Lake & Wildlife Meeting Tomorrow Morning (9:30 at Club Tamarack)

The scheduled guest speakers are Doug Byrd (BTCI’s General Manager) and Steve Smith (BTCI’s Public Safety Director). The meeting is open to all Bent Tree property owners. Update – The speakers were Doug Byrd and Steve Atkins (BTCI’s Fire Chief).

 

 

 

It just doesn’t add up.

The General Manager explains his rationale behind the new annual $136 “water system compliance fee” in the November GM Report.  According to the GM, the Bent Tree water plant needs upgrades estimated at $500,000 over the next ten years to continue providing drinking water, as well as a new filter (estimated cost of $400,000 to $500,000 over a five year period) to expand capacity for additional growth and provide backup when a filter is taken off line for repairs. At the October budget meeting, he said these were state mandated items that must be done.

  • There is no state mandate
  • Every year there are things that must be repaired or updated. Routine maintenance is an operating expense.
  • For major upgrades, government mandates, or expansions (such as a third filter if/when needed) there is an established reserve fund (the Capital Improvement Reserve Fund begun 25 years ago “…to be used specifically for improved or expanding the water system within Bent Tree.”). BTCI just increased (for improved lots) the assessment for this reserve with the last CC&R vote.
  • If there is a Bent Tree building boom (try saying that five times fast without messing up) in the next few years, there is another fee under the CC&Rs that would be paid by the owner of each new house constructed, raising funds for any needed expansion. It is the “right-to-access fee”. Monies from this fee are put into the Capital Improvement Reserve Fund which, as already stated, is the fund “…to be used specifically for improved or expanding the water system within Bent Tree.”
    • “…The right-to-access fee shall be in addition to any actual costs incurred by Declarant in connecting the lot to Bent Tree water system. The right-to-access fee may be increased by the Declarant subject to the same limitations imposed on General Assessments in Article IV, Section 2 (b) of this Declaration. The right-to-access fee shall be placed in the Capital Improvement Reserve Fund referred to in Article IV, Section 2 (c).

Why the sudden need for the new “water system compliance fee”?
Something just doesn’t add up…

Not Necessarily

Click here for a related previous post from last week. The second sentence of the November GM Report states “The majority of residents voted to increase our assessments for improved lots and reduce our assessments for unimproved lots.”

That statement is not necessarily true. A more accurate statement might be “The majority of property owners who actually voted, were in favor of the CC&R amendment regarding the restructuring of assessments.

There were 625 votes cast in favor of the amendment. The General Manager used the word residents. Since the returned ballots were not tallied by whether they were from improved or unimproved property owners, there is no way (at this time) to know how the majority of residents voted. Someone could probably go through the returned ballots and figure out the breakdown; it would just take some time. It could be that the unimproved lot owners pushed the amendment through. Each and every unimproved lot owner will save at least $110 in assessments next year. If they own a combined lot, the savings will be much greater. For example, an unimproved three-lot combination will save $720 in assessments next year.

Also, the “voted to increase our assessments for improved lots” wording is not accurate. As previously noted, some improved properties will enjoy decreased assessments.

 

 

Beaver Trap

Speaking of beavers…

Earlier this year, a beaver trap was set along the edge of Lake Tamarack. The first picture below shows a beaver lodge along the water’s edge. There are some sticks sticking straight up out of the water (see second photo below for closeup). These sticks are part of the trap setup. “It is unlawful to trap any wildlife upon the lands or in the waters of any other person except with written consent of the owner, which must be on the person setting or using the traps. Traps must be tended at least once each 24-hour period. Traps and snares must be labeled with the owner’s name or owner’s permanent trapper’s identification number provided by the department. Foot-hold traps for beavers must be smooth or rubber jaw steel. Body gripping traps in excess of 9½ inches square must be used in water or within 10 feet of water. Snares must be used in water or on land within 10 feet of water.” – GA DNR Trapping Regulations

February 14, 2015 - Beaver trap and beaver lodge along the shore of Lake Tamarack

February 14, 2015 – Beaver trap and beaver lodge along the shore of Lake Tamarack

February 14, 2015 - closeup of sticks used with the trap

February 14, 2015 – closeup of sticks used with the trap

Beaver Moon

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Last week’s full moon put on a bright show in Bent Tree. The photo below was taken on Wednesday, and the photo above was taken on Thanksgiving. The November full moon is known as the “Beaver Moon”. According to Native American lore, this is the time of year to set beaver traps to ensure a good supply of warm furs for the winter, before the swamps freeze over, and while the beavers are actively preparing for winter.

November 25, 2015 - Full "Beaver Moon" over Bent Tree (click photo for larger image)

November 25, 2015 – Full “Beaver Moon” over Bent Tree (click photo for larger image)

“…privately nestled in the woods with sought after level driveway”

Click here to link to the listing information for 46 Lynx Court in Bent Tree. The asking price is $325,000. The 3 bedroom, 3 bath home has a professionally installed theater room and a game room that easily fits both a pool table and a ping-pong table.

46 Lynx Court in Bent Tree

46 Lynx Court in Bent Tree

 

It’s Not Apples to Apples

Click here for a related previous post.

This year, the way the bar charts represent the financial picture is different from past years. I picked a couple of bar charts to use as an example. The first one is from the July 2014 Bent Tree newsletter and the second one is from the July 2015 newsletter. Both charts include April 2014 data (highlighted in yellow on both charts). The numbers shown for April 2014 differ in the two charts. The way the bar charts were created in 2014 corresponded with the summary data given at the top of the budget reports found on the website. Starting this year, carryover funds were subtracted from the revenues, and capital transfers were adjusted out of expenditures, when creating the charts. The 2015 budget bars (left bars in second chart) show revenues less than the expenditures. If the bar chart was done the same way as last year, the revenues figure would be $4,197,332. It would be greater than the expenditures figure of $4,115,787.

201404 budget

click for larger image

 

201504 budget

click for larger image

 

 

“How is our money to be spent in 2016?”

That is the first sentence in the November General Manager’s Report to the Board (note: the Report to the Board is not the same thing as the From the General Manager article that appears in the Bent Tree newsletter). The Report to the Board is the message given by the GM to the Board at a board meeting. The written copy is made available on the official Bent Tree website. On occasion, in the past, some information has been removed before the report is posted to the BT website. Here’s how property owners can find the November report:

  • Login to the official Bent Tree website
  • Click on Upcoming Events & Announcements
  • Scroll down under Management New (left column)
  • Click on the link for the November report.