Welcome Mountain Cove Homeowner

The Mountain Cove Homeowners Board has created this blog to have another avenue of communication with the residents of Mountain Cove subdivison. We are going to make some major decisions that will affect our community in the near future and we want to make sure we reach all of you so you can give us your input on those decisions. Please subscribe to this blog so you don't miss important information regarding those issues and a chance to affect the outcome.
Enid Grigg
President - MCHOA

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Dear Resident of Mountain Cove,
This year we opened the pool at the usual time although we were concerned as usual about the slow payment of dues from the members. After taking a poll of the members that had paid their dues it was apparent that the majority of those members wanted the pool open. We hoped more residents would pay their dues seeing the pool open but the dues are still trickling in. Some of you had lost your jobs and it was understandable that you had difficulty paying but that was only a few so it shouldn't have impacted our budget. We did have a couple of additional expense brought on by Gwinnett County by a new ordinance that required us to install a new main drain in the pool and the cost of refilling the pool. The good thing is that allowed us to do some cosmetic work on the pool and it now looks better than it has in years. So here we are in July and it looks like we are going to be short paying our bills at the end of the year unless we either get at least 25 more members or close the pool. Last year this was the reason we opened it late - so many of you waited till late to pay dues we didn't have enough money and the board thought it was prudent to wait till we made sure we had the funds to pay the bills at the end of the year.
At the board meeting last week we explored the problems with the pool and the lack of interest in paying the dues. This Board has tried everything to get the residents of this subdivision to realize how important it is for all of us to help with the expenses. Not just the pool, but all of the expenses. The pool is part of the subdivision and it should be maintained or filled in. It's your choice. The bottom line is we need all of you paying $16.67 a month or $200.00 to make our budget. The reason we came down on the dues to $200 from $350 was we thought it would encourage more residents to pay, but that has not happened with the enthusiasm we had hoped for. It's always the same people paying for the rest and in the Board's opinion, we don't think that will change anytime soon enough for us to solve our problem with paying our bills for the rest of the year.

That leaves us with the only choice, closing the pool early and taking a vote to decide whether to keep it closed for good. If we decide to close it, we will need to eventually drain it and have it filled in. We can't keep water in it as it will breed mosquitoes and if it's not swimmable then why pay for chemicals. If we are going to continue to maintain it we will need to increase the dues to $300.00 in order to make our budget, even though that will not keep it open this year.

I want to outline all of the ways this Board (and I'm sure Boards in the past) have attempted to encourage residents to pay their dues.

• Threatening letters - didn't work
• Nice letters - didn't work
• Calling on phone - didn't work
• Going door to door - didn't work (most people didn't answer door)
• Begging at front entrance - (why should we have to do this)
• Having a membership drive - (few residents came unless we stood out front and stopped them)
• Invoicing (residents paid but - not before March 1, when it was needed to know our budget for the year) this is costly as it takes at least $135.00 to mail to entire subdivision.

What this Board has done for the community to encourage residents to pay dues and take responsibility

• Set up an email newsletter program so that homeowners could be kept up-to-date on all of the issues.
• Tried to encourage the attitude of "All of one, One for All" so that we all assume responsibility for our share in the expenses and keeping our subdivision safe.
• Listened to the complaints of the residents and tried to solve them in a timely manner if we could.
• Tried to implement a Neighborhood Watch Program but not enough residents would sign up (what does that tell you).
• Set up a security team and a security blog and let the local police precinct know about it so we can take an active role in maintaining our security here in Mountain Cove. (thank you guys)
• Set up a communication blog where anyone in the subdivision can post comments and hear the latest news.
• Developed and maintain a website to direct and inform residents where to find information and have the ability to pay dues on-line with a credit card or in split payments.
• Been generally upbeat and positive about our community and hopeful about future cooperation.
• Completed front entrance landscaping and hired a landscaper to mow common areas.

