Our annual meeting is coming up this week so it seems like a good time to reflect on all the things that have been happening around the neighborhood.

The final financial figures for 2017 are not yet complete, but I can tell you that your association is in a solid financial position to begin next year. We have increased the pool membership and the association memberships have increased as well, over last year.

The board of directors decided on a two-phase increase in the HOA membership dues at the beginning of the 2016 year, and in spite of increasing the dues by $10 per year we increased our participation over the 2015 year. The second, and final, tier of HOA dues increases will be in effect beginning in January 2018, making the HOA dues $98.00 per year. We don’t expect to ask for additional increases in the foreseeable future. The HOA dues cover the cost of mowing the grass fronting on 51st and on S Sheridan in front of the Sungate Boundary wall. Care of Sungate Park is also a significant expense. The HOA dues also cover repair of the wall when it falls or is hit by a car. The wall repair cost Sungate $5000 in 2017 (it was hit twice in 2016). We also maintain lights and sprinklers at the 70th and 55th street entrances and this year, we replanted the 55th street island. As most of you know, tree removal is a major expense in our mature neighborhood, and we did quite a lot of that this year.

The board is considering taking out several of the Bradford Pear trees in front of the pool. These are pretty trees, but they have very shallow roots and make it impossible to grow anything underneath them, consequently, we have a significant amount of dirt tracked in to the pool. They also break easily and that cost Sungate a significant hauling fee last year.

I noticed an island in front of the hospital at 61st and Yale on which this same type of tree is planted, but they are spaced much farther apart, which allows for plantings around the trees and grass to grow in between them. We may try to model that arrangement by taking out half or more of the trees in front of the pool and planting grass and flower beds around some of them. I wanted our members to know, so if members have better ideas they could let us know.

We had a pool season of 100 days this year and the pool membership increased from 406 to 428 in 2017. Part of that was due to the change in pool fees we instituted this year. Since the beginning of the HOA the neighborhood pool fees have been structured on the basis of a family of six; two parents and four children.

This system worked for quite some time but it was past time it be overhauled. Families are more random now, and may include only a parent and a child or two. So we took a chance and re-aligned the membership fees, and it worked. We had more memberships, and we had an increase in revenue over last year.

Since the pool is Sungate’s largest and best asset, we renewed our focus on upgrading and improving the pool, building and equipment this year. Those of you who have been to the pool recently have seen the new slide we installed in September. It is taller than the high dive and gets a lot of use! We also removed the old unsightly chain link fence around the baby pool and replaced it with a decorative fence that matches the fence around the pool. It is a very nice update.

We spend about $50,000 on various updates, including the two mentioned above, but still finished the season with over $115,000 in cash and investments in our various accounts. Amanda Graff, our pool manager supervises the pool and roughly 20 seasonal employees with excellent results. We follow her general vision, which is that Sungate Pool should look like a country club pool, not just a neighborhood pool.

We are extremely lucky to have a board of directors who are very much involved and helpful. We are all volunteers so it is really much easier to get things done when there are multiple folks to help shoulder the tasks.

I hope to see you at the annual meeting of Sungate Neighbors at the Woodland Christian Church on Wednesday, Nov. 15 at 7 p.m.

Just a reminder, if votes are to be tallied at the annual meeting, only those who have paid their dues are allowed to vote. Even if you haven’t paid dues in years, you are still welcome to come. We don’t collect back dues. If you want to join us, simply fill out the form and send in your annual dues for 2018.