September 19, 2011



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

Management Present:  Miller, Lyon, Sinicropi

Members:  Sign-in sheet available


Meeting called to order 6:36 at p.m.




Ellena moved, Moles seconded to accept the Open Minutes of August 15, 2011 as written.  Approved 5-0


2011-2012 Budget


Mr. Lyon presented the 2011-2012 proposed budget, which includes a $7.00 increase in carrying charges to Members.


Mr. Lyon informed Members the $7.00 increase (as opposed to a larger increase) was arrived at due to specific expenses in the budget being decreased or moved to the Surcharge account (no longer coming out of the general budget). 


For example:


·   Personnel Expense decreased because Highlands eliminated a part-time employee position

·   Moving some line item expenses (e.g. trash bags, Ash tree treatment, Annual/ Board  meeting expenses, and clubhouse cleaning costs) to be paid from the Surcharge Account

·   Reducing the funding for a two month period (September/October 2012) to the Replacement Reserves (RR) account thereby allowing this money to stay in the general budget further helping to keep this year’s carrying charges low. 


Mr. Lyon also explained that this year’s carrying charge increase is largely necessary due to projected increases in utility costs.  These include:



Smith moved, Ellena seconded to accept Highlands 2011-2012 budget as presented which includes a $7.00 increase in carrying charges.  Approved 5-0


Property Tree Removal


This item was tabled due to the fact that grounds employee Mark Robert could not be present for this meeting.  No work on this project will begin until the Board reviews this project.


Maintenance Strip Policy


Jane moved, Ellena seconded to remove patio blocks and concrete from the list of acceptable materials of which maintenance strips can be made, and all references to these materials in the policy.  Approved 5-0


Occupancy Agreement


The Board reviewed the final draft of the new Occupancy Agreement which included all Board and attorney changes. 


Jane moved, Guyer seconded to accept the new Occupancy Agreement as written. This final draft will be reviewed by the attorney one more time before being distributed to the Membership.  Approved 5-0


Miller Rd. Property


Management looked into the possibility of using this property as a day care for the Membership as the Board requested.


Management is not recommending this, as there are a number of time consuming regulations which we would be required to follow.  It would also require $5,000 in inspection costs plus insurance costs.


Current expense on the property because of utility costs and recent taxes ($3,500) is $4,400.  Management would like to pursue the possibility of reducing the size of the lot and making the home a single-family dwelling.  


The fence and trees that line the property would have to be moved, and the property surveyed.  But, as a result of this action, the cooperative’s property size would increase.  Management will keep the Board informed as this project progresses.


New Business


Lyon informed the Board that Michigan’s Attorney General issued an opinion that apartments and hotels could refuse to allow medical marijuana to be grown on the premises.  Combined with other factors (number of feet from churches and parks, etc.) prohibiting medical marijuana growth and distribution, Highlands should be able to restrict this practice on Cooperative property without fear of being sued.


Old Business


Guyer inquired if there was any new information regarding the possible reduction in the number of days recycling is done.  Management stated that nothing further has developed.


Smith also requested that Management look into possibility of decreasing the number of days trash is collected from 3 to 2.


Management will follow up on these items.  Lyon informed the Board that there are only 2-3 companies that still pick up trash bags curbside.  If bag pickup is ever eliminated, Highlands may have to resort to dumpster collection.


Georgia Vroman, 6230 Balfour


Ms. Vroman inquired if employee Mark Robert had tested the Toro lawn mowers, and if so, what recommendations for purchase were being made. 


Management stated that Mr. Robert had done so but was not impressed with either model.  He is, therefore, investigating other brands at this time.  Management will keep the Board informed when this process is completed.


Helen Geiger


Ms. Geiger inquired why the request by another Member to have their parking lot re-numbered to its assumed original sequence was not granted, nor was the other Member not notified of the decision.


Ms. Geiger was informed that the request was reviewed by the Board.  However, granting this request would have caused most of the Members in the lot in question to park further away from their townhome than is currently required.  As a result of this inconvenience to so many Members, this request was denied.  The Member requesting this change was notified of the decision. 


Children Blocking Traffic on City Streets (specifically Balfour Drive)


Speaking as a Member of the Cooperative, Ms. Smith asked that anyone who encounters children blocking traffic on public city streets to please call the Lansing Police Department on their non-emergency phone number (483-4600).   Groups of children have been witnessed blocking traffic on Balfour Drive throughout the summer and now into the fall.  This activity poses a safety risk to the children as well as drivers having to swerve into the oncoming lane of traffic when they refuse to move off the street.  Members who encounter children playing and/or blocking traffic in Highlands Cooperative property parking lots are asked to please contact the Office.



Meeting Adjourned at 8:38 p.m.


I certify that this is a true and accurate statement of the Board Meeting of September 19,    2011.



Respectfully submitted,




Jackie Guyer, Secretary, Board of Directors

Highlands Cooperative Association