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GM’s State of the Association

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September 23rd, 2014 No Comments

A Letter from the General Manager

by Bob Kimble, General Manager

The Operating Budget

With an Association the size and age of Lake Linganore, it is no surprise that infrastructure is an integral part of our operational priorities. This past year was no exception. The extreme weather of 2014 produced many issues for the Association. We had some very heavy and furious rains during the year and are recovering from a long and severe winter. All of this has put financial pressures on the Association. In order to be productive and move forward, we must learn from our shortcomings and build on our successes. The Operating Budget is a tool and we will continue to work to maximize improvements to the Association, at the lowest possible cost to the Membership.

The Growing Cost of Our Infrastructure

It was shortly after last year’s Special Edition that the Esplanade was badly damaged. On “Friday the Thirteenth,” September 13, 2013, the 13th pier of the Esplanade, (coincidental or not) a large tree was struck by lighting and came crashing into the Esplanade, bringing down a 40 foot span of our unique walkway.

The Esplanade is extensively used by the Membership and is one of the key amenities seen by the public as they cross Boyers Mill Bridge. The Association moved quickly to acquire estimates for the repair of the Esplanade after it was damaged. The average cost to repair the 40 foot section was approximately $250K. Initially this was devastating news; however it was not the end of the discussion. Ultimately the Association was able to identify and partner with Concrete General, the contractor assigned to Frederick County’s Boyers Mill Road/Bridge Project.

The main cost-driver of the Esplanade repair was the requirement of a barge and crane. The cost of just this equipment made initial estimates prohibitively expensive. Fortunately in the winter of 2013-2014, the Boyers Mill Road/Bridge Project was preparing to start as soon as the weather broke. This county project would call for periodic use of LLA property. The Association was able to negotiate an agreement with Concrete General—the contractor could utilize Nightingale Beach as a staging area during mobilization, and the Barn Area for an office trailer until the project was complete. In return, Concrete General would repair the damaged Esplanade. This was a tremendous savings to the Association and provided many benefits to the contractor as well.

The Esplanade repairs are largely dependent on the contractors schedule and availability. We anticipate the completion of the Esplanade repairs during the fall of 2014.
2013 and 2014 were tough years for the Association’s budget. The maintenance of our aging infrastructure has become costly and we expect these expenses to grow in the future. However 2013 and 2014 also marked the beginning of many great community activities for the Association. Crowds were larger than ever before for events like the Summer Concert Series, OktoberFest, Summer Festival, Fall Festival, and the Fourth of July Fireworks on the Beach to name a few. Thomas Edison once wrote, “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” This is certainly true of this Community. We will rise above all adversity and in the end we will be triumphant. A community coming together is truly special.

During 2014 we again spent over a half million dollars on our roadways. Edgewood Road in Pinehurst was resurfaced as well as a half mile of Eaglehead Drive. Several other roads saw repairs being made. We could have easily doubled the amount spent on repairs, but we all realize there are budgetary limitations to everything we do. As we prioritize these repairs and continue with a plan, we eventually will catch up on all needed repairs and will have the roads all of us want to see.

During the past year we had a company, Criterium Engineers, perform a Reserve Study of Lake Linganore Association. It was discovered that the Association had not yet set aside enough funds for the reserves that are needed for our infrastructure. This study revealed that we should be setting aside approximately $750,000 extra each year to satisfy the current and future infrastructure needs of our community. This translates to approximately $300 annually per home in Lake Linganore. Infrastructure needs include such items as stormwater drainage and ponds, lakes, dams, embankments, paving community roadways, trails, esplanade repairs, buildings, pools, playgrounds, tennis courts, and equipment. As you can see the list could go on and on. We have some of the greatest amenities that an Association can offer. We do need to prepare ourselves for the future and define ways to overcome some of the shortfalls that the Reserve Study identified.

A Plan for Dredging

The Association, along with the City of Frederick and Frederick County, reached a preliminary agreement for the dredging of Lake Linganore to the north of Boyers Mill Bridge. This agreement would “cost share” the dredging whereby the City of Frederick would pay 50%, Frederick County would pay 25%, and the Association would pay 25% of the overall cost. This will save the Association millions of dollars, lead to much greater use of Lake Linganore and increase the lake’s value as our primary asset. The process of dredging Lake Linganore will take several years. When considering that it has been nearly 50 years since anything was done to maintain the lake, a few more years of preparation is not unreasonable. We greatly look forward to working with our Frederick partners to restore the beauty and health of Lake Linganore.

In our joint effort to dredge Lake Linganore, Maryland Environmental Service has been hired to begin the lake restoration plan, so that permitting (required by various government agencies such as Maryland Department of Environment and Army Corp of Engineers) can occur. They will also look at various options such as disposal sites and the type of dredging which would yield the best benefit and lowest cost. These among a host of other details are now underway. This process alone may take 12-18 months before the actual dredging can begin. We do, however, need to keep in mind the most important achievement: the process has begun. We are proud to see that the dredging process is now in motion and will continue until completion.

