Blakely Island Maintenance Commission, Inc.

 

Minutes of the BJMC Board of Governors
March 29, 2003

Commissioners present: Cheryl Burkhart, John Howieson, Martha Mills, Chris Owings, and Scott Shanks. Brian Kinkaid was absent.

Guest: Jim Davis

President Cheryl Burkhart called the meeting to order at 10:02 a.m. at her Blakely home.

Approval of Minutes
The minutes of the January 11, 2003 meeting were approved.

Commissioners' Reports
Roads: Scott Shanks
Scott Shanks reported on a proposal received to resurface the roads for $75,190. This necessary project would be paid out of the maintenance reserve find if approved at the annual meeting. There was discussion about driveways adjacent to the project and providing notice to members who may want to pave their driveways at the same time because the expense for them to do so would be less during the project. The project will include paving a few feet onto members' driveways in order to protect the edge of the road, although members whose driveway edges cross over service lines will not be eligible for these aprons.

Water: John Howieson

Cheryl Burkhart reported that she and Janet Taggares are working together on plans to keep the water level safe during the summer and to decrease the use of treated water for irrigation. There was discussion of the costs of several alternatives to protect the treated water supply. Chris Owings expressed concern that the water level not be run down as low as it has in past summers during high use times so that there is an adequate reserve for fire protection when it is most likely to be needed.

There was discussion about installing water meters to help locate leaks. Jim Davis advised that water meters would save him large amounts of time, as well as the water supply, when there is a leak in the system. Cheryl Burkhart pointed out that the cost of installing meters at every house would exceed $50,000 and would eventually result in monitoring and assessing members for excessive water use; she suggested that with our limited treated water storage capacity, it would be unwise to offer water for irrigation at any price. Chris Owings recommended the strategic placement of several meters on BJMC property to aid in leak detection. The Board agreed, and Jim Davis will look into appropriate placement sites. John Howieson wants to have a meter installed at his house

 

General Delivery, Blakely Island, Washington 98222


at his own expense and recommended that there be a program to allow any other BJMC member to do so. Jim Davis recommended that the subject be discussed at the annual meeting.

 

Fire, Waste, and Buffer Strip: Chris Owings
Chris Owings reported on the procedure to follow if there is a fire. There was discussion about calling 911 and calling the Facility Manager. Jim Davis reported that calling 911 works about 80% of the time and the call is transferred to him; he will work with the 911 call center on their procedure when they receive a call from Blakely. Chris is looking into several ideas for aids for members to post in their homes with the fire procedure. Jim will write 911 a letter about what to do for emergencies on Blakely, i.e. to call him so he can help.
Scott Shanks inquired if there is a standby contract for a helicopter with a bucket if we have a fire on the upper island. Jim Davis reported that there is a contract with DNR to respond, but it may take a minimum of 4.5 hours, assuming the fire crews are not otherwise occupied with other fires elsewhere in the state. There is some wildfire fighting capacity on each island, i.e. members of the local fire forces with wildfire training. Cheryl Burkhart requested that a formal emergency protocol be formulated and furnished to 911, the County Sheriff, helicopter transport, and all community members. Chris Owings and Jim Davis offered to create one, and will have the results available for the annual meeting.

Scott Shanks requested that members be reminded to check their fire extinguishers every year to be sure they still work. He suggested that BJMC offer to do a bulk order for fire extinguishers for any member who signs up.

Treasurer: Cheryl Burkhart
Discussion was postponed until budget review.

Facility Manager's Report

Old Business

Approval of proposed change to by-laws regarding permit fees for inclusion in annual meeting packet.
The Board reviewed the recommendations of the Permit Fee Committee members. No changes will be recommended to the BJCs. The community will vote on changes to the By-laws at the annual meeting to eliminate the permit fee and simplify the BJMC's building permit process. Details on the suggested changes will be sent out with the meeting packets.


Final insurance review

Jim Davis reported on insurance. Insurance costs this year have stayed the same and the BIMC policies were renewed without any problems. There is now terrorism coverage as required by federal law.

 

Final status of Rogich replacement planting
Cheryl Burkhart provided a list of native plants to Ron Ekland, the Rogich property supervisor, who prepared a plan and will replant the disturbed area across the road from the Rogich property.

