By Maggie Beamguard
Residents of Seven Lakes North and South elected a slate of three new directors at the Seven Lakes Landowner’s Association annual meeting March 25.
Newly seated members Danny Bowers, Marijola (Mary) Farley and Nanci Keating joined current directors Lawton Baker, Heather Guild, Deb Sikes and Will Webb.
However Sikes and Farley later submitted resignations from their positions, citing personal reasons due to changing life circumstances. The board of directors is quickly seeking to appoint new directors to their respective one and two-year terms.
The resignations prompted a process outlined by community by-laws to replace them. The news was communicated to landowners and members were invited to self-nominate and submit resumes to the board. The board will conduct interviews with interested candidates and make the appointments.
“We are looking to make appointments as soon as possible because it’s always better to have a full complement of the board so that you get seven people casting their votes and seven people giving their opinions. It’s just better for the community,” said board President Heather Guild.
At the annual meeting, now past Treasurer Deb Sikes shared the Finance Committee’s recent policy accomplishments and the news that the SLLA finished the fiscal year in the black. Projected income through 2022’s year end was slightly up and expenditures were slightly down. Additionally, investment interest for SLLA was performing 143 percent above expectations.
A slim margin of landowners — 251 for and 220 against — approved a new budget reflecting a $50 increase in dues. Sikes explained in a letter to community members accompanying ballots that inflation is driving the 4.1 percent increase.
“While the Finance Committee is doing a great job of monitoring spending, we are encountering the same reality as everyone else,” Sikes states. “With high inflation rates continuing — with most experts expecting inflation to continue in the 6 percent range — we are encountering increases in the operational expenditures such as the price of gasoline, electricity, contractors’ fees, etc., just as all of you are experiencing. Therefore, we are forced to raise dues to meet these higher costs.”
The Finance Committee was able to keep the increase below the expected national rate of inflation by “closely monitoring all expenditures, adding a small increase in fees to cover our higher costs, and reducing our unrestricted funds balance.”
According to Guild, the increase will help maintain the community’s standard of living. “We are trying to be sensitive to the struggles we know a lot of people are having, but at the end of the day, we’ve got what we’ve got. And we also know what’s coming.”
One of the biggest expenditures for this year is the new tennis and pickleball courts and the completion of the bocce courts. Another priority is the Sequoia Dam project, a state mandated repair estimated at $1.7 million to be finalized over the next 3-4 months.
“We are looking very closely at how best to stage the financing,” said Guild. “Our reserves are in very good shape, but we can’t have it all go to zero.”
Roads in Seven Lakes North and South will also receive some attention. “Roads are always a priority,” said Guild. “We’re fine tuning what repairs are most necessary and budgeting around that.”
Events that bring the community together and foster community spirit are also board priorities. Community fireworks will return this summer and a celebration of the 50th Birthday of Seven Lakes has been planned. The anniversary of the incorporation of Longleaf Development Company was last year.
The celebration of the original vision for Seven Lakes North and South, including food trucks and live music was originally planned for April 22. With a washout forecast for that day, the event has been moved to Memorial Day, May 29.
The association also heard reports from the seven committees responsible for community life and recognized resident Julia Poisson as Citizen of the Year.
Guild credits volunteers, SLLA employees and the generosity of residents with the robust health of Seven Lakes North and South, which she says has more residents than Carthage.
“We are a small town,” she said. “And the fact that we can do all that we do with an army of volunteers and two full time employees and two part-time employees is nothing short of a miracle. It does make us proud of this place.”
Board officers and responsibilities were determined in executive session on March 25:
* Heather Guild, president and Facilities Committee;
* Will Webb, vice president and Security Committee;
* Nanci Keating, Architectural Review Board;
* Danny Bowers, Lakes and Dams Committee; and
* Lawton Baker, Standards and Judicial Committee.
The positions of treasurer and secretary as well as the leadership of the Finance Committee and the Recreation and Communications Committee vacated by Sikes and Farley will be filled by new board appointees.
Contact Maggie Beamguard at firstname.lastname@example.org.