Fall 2003 Newsletter

Mar 30, 2005

Fall 2003 Newsletter

From your Ballymeade President

Hello. It has been a busy 7 months since the new board of directors took office. Your board members, committee members, and many others have accomplished a lot in this time. Some highlights are as follows:

1. We transitioned responsibilities from the prior president and other board members, sought new volunteers to fill resigned board members positions and then developed the new board members into a productive team. A stable and productive board is in place. Your board of directors consists of three first-year members and two more experienced second-year members.

2. We have worked with the Landscape Improvement Committee to determine government funding for the installation of trees from available ?“Street Fund?” grants. One grant request has been approved; two are being submitted shortly. The plan is to more than quadruple our landscape improvement budget with government funding. The grant money is your tax dollars are at work here! The landscape committee has responsibility currently for landscape maintenance and many issues have been dealt with in that regard.

3. I have worked with the Architectural Review Committee on the Baldini Townhouses, which are now being built just off of Rockmeade Drive. We met with the builder and approved the exterior design. We worked on several other issues concerning these townhouses as well.

4. With no treasurer on board for many months now, I have worked with a financial advisor in a detailed review of the Maintenance Corporation?’s financial books and records. Everything is in order and now we need a volunteer to be Treasurer in order to transition the financial record keeping function. See the article on ?“Help Needed?”.

5. More work than you can imagine has gone into getting lighting on the Ballymeade entrance sign. Work is scheduled to start soon. This lighting has been five years in the making.

6. One of your new board members noticed that there was no DelDOT sign on Naamans Road pointing to Ballymeade from each direction. All subdivisions in New Castle County have such signs. It took several phone calls and then months of waiting but we have the signs now!! We were one of the very first developments to get the re-styled signs with the Caesar Rodney logo on them. Thanks DelDOT!

7. We have been working closely with your new BC Consulting Community Manager, Bill Deckman. Bill joined BC Consulting in June and has proven to be a real asset to our community.

8. You received a newsletter in April and now this one. Your new board is committed to communicating issues, news items, etc. We will do this via newsletter mailed directly to your home at least twice per year. Each newsletter will contain a section we called ?“Ballymeade 101?”, which informs new residents (and reminds existing residents) about deed restrictions, the role of BC Consulting, assessment information, etc. Special newsletters or letters to the community may also send if deemed necessary by the board.

9. This board is committed to the annual community based clean up held each April. Many thanks to all who took trash bags and headed out to collect trash from all of the common area water basins, play grounds, wet lands, etc.

10. The board designed a logo to be used on our newsletters and the envelopes used by BC Consulting to send the assessment invoices, letters, etc. The logo is essentially a representation of the script of the word ?“Ballymeade?” on the entrance sign. Instead of sending letters out in BC Consulting envelopes, we believe that seeing the Ballymeade logo will result in our residents opening the letters, first of all, and then by reading the enclosed correspondence better communication and better responses from our residents will ensue.

11. Several very large dead trees that were on common area land had to be removed. They were dangerous and if they fell they would do damage to resident?’s homes. Large dead trees have become a concern and a potential large expense for the removal of them especially since the recent hurricane and heavy rainfall.

Looking forward?….

We hope to start two new committees. In addition to the Landscape Improvement Committee, we would like to create a ?“Landscape Maintenance Committee?” which will take over normal maintenance oversight of our common areas and entranceway. The board has also agreed on a new ?“Volunteer Development Committee?”. This committee of will encourage interest in the community with fun, family oriented events with the ultimate goal of fostering community activities we hope it will be a good starting point for volunteers to move on to other volunteer positions on the board or other committees. Both of these committees need staffing. Neither requires lots of time.

The Architectural Review Committee has 4 new members! Cindy Ferguson, John Taylor, and Peter Grims, have met and discussed resident requests for exterior changes. Alex Santagada has agreed to join this group. They will be watching the Baldini townhouses carefully.


Help Wanted! Neighborhood Jobs available!

We have a very small number of energetic and concerned volunteers doing A LOT of work for our neighborhood. Your current board of directors wants to try a new approach toward staffing. The idea is to get many more volunteers involved, lessen the burden on existing volunteers, and to develop future community and committee leaders. PLEASE HELP ?– even in small ways, which is very possible. Read below!! Volunteers are needed for:

Volunteer Development Committee ?– This new committee will encourage interest in the community with fun, family oriented events. Some suggestions for this committee are: organizing the annual community yard sale, organizing a semi-annual 3k run around the development, organizing the annual spring clean up, etc. The purpose of this committee will be to foster a sense of community and develop people?’s interest the community. We hope more volunteers will join this committee, and that some may find an interest in one of the other various committees of the Maintenance Corporation. If interested call BC Consulting at 302-731-7710, and ask for our manager, Bill Deckman.

Secretary for the Board ?– Do you want to contribute in some way but don?’t like leadership roles? This job requires attending Board meetings and recording the proceedings. This is a critical function. The minutes document what is discussed and agreed to by the board. The minutes become part of the Maintenance Corporation?’s permanent records. There are approximately 10 meetings a year. If interested, call BC Consulting at 302-731-7710, and ask for our manager, Bill Deckman.