New Business

Submission and approval of new Board candidates
Mark Droppert and Cindy Zech have agreed to be nominated for 3-year terms on the BIMC board at the annual meeting in July. John Howieson moved and Scott Shanks seconded that they be approved as nominees. The motion passed unanimously. The board thanks Mark Droppert and Cindy Zech for volunteering to serve on the board. Chris Owings agreed to finish out the 3rd year of the remaining empty board seat.

 

Review of agenda requests by BIMC members

No agenda requests have been received so far. Under the bylaws, any requests are due by April 1, 2003.

2003 -2004 proposed operating budget
Two outstanding assessments have not been paid but are on track. One is for a recent sale that did not get paid at closing. Cheryl Burkhart is working with the parties involved to resolve the matter.

The board discussed the proposed 2003 -2004 budget item by item and made a few adjustments. Of note:

Attorney fees will stay the same. If a problem arises that requires spending more for attorneys, there will be a special assessment to the members for that item.

This is the final year for Driftwood Beach review.

Jim Davis reported that the water intake dock is not in worse shape than a year ago. He can keep it going for another year with a pressure wash and a coat of non-skid paint.

There was discussion about the possibility of installing speed humps to reduce speeding along the runway. John Howieson expressed concern that humps might interfere with moving airplanes across the road for parking. Scoff Shanks suggested that three humps along the road would be enough. There was discussion about the effect on 4


wheelers. There was discussion about the probable disapproval of speed humps by the community.

Jim Davis reported that after the paving project, the roads will be smoother and therefore faster. Two layers will be applied: one to even out the level of the road surface and a second layer to finish. An average of 2.5 inches total will be applied although the amount will vary from place to place.

Scott Shanks moved to approve the budget as modified. The motion passed unanimously.

Annual Meeting Planning Sheet
To save on expenses and decrease the need to organize donated labor by BIMC members, the Board discussed the option of making the annual meeting picnic more potluck. It was decided to eliminate providing meat and hauling barbeques. For those who wish to grill their own meat, the cabana grill will be available. As always, the BIMC will provide beer, pop, plates, etc.

Cheryl Burkhart requested that all commissioners submit their individual reports for the annual meeting to her by April 30.
Chris Owings notified the Board that she would not be able to attend the annual meeting.

Winterization Training at Annual Meeting
There was discussion about winterization topics: the two appliances most likely to fail and cause flooding damage are hot water heaters and washing machine hoses. The easiest way to prevent washing machine flooding is to turn off the water to the washing machine while you are gone and replace the hoses every five years.

Next meeting
The next board meeting is at 10:00 a.m. on June 28 at Scoff Shanks house on Blakely.

Adjournment
The meeting was adjourned at 12:20 p.m.

Martha Mills
BIMC Secretary

Attachments
Facility Manager's Report
BIMC Membership Directory Information form


Facility Manager's Report
Jim Davis

March 29th 2003

 

Water Treatment Plant

Our water plant continues to provide us with excellent-safe drinking water. All treated water samples (one per month) have tested negative for coliforms. We currently have adequate supplies of treatment chemicals to take us through early summer. With only a few lasting rainstorms this winter, our lake water turbidity has remained unusually stable. Water leaks have been under control the past few months, allowing us to operate the plant an average of only three days per week. Historically, water use increases in April. Daily operations will then resume.

I will be draining and cleaning both domestic water reservoirs next month. As the reservoirs are placed back in service, you may notice an elevated chlorine taste for a couple of days. This process should not affect water service or safety.

As I mentioned, we are way below the average on rainfall. Unless we have a wet spring, we could be starting the irrigation season with a below normal lake level. If a warm-dry summer follows, we may be faced with irrigation restrictions to preserve lake water level and quality.

Please remember that DOMESTIC WATER irrigation restrictions will go into effect May 1st Restrictions will be posted.

Water Use-Leaks

I have had only one water leak repair recently. Our first quarter water use has been an all time low (since record-keeping began). More members are helping by turning off their water at the street when they leave the island. This results in easier (faster) location of a leak when one does occur. Also, through my efforts of upgrading the distribution grid, fewer breaks and leaks occur in the BIMC portions of the system. I will continue to replace older valves and fittings as time and budgets permit.

