Whatever happens and is decided tonight, I hope we can all agree that keeping all of Winslow Farm a desirable place to be is worth a few bucks a month. I do not think we were given the best estimate to work from to make a decision. The current board decided on increasing the dues $100.
I would suggest keeping in mind dues were previously lowered to the point where we fell behind in maintaining adequate reserves to meet our obligations. Inflation is also at play. Catching up is not a bad idea, and dues can always be adjusted. No need to save more than we need. There are multiple tens of thousands spent on many things other than ponds. The entrance signs, street signs, decorative sidewalks, gazebo painting an new roof and wooden walkway are examples. (Personally, I advocated for repairing and keeping the red brick in Sweetbriar to match the original design. I was in the minority.) I agree better landscaping care is needed.
My preference would be to always be making decisions based on three qualified competitive bids, and not putting a voting choice before the membership without having done that work. The report put together by an engineer who prefers to built stream channels was one way to go, but I feel the wrong way.
When I last served, communicating and meeting with respect and helpfulness was a priority. See my attached letter when I was president to see real examples of how this worked in practice.
My idea for an annual landscaping contest never took off, but I hoped it would be a way to get more participation in a fun activity that would help our neighborhood look even nicer. Not every idea is a winner, but I feel one has to try.
My general motivation is to be helpful. At IU, we are encouraged to provide “useful leadership, using our strengths. I was allowed to complete a “strengths finder” exercise this past year, and was found to excel in achieving, analysis, empathy, and future thinking.
Here are some observations from serving on the WFCA board previously:
• Homeowners that volunteered and sat down at the table to discuss WFCA issues needed to listen, learn and ask questions.
• Being familiar with the WFCA declaration and covenants was key to understanding what the WFCA, incorporated organization is responsible for. It is a company, and it has contractual obligations.
• Selectively ignoring parts of the property was not something I saw happening when I served.
• More work than I expected fell to board members, rather than property management, to find service providers and get bids.
• We regularly got in a vehicle, drove around the property, got out to inspect areas, and gathered information so we could respond to fence requests, landscaping maintenance needs on islands, walkways, gazebo, ponds, trees, signs, and fences.
• After discussion and decisions, we would often find ourselves revisiting and understanding why tasks had not been completed, and what remained. A board member created a Task Registry” document to help the board keep on top of tasks. (I think that was Frank Mitchell.)
•The volunteer secretary tried very hard to keep accurate and helpful minutes.
• We did not proceed on anything unless a majority of board members approved.
• Monthly meetings regularly went 2 hours or longer. Hours of more work continued between meetings.
• We tried hard to respond to requests or concerns in writing promptly after discussing them together.
• In hindsight, more qualified and experienced service providers could have been used for pond maintenance and repair. “Penny wise and pound foolish” is the phrase that comes to mind. The work done in ponds 1 and 2 was not done in the way the board originally requested, for example, because the landscaping company made three mistakes, as outlined in the Davey Resource Group’s Comprehensive Pond Management Plan.
• There was no “user guide” for the pond system. Having done hundreds of hours of research now, I know that adding copper sulfate to kill algae and blue dye to promote less algae growth was a bad choice. (The toxin builds up on the bottom and prevents biological matter from decaying and disintegrating.) As was allowing heavy mowers to mow to the edge. As was not installing an easy way to collect sediment at the end of the stream before going into pond 3.
• We generally agreed that to find the best solution, we needed to research things on our own, and try to follow the advice of experts rather than general landscapers.
As you might imagine, after several years of participating, one might have suggestions and observations for improvement. All my efforts have been to use what I learned and offer ideas to help the property look better, function better, and cost less to maintain.
If you have rethought your choice after submitting a proxy, know that if you vote during the meeting, it will negate your submitted proxy.
See you at 5:45. I’m the one with a white cane, if you want to stop and say hello.
Here are the biographies previously shared, for those that may have missed them.
My first home was built in Sweetbriar in the mid-90s and I loved it! I currently live in Moss Creek. Each neighborhood in Winslow Farm has its charm and unique character, We should maintain them as the WFCA declarations and covenants describe so they remain attractive and desirable. Previously, I served on the WFCA Board and worked many hours with other board members to tackle difficult and long-standing concerns with walkways, signage, and landscaping. I used my strengths in researching and finding solutions to help the board make better decisions. I improved communication with a new community website and set up Winslow Farm in NextDoor. I also served on the pond committee and have co-authored “A Practical Proposal” to address water management through the common areas without drastically raising dues, or racking up debt. Professionals tell me we should put what we have learned to use, get qualified competitive bids, and maintain these areas in a less costly and more consistent manner. This will allow us to have enough to maintain all neighborhood features. I encourage you to also vote for Anita Douglas and Sandy Martin, as we will strive to make this happen. I currently work in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Indiana University and volunteer for organizations that help people with visual disabilities.
Anita Douglas. 28 year resident of Winslow Farm and Moss Creek. Retired in 2017 after 28 years as a CPA. 12 years spent working in corporate world followed by 16 years with Indiana University. Finished career as Assistant Director of Administrative Services at the Indiana Memorial Union. Previously served on board of Moss Creek, Community Kitchen, and Local Council of Women as well as previous stent on Winslow Farm board. I currently serve on the board of IU Retirees Association.
I moved to Moss Creek Village in June 2015 and was recruited to become a WFCA Board member January 2017. During my tenure with the board I gained considerable knowledge of the issues and history related to our community. I would suggest that my positive attitude, problem-solving skills and focus on developing effective communications served well as a board member. I created newsletters, revised the WFCA website, updated documents, and promoted ideas to better serve our community.
I hold a compassion for addressing the diverse needs of the entire WFCA community, both for those who own condos and those who own stand-alone homes. I feel blessed to live in such a lovely community and strive to see it well-maintained.
In November 2018 I joined the pond committee. Even though the pond committee disbanded February 2020, most recently I dedicated countless hours to identifying a reasonable resolution to the pond issues. These efforts culminated in co-authoring the Practical Proposal and the creation of the companion informative website.
I served almost 40 years in education, with considerable experience with significant financial oversight as a grant coordinator for the Indianapolis Public Schools, as well as other various state and local positions.
I look forward to continuing to contribute to our community and its multiple neighborhoods. I would greatly appreciate your vote along with support for Ted Boardman and Anita Douglas. Together as a team, we are committed to:
Selecting the most economical and effective solutions to address WFCA issues based upon relevant data.
Improving overall WFCA community relations with improved communications and transparency.
Increasing responsiveness to community concerns and issues.