Treasurer ?– Do you have an accounting background or are you just good with numbers? This position involves managing the corporation?’s financial assets and includes: paying bills (2-3 per month), once per year work with the board to develop the following year?’s budget, report on the financial position to the board quarterly, etc. If interested, call BC Consulting at 302-731-7710, and ask for our manager, Bill Deckman.

Architectural Review Committee ?– Do you have a legal background? (Not really necessary). Can you decipher vaguely written guidelines that are currently used to keep our neighborhood looking top-notch? We have 7 new members on the ARC, and are looking for others to join us. No experience in this area, but interested anyway? We provide job training! If interested, call BC Consulting at 302-731-7710, and ask for our manager, Bill Deckman.

Landscape Maintenance Committee ?– Do you like keeping an eye on the neighborhood? Do you see dead trees that need to be removed, weeds that need to be pulled in the common area, mowing that hasn?’t been done in the retention basins? No manual labor required, just help us manage the contractor. We also need someone with knowledge of water basin and wetland management. If interested, call BC Consulting at 302-731-7710, and ask for our manager, Bill Deckman.

Landscape Improvement Committee ?– Do you enjoy dealing with government agencies for the ultimate good of the community? Are you good at preparing grant proposals? Is your focus improving the landscape with trees and other plantings? This existing committee has been working on three major grant requests, one of which has been approved with tree planting scheduled soon. There is much more to do. If interested, call BC Consulting at 302-731-7710, and ask for our manager, Bill Deckman.

Thank You To Past Volunteers

Rick Nordenson was our past President for the 2002 Fiscal Year. He guided us well and is responsible for getting the Reserve Fund information together. He has been an enormous help to Cyndi Funk, the current President, in many ways. Rick has volunteered to stay involved by updating the Neighborhood Directory.

Louise Bank was our past Treasurer. She paid the bills, kept us current with budget information, and helped us form our budgets.

Wayne Whittaker was our past ARC Chairman. He knew the deed restrictions inside and out and made sure resident requests for architectural requests met the requirements before they were approved.

Mary Henderer was our past Landscaping Chair. Mary took loving care of our neighborhood. She planted all the beautiful daffodils at the entrance and notified the Board of all dead plants, areas in need of clean up, and areas in need of landscaping. She also worked extensively with Landscapers to get new plantings that were drought-resistant as well as pretty.

Charles Jabbour was our Secretary. He kept excellent minutes! Charles is on the current Board and makes sure the Playground and Tennis areas are safe and in good condition.

Tony Quartarone worked with Mitchell Electric on the Entrance Sign. Watch for the illumination soon! Tony resigned his board position temporarily, but was able to re-join the board recently.

Thank you also to all neighbors who have helped the Ballymeade Maintenance Corporation, including all of you who came out for the annual spring clean up.

Taking care of our neighborhood is a big responsibility. It?’s your responsibility! We need everyone to pitch in, even in small ways, such as notifying BC Consultants that street lights are out, etc. Your concern is much appreciated.

New Community Manager

The new Ballymeade Community Manager at BC Consulting is Bill Deckman. Bill joined BC in June of 2003. If you have any questions or need assistance with anything, Bill can be reached at 302-731-7710 or

Reserve Fund

The Ballymeade board of directors did a detailed study in 2002-2003 to maintain and replace all community owned property. Community owned property includes common parking areas, common area concrete side-walks, block retaining walls (drainage areas), tennis court, play set, wood fence (by Naamans road), stone entrance and signage. Each component has been evaluated to determine its current condition, to establish expected life and to assess future maintenance and replacement costs.

In 2003, the board has projected that the total estimated replacement cost is around $290,000. For example, the tennis court coating life expectancy is 10 years (5 years remaining) and costs $4,000 to recoat. Another example would be the play set which has a life expectancy of 25 years and costs $70,000 to replace. So let us say that in 2008 the tennis court needs to be recoated at a cost of $5,000. The reserve fund should have the necessary funds to cover the cost instead of raising the 2008 yearly assessment by $21 ($5,000/243 properties) just for that item. To the other extreme, if by 2023 the play set needs to be replaced at a cost of $1110,000, the 2023 yearly assessment will have to be raised by $456 ($110,000 /243 properties).

In order to avoid high and fluctuating yearly assessments, the board of directors has voted to raise the annual assessment by 7%-10% each year. The increase will cover the operating budget changes and the set-aside money for the reserve fund.

What does this mean to you and to each property owner at Ballymeade? All common areas are for every property owner to enjoy and are owned by everyone, now and for the lifetime of the community. Please be aware that the life expectancy and wear and tear of the properties depends on how well or how badly they are used or abused. It is the responsibility of each property owner to make sure that all community owned property is in good order and not being abused or vandalized. Please educate your children about the proper use of the tennis court, and the play set.

We live in a wonderful community, and have enjoyed, on average a 45% increase in property value in the past 5 years. Let us keep it this way by paying the yearly assessments, volunteering to help with the Ballymeade Maintenance Corporation, keeping our neighborhood clean, and by reporting abuses to BC Consulting (302-731-7710).

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New Castle County, Delaware 19810