Twin River Ranch Property Owners Association
Minutes, Board of Directors Meeting
October 22, 2022
10 AM, Old White Bird School
Call To Order – President JP Goding called the meeting to order at 10:02 AM. Also present were Jerry Bentz, Road Chair; Debbie Little, Treasurer; Susan Schubert, Secretary; Kristin Donaldson, Webmaster; and Gordon Ross, Fire Tree. Wolfgang Schubert, Vice President, was absent. There were approximately 40 guests attending the meeting.
JP, Jerry, and Gordon, being new Board members, introduced themselves and shared some of their background.
Approval of Agenda. The agenda was modified to first, Fire Mitigation; second, Road Report; third, Business Meeting starting with the Budget.
Fire Mitigation. JP handed out a packet of information on fire prevention and led the discussion. Mike Campbell, Roy Johnston, and others contributed to the discussion. The purpose of the Fire Mitigation Plan is to help ensure that we will continue to get fire insurance and at a rate we can afford. Some states are losing coverage in fire prone and flood prone areas, resulting in the States having to provide insurance. In some cases, coverage has become unaffordable. Some underwriters are refusing to issue new policies in our area. Suggestions for the plan included placing water tanks throughout the ranch where water can be captured by springs or ponds or catchment systems, especially during the spring when water runoff is high. JP will also find out if we can get a permit to draw water from the River to keep the tanks full or during a fire. The Fire Department in White Bird does not respond to fires on the Ranch. Salmon River Rural Fire District (SRRFD) and the Forest Service do respond, but it is also possible that SRRFD would not respond if structures were not threatened. SRRFD fire trucks only carry 500 gallons of water and would need to return to the Salmon River for water unless water is available on the Ranch. Tanks would need to be purchased and volunteers needed to allow placement of the tanks and help provide water. Areas would need to be flat and have enough room for the water trucks to turn around. Water could be used in the fall, after fire season, to water the roads for grading. Volunteers would be needed to build boxes for fire tools and pulaskis, placed at various locations. Mike Campbell and others at his location have firefighting and EMT experience and also offered the use of their water truck but hoses and a pump are needed. Maps showing the locations of water tanks and toolboxes could be placed on the Association website, twinriverranch.com.
Roy Johnston thanked the Board for inviting the membership to participate in the meeting. He gave a presentation on the Federal Grant money available through the Fire Mitigation office for Idaho County. He and several others have had the land around their homes cleared at no cost to them. The recommended area to clear is 300 to 500 feet. Full time residents qualify for 100% coverage. Part time resident coverage is prorated. The property owner is required to burn the piles left by clearing once it is safe to burn. Roy stressed that it is each property owner’s responsibility to reduce fuels on their property, and all should take advantage of the grant money. He will send information to Kristin to put on the website.
JP talked about how difficult it was to get information on the Jones Creek Fire this summer and how he was never able to talk to the incident commander. The problem is that our area is under the Wallowa District, but with the increased number of houses and home values, it should be moved to Slate Creek so current information is more readily available. He urged everyone to contact local politicians to try and get it changed.
Roads. A new grader operator has been hired and will grade roads starting next week as the roads are wet enough. Jerry explained why we couldn’t grade when the roads were dry as the rocks disintegrate or turn to roller balls, which is dangerous. The plan going forward will be to grade the main roads, Gregory, Bucks, Hammer, and Shuck, four times a year with side roads being graded once a year or more if needed. Currently side roads are in reasonable condition. Jerry asked that members respectfully notify him of any problem areas. We will need a water truck and a source for water for year around grading. Jerry will also check on permits for getting water from the river. Gordon said he has water rights to Otter Creek, and we might be able to get water from it. Mike Campbell volunteered the use of their 2500 gallon water truck. He volunteered to run the water truck during grading and suggested the use of handheld radios to keep in contact. John Urbahn said that the Slate Creek District has a retired water truck we might be able to get cheap. He will get information on it and give it to JP.
There was a discussion on having a secure package drop off area and having delivery trucks put packages there instead of driving on our roads. There is heavy delivery truck traffic, and in general they speed and are two wheel drive. Perhaps a local business could be a drop off location or we could build a secure shed or something. Using the drop off locations would not be required but encouraged. The discussion on drop off locations will continue at the next meeting.
Snow plowing will initially be done by several residents, including Roy Johnston who has extensive plowing experience, on a rotating schedule until we can find a snowplow operator as the newly hired grader operator will not be available to plow.