This is not meant to be threatening we just want you to know all the facts. Our main problem here is apathy; we don't have enough residents that care about keeping the facilities maintained. An example would be, someone asked me when they were paying their dues if they had to pay for the front entrance landscaping and another asked if they had to pay for the pool since they didn't use it. There were a lot of complaints about the front entrance but now the front entrance is done and those who complained are still not paying dues. Some of the longtime residents aren't paying because we opened the pool and they think we shouldn't spend money on that. Others threatened not to pay unless we opened the pool. Well, how can the board be expected to please everyone here when our goals are so different. We are a community by the very fact that we are in the same community so why can't we pull together an act like one. A community cares about not only its individuals but takes responsibility for maintaining it's assets. It still amazes me that $16.67 a month is too much money to ask for to solve this dilemma.

We have scheduled 2 meetings- one on July 23 at 7:30pm and the other on Saturday July 25th at 10:30 so we hope to get one member from every household at least at one meeting. If you can't be there you can do an absentee vote if you contact me via email personally.

The vote will be taken on:
1.Increase the dues to $300 payable before the end of 2009 or $350 payable by March 1 2010. (If we don't have the funds next year by March 1 we will not re-open the pool.)

Even if we agree to increase the dues for next year, if we don't get 25 new members by the end of the month, we will still have to close the pool this year so we will have enough money for our 2009 year end expenses.


2.Close the pool for good starting July 31 of this year.

These meetings are meant to allow the residents to have a voice in this decision and also have the ability to give your opinion on how to solve our issues. Please don't come to the meeting with suggestions on how to solve the issues unless you plan to personally act on them...we are all in this together.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Pool Security and Complaints

I have had some complaints about the pool gate being left open and the doors to the bathroom as well during the day when people are using the pool. Since we don't have the funds to hire someone to monitor the pool I suggest you remind your kids about not leaving the gate open and closing and locking the bathrooms when they leave the pool. You could also ask them to put the umbrellas down so they will remain in tack and not blow off into the woods.

This is our community and its not just the board members duty monitor the pool area and keep your kids in line. Those of you that are complaining it might be good to say something directly to the kids that are doing what you don't like or get their names and call their parents. We are going to continue to have this problem always unless we get enough money to be able to afford a lifeguard.

This summer has been a relatively quiet one as far as vandalism is concerned...there has been no vandalism and some climbing over the fence. I have gone down to the pool around 8:30pm to close it down for a couple of weeks now and the kids that were in the pool area were very cooperative in doing what I asked them to do to close it down. I think we need more communitcation with the kids and we need to include them in understanding this is our community and if we want it to be better then all of us have to participate, not just complain.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Pool Party a Success!

A big shout out those of you that helped with the pool party yesterday, it was a big success. You can view the pictures here and they are compliments of Dale Burgess of Dalbu Visual Productions

The weather was perfect aside for some umbrellas that took off into the woods a few times. Hot dogs were perfectly made by Jim Edwards. Cheryl Grattan showed up early to help set-up and Lisa Worley came a little later to help with serving lunch. Marty Barrett brought a cheesecake that we somehow managed to turn into more slices than we could eat and there was a wonderful plate of mouth watering watermelon from Tafee and Steve. Gale Burgess brought some cookies and Cheryl brought the brownies. We are still trying to figure out who ate the most hot dogs.
Our decorations were provided by the artistic family of Deborah Simmonds.
Pool security was provided by Qualmi (sorry if I spelled that wrong) Simmonds who promised me he would lock up after everyone went home later that evening.

A big welcome to all the new members and the old members who came for the first time. Were glad you're here!

All in all it was a great day!

Monday, May 18, 2009

That "Somebody" is YOU!

Marc McQuary writes...

Have you ever noticed a house on the way into the neighborhood that has been abandoned, the yard is grown up, shrubs are a mess, and trash is everywhere? If you are like me two thoughts cross your mind. First you think I wish somebody would clean that place up. Second you think, that makes this neighborhood look horrible. I hope no one coming to visit me sees it.

Well if you want to wait on that "somebody" to clean these abandoned yards up you will be waiting for a LONG time. On the other hand, if you have pride in where you live you can be proactive and be that "somebody". Think about this, ask your neighbors what they think about the place. Chances are they are as disgusted with it as you are. Then see if together you can all pick a date and time, bring along some yard tools and tackle the job of cleaning up the property yourselves. I bet you will find that in 2-3 hours you can make a run down residence look much nicer.

