It has been a very busy year in Rivers Edge with about one-third of the year remaining.
Before I start the more general update, in case you are wondering with all the rain we had this summer, Rivers Edge has not floated away. Rainfall broke records in southeastern North Carolina in June and July. In July, the average rainfall for an entire year had already been exceeded. At Rivers Edge, we escaped with locally heavy street flooding and some storm drainage swales overwhelmed. Fortunately, the street flooding dissipated without major damage. If you have been around Rivers Edge in recent weeks, you have seen several areas along the curbs with orange traffic cones and/or flags. These mark some washouts between the curb and sidewalk along Arnold Palmer Drive. Other cones/flags mark small washouts around some drop inlets (the metal grates set into the curb/street that carry street runoff into the storm drainage system). Work has already started on these problem areas and should be finished soon. I do remind everyone that the months that usually are busiest for Atlantic hurricanes are on us now. Our Hurricane Preparation committee already has organized for this year and is prepared to help the entire community get ready in the event a storm threatens, and to help in the aftermath as necessary. If you have a home here and plan to travel in the Fall, please think about any preparations you need to make in advance, and let your neighbors, some of whom are “block captains”, know your plans and what if any assistance you might need while you are gone. Preparedness information and Hurricane Committee contacts are located on the website under Useful Information.
Now for the update.
First, a few things you already know as they were reported earlier in REPOA Flash messages and/or at the April Annual Meeting. Two major events early in the year got the community