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FIERCE WINDS AND TRAMPOLINE CAUSE
Strong winds Friday afternoon, April 22 caused a trampoline to
become airborne and lodge in power lines on Matterhorn Drive near
St. Bernard Lane. Lines were severed causing a large power outage.
Fire Department personnel secured the area as Edison crews arrived
on the scene. Some power was restored around 8:40 PM.
Highway 18 Barrier Project Begins April 11
UPDATE: With the long awaited Thrie-Beam Safety Barrier Project on Highway 18, CHP and Cal Trans have clarified the work hours and specific work zone locations for the reduced speed limit from 55 to 45 mph. Construction is slated to begin Monday, April 11, 2016 towards the bottom of the mountain with the full barrier installation from Sierra Way to just below the Crestline Bridge. In order to simplify the effect on motorists, the reduced 45 mph speed limit will be restricted during construction hours Monday-Thursday 8AM-5pm and Friday from 8AM-3PM. This reduced 45 mph speed limit is reported to be enforced only during the work hours in the actual work zone, which will be designated and signed each work day Monday - Friday.It appears that the 55 mph speed limit will be allowed at the end of the work day, when the crews will cover the 45 mile per hour signs. With no road work scheduled for weekends, the speed limit will be back to 55 mph. The entire Thrie Beam Safety Barrier Installation is expected be completed by the end of Summer 2016.According to CHP sources, the Highway 18 Thrie-Beam Barrier Safety Project will commence construction on April 11th, 2016 after a 3 month delay due to winter/weather concerns. As soon as Saturday, April 1, 2016, the speed limit on Highway 18 will be reduced from 55 mph down to 45mph. Speed limit signs are to be posted to assist motorists. Traffic fines will be doubled throughout the construction zone during construction.Residents and visitors are being cautioned to slow down and drive cautiously through the proposed construction zone starting down the hill at Sierra Way and ending just south of the Crestline Bridge on Highway 18. Any additional questions or concerns from motorists may be directed to Cal Trans (909) 383-4646.
PAY UNDER PROTEST, BUT PAY YOUR FIRE
During the Saturday April 16th’ Town Hall Meeting at the Tudor House, State Assemblyman Jay Obernolte passionately spoke to mountain residents about the California Fire Fee, which he refers to as a TAX. Obernolte presented some background information about how the Legislature didn't have the 2/3 majority vote for it to pass as a Tax, so it was deemed a "fee" leaving residents living in unincorporated areas of California having to pay ever since. Within the 30 days allotted to pay your bill, Obernolte explained that residents need to file a Petition of Re-Determination along with a reason for protesting the fire Fee. He suggested residents visit The Howard Jarvis website and download the protest form and paragraph explaining the basis for your protest to be included with the protest form. He also advised residents not to mail the protest form with their Fire Fee payments, as the protest form needs to be mailed separately, also within the 30 days from date of mailing. Interested Residents need to file this protest form, so they may become covered under the Class Action lawsuit that the Howard Jarvis group has filed challenging the Fee/Tax. Back in August 2015, Class Action status was granted to the lawsuit, and it was certified as a Class Action last fall. Obernolte stressed how important it is to file the protest form in order to make a claim for repayment later, if the lawsuit proves successful. Cal Fire men and women who work for us are doing a great job, and they aren't to blame for this Fee/Tax he said. Residents were also offered assistance filling out the Protest forms by Obernolte's office staff. State Senator Mike Morell also spoke at the Town Hall about citizens becoming involved and making sure governmental agencies work for its citizens. Morell also offered to assist residents with their dealings with any governmental agency. Obernolte also asked any residents who had a huge increase in their homeowners insurance premium to contact his office, so they can open a case file. It's a complex issue, but under state law insurance companies can use “risk for fire” scores to raise premiums. Obernolte explained that these outrageously high insurance rates for homeowners and businesses can have a negative impact on our mountain economy if this situation continues, and he wants to help prevent that from happening
SPRING SNOW STORM BLANKETS LOCAL
VILLAGE SURRENDERS TO ALA!
