Twin River Ranch Property Owners Association
Annual Members Meeting Minutes
June 16, 2023
The Confluence Resort, White Bird, Idaho
Call to Order: The meeting was called to order at 10:00 AM by President JP Goding. Also present were Wolfgang Schubert, Vice President; Samantha Stults, Treasurer; Susan Schubert, Secretary; Kristin Donaldson, Webmaster; Jerry Bentz, Road Chairman; and Gordon Ross, Fire Tree Coordinator. There were approximately eighty plus members and guests in attendance.
Announcements. JP welcomed the members to the meeting and introduced the Board members, invited everyone to attend the picnic at Swiftwater after the meeting, asked everyone to please update their phone numbers for the fire tree. He asked everyone to take a moment to honor and remember Gail Chapman and Al Bolden who had both passed away in recent months.
Recent Idaho HOA Code Changes. Gordon Ross reported that our bylaws are pretty much in line with the changes. Some highlights are the use of solar panels is protected as is the display of political signs and flags within the size boundaries set by the Association. Here is the link to a summary of the changes:
Local Fire Fighting/Mitigation Resources. Paul Hefner, White Bird Fire Chief, and Kelly Hefner, Fire Behavior Specialist spoke about local firefighting resources and mitigation strategies. The White Bird Fire Department is transitioning to new equipment, including a water tender and a fast attack truck. The Department also has a four-wheel drive fire truck. Water restrictions are still in place in White Bird, and water is being hauled from Lewiston. The State of Idaho donated four pumps which are being used to pump water from the creek to water yards as a public service. The Fire Department supports the Salmon River Rural Fire Department. City trucks have to stay within the city limits, but the Department has two trucks that can respond to fires outside the city limits. The Department can help with prescribed burns. Paul has taught fire fighter for years and has decades of experience. The Department relies on excess equipment from other agencies and volunteers; it is not supported by taxes.
Kelly Hefner has 35 years of experience in fighting fires and search and rescue and is a fire behavior analyst. She helps communities prepare for and fight wildland fires and can help with prescribed burns and burning safely. The biggest concerns for Twin River Ranch are escape routes and safety zones. Both wet and dry winters contribute to fires. Dry grasses which have grown to three and four feet high from all the moisture are a hazard and should be mowed down, especially around roads. Because of the long, wet spring fuel loading is high this year. The danger will come in August when the fuel dries out and the winds start blowing. The steep topography is also a contributing factor to rapid fire movement. She welcomes questions on fire safety and prevention. Members can contact the White Bird fire office.
A general discussion of fire prevention followed. Rick Dunford, Mike Campbell, Sean Smith, and Roy Johnston said they are available to help with wild land clearing. Kristin will get phone numbers for Paul and Kelly and put them on our website. Roy Johnston spoke again about the Federal Grant money available to Idaho County for fire mitigation. Information can be obtained from Sandi Paul, Fire Mitigation Coordinator for Idaho County, at 208-983-3074. Roy said the crew will clear and stack but will not burn. The program requires a 10% deposit which is held until the piles are burned. You can also pay for the burning as Carol and Marty Ansell did and get your deposit back. The cost to them of paying for the burning was slightly more than the 10% deposit. You can get your property inspected and put on the list for next year. The program is doing 10 treatments this year in Idaho County. Roy encouraged everyone to attend the Fire Department fundraisers as they have them which include an annual Fireman’s Ball. Annelle Urbahn spoke about the need for volunteers for the Station 6 Rural Salmon River Fire Department. Interested persons can get an application from her.
Introduction of Board Candidates – Two three-year terms were open. Roy Johnston, Mark Frayser, and Gordon Ross, previously appointed to fill the vacancy when Cathy Little resigned, were on the ballot. Aaron Kamnetz was nominated from the floor. Each gave a brief introduction and spoke on what they felt was important for the Board. Voting commenced, and three volunteers, Wolfgang Schubert, outgoing Vice President; Pete DeSantis, previous Board member and past President; and Deida Malinowski, property owner; collected ballots and started the ballot count while the meeting continued.
Fire Tree. Gordon spoke on the importance of the fire tree for notifying members of a fire but said it’s difficult to catch people as was the case during the recent fire on Hammer Creek Road and Bucks Boulevard. Very few folks answered their phones.
Treasurer Report. Sam reported that there are still several property owners with outstanding dues and/or fees. Two reports were handed out to members attending the meeting: The Income Statement to Date Compared To Annual Budget and the Balance Sheets for May 31, 2022 and 2023. There were no questions at the meeting; anyone with questions can contact the Board at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sam gave an update on her efforts to put online paying of dues and fines into place. Many members have expressed a desire for that service. There would be a 2.9% processing fee which would be added onto the member’s payment. Sam has decades of bookkeeping experience with previous businesses, including a travel agency, and her current business, The Silver Dollar. Debbie Little, previous Treasurer has been working with Sam during the transition.