I know this works because I have done it on at least three occasions by myself, most recently today at 3860 Mountain Cove Road. It took me about 4 hours but I feel much better about it now. If you get this far into the subdivision take a look at the property. I think you will see what just one person taking a few hours of their personal time did to make an improvement.

This is our community. Waiting for "somebody" to do things to fix the eye sores is an exercise in futility. Complaining about it makes you as much of the problem as the problem itself. Why not take the high road instead and stop complaining and be a change agent and make something happen. Mountain Cove is where you live. If you want it to look nice it's up to you. "Somebody" doesn't care at all.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Pool will open this month

Thank you all for participating in the polls on the right. It looks like 72% of the residents that paid their dues want the pool open this year so we are opening the pool, however we will have to increase our community income so we don't have to close the pool earlier than expected this year.

You can all help by letting everyone you know about our pool memberships and telling them to contact us for more information via our website www.mountaincove.org I will be glad to send you a flyer to post at your churches and community centers so send me an email and I will send it out to you. Look for updates on the exact date for pool opening on the front entrance sign and here.

Friday, May 1, 2009

The pool is not the only reason to pay dues!

Yes, the pool does take up a large percentage of our budget but there are many other reasons to pay your full dues. We have major repairs to the clubhouse that we will have to build up funds for, replacing the roof, repairing the structural components of the deck surrounding the clubhouse, the wiring for the security lights is not to code, and I could go on but you can check it out for yourself on our main website in the clubhouse inspection report we had done a couple of years ago. We will never have enough funds unless we start to get the financial participation and commitment from our residents. Its one thing to have to close the pool down but if we continue down this path of apathy our facilities will become unusable and our community will suffer the consequences.

I cannot figure out why $16.67 a month is such a burden for the residents in this community. If everyone paid that figure we would have plenty of money in our yearly budget to do all of the repairs on our existing facilities without any special assessment.

Once again why is it fair that 40 residents pay for the other 160......it's a depressing situation.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Dues count as of today

There are 40 of you that have helped to support the community this year so far but that is only half of the usual support we have had in the past. It's unrealistic to open the pool with that kind of commitment. I will make one more attempt to email those of you that have not responded to my plea for an update about whether you plan to support the community this year to see if I can increase participation, otherwise you leave the board with no other recourse than to keep the pool closed this year. It's been said before that if we close the pool one year it makes it almost impossible to revive the interest in opening it up in the future. I feel sorry for the future residents of this subdivision if this happens, but the board cannot be irresponsible with the money we do have and we don't want to use the money found from overpaying the taxes for the pool. We need a reserve, however small, in case we have an unexpected expense. I would feel good about trying to keep the pool open at least one more year and see if we could get outside memberships but with the economy the way it is and the internal support lacking, its not a good bet that we will be successful with either task.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Dues payment this year

If you have not already paid your dues and intend to please let me know about it so I can figure that into the equation ASAP. Even if the poll suggests most of you want the pool to stay open ( as it does now) if we don't have enough of a financial commitment from enough residents we can't keep it open. Unfortunately the few that do pay are controlled by the mass that don't. We need at least 80 members to pay $200 to make our budget...right now we are sitting at 40. Its not realistic to expect 1/4 of the subdivision to pay the expenses for the other 3/4. Would you accept that in your family or work situation....

Monday, April 20, 2009

Another longtime resident's veiw

The Oliver's has left a new comment on your post "Spring News":

All, I want to be sure everyone is making an informed decision about whether or not to keep the pool open. The fact is that the pool needs major and extensive repairs made to it to keep it open past this year. If we choose to keep the pool open we will basically deplete the funds that we have (including the windfall we received from overpaid taxes) and still have no guarantee that the pool will remain open. Unless we receive 75% participation from the neighborhood for the next 3-5 years the pool will need to be closed regardless of what we do this year. Let me tell you we have not had that type of participation for the last 5 years and I don't see that there will be a drastic change in the years to come. The fact is the board has had to beg the homeowners for the past 5 years just to get by with 40% participation and the other 60% just don't care and haven’t and will not care in the future. Sooo...do we deplete our funds now to keep the pool open and then have to close it in the future?...or do we stop the bleeding and put the money we have towards fixing up the amenities that can be more easily maintained. We could fix up the clubhouse so that it would be available to members for parties and gatherings, possibly sponsored by the homeowners assoc. Repair the tennis courts to ALTA standards so that we could again have tennis teams play out of Mountain Cove. Provide nice landscaping to the front entrance to make our neighborhood more attractive. Have piece of mind that we have money to pay to maintain the common areas, keep the lights on and pay the taxes. All these repairs are non-seasonal meaning that there is no timeframe in which they would need to be completed which means we could perform them as we receive the necessary funds keeping the required money in the account to pay the mandatory fees. Yes it will be a sad day when we fill in the pool (its not a matter of if its a matter of when) but we need to be realistic here. You also need to ask yourself is it right to keep asking the board to beg the neighborhood to pay their dues? Are you willing to do the begging? I know I'm not and that is why I am voting to close the pool so that we can again begin to enjoy the neighborhood without the financial burden of the pool.

Comment from Marc McQuary an original MC homeowner

Marc McQuary said...

As many of you can see from reading the Spring update, the possibility of this being the last year we have a pool is a grim reality. For many years the Board of Directors for the Home Owner’s Association has struggled to find ways to keep our swimming pool open and operational while meeting the safety requirements of Gwinnett County. From my perspective we are now in a crucial situation that will likely necessitate we close the pool permanently after this year and eventually fill it in, doing away with it permanently. THIS HAS COME ABOUT COMPLETELY AS A RESULT OF LIMITED FINANCIAL SUPPORT IN THE WAY OF RESIDENTS CONSISTENTLY PAYING THEIR DUES ON AN ANNUAL BASIS IN ORDER TO BE MEMBERS OF THE ASSOCIATION. Put simply, we will not have the money to pay our taxes, maintain and operate the pool, keep the clubhouse in good repair, be attentive to continuing beautification of the front entrance and doing proper upkeep on the commons areas in the neighborhood if we continue on the path we have been on for the past several years. As is the case with any “business endeavor”, when income is exceeded by overhead, some sort of eliminations have to occur. With the pool being one of the largest liabilities we have, it is at the top of the list for many reasons to be the asset we do away with. Having been one of the initial 40 or so families that got the developers to build the pool, tennis courts and clubhouse, I can say this reality saddens me greatly. While I do not want to anger anyone I do have to state that it is my opinion that that serious apathy on the part of the majority of homeowners in Mountain Cove has created the situation we now face. There are consistently only a very small percentage of residents that can always be counted on to put forth effort, money, sweat and toil to keep things running in this neighborhood. As one member of this small percentage of people that seem to do all the work and show deep concern I feel it necessary to say that I find it unfair that so few are willing to put forth the commitment so others can enjoy the pool, clubhouse and have a nice looking neighborhood. I am certain I speak for the others that are always shoulder to shoulder with me in paying dues and carrying out the work that is required to keep things going. For those of you that were at one time in this group but have now given up, you deserve all the thanks that can be given for the commitment you gave and I have to say it is understandable why you have “thrown in the towel”. As a community we ALL should feel obligated to take pride in where we live and do whatever we can to make it as nice a community as it can be. Yes we are in tough economic times and many of us are out of work or have been hurt financially one way or the other. However, the very small annual dues of $200.00 for what we could have with our swim and tennis facility if 75% to 90% of the residents would commit is an incredibly small price to pay. In fact if you do the math it works out to an annual commitment of less than 70 CENTS A DAY! I know that I most likely am offending some; if that is the case I apologize. It’s just that my sense of pride in where I live requires that I be open and straightforward, being direct and honest in stating what I see as our problem as well as the solution. We all have to commit to the community; both as much as we can financially and also in terms of the personal time that we give to it in order for it to thrive. No one is going to bail us out! If collectively we don’t care then know that the value of our largest investments, our homes, will suffer as we see our pool close, the clubhouse fall into a state of disrepair and the overall appearance of our neighborhood deteriorate. I urge anyone that wants to see Mountain Cove continue to be all it can be and protect the investment you have made in your home, please take my words to heart and step up and become an active member of your community. We need EVERYONE’S support to make it happen!
April 15, 2009 5:46 PM

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Spring News

Front Entrance
It’s spring and the board would like to bring you all up to date on our financial condition as well as other news we have. First the good news, as you might have noticed we have done some work on the front entrance. We finally got Georgia Transmission Corporation to replace the trees at the front entrance that they cut down 3 years ago. They agreed to remove the stumps from the previous trees at their cost and replace our trees with some Loripedlum which are shrubs that will grow 8ft high and 15ft wide. They will be the backdrop to the new landscaping and will be put in this weekend. We are placing them on a berm or raised area that will enclose and reshape the right side of our entrance so that it will look more finished. All of the plants that are being put in are deer resistant and drought tolerant and are perennial so they will return each year. Most of the new plants are also evergreen with spring and summer flowers.
Financial News
Our financial situation needs to improve if we are going to have a good year so I am asking, as I do every year, to please let me know by return email or phone that you are planning to pay your dues so the board can plan our expenses for the rest of the year. Last year we decided not to open the pool until we had enough money to pay our expenses that come due in the fall. I know some of you are out of work and others, me included, are hurting because of slow paying clients, so all we ask is a verbal commitment. The ending bank balance for this period was $8,575.99. Thanks to Mr. Kenneth Gilkes our bank balance includes $5,217.74 of which he was able to recover from the county for property taxes that were over billed in 2005, 2006 and 2007. These funds of course will assist greatly with our expenses as membership dues are coming in at a slow pace this year. So far, for this fiscal year we have collected $6,253.61 in membership’s dues and made disbursements totaling $ 5,022.63. We are requesting that if possible; please mail your dues by April 30, 2009 so that we may complete our budget for the 2009 fiscal year.
Pool Opening
At the recent meeting that was called to discuss the pool opening and associated costs it was decided to keep the pool open in 2009 and to vote at the end of the season whether to close it down for good. We need to see what the turnout will be this year as this could be our final year if we don’t get the financial commitment. The Moorings have closed their pool this year and are in the process of filling it in. I will put some images up on our website for you to see and think about the impact that would have on our community if we go that route. We will be draining the pool to make some needed repairs and do some cosmetic work so that it will look more inviting. We plan to offer pool memberships to the surrounding community so if you know of anyone that would like a pool membership direct them to the website so they can contact us for information. We will also have some flyers for you to give out to church groups and others that might like to have memberships. We could potentially pull in enough members to pay for the pool and wouldn’t have to use community money to fund it.

Spring Work Day
We have a work day scheduled for April 25, 9am-3pm and would like to complete the following jobs:
1. Gravel in drain by upper clubhouse parking lot.
2. Landscape timbers in place to level area by parking Lot and wood chips spread in it.
3. Trim shrubs (the ones in front of the clubhouse and those along the fence line dividing the pool and the parking lot).
4. Do whatever we can to repair the pool fence.
5. High Pressure Wash the wooden deck by the courts – we can stain it later on.
6. Weeding around pool, clubhouse and front entrance

Please contact Steve if you can volunteer for specific jobs on the work day, or any other day before then, on your own schedule.

Community Yard Sale at the Club House

Be a part of the Community Yard Sale at the Club House!
To help raise money for the Home Owner's Association, we would like to have a yard sale in the parking area by the club house. We will be renting 6 ft tables for $25 each (additional tables $10, if you have a lot of stuff). The fee will cover the cost of the table rental and help support the Mountain Cove HOA.
Make some extra cash by selling household items that you don't need anymore or sell your crafts or baked goods. It will be a great chance to meet your neighbors, too. Before we schedule a date, we need to see how many people would be interested in selling items at the sale. We need at least 10 sellers to make it happen. We expect that the sale will get a lot of attention from people in the neighborhood when they see that they can shop at several yard sales all in one place.

Please email Steve (hippobass@gmail.com) if you are interested.

In closing, we do appreciate the homeowners that lend their time and expertise and financial commitment to improving our subdivision we value your commitment and hope we can continue to provide you with the return on your investment you deserve!

Happy Spring!