Paving and Tar and Chip Updates – Carroll Construction will begin paving preparations at the Yieders Run, Sunset Circle, and Clubhouse mail stations this week. This work will be followed by paving at those locations, the marina (handicapped parking area) and patching of areas scheduled to be tar and chipped, as necessary. This will allow patched areas to properly cure prior to the beginning of tar and chip applications which are currently scheduled to begin in late August or early September.
Leaf Vacuum Engine Replacement – The Association’s leaf vacuum trailer has been out of operation for more than a year now due to engine failure. The trailer itself remains in good condition. We were unable to replace the engine last year due to supply chain issues resulting from Covid per suppliers contacted – they were either on backorder or unavailable. A direct replacement is now available. Shade Equipment Company provided a quote for the engine and installation with an estimated cost of $3,883.77. In addition to the engine, I recommend that LHCC have the trailer itself inspected mechanically while in for service (check of the wheel bearings primarily). The leaf vacuum is a Replacement Reserve item. My recommendation is that the Board authorize replacement of the engine as quoted, as well as any other necessary repairs found, while at Shade’s, out of the Replacement Reserve Fund with an estimated not to exceed $5,000
Tractor Repairs and Recommendations – The Association’s 4-wheel drive Kubota M7060 tractor is currently at Winchester Equipment Company for repairs. It is believed that the wheel bearings have failed on the axle. This tractor is of critical importance as it is currently the only 4-wheel drive tractor LHCC owns and the only one with a backhoe attachment mount. In addition, it is the only one that can adequately pull the brush hog on the hilly terrain of the former golf course property. We have rented a replacement while the tractor is in for service. The replacement has a bucket and backhoe allowing for drainage area work to continue but is not set up for a brush hog. Thus, brush hogging cannot resume until the Kubota is repaired and back in service.
LHCC does own a second tractor (Kubota MX5200) which is in good condition, but it’s use is highly limited by its size, its lower horsepower rating, and by the fact that it is 2-wheel drive. Since the acquisition of the former golf course property, the primary 4-wheel drive tractor has been used much more in terms of service hours and duties. It is now often a balancing act between the use of the backhoe attachment to address drainage issues, the manicuring of the beach, and the mowing of the large open areas of the former golf course property. As such, I recommend that LHCC replace the 2-wheel drive tractor with a second 4-wheel drive tractor with similar capabilities, configuration, and attachment options as the M7060. This would include the addition of a second backhoe mount on any new acquisition. I will seek quotes for a replacement in accordance with these recommendations, to include the trade in value of the MX5200, and will bring those quotes to the Board for consideration once acquired. Having a second 4-wheel drive tractor with similar capabilities will allow LHCC to continue all necessary operations if/when one of the two tractors is out of service and will also allow brush hogging and backhoe operations to be undertaken simultaneously when both are in service.
Roadside Tree Trimming Recommendations – Many roadways within Lake Holiday have become overgrown by branches extending out to the road edges, and in some cases, out into the roadway. Our maintenance crew has been battling these back as time allows for a number of years now but are not ideally trained or outfitted for such work. As the community has expanded and additional property and amenities have been added, the crew’s workload has increased significantly over the past decade or so. As such, the workload has grown to the point where routine maintenance such as: mowing of grassy areas, removal of trash from the common areas, minor building repairs, ditch and drainage maintenance operations, buoy placement, lake maintenance (removal of debris, etc.), routine equipment maintenance, and snow removal duties truly take all the time available for the six-man team. As such, the crew no longer has time available to address nonroutine items such as cutting back the roadways. The crew size is adequate to address the routine, but special projects, and non-routine items can quickly put everything behind and overstress the workforce.
In my opinion, it would not be prudent to add additional employees or equipment to rectify things such as the overgrowth along the roadways. This opinion is formed based on a few factors. First, the crew does not have arborist training, and are not specialized in that type of work, making their efficiency at such operations much less than that of professionals who do specialize in such operations. Additionally, the equipment ideally suited to such work (a fully outfitted forestry bucket truck) is quite expensive, costly to maintain, and requires training and experience to operate effectively. Secondly, it simply does not make sense to increase crew size to tackle such out of the ordinary items, as doing so would result in other times when the crew was then idle, or a need to reduce crew size once a specific project was accomplished. The current crew size is sufficient so long as the association does not continually add to their duties through special projects, new amenities, etc. This approach does result in a need to utilize vendors for such projects though. In speaking with a contact at SVEC and with our current tree service arborist, I believe the cutting back of the roadsides could be accomplished and maintained through an 8–10-year recurring basis approach. That is, once completed correctly (cut back approximately 10 -15 feet from the pave surface and up approximately 25’) it would be necessary to do so again approximately every 8-10 years.
I am recommending that LHCC consider undertaking such a plan of action beginning this fall and winter with prioritization being given to the areas with the most overgrowth first and continuing in a systematic way until all areas are completed (completing entire roads or sections of roads prior to beginning the next priority area). In accordance with this recommendation, I have began reaching out to qualified vendors seeking availability and price estimate examples. I say examples since each road is different, some roadways have little overgrowth while others have a large amount. Some firms, such as Xylem (SVEC’s contractor of choice), will only work with utilities and governmental agencies. I have contacted Ben at Smelser’s Tree Service as his firm has long been the contractor of choice for LHCC tree services. The use of a known contractor, such as Smelser’s, would be preferred in my opinion, as they are familiar with the community, with member expectations and would be sensitive to the aesthetics after the cut-back as well as to member ornamentals which in some cases should be left untouched.
Ben has agreed to work up pricing on a couple of areas for me so that we will have an idea of the expense involved. It will likely be at least a few weeks before that information becomes available. Smelser’s is willing to undertake the work if so desired, but could not commit to working on it constantly as he has other clients who he serves and cannot abandon them to work here exclusively. This would likely be the case with all such service providers. What he is willing to do is to work on such a project periodically over the course of the next year providing prices by road or section as he goes so that LHCC can systematically get all roadways cut back over the course of approximately one year, at which point, the Association could plan to do so again in roughly 8 to 10 years.
Is the Board in agreement to undertaking planning for such an approach, or are there other ideas of how to best accomplish getting this work done in a timely manner? If there is a general agreement to such an approach, is the Board willing to assign prioritization of areas/roads to the Building, Grounds and Safety Committee or would you rather staff undertake the prioritization? Lastly, if the Board is open to such approach, it will be necessary to begin planning for the funding of this work. Although we do not know the cost yet, the expense will be considerable as there is lot of work to be accomplished. The community has approximately eighteen miles of paved roadways, therefore approximately thirty-six miles of roadside (in the developed areas alone) which will need to be cut back where needed.
Submitted July 19, 2022, by:
Mike Goodwin, LHCC GM