The regularly scheduled Baca Grande Property Owners’ Association (POA) Board meeting was held via Zoom on Thursday, November 18 at 10am. All five Board members were in attendance, as was Executive Director Connie Estrada, and Fire Chief Jim Vanderpool. The new Board members with their new titles are as follows: Dale Halley, President; Diego Martinez, Vice President; Sugandha Brooks, Treasurer; Ed Sbarbaro, Secretary; and Steve Dossenback, Member at Large. The meeting was well attended with 17 people in attendance, mostly property owners. The meeting was adjourned at 12:10pm.
Director Hallely took over presiding the meeting from Steve Dossenback shortly after it began and thus began the tenure of the new Board. Some financial issues were brought up at this point; no yearly dues assessments have gone out yet as they usually do by this time of the year; there were software and lockbox issues prohibiting this from happening. These things are expected to be solved by next week and the POA is hopeful of getting some early payers to ease a temporary cash crunch. A reminder was given that the new 2022 dues are $493.00. EMS income is still drastically down from pre-COVID times, bad debt is much higher than budgeted as is water usage, despite the golf course coming in on budget. It is still expected that the POA will finish the year at or close to budget.
The Maintenance Department has been busy cleaning up Camper Village and it is open and ready to go. Virtually all the flood damage in the Chalets from earlier this year has been repaired and Maintenance Chief, Shawn Holmer, is getting caught up on regular road maintenance. It was announced that a long-standing policy of the POA to fix members’ flat tires for free is over, and from here on, $20 per tire will be charged.
Tree cutting concerns
Willow Creek and Crestone Creek mitigation is almost complete and free firewood is available where Cordial Way crosses Cottonwood Creek.
Some community members are upset with what they view as too severe a cut in POA fire mitigation efforts where Cordial Way crosses Cottonwood Creek. All the trees were cut down in perhaps a 2000SF area, leaving virtually no vegetation left.
When the Eagle made an inquiry to the POA as to why this was necessary, POA Board President Dale Halley immediately called back and stated that the fire mitigation crews are doing their job just as they should, following proper protocol as set forth in a combined Firewise and Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP).
A fire mitigation expert, Tad Crawford, with the Colorado State Forest Service (CSFS) in Alamosa prepared the plan and has approved of POA implementation so far. As a matter of fact, the CSFS says that the POA has won national recognition for its wildfire preparedness.
In a brief phone interview, Dale Halley stated that he plans to distill a lot of technical data into something the general public can easily read and understand on the whole subject of fire mitigation throughout the Baca. He has only been seated on the Board for a month now, and asks the community to give him a little time in putting this together. He would also like it known that he has met with concerned citizens at the Cordial Way site and has talked to several more on the phone.
The CWPP plan can be viewed on the Firewise website, https://csfs.colostate.edu/wildfire-mitigation/community-wildfire-protection-plans.
Former Ambulance Chief, Pam Gripp, is back in POA employ at least temporarily, to assist new Ambulance Chief, Joanna Dokson, ramp up the depleted EMS department. A new laptop was donated to the Ambulance Service and they also received four new pagers as progress continues.
Dani Gronhovd from SLV GO! was present to presented the Board with three different options for trails from the kiosk, near the entrance to the Baca, to Crestone Charter School. She will likely be taking over from Burt Wadman and his team, as the design of the Safe Routes to School has moved to the construction phase. The Board will make a decision on this by January’s Board meeting.
The EAC (Environmental and Architectural Committee) added two new members, Bob Hunt and Zach Kramer. They will be seated immediately as the EAC has been quite busy in the last couple of years.
Dale Halley attended a meeting earlier in November with representatives from Crestone, Moffat, and the Saguache County Sheriff’s Department to discuss the possibility of more police protection in the Baca, Crestone, and Moffat. Crestone is looking for 24-hour coverage, seven days a week. This would entail hiring four more deputies and cost in the neighborhood of $450,000 to $475,000. Dale stated that there is no room in the POA budget for any financial participation in 2022 but wants to continue to dialog with all concerned parties along these lines.
Dale was also involved in a meeting with the Town of Crestone to discuss the possibility of a joint community center, perhaps in the vicinity of the kiosk. Once again, Dale does not have any budget dollars for this in 2022, but understands this will be a long-term possibility and is looking forward to further dialog with Crestone regarding this. He made a point of saying that participating in these talks are all part of being a good neighbor, which Dale stated is a real priority in his tenure on the Board.
The next regularly scheduled Board meeting will be in January, and meetings are expected to be every other month for the foreseeable future.