Implementing some of the ideas for fire mitigation and better road maintenance will require more money.
Al Bolden talked about ambulance response in the winter when there is snow on the roads. Last year an ambulance went into the ditch responding to a medical emergency on the Ranch. Al said that the State of Idaho does not require ambulances to respond if there is risk to equipment or personnel, and that he has been told ambulances will not respond to emergencies on the Ranch in the winter. There is an available Quick Response Unit (QRU) in White Bird that was purchased to respond to rural areas, but it is not being used. Perhaps we could place that on the Ranch to treat and transport residents during the winter and keep it chained up and ready. There are several residents with medical training who could assist during transport. The Good Samarian law was discussed, and it was agreed that those who helped would be protected by it. Purchasing an AED was also discussed, and Mike Campbell volunteered to store it as his place, deliver it when needed, and also to host training on how to use it. Snowmobiles could also be used to transport residents down the hill if conditions are too treacherous for the QRU.
JP will order diesel fuel from Prime Land to fill the tank for the grader. The 500 gallon tank is low but has some fuel left in it. Jerry would like to purchase a regular blade for the grader in addition to the rock rake blade. Debbie said we will have to wait for the next budget year to start. Jerry estimates the blade will cost $1,500 to $2,000.
Communications. Better communication would help with both road maintenance and fire prevention. Kristin is implementing sending notices out using email and has 140 addresses to date but needs the rest. Roy Johnston suggested she add several forums to the website such as one each for roads, fire mitigation, and anything folks need help for or help that folks can provide. Mike Campbell asked where on the website the CC&Rs are, and Kristin explained. She said she would make them a little easier to find. Brooke Myers suggested a property owner’s contact list be made available to owners that included name, phone number, and email. Owners could opt in or out of being on the list and could indicate which information they are willing to share. Another member present suggested that information be added to the list indicating what each member could help others with. Eileen Bentz suggested that the list include any medical training a person has had. There is some contact information available to those that help with the Fire Tree. Susan will send the file to Gordon, who will be the new Fire Tree Coordinator.
Committees. Susan suggested that we form two committees, one for Roads and one for Fire Mitigation, or at least one for Fire Mitigation. She suggested Mike Campbell chair the committee on Fire Mitigation. Kristin can possibly add a Committees tab to the website or add a Fire Mitigation tab and put the committees under Roads and Fire Mitigation.
Member Forum. Nothing additional was said as members were allowed to ask questions during the previous discussions. Members were dismissed prior to the business meeting.
Business Meeting. Debbie reported $4,439.74 in checking and $78,611.39 in the reserve account. She reminded folks that the gravel event during the summer exceeded what was budgeted and resulted in the reserve account being decreased by $9,000 to cover the overage.
She presented the 2023 Budget Worksheet which she based on a 20% increase in dues on lots serviced by Association Roads, from $240 to $288, and no dues increase on lots not serviced by Association Roads as the dues increase will be used solely for road maintenance and administrative costs have not gone up. A copy of the budget will be filed with these minutes. The increase will add another $8,000 to the income. A motion was made and seconded to raise the dues on said lots by 20%. A discussion followed. Debbie reported that we have spent more than our income in four of the last five years and to continue at this rate will mean the Association will be out of funds in a couple of years and will be insolvent and be dissolved. At that point, there will be no road maintenance or plowing. After much discussion, a vote was taken, and the motion passed. The invoices being sent out in November for 2023 dues will show the increased dues. The increase will be posted to the website, included here in the minutes, and mentioned in the November newsletter which is sent with the invoices.
Debbie also requested that the Association sign up for Quick Books online so that she can transfer the bookkeeping from her professional account to the Quick Books account, making it possible for someone other than her to perform the Association accounting duties in the event that she is no long a property owner in the future. She could still be available for a fee to perform accounting duties that the new Treasurer cannot do. Debbie will pass on her 30% discount on Quick Books to the Association. The cost is $700 per year. We are currently paying for a third party system to do our payroll at $30 per month. Payroll is included in Quick Books, so that service would no longer be needed. The new treasurer would not need to know anything about accounting or payroll as Debbie would set everything up for us. All agreed Debbie should proceed with purchasing and setting up Quick Books online. Debbie can still help us with Payroll functions for free if needed.
Adjournment. There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 12:18 PM.
Susan Schubert, Secretary
Twin River Ranch Property Owners Association