Road and Equipment Report. Jerry reported that the roads are in better shape than this time last year, referring to washboards and potholes. He has a plan for this year. Our previous equipment operator, Robin Lipinski, resigned in October. A new person was hired but was tragically killed in an automobile accident as he was reporting for his first day of work. Ryan Hampton agreed to fill the position temporarily but is now operating his own business full time so can’t always respond when we need him to grade, plow, or spray. Ryan was supposed to be spraying on the day of the meeting but was unable to. Jerry and JP will continue to try and work with Ryan, Ryan’s schedule, and the weather to get the weeds sprayed. Jerry is putting together a grading and plowing plan which he will present this fall. Jerry broke down the $288 in dues that members on Association roads pay: $90 goes towards the expenses of running the Association which leaves $198 per lot for maintaining the roads, which is not enough to provide needed maintenance. The grader requires repairs as we cannot afford to replace it at $100K to $200K for a good used grader. The engine and transmission both are leaking fluids and the diaphragm in the fuel system needs replacing. The cost to repair all is estimated to be $20K to $40K. The grader will be sent to the Caterpillar dealer in Lewiston for diagnosis and cost to repair. The plow truck had a transmission rebuilt last year at a cost of $5K. As for Board members or general members driving out equipment, our insurance requires the operator to be an employee of the Board. Mark Frayser was hired as a contractor to do some snow plowing on the upper roads this past winter but used his own equipment. A question was raised as to whether there may be grant money available to help us with equipment and maintenance. Debbie Little, past Treasurer explained that though we are a nonprofit, we are not a charity and do not qualify for government grants. Also, any profit we make from membership dues must be spent on the Association.
Several members had questions and comments. John Raynor suggested the Board talk to a local heavy equipment dealership about setting up a maintenance contract for the grader to possibly avoid future breakdowns. Roy Johnston said that there may be private forest service grant money available to help with purchasing wildland firefighting equipment. Eric Brimmer said this was the first year that his wife wasn’t afraid to drive our roads during the winter. Pat Hurt said that the ditch on Gregory Creek was destroyed by the grader in an attempt to pull gravel back onto the roadway. Jerry said that he has driven all the roads and the ditch will be repaired, the gravel will be reclaimed and the ruts on Hammer Creek from recent heavy rains will be repaired. He also said there will be no grading until the grader is back from repairs and we have some heavy rains. He suggested the speed limit should be 15mph instead of the 20mph that so many folks already ignore. Many members shared their experiences of seeing cars speeding and throwing gravel off of the road, helping to create the ruts we are beginning to see on lower Gregory Creek and Hammer Creek Roads. Roy Johnston also requested folks slow down as they reach the bottom of Gregory Creek to prevent so much dust from landing on the residences there.
Secretary’s Report. Susan reported that communication with the membership is transitioning to email as Kristin has implemented the board email address, email@example.com. Communication from the Secretary has been welcome letters to new members and letters regarding CCR Approval Forms for new construction. She reported and the current sales market with current homes listed at 2; current lots listed at 2; properties sold since last year 12; homes completed since last year 5; homes or shops started since last year 9; sites current being developed 1; CCR Reviews since last year 5. Board meetings have been limited and are being held at the Pleasant View Baptist Church in White Bird as Pastor Randy Myers is very graciously allowing us to use his facility. After Cathy Little left the Board last September, the White Bird Library was no longer available for us as a meeting place. At the same time, the White Bird Area Recreational District tightened its requirements and rental form making it difficult for us to easily schedule meetings there.
Website Report. Kristin continues to update the website with agendas, meeting minutes, and updates on other issues of interest. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any suggestions for additional information to be posted or if you have questions for the Board. Please also let us know your current email address if you would like to be on the email list for announcements and other information.
Voting and Election Results. Roy Johnston was elected in the first round of voting. Mark Frayser, Aaron Kamnetz, and Gordon Ross tied for the second position, so all were included in the second round of voting. Gordon was elected in the second round of voting. We thank all for volunteering to run and encourage them to continue their interest in the Board.
Member’s Forum. Debbie Little made a motion to raise dues on Association roads by $100 per year. The motion was seconded. A straw vote was held, and the motion passed but was just informational as 75% of the entire membership must approve a dues increase greater than 20%. It was suggested we could mail the membership a ballot. The increase would be used for maintaining the roads. Raising dues another 20% would add $9K; raising dues $100 would add $17K. The increase would be only for those lots on Association roads. Pat Hurt commented that most HOAs that fail, do so for bankruptcy. Pat also said it’s unlikely that the membership will approve the increase as it failed once before. JP will form a committee to study raising the dues. Carol Ansell, JP Goding, and Roy Johnston talked more about fire mitigation, particularly removing fuels. There was discussion about placing water storage tanks in strategic areas so trucks fighting fires wouldn’t have to go all the way down to the river to refill. Scott Dalgliesh, owner of River Storage Solutions, says he has 200 gallon totes he will sell to Association members for $20 or $100 to the public which could be used to hold water for fires. Rick Dunford suggested we need two trucks for plowing, one that stays up on top and one that stays down below. Pat Hurt commented that we are one emergency away from bankruptcy.
Meeting Adjourned: The meeting was adjourned at 12:04 pm.
Note to Members: The minutes from the Annual Meeting will not be mailed this year. Anyone desiring a printed copy and who cannot print one from the website may email the Board at email@example.com to have a copy mailed to them. You may also email the Board at that address for a copy of the financial reports.
Susan Schubert, Secretary
Twin River Ranch Property Owners Association