Minutes of the Annual Board Review, Brookshire Cluster 2008

February 5, 2008               7:30 pm









With 50% of households represented quorum was achieved. Brookshire Cluster Co-Presidents Aaron & Jill called meeting to order.




2007 Budget Review: Treasurer Ann D presented her report for Budget vs. Expenses in 2007 and proposed budget for 2008. The cluster was $771.93 over budget in 2007, but that was partly due to a number of expenses incurred in 2006 that were paid in 2007.

·         At the same time, a number of other line items came in under budget, which helped offset those costs.

·         This situation could occur again, because the cluster has budgeted for snow removal, but currently has received no invoices for past services performed.

Ann pointed out some areas where the cluster could save money:

·         Mulch: Ann recommended the cluster purchase the actual number of bags requested by Brookshire residents instead of purchasing by the pallet to achieve the lowest per-bag cost; while this would lead to a slightly higher price per bag, it would also save the cluster money, since the cluster effectively subsidizes residents by purchasing more bags of mulch than residents ultimately purchase themselves.

·         Fall Cleanup/Rubbish removal -- Ann noted that the annual fall cleanup was more expensive than expected because of rubbish removal costs. To keep costs down, residents should be allowed to dispose of their household rubbish only at the Spring cleanup, when the cluster rents a large Dumpster at a flat rate. For the fall cleanup, it will be determined if the flat-rate dumpster is an option vs. hiring the independent haulers who charge by volume, and large household items can greatly increase this cost.

·         Dues Increase: Ann recommended raising the annual dues by $20, from $980 per household to $1,000 per household, an increase of $5 per quarter per household to $250 per household per quarter.

o    The dues increase would be retroactive to the beginning of the year; Ann said she would send out new invoices for the extra $5 for the first quarter. Cluster members could avoid the dues increase by paying their dues in full ($980) at the beginning of the year instead of quarterly ($250).

o    The goal of the increase would be to increase the cluster’s reserve by $3,000 per year; the reserve is currently at $8,904 roughly $6k under the proposed $15k reserve and current dues only meet current running expenses.

o    The cluster needs to plan for future and ongoing repair of common areas, such as sidewalks, curbs, retaining walls, and the parking lot. By increasing the reserve, special assessments to meet future repairs could be avoided.

o    The increase would also help cover rising vendor costs, particularly with increased energy costs.

o    Discussion generally supported the increase. Aaron moved to increase the dues as recommended. Ann seconded. Approved unanimously on a show of hands with no objections.

o    Aaron said he would prepare a written memo outlining the dues increase and distribute it to all cluster households.

·         Late Payment Application: Ann asked if there is a written policy regarding late cluster dues payments; current practice is to charge a $15 late fee after a 30-day grace period, but she said she could find no written late-fee policy. Since collecting cluster dues is not currently a significant problem, the general consensus was to continue to charge a $15 fee for late payments rather than collect an incremental percent of the late amount due and to revisit the issue in the future if it becomes a problem.




Landscaping Director John F presented his report.

·         Turnout was good at the Spring cleanup, but less so for the Fall cleanup because of rain.

·         The cluster continues to plant bushes along Moorings Road, in an effort to build a screen against an expected large development to be built across the street at the current site of the Lutheran Church.

·         While the cluster has had some tree work performed, there is currently no backlog of tree work to be performed, which should save the cluster money.

·         Spring cleanup is tentatively scheduled for April 26 with an April 27 rain date. A Dumpster will be available for both trimmed brush and for household rubbish. John reiterated that trash hauled from the Fall cleanup will be limited to brush and refuse removed from cluster property, with no household items allowed.

·         John noted he has been landscape director for almost ten years and likely will be moving overseas in the near future, so this likely will be his last year serving. Any resident wishing to assist John and/or assume the role of Director of Landscaping should contact John directly.




·         Social Chair Diana B said that with her ongoing studies, she no longer has time to perform her duties as social chair. The cluster thanked her for her work.

·         Holly H volunteered to become social chair.

·         Suggested dates for social events this year:

o    Spring Clean-up: April 26th rain date 27th. Dumpster will be available.

o    Yard sale: tentatively scheduled for May 17th rain date 18th. Please keep parking lot free for prospective buyers.

o    Cluster Picnic: tentatively set for June 7th with rain date June 8th. Location tbd.

o    Gutter Cleaning: May and December, after seed and leaf fall

o    Mulch:  March 20-22nd.

o    Fall Clean up:  Date tbd. Dumpster or pay-per-haul TBD.




·         Crime watch: Aaron mentioned that crime in the cluster appears to have increased somewhat in recent months with car break ins. He suggested the cluster explore purchasing surveillance cameras. After discussion, surveillance cameras were determined to be unworkable at this time. Re-instating the crime watch neighborhood program was discussed.

·         Raise awareness: LeAnn volunteered to update the cluster email and telephone list and serve as a contact person to keep the cluster informed of unusual activities or events via email. Incidents may be reported to her at  

·         Illumination: The board discussed all residents to turn on their front lights every night to help better illuminate the neighborhood. With the National Wildlife habitat program in effect in Brookshire and Reston, residents can determine how much light will help the neighbors and continue the natural wildlife habitat.

·         Keep property tidy: LeAnn asked cluster residents to remember not to leave personal belongings, such as childrens’ toys and other items, outside on front lawns or on community property for long periods of time.

·         Trash reminder: Residents are reminded to put trash out ONLY the sun-down before pick up is due.




·         Aaron and Jill said they would continue to serve as Brookshire Cluster co-presidents for another term, and were re-appointed for a second term.  Mike H was nominated for the role but declined to accept the vote.

·         Ann said she would continue to serve as cluster treasurer for another term, and was re-appointed for a second term.

·         David S is moving from the cluster and stepped down as cluster secretary. Deirdre offered to take over the position and was elected.

·         Diane stepped down from the board, Holly H was elected social chair.

·         John F was re-appointed landscape director for his 10th term.

·         All business being completed, Aaron & Jill closed the meeting at 9pm.



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