BACK FEES PAID AND DOCKS GIVEN UP
As of March 1, 2016, the Lake Arrowhead Village surrendered to the Arrowhead Lake Association ownership of 37 of their slip rights, after 3 years of refusing to pay their dock fees, late fees, transfer fees and interest totaling over $87,000 owed to the ALA. The Village chose to keep only 2 docks and dock rights to accommodate The Arrowhead Queen and for the McKenzie Water Ski School. Now, the Village has the contractual obligation to pay ALA for only 2 docks annually. ALA filed a lawsuit against the Village for their delinquent dock fees, but both parties came to an agreement without incurring court costs. The Village reportedly paid ALA $70K and surrendered 37 slip rights and docks to the Association. Though ALA gave the Village permission to utilize the junked 38 slip Yacht Club dock back in 2013, the Village never had any rights to these slips. Since its relocation to the McDonald’s area, the dock has posed a problem for all concerned, even though the Village got the benefit of its use, ALA members complained about the dock being in bad condition and the Village failing to properly maintain it. A big issue for the Village now, is that they have chosen to surrender their 37 dock rights along with the physical slips, and now, it appears that the value of their property has declined by several hundreds of thousands of dollars. It is difficult to put a valuation on a commercial slip right as they can't rent the slip overnight per ALA rules. There is also the loss of valuable assets to the Village when it surrendered their physical docks, as large multiple docks can cost over $200,000. Documents from the Village's recent refinancing indicate that they claimed to own 49 slips, while according to a reliable source, the Village has had only 39 slip rights since 2009 after they surrendered 10 slip rights back to ALA, ironically, for nonpayment of dock fees. A big issue for ALA is that now that they have possession of all the Village docks, the recent Member Advisory Ballot made it clear that their Boating Members voted 2-1 overwhelmingly that they didn't want to pay for the Village Docks operation and maintenance. The question now is how will ALA pay for all the newly acquired Village Docks, their associated costs and loss of dock revenue from the Village? It does not appear that there are funds allocated for this new expense in the 2016/17 Operating Budget which was just approved by the ALA Board in a 4-3 vote at the February 20th ALA Special Board Meeting. Additionally, as part of the same 4-3 Board vote, ALA members are going to be hit with a 15% increase in dock, overnight boat, beach club, general membership fees and $200.00 increase for Day use boat fees within a $4.2 Million Dollar Operating Budget, putting ALA in the red in the amount of $118,000.00 starting their fiscal year as of April 1st, 2016.
ALA BOARD VOTES 4-3 TO RAISE FEES 15%
At a special “Member Hearing” held Saturday February 20th, the ALA Board of Directors voted, after hearing from Members in attendance, to approve the Proposed Operating Budget 2016/17 with fee increases of 15%, which even with the fee raises will still leave an unbalanced budget, in the red, in the amount of $118,089.00.The vote was a narrow 4-3 in favor. Directors Ralph Wagner, Roberta Rindenow and Brian Hall voting NO and Vice President Samantha Allen-Newman, Treasurer Steve Hollstein and Director Jane St. John voting YES. The tie was broken by President Patti McGonigle casting the final vote of YES.This all comes after pleas by the Members to reconsider the budget and go back and make cuts in order to reduce any fee increase, reduce the greatly increased employee costs and produce a balanced budget for the years 2016/2017. Only two of the 12 ALA Members who spoke during the Member Comments portion of the meeting, approved of the budget and increases as presented. There were 35 - 40 ALA Members in attendance. Member Marie Simmonds stated “byapproving this 15% with the increased Day Use Fee it would not give a balance budget - cuts need to be made.” Simmonds went on to say that the increase will not cover projected additional employee costs projected at $354,182 and projected additional operating expenses projected at $286,426 totaling $640,607. Simmonds, later in the meeting, said that in the cover letter to the Proposed Budget on the website, it did not include the “full” ALA Mission Statement which includes “To protect, operate, and improve Lake Arrowhead and ALA properties, to provide reasonable and safe recreational facilities in a fiscally responsible manner, with appropriate planning for the future." The Finance Committee did not have input on 100% of the Proposed Budget, Simmonds told the Board. Past ALA President Jeff Altmeyer was very vocal, choosing not to use the microphone and instead using his booming voice to state his objection to the Proposed Budget. He insisted on speaking longer than the allotted 3 minutes per comment because he wanted his points to be heard by the Board.Following Member Comments, President McGonigle put Director Rindenow and her raised hand on hold and asked Treasurer Hollstein if he “had anything to say at this time.” After a brief restatement of his position, Hollstein moved to transfer $85,000 from the Legal line item to the Liability Insurance line item and approve the Proposed Budget with a 15% increase in Dock Fees, Boat Fees (overnight), Beach Club Fees, General Membership Fees, Late Fees and increase the Day Use Boat Fee from $300 to $500. Director Jane St. John seconded the motion. Following the motion, each director was given the opportunity to speak. Director Roberta Rindenow spoke against the fee increases, the budget and budget process in a highly impassioned speech. Rindenow presented facts about the budget process used to create this Proposed Budget, saying that if the Board approved this budget as presented, they would not be doing their fiduciary responsibility to the Members and the Association. Rindenow condemned the budget review process, fee increases and inflated expenses in the budget as being manipulated. “It is with much disappointment that I stand apart from several of my fellow Board Members today, and will not vote to approve any increases in members’ fees or inflated expenses throughout this Proposed unbalanced, flawed and bloated Operating Budget.” She also said that she would move to table the budget, send it back to Finance and then have a Finance/Board Workshop with the General Manager next week to come up with a balanced budget that they could feel proud of knowing they were working diligently for the members and the Association. Rindenow received a standing ovation from the members who kept their applause going to show their approval of her strong stance for the membership. Director Ralph Wagner stated he feels there is a need to increase fees, however, before that can be done, there must be a decrease in expenses, and have a balanced budget.Vice President Samantha Allen-Newman sat down in a chair in front of the seated Members and explained they needed the 15% increase and was even willing to go to a 20% increase.Treasurer Steve Hollstein restated his past comments on why this budget must be approved.Director Brian Hall spoke against thebudget as presented, and specifically focused on the huge legal expenses rehashing his lawsuit against ALA, and how the Judge stated that President McGonigle violated ALA bylaws by campaigning early. At that point, the Members in the audience became vocal and President McGonigle used her gavel to end the discussion.Director Jane St. John stated that she has wanted this increase for years.President Patti McGonigle stated this budget had to be approved, saying that we need to take care of staff and that if we lower benefits, we will lose good employees. Many of the Member comments, earlier in the hearing, were against a large amount of the fee increases and budget items going to the employees and not to the benefit of the Members.Comments by the Members present and through member emails and phone calls seemed to have little impact on the Board as they voted narrowly to approve the Proposed 2016/2017 budget with the 15% increase.
YES VOTENO VOTE
Jane St. John Roberta RindenowSteve Hollstein Ralph WagnerSamantha Allen-Newman Brian HallPatti McGonigle (tie breaker)As one Member stated at the meeting, “Members are going to get a big surprise when they open their ALA bill and see the fee increases.”LINK TO NEW ALA FEESLake Arrowhead Municipal Advisory Council The next meeting of the Lake Arrowhead Municipal Advisory Council, (MAC) will take place on Thursday May 5, 2016at 6:00 pm. It will be held at Fire Station 91 in the Community Room. The MAC, is our local community forum created to provide a monthly meeting for our residents to hear about and comment on a number of local and countrywide topics. County officials, staff and other non-county agency staff utilize MAC meetings as an opportunity to provide the community with information or updates.Matters of public health, safety, welfare, public works, planning or issues that may affect the community are among the concerns for the MAC. Everyone is invited to attend and encouraged to get involved.