Posted 6/7/2022By Susan Thompson Lake Panorama Times
The 53rd annual meeting of the Lake Panorama Association was May 14 at the LPN conference center. About 90 people attended, representing 44 voting members. It was announced the LPA currently has a total membership of 1,728, with 10 of those inactive, because 2022 dues have not been paid.
A total of 504 ballots were counted regarding whether to approve the adoption of LPA’s Amended and Substituted Covenants and Restrictions. The ballot measure passed easily with 484 yes votes, and 20 no votes, for a 96% approval.
The covenants serve as the foundation of the LPA’s governing documents and are an essential piece of LPA’s organizational structure. The covenants were last adopted April 26, 2003, and must be renewed within 21 years. The updated covenants now will be filed in the office of the Guthrie County Recorder, and be in place until May 14, 2043.
A total of 495 ballots were cast in the election for three people to serve on the LPA board of directors. There were three people running for the three seats. New board members are Dennis Flanery, Mark Jorgensen and Dirk Westercamp.
Gary Evans, LPA board treasurer, provided the 2021 financial and audit report for the LPA and its subsidiary, LPN, LLC. The CPA firm of Meriwether, Wilson and Company conducted the LPA annual audit, reviewing financial statements and balance sheets from 2021 and 2020 of Lake Panorama Association and LPN, LLC.
Evans said the auditor’s report stated the financial statements, consolidated reports and consolidated cash flows for both entities were in order and that the methods used by staff to create the documents were in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards.
LPN, LLC reported an operating loss of $339,309 for 2021. Evans said LPN received a second federal Paycheck Protection Program loan in 2021, which was fully forgiven in the amount of $223,616. Once facility rent of $70,000 to LPA was booked, LPN showed a final net loss of $185,692.
LPA reported net income of $846,264 for 2021. Of that, $353,484 was for the yearly auditors’ adjustment for land sales expense. Evans said this is an accounting adjustment for tax purposes and does not represent new money coming into the organization. Copies of the auditor’s report are available at the LPA office.
Rich Schumacher, LPA board president, chaired the meeting. To open his president’s report, Schumacher thanked the many people who volunteer on four standing LPA committees, including water safety, building codes, land sales and appeals. He also recognized the four volunteers who counted ballots for the 2022 annual meeting.
“These volunteers don’t do this for their personal gain but rather because they know they are helping LPA members have a better experience here at Lake Panorama,” he said.
Schumacher reviewed two recent LPN, LLC projects. At the LPN, a new retaining wall was installed in the pond near the fifth hole. The second project was the removal of a total of 350 ash trees from the LPN and Panorama West golf courses. He reported the LPA has received the stump grinder that was ordered last fall, and work will begin soon to clear stumps on the two courses.
Turning to the LPA, Schumacher said the board takes a very serious look at the annual budget. “While each area of the staff looks at their numbers, projecting out needs for up to five years, the board considers the needs, and questions if it can wait or what is a priority,” he said.
For many years, the LPA board has been restricted by a past membership vote to raising annual dues no more than 5%.
“I’ve had members ask me to not increase the dues, and newer members say our dues are not high enough for what they receive,” Schumacher said. “When we looked at this year’s budget, we knew the 5% increase was necessary because of our increasing costs. That 5% increase will generate an additional $97,905.”
John Rutledge, LPA general manager and LPN, LLC director of operations, began his report with a look at the LPN.
“We have had some turnover in the food and beverage management team, which I know has been disappointing for our supporters,” he said. “I can assure you this has been disappointing for us, too. We are working with the LPA and LPN boards to review our approach to the food and beverage department.”
“Golf continues to perform well for us, with LPN memberships increasing by nine and Panorama West memberships increasing by four this year,” Rutledge said. “Overall, LPN, LLC is not a profitable subsidiary for LPA, but it’s also not a black hole. The LPA board continues to believe even though LPN is not a profit-producing investment, it continues to be an important benefit for LPA members.”
Currently, Rutledge is overseeing the LPN food and beverage department, and Royce Shaffer continues to manage everything else. Rutledge said the two of them welcome feedback on dining, golf or lodging experiences and have established a special email account for comments: firstname.lastname@example.org
Shifting gears to the LPA, Rutledge said the annual seal-coating of LPA roads is “suffering from inflation. The 2022 cost will be $26,800 per mile, so we will treat about eight miles instead of the usual nine-and-a-half miles. Hopefully, material costs will come back down in 2023, closer to the $20,000 per mile range, and we’ll be able to increase the number of miles treated.”
Rutledge said the LPA Security department continues to play an important role for the association, covering water safety, land patrol, hunting management and other responsibilities.
“One item to highlight is the critical importance of invasive species rule enforcement,” he said. “Members who travel with their boats must comply to ensure the health of Lake Panorama into the future. This also applies to any used docks or lifts that are purchased from other bodies of water. We occasionally receive some pushback on this topic, but we stand firm. The lake is the lifeblood of this community, and we must do our part to avoid the negative impact of invasive species.”
Rutledge said the new water plant is functioning as designed, and almost all feedback from members has been “extremely positive.” He encouraged anyone who feels the water quality coming into their home isn’t what it should be to contact LPA.
A water main crossing at Sunset Beach is scheduled to be replaced this year at a cost of around $600,000. A similar main in Burchfield Cove failed in the winter of 2020 and had to be replaced on short notice. Rutledge said replacing the Sunset Beach main is “part of the natural process of replacing assets that are 50 years old.”
The lake dam undergoes an extensive review every five years, in addition to annual inspections, with the five-year review done recently. This was the first time a company was hired to send a diver underwater for a thorough inspection of the dam and components.
“The initial assessment is very good, considering our dam is 50 years old,” Rutledge said. “As with everything, there is a heightened sense of awareness as dams increase in age. We expect some routine repairs will be needed in the concrete portions of the dam. The cylinders and the bascule gate all are in good condition.”
Rutledge said the dog park, funded by donors through Friends of Lake Panorama, would open in June. He said past projects led by Friends, including playground equipment at all three beaches and the sports courts at Boulder Beach, are much appreciated and used regularly. He thanked the Friends board and all donors who have helped support the Lake Panorama community with these recreational amenities.
Next Rutledge turned his attention to the Lake Panorama Rural Improvement Zone (RIZ). Expansion of the 180th Trail Basin is underway, and will be used for sediment storage once the current basin is full. A new wetland to help protect water quality flowing into Burchfield Cove is planned with construction hopefully underway this fall. A second wetland, also designed to help protect Burchfield Cove, is held up because of a conflict with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. An onsite meeting was planned with Corps officials for the following week in an attempt to iron out differences.
Rutledge said dredging being done this spring in the Narrows would end before Memorial Day weekend. The dredge crew then will turn its attention to assessing coves and spot dredging.
Plans to rip rap the south shore are being made with the RIZ board requiring a signed contract that LPA will retain it as green space for at least 15 years. Rutledge said the project cost could exceed $750,000.
“We’re hopeful this work can be done this fall, but material supplies and fuel costs both are creating concerns about this tight timeline,” Rutledge said.
RIZ is projected to receive $3 million in revenues in the 2022-23 fiscal year.
“LPA dues generate about $2 million annually,” Rutledge said. “If we had to come up with $3 million annually to do the dredging and water quality projects now funded by RIZ, it would be very difficult. Even though that $3 million comes from LPA member-paid property taxes, without RIZ, we know that money wouldn’t all be coming back to us, it would be shifted elsewhere.”
Shortly after the LPA annual meeting adjourned, the LPA board of directors convened a special meeting to elect officers for the coming year. A slate of officers was nominated, and elected unanimously to take office upon adjournment of the special meeting. LPA board officers now are Rich Schumacher, president; Emily Donovan, vice president; David Finneseth, secretary; and Dennis Flanery, treasurer. n