Irrigation Water System

The previous leak found in the irrigation system has been repaired. The irrigation water system is charged and ready for the upcoming irrigation season. If you would like to connect to this system, contact me or a board member for availability and costs.

Horseshoe Lake

I am concerned about our lake level. While the lake is basically fill, the normal level this time of year is four to six inches above the outflow weir. This normal "washing through the lake in late winter, helps our water quality the rest of the year. I'm still hoping for a wet spring so we can start the summer with plenty of water.


Security

There have been no further security problems noted since my last report. I want to thank everyone that contacted me with concerns or information. We continue to recommend locking your homes when leaving the island. Also, whoever has the BIMC jumper cables, (white & black wires) -their return would be appreciated.

Insurance

Our insurance policies are being renewed with the same companies and broker as last year (Safeco, CNA & US Specialty-Swanberg Judkins Insurance Brokers). The coverage will stay the same. Surprisingly, there are no significant increases in premiums.

Postal Contract

Our current contract pays the BIMC $6,240 per year for administering the Blakely Island CPO (Contract Post Office). BIMC has been under contract at this rate since 1984. I first looked into renegotiating the contract in 1994. At that time the U.S. Post Office was re-organizing administration for CPOs. I was told that they were considering discontinuing part or all of the mail service in the non-ferry serviced islands. Deciding that I had poor timing, I tabled the idea. In 2000-2001 West Isle Air was asking for a l000o increase to fly the mail. The USPS again considered discontinuing our service. The mail flight contract was subsequently awarded to Methow Air. Last spring, we finally requested an increase. USPS responded that we would need to verify all our costs; labor, vehicle expense, insurance, building maintenance etc. to justify an increase. Never mind that they had doubled the cost of postage during the same time frame. I wrote a letter detailing the operation of the Blakely CPO over the past 18 years. I informed them of the construction of the fire hall addition for a dedicated Post Office, ongoing costs for maintenance, vehicles and labor etc. On June 3 , 2002 my letter was sent to the Anacortes Postmaster along with a request for about a 1 iTo increase. In turn, the Postmaster submitted our letter along with his recommendations up his chain of command. Months went by and we had no response. After several contacts with Anacortes, I was informed (are you ready for this?) that the letter and request had been lost (in the mail?). The Postmaster said he would resubmit it. That was last December. I called in February to check the status and was told that we needed to resubmit our letter along with a new Rate Increase Request. I did this on February 12 . I have been calling the Postmaster on a weekly basis since then to check the status. Last Friday I finally received confirmation that an increase had been tentatively approved. It still needs to have the final stamp of some bureaucratic "Grand-Pooh-Ba someplace. Unfortunately, our full request was not accepted. They felt that a one-time jump of over 100% was just much. What they have proposed is an increase of $2,820 for a total of $9060 per year. I immediately asked if this would at least be retroactive to June of 2002. This seemed only fair since they had lost our request but the Anacortes Postmaster couldn't give me an answer. I must say this is a new negotiation experience for me. It seems that the Post Office is more comfortable with raising things a few cents every year or so instead of a substantial increase every twenty years. Obviously, we don't want to negotiate ourselves out of mail service for Blakely. On the other hand, our request was quite reasonable based on Consumer Price Index, labor costs, building costs or nearly any


other measure of value since 1984. Where do we go from here? The Board will have to decide. I recommend that we shoot for a compromise but not push it to hard.

Recycling & Waste

As discussed in my last report, the compactor is showing signs of significant wear. The interior ram and slides are worn to the point that the ram occasionally binds as it slides to compress the material. Some of the wear is related to the movement of the ram. Corrosion accounts for the rest. The close proximity to the salt water and the otherwise acidic nature of refuse, combine to create an extremely corrosive environment. We do not have the necessarily equipment to do this type of work in the islands. The current dealer for these compactors is in Auburn, WA. They routinely rebuild these units back to new specifications. In our case, they can make ours better than new by bead blasting and epoxy coating the ram equipment that is now rusting. The cost of a new unit like ours is around twenty thousand. Our unit is about twelve years old and we can have it rebuilt for five to eight thousand. It is possible that we could have a loaner unit while ours is in for rebuild. After inspection, I recommend that we have this done sometime next fall.