Events

Lake Linganore is no longer just a beautiful place to live; it is truly a fun place to be! We now host a myriad of events and activities for all interests and ages: Farmer’s Market, the Summer Concert Series, Teen and Adult Dances, Trivia Night, National Night Out, Football Parties, The Fishing Derby, Bonfires on the Beach, and so many other great events—all adding to the fun of living in the Eaglehead Community.

In 2014 we added to our Events and Recreation Budget and hired a full time Volunteer/Events Coordinator who is dedicated to managing events and activities for our Membership. This year the Teen Volunteer Club, the Events Committee, and Friends of the Lake helped to organize and execute unique events for the community. In addition, we were able to procure several Corporate Sponsors (Ryan Homes/Oakdale Investments, Beachy Companies, and Papillon & Moyer each purchased platinum sponsorships) who relieved the financial burden that would have fallen on the Membership. Our sponsors made events like the Summer Concert Series, the Fourth of July Fireworks on the Beach and Oktoberfest possible. We greatly appreciate the thoughtful contributions provided by our sponsors.

We are by no means finished. We have and will continue to listen to the Membership, to better understand what you would want to see in the community. As we plan for future events, we will work with our budget to maximize the enjoyment to everyone. One way of keeping down our costs is to have volunteers. I am reminded of a quote from Marjorie Moore, “Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy. You vote in elections once a year, but when you volunteer, you vote every day about the kind of community you want to live in.” Please consider volunteering in 2015, even if it is for only one event. Every little bit helps in making an event successful.

Aspen North

Aspen North is a small village of just over 100 lots. Many property owners purchased their lots back in the 1970s hoping to one day build their dream home. This village (although plotted and sold) never had roads built. Homeowners have been working for years to put together their own CDA in order to start building on these lots. During the past year, several Members of Aspen North have sought an alternative approach. They reached out to developer, Miller & Smith, to see if they would purchase and develop these lots. Miller & Smith agreed, and in July 2014, the developer purchased and closed on these lots. Their plans are to clear the area and build approximately 100 moderately sized homes on these small (approximately one-eighth acre) lots. With this purchase the Association received approximately $40,000 in back dues and fees paid out of the settlement on these properties. This sale to Miller & Smith was a win-win for the Association and the former Aspen North property owners.

Over the next year you will begin to see a substantial increase in activity related to this development. For the Association, we established an MOU with Miller & Smith whereby they will continue to pay all dues on lots which are buildable. The Association anticipates approximately $500,000 over the next seven years and over $100,000 each year afterwards from additional assessments to this village. This plan will now transform a village that was dormant for almost 40 years into a neighborhood with a new beginning.

Lake Linganore Scholarship Foundation

During 2014 the Association formed a charitable foundation. This foundation is still being reviewed by the Internal Revenue Service and a determination letter will be forthcoming which we anticipate will establish this as a charitable organization 501(c)3. This foundation will do various fundraisers and seek the Membership’s tax deductible contributions. The plan will be to provide college scholarships to the Lake Linganore Community. You will be required to live within the Lake Linganore Community to be eligible for a scholarship. We will be working out the criteria for which a graduating High School Senior can apply for, and possibly receive a scholarship. If there is anyone eager to volunteer to help establish the criteria and review process of awarding the scholarships, please contact 301-831-6400 x111.

Community Center and Long-Term Planning

The Strategic Planning Committee and a company hired by the developer, Land Design, have been active in planning for future amenities. One of the main focuses over the course of the next five years will be to plan, develop, and find funding sources for a Community Center. This center is being planned for a parcel of land at Coldstream, known to many as the Barn Area/Events Tent. The developer, Oakdale Investments, will be donating this land to the Association as part of the MOU between Oakdale and the LLA. We are looking for a substantial amount of input and your help will be needed in order for this plan to come to fruition.
This Community Center was among the top two items requested in the extensive survey conducted by the Strategic Planning Committee in 2012. We have learned from having our Events Tent for a little over a year now that a permanent structure is needed to keep bringing this great community together. A permanent structure will help bond an already great community, increase the value of homeownership, and make Linganore an even better place to call home.

Meaningful Dialogue

I stated last year that 2013 was a year full of productive debates within our community and 2014 was no different. Over the coming years we will still face many infrastructure related challenges. I ask that every one of you join in productive debate and dialogue. I urge you to become involved in the decision making process that will set our future course. Become a Board Member, volunteer on a committee, volunteer for one event or several. Nick Saban who is the current Head Coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide once said, “When you invest your time, you make a goal and a decision of something that you want to accomplish. Whether it’s make good grades in school, be a good athlete, be a good person, go down and do some community service and help somebody who’s in need, whatever it is you choose to do, you’re investing your time in that.” This is very wise advice from one of the most successful college coaches of all time—much can be gleaned from this statement, but mostly I believe you can be the change you seek. Seize the opportunities to influence your community in 2015 and make a real difference.


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