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March 21, 2011



Board Members Present:  Ellena, Guyer, Jane, Moles, Smith


Management Present:  Miller, Lyon


Members:  Sign-in sheet available


Meeting called to order at 6:46 p.m.




Jane moved, Smith seconded to accept the Open Minutes of February 21, 2011 as written.  Approved 5-0


The Annual Meeting Minutes of February 6, 2011, grammar corrections only, were presented for the Board’s review were tabled until the next Board Meeting.


Trash Removal Bids


Trash/recycling bids from Eric’s Refuse, Granger Container Service, and Jim’s Rubbish were reviewed.  The bids covered a two year period and were as follows:


                                                            Year 1                         Year 2


Eric’s Refuse                                       $ 3.880.00                   $ 3.880.00

Granger                                               $ 4.295.58                   $ 4,365.96

Jim’s Rubbish                                      $ 3,080.10                   $ 3,107.06


Management suggests that the trash/recycling contract be extended until November 1, 2011 to coincide with the budget year.  This would allow for better planning during the budget process.   Management also stated that Highlands has used Jim’s Rubbish as a third bid but, that Highlands has used them in the past and had several problems with their service. 


Highlands trash/recycling is currently done by Eric’s Refuse at an expense of $2,880.00. 

Management is recommending that Highlands continue using Eric’s Rubbish.  They offer excellent service and are reasonable prices. 


Employee Mark Robert, present for the meeting, was able to contact Eric’s Refuse during the Board’s discussion. 

Eric agreed to continue the current contract ($2,880.00) until November 1, 2011.  At that time the new two year contract in the amount of $3,880.00 would become effective.  Eric asked for this agreement in writing. 


Jane moved, Ellena seconded to extend the current contract in the amount of $2,880.00 through October 31, 2011 to coincide with the budget year.  The new two year contract at the proposed rate of $3,880.00 will become effective November 1, 2011.  A written agreement between parties will be forthcoming.  Approved 5-0


Property Tax Relief


Mr. Moles provided/discussed a copy of a newspaper article from the Lansing State Journal about large properties in the Lansing area seeking adjustments on their assessments.  Mr. Moles believes that Highlands should qualify as a “large” property and that Highlands might also want to look into this possibility. 


Management stated that a tax attorney had looked into this possibility about 3 year ago but, it was not a good idea at that time.  A tax attorney would have to be consulted again.  This would cost the Cooperative about $500.00.  There is also a deadline when property tax review requests can be made.


Management will follow-up on this issue.


Cooperative Healthy Savings Program


Mr. Moles explained a free Healthy Savings Program for prescriptions offer by the National Association of Housing Cooperatives (NAHC) to families living in NAHC member cooperatives.  Since Highlands is a member of NAHC each of our Members and their family are eligible to receive this benefit. 


This program is not an Insurance nor intended as a substitute for Insurance.  The card offers 10% to 60% savings on prescriptions at participating pharmacies. These include chain stores such as CVS, Walgreens, Wal-Mart, Target, and others.    


Highlands would order the cards from NAHC and have them available for interested Members at the office.  The Member would then present the card at their local pharmacy for any benefits or discounts usage of the card might offer. 


Highlands only involvement with this program is to distribute the card to its Membership.  Board Consensus 


Property Goals


The following 2010 Property Goals set by the Board were discussed and up-dated as follows:


Develop a Siding Replacement Program


Two buildings, determined by their location on the property, were chosen for partial siding replacement. Precise information from the Thermal imaging portion of this project was hard to determine but, overall it proved somewhat helpful.  As expected the results showed the most heat loss from the window area(s).   Insulation problems were also initially found and corrected.


As a result, siding specifications are being determined, bids will be solicited, and the project is moving forward.


Establish a Facebook Page


The Facebook page is now done.  Smith finished her efforts to establish a Facebook page for the Cooperative and explained its interface design for access purposes.


Reconstruct the Website


The Website has not yet been completed.  However, Ms. Miller is working on this project through her class at Lansing Community College.  Miller stated that this is a complicated project but, should have a small/basic format done soon.  A May 1, 2011 deadline for this project was agreed upon. 


Property Stationary


Miller explained that additional “window’ style envelopes in the color that Highlands is now using are no longer available.  Management requested that the office stationary be changed back to the beige which was used before as this color is always available.  Board Consensus   


Miller also informed that Board that bids for office materials are be solicited.  More information will be provided to the Board when this process is completed.


Gardening Meeting


Miller informed the Board that Management and interested Members reviewed the yearly gardening procedure. Currently the garden plots are plowed and available for Members on Memorial Day weekend.   During the meeting, Members asked that the plowing be completed at an earlier date to allow for a longer growing season.


On behalf of the Members, Management is asking that this year the plowing for the garden plots begin two (2) weeks prior to Memorial Day.  Ultimately this would allow for the soil to be nurtured and preconditioned sooner thus allowing for our gardening Members to have a longer growing season, as requested. 


Management would take this opportunity to talk with Members as they sign-up for plots regarding this time change.  A policy change will not be requested until after this year when a determination regarding this date change has been established.


Plowing of the garden plots is contracted.  It has been determined that this request, weather permitting, can be met.  Members are aware of the weather factor.


2010 Audit


Mr. Lyon informed the Members that the 2010 Audit had been completed.  The auditor was again asked to rate Highlands financial picture on a scale of 1 to 10.  A score of 10 was offered.


Mr. Lyon also informed the Members that an increase of 20% in the water rate is being projected in 2012.  In addition, electricity is expected to increase by 9%. 


Unfortunately, both of these uncontrollable costs translate into higher carrying charges. 


New/Old Business - None        




Marjorie Brake


Ms. Brake inquired about the following subjects.  1) Will the color(s) of the new siding will remain the same?  2) Is the Cooperative replacing areas of brick on the building that are crumbling, falling off or cracked or falling off?


1)      Ms. Brake was informed that the siding colors are slated to remain as close as possible to the current colors.   Grounds employee Mark Robert encouraged Ms. Brake to look at the new siding on the two existing test buildings are the colors are noticeably different from our current painted siding.  


2)      Ms. Brake was asked to call in a work order identifying the area as brick work is being completed, as needed, throughout the year. 


Patricia Knight


Ms. Knight stated that she had found a crack in her basement wall, called in a work order, and that maintenance (Gus) responded immediately.  Gus was able to find other potential problem spots and fixed them too. 


Ms. Knight is extremely happy with our how fast work orders are processed and amazed at how knowledgeable our maintenance men truly are.    


Meeting Adjourned at 7:55 p.m.


I certify that this is a true and accurate statement of the Board Meeting of March 21, 2011.


Respectfully submitted,




Jackie Guyer, Secretary, Board of Directors

Highlands Cooperative Association