Hello Blue Ridge!
This is my final Blue Ridge Bulletin column as I finish my second term on the Board. My last official duty will be to chair the Shareholder’s Meeting February 3 @ 7:00 pm where the Board will present year-end reports and answer questions from the community. At this meeting final ballots will also be received and counted. With a quorum, three new members will join the Board and the “new” Board will have their first meeting Tuesday, February 11 (revised date).
In total I have served six years on the Blue Ridge Board with one year as Treasurer and five as President. There are mixed feelings but it really feels like it is time to be done. As I reflect, the rewards have come with the relationships I’ve made with my neighbors and with the long term impact that I hope has been made.
When I first joined the Board I really didn’t know what I was getting in to. I just knew that I really loved living in Blue Ridge with all that it offers and wanted to make a positive contribution. Now, as I leave, my hope is that the community feels that things are better-off than when I started.
It took me a year or two to figure out what I felt Blue Ridge needed most: long term financial stability. While our annual budgets were balanced and managed well, it was also apparent that our reserves had been diminished from the 2010 locker room remodel with no real plan to build them. We also had deferred a number of significant replacement projects (e.g. Club House siding) that were causing problems and had no funds to fully pay for them. So in 2016, we hired an Association Manger with HOA experience (Michelle Morgan) to help us understand best practices and with Andrea Durbin as Treasurer we began work on a sustainable funding plan. After an assessment in 2017 to pay for the extensive list of deferred projects, the newly created Long Range Planning Committee (LRPC) developed a process to review our assets in concert with an annual Reserve Study. We have now built up our reserves and are in a position to budget an annual contribution to allow us to fund the maintenance and replacement of the assets that we all own and that help make Blue Ridge a great place to live.
As I look back, however, the best part of being on the Board is that not only do you get to meet people from all over the neighborhood but you also get to work and develop friendships with your fellow Board members. There have also been a few laughs along the way which helps to face some of those thorny situations.
There are special thanks I want to give to the folks I’ve worked with in the last 6 years. First, there is Steve Malloch who was President when I started and put us on the road to become more professionally run. Second, special kudos go to anyone who has served as Architecture Chair (Eric Souder, Barbara Sinn and Steve Malloch – again!). It can be a tough job with many things to balance. Third, infinite gratitude goes to the two people who have been Pool & Tennis Program Chair: Jenny Fredericks and Brooke Walker. It takes a lot to oversee the small business that is the pool and tennis operation and both have made strong contributions to improve things and enable the programs to thrive. I also need to thank Andrea Durbin for partnering with me on the Board to lead the effort to get us in to the strong financial position that we are in. And finally, I must extend my appreciation to Michelle Morgan, our Association Manager. She has been integral in helping us all do our jobs on the Board and has helped improve our HOA for the whole.
I’ll end with a big thanks to ALL of YOU for letting me serve our community. You are in great hands with the 2020 Board with its new leadership (Andrea Durbin and Jen Henninger as Co-Presidents) and members. Now I’m off to find another place to devote my volunteer time. I hope to see you all out and about enjoying our special place that is Blue Ridge!