benefits our entire subdivision. In turn, we promise to do our best to spend Spring Lake’s money wisely.

There’s lots more going on, so we’ll be updating everyone again soon. In the meantime, let us know your suggestions, ideas, thoughts, or problems. We look forward to hearing from you!

March 5, 2019 Update and Announcements

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, For now, that domain is the same as, but once we get other priorities put to rest, 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!

Welcome Committee meeting Sunday, 2/17/2019 at 1PM in the park pavilion

The Welcome Committee, and all those interested in joining, is meeting Sunday, 2/17/2019 at 1PM in the park pavilion.

We are going to discuss the following:

  • Who will be on the Committee.
  • What the responsibilities will be.
  • The Welcome gift (ideas only).
  • Ideas on what important information we will include in our visit. Example: Name, telephone numbers, email addresses, along with questions and concerns, and more.
  • We will then set up another meeting to start collecting this information toward the end of March.

Thank you,
Tamara Laurie
Vice president, Spring Lake HOA

Landscaping followup

As you know, we recently wrote a uniform Request For Proposal (RFP) so that landscaping companies could submit bids for getting our entrances into shape and maintaining them annually.

In addition to being posted online, the RFP was sent to the following companies:

  1. Gardner Landscape
  2. Daigre Lawn Care
  3. Alford’s Landscaping LLC
  4. Southern Boys Lawn & Landscape
  5. Posey’s Lawn Care LLC
  6. All Seasons Landscaping and Lawn Care (our existing grass contractor)
  7. ProGreen Lawn and Landscape

Most if not all of these companies replied, and said they would be submitting a proposal. However, when the deadline passed, only All Seasons had done so.

The amount of their bid was $12,748.50. Since no other bids were received, we have nothing else for comparison, so we don’t know if this price is high, low, or typical for a job like this. However, the board felt that this amount is simply too much to spend. Therefore, we will beautify the entrances ourselves. The Common Areas Committee is meeting tomorrow (Wednesday, 2/13/2019) at 6PM at the park pavilion. With all the talented gardeners we have living in Spring Lake, and many people volunteering to help, getting the entrances in shape will be an ideal project. We’ll leave it to the committee to work out the details, but we’re thinking that a couple of “landscaping weekends” with the HOA providing supplies, materials, drinks, and an “after” party at the pavilion with great food should take care of everything, and be a lot of fun besides.

It was well worth writing the RFP and getting proposals, to find out if the cost of having this work done by a landscaping company was feasible. While we received just 1 response, it was enough to make the choice between spending that much of your money vs. putting together a couple of fun weekends with our neighbors a clear choice indeed.

Look for more news on this and other projects coming soon!

Detailed Announcements and Update

This has been a while in the making, but we think you’ll find it was worth the wait!

We put a great deal of time and effort into these announcements. Our goal was to provide a very in-depth, documented look at past events and information, what we have done so far, where we are, and where we are going. This document is lengthy (9 pages long) and detailed, as it should be.

It is presented in PDF format, easily viewable by clicking here.

A copy of this document was emailed to everyone for whom we have an email address. As of February 11, 2019, we have over 194 email addresses on file. If you don’t receive an emailed copy, please contact and you will!

Meeting minutes from 11/2/2018 through 2/11/2019

Following the new board’s meeting on 10/29/2018, one board member began working a months-long turnaround at his plant, while another was sent out of town for his job. Due to this, plus the holidays and other factors, the board had to conduct business via phone, text, and email. We were unexpectedly able to get most of us together on 1/26/2019 very briefly in person for a short, mostly executive, meeting. (For those unfamiliar with the term, executive meetings deal with confidential issues such as individual residents, or other legal matters, etc.)

Minutes from this ongoing meeting can be seen here.

Board meeting minutes 10/30/2018

The first board meeting of the new Spring Lake Homeowners Association board was held on Tuesday, October 30, 2018 at 6:30 PM. In attendance at the start were:

Greg Bunch
Tom Burris
Tamara Laurie
Ted Weems

The first order of business was for the members to decide on which positions they would hold, and for how long. Two of the positions are for one year terms, as they are completing the remaining terms of former members who left office. The results of that discussion were:

Tom Burris will be president for a one year term.
Tamara Laurie will be vice president for a one year term.
Greg Bunch will be secretary for a two year term.
Ted Weems will be treasurer for a two year term.
Justin Caldwell will be member at large for a two year term.

Having police details in the subdivision to help address the speeding problem was added to the list of items the HOA wants to implement.

Committees were discussed. Currently there are three committees:
Common Areas Committee
Violations Committee
Welcoming Committee

A good number of residents have already signed up for these committees, and are very much appreciated. Tom Burris volunteered to head up the common areas committee. The violations committee, which has had many volunteers, will be overseen by Ted and Justin. Former board member Leatus Still is very active in this area, and is already making plans for a meeting of this committee (Sunday, November 4, 2018 at 5:30 PM at the park pavilion). Tamara will oversee the welcoming committee. Greg Bunch will use the MLS and the clerk of court records to keep track of sales which will help the welcoming committee to greet new residents.

Ted Weems mentioned that when he moved here he did not get contacted by anyone.

The board will meet with previous board members to confirm what their new violations procedures are, and to formally approve them after making any necessary changes. Greg Bunch will make a secure copy of a thumb drive given to the board by the former board which contains documents.

Member Justin Caldwell had been caught in traffic and arrived at 7:00 PM.

The board decided that having the welcoming committee give an official welcome to every single resident would be a great idea. Each person would get a copy of the restrictions. The board also discussed providing a gift to each incoming new resident as they move into our subdivision.

Tom will get in contact with the lawn company to confirm the details and duration of their contract. Justin mentioned that he also knows someone with a lawn company who could quote us if needed.

The board will obtain details on the new filing and make those available to everyone.

A lengthy discussion was held regarding Community Management. Their current contract was reviewed, with particular attention given to the termination section and related time frame. The contract states that after termination they must meet specific deadlines for turning over our web site, documents, and other information which belongs to us.

It was agreed that Greg will be in charge of providing a regular Spring Lake newsletter. It will be delivered via email or via our website to everyone with an email address. Residents who do not use email or Internet will receive a paper copy.

Following further discussion of Community Management, Greg Bunch made a motion to terminate their contract immediately. The motion was seconded by Ted Weems, and was passed by a unanimous 5-0 vote.

The board discussed the liability policy which is supposed to protect residents from liability should anyone sue the homeowners association. Such a suit could come from someone getting hurt or killed in a lake, etc. Tom is familiar with the policy, and will get a copy so it can be thoroughly reviewed to make sure all of our residents are protected and that we have the proper coverage we need.

Someone has volunteered to handle our simple accounting at little to no cost. The board will look into that possibility, and the procedure for having them bonded. Other options were discussed as well.

After we determine exactly how many electrical and water meters we have, Greg will contact DEMCO and Ward 2 Water to find out about putting them on a combined bill and thus getting a discount.

A discussion followed about the possibility of setting up an actual physical address for the park, complete with a mailbox. In the future perhaps water could be added there, which would be useful for park functions.

The board discussed adding the new treasurer and vice president to the bank account. They will also look at costs and features of our current bank, and move banks if necessary. Free online payment can save us time and money, and if our current bank does not provide that, moving the account would be wise.

The violations committee will be meeting Sunday, November 4, 2018 at 5:30 PM at the park pavilion. Several board members will also attend. One of the first things to do will be to draft a “Friendly Reminder” letter, which will be a much nicer first letter to send for a possible violation than the harsh letter used by Community Management.

The board held a brief discussion about options for our official website after we get it back under our control.

The board agreed to give $100 to the Friendship Church for their gracious donation of their building for our last meeting. Such a donation had been done in the past.

Tom pointed out that our restrictions state there are supposed to be 2 community events (parties) each year, so that was discussed.

The board agreed that in the future, all official communications will come from our own website. The Spring Lake Facebook page will be a valuable, but secondary, source. Tom said he will get the Facebook login from a previous board member.

Until our official website is back in our hands from Community Management, a temporary site may be set up so that announcements and 2-way communication can take place. Once our official site is back, the temporary site will automatically send any visitors to the official site, and do so transparently. The board agreed that such a site will be a good benefit.

At some point soon the board will meet with recent former members to go over various details on projects currently under way. These include the newly revised violations policy, updates to the Natures Way entrance, judgments on the 2 largest past-due accounts, etc.

Meeting adjourned at 8:32 PM.

Annual meeting held October 28, 2018

The Spring Lake annual HOA meeting was held on Sunday, October 28, 2018. A special thanks goes out to the Faith Crossing Church, who graciously allowed us to use their nice facility. Attendance at the meeting was good. The board updated everyone on the budget, fountain, re-hiring of Community Management, new violations policy, and other matters. At the end of the meeting came the election of new officers. 3 positions were open, but after 3 people volunteered for those positions, remaining board members Jim Waid and Jamie Murphy announced their retirement. Both Jim and Jamie have served the Spring Lake HOA over many years, and felt it was time to move on and spend more time with their families. We thank them for all their efforts and service.

Two additional people volunteered for the open spots, so the 5 board positions were filled. The new board consists of Ted Weems, Tamara Laurie, Greg Bunch, Tom Burris, and Justin Caldwell. All but Tom are new to the Spring Lake board. At a future meeting, they will choose officer positions.