We will be hauling material from the recycle center in late spring or early summer.

Road Work

Tree trimming is completed in several areas around the plat. Work will continue along the South road this spring. Now that the tree limbs are out of the way we've discovered that the salal is also blocking views on some important curves. I'm looking into suitable equipment to trim the salal without destroying its appearance.

We recently requested paving bids from Lakeside Industries in Anacortes. They have bid to overlay the South road and the airport East side road. We are discussing some options to determine if the scope of work could be expanded slightly. If you are interested in having paving installed please call me. We will be presenting this project at the July meeting.

Winter Storm Damage

We've had more strong winds recently. Fortunately, damage has been light with mostly just a lot of branches and dead or diseased trees down. We finally had some snow (short lived) on Saturday March 8

Vehicles

The oil leak on the Trooper I mentioned in my last report has been repaired. I recently replace batteries in the service truck and the tractor.

House Improvements

Margo's kitchen is finally complete! The cabinets have doors once again. Margo is happy, as there are more shelves than before. To really put myself in her good graces, I


redesigned one cabinet with glass doors, shelves and tiny spotlights to showcase her wine glasses.

The kitchen remodel represents the last phase of the improvements we began in 1994. Over the course of that time, we basically gutted the entire house and guest suite. Several walls were removed, moved or reconfigured to facilitate interior and exterior changes. All wiring and plumbing was replaced and upgraded. Insulation was installed in walls and floors, sheetrock was hung, taped and finished. A new shower stall and a tub/shower combination were installed. Cabinets were rebuilt/refinished. New countertops were installed and trimmed. New sinks and fixtures were installed. Six windows and one double-door unit were replaced, complete with new trim. New heating units were installed. Most recently, new wallpaper was hung in the kitchen. The roof has been torn off and several areas of rotted sheathing were replaced. Roof insulation, skylights and metal roofing were installed, along with new gutters, downspouts and drains. The exterior of the house was painted. Last summer a new storage building was constructed. Margo and I did almost all of the labor on these projects and BIMC paid for the materials.

The house is now more comfortable, much easier to heat and more attractive inside and out. Many systems are new and designed/installed to be low maintenance. The value of this BIMC asset has been significantly increased. The question is, what's next? As most of you know, the functional part of the house is a little on the small side. While there are two bedrooms in the main house, one of these is used exclusively as the BIMC office. The remaining space (less than 1000 feet) is a little cramped. Many of you know how pricey Blakely additions can be. However, we have an advantage. The breezeway between the guest suite/carport and the main house is 325 square feet. Two walls and a portion of the third (out of four) are already in place. The breezeway is currently functional as living space for only a few warm afternoons in late summer. During the winter months the cold North winds blow right through giving the house greater heat losses and little benefit for us to that space. Our plan: build the remaining two walls to create an enclosed, multipurpose room. We will put glass doors across the front and a door and window to finish off the end of the carport. The floor structure will be rebuilt and ceramic tile installed. The room will add usable living space for a variety of purposes and generally improve the heating situation in the house and guest suite. The expense will be minimal as Margo and I will be doing all of the work. The projected cost will be shown as a line item on our capital budget in July. Future improvements will include, deck work, a bay window and other window/door replacements.

I mentioned, in my last report, the drain-field at the house is failing. I did some digging and made a temporary repair earlier this month. While this is working for now, we essentially have a six-foot drain-field. I have contacted a licensed designer and hope to have an installation plan and permit soon. This item was not anticipated in last years budget. As a result, I am pinching pennies and Margo and I will do the installation. I have already purchased most of the needed material, taking advantage of free boat transport by Brian Kincaid. Thanks, Brian! If all goes as planned (does it ever?) we should have this completed by the end of April and we can start bathing again.


Anniversary

March 1st marked Margo and my tenth anniversary with BIMC. We've been having such a good time; it's hard to believe. We love island life and we very much appreciate the support and friendship of our Blakely neighbors. The various aspects of our job keep us interested and occupied. Blakely truly feels like home to us.

Facilities Manager Vacation

We have used 4 days of vacation since January. As of March 1st we had 12 days of vacation coming. We will be using some of this time shortly.

Jim Davis


BIMC Membership Directory Information

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