BROOKFIELD HERITAGE NEIGHBORHOOD BOARD MEETING
MINUTES JANUARY 23, 2014
I. The meeting was called to order at 7:30 pm at Alan Munn’s house. Present were Dave Betts, Nancy Knupfer, Alan Munn, Dawn Parker, Beth Blythe, Rhoda Wolff and Wayne Claycombe. Absent were Erica Beattie and John Boughman (excused).
II. Minutes of October 3, 2013 meeting. The minutes of the October 14 meeting were approved with the correction of the spelling of Nancy Knupfer’s name.
III. Treasurer’s Report. The report was received and approved. The Association has just over $3,000 in two accounts and outstanding bills due of about $150 for the membership mailing. The new website host annual fee of approximately $130 will be an additional upcoming expense. These bills will be paid when the Treasurer regains the checkbook which was passed to the acting Treasurer while Alan was out of town this Fall.
IV. Old Business.
a. Listserv Hosting Change. Alan reported that the webmaster Carl Lira and he will implement the changeover from Hostmonster to A2 Hosting this coming weekend. The cost will be less than the current hosting service and the web site will have a separate IP address, reducing the amount of bounces the announcement listserv was experiencing. It was noted that Rhoda will need to be involved in the transfer authorization as past president of the Association.
b. Membership Mailing. Nancy reported that the response to the letter soliciting new members and comments from the residents was good. Thus far 5 new members have pledged. There were several questionnaires returned with information and suggestions about the ice storm. It was agreed to wait up to two more weeks for responses before finalizing and sending out the new Membership Directory. It was also agreed to denote Association members in the Directory with a small graphic symbol (maple leaf or tree) and a footnote reading “supporter of the neighborhood treescape preservation program” or something to that effect.
V. New Business.
a. City of East Lansing Neighborhood Partnership Initiative. Ami Van Antwerp attended the board meeting and gave a brief overview of the program’s purpose. The neighborhood’s web site was discussed and compared to other East Lansing neighborhood sites maintained by the City. It was stated that Ami would ask City administrators if Brookfield’s current functionality (the email listserv for neighborhood announcements, the Board and other groups) could be hosted when the City upgrades it site next year. It was agreed that the Board favors moving the site to the City over time. In the meantime, we will continue to maintain the site ourselves with a link to the City page. Amy also stated that she will serve as an additional contact for information and questions but the Board could continue to use their old sources at the City.
b. Ice Storm Power Outage Response. There was extensive discussion about the neighborhood’s experiences during the power outage with many complaints aimed at BWL’s response and communication failings. The comments sent in from the neighborhood were also discussed. These ideas included the use of phone trees, door knocking volunteers, links to public safety representatives, use of social media, identifying a single information source, periodic inspections of power easements, etc. It was agreed to form a study committee from the neighborhood which would makes recommendations to the Board. Committee members suggested were Peter Knupfer, Judy Cunningham, John Hays, Heather and Nathan Robertson, Charles and Teagen Drayton. Dawn Parker agreed to serve as liaison from the Board to the committee. The President was asked to contact and recruit members. It was agreed that final recommendations would be presented to the neighborhood at the annual picnic for action.
c. Rental Licenses/Code Enforcement Incident. Reference was made to the information in the agenda packet explaining the incident. It was generally agreed that there was a misunderstanding in the City as to the intent of the request about the house at 236 Oakland. Nancy explained her role in researching members’ addresses in tax records and her reliance on contacts at City Hall for her professional duties. It was emphasized that the Board needs to be very clear in making such requests and only after discussion at a Board meeting by which there would be a clear paper trail of actions and intent. There was concern that the Board would be perceived as overreaching and enforcement- orientated such as the case with many homeowner’s associations. It was agreed to send a personal letter to the Eisenlohr family explaining the incident and expressing the Board’s regret about the misunderstanding. The Board was also cautioned to be more prudent about the use of the neighborhood announcements listserv and the need for moderators’ to review messages to the neighborhood which may be better directed to the Board.
VI. Members Report.
The President asked for the Board’s support for a neighborhood volunteer project to help neighbors haul downed tree limbs to the curb before the City’s scheduled pick up this Spring. A request from a neighbor to look into a new street light for the Maplewood/Grand River Ave intersection was deferred to the annual meeting for additional comments by the neighborhood. It was noted that the City was believed to have a long range street light plan and that further information should be collected. The previously agreed April meeting date was not suitable to some of the members and the President was asked to poll the members by email for an alternative.
VII. Adjournment. The meeting was adjourned at 9:40 pm.
Submitted by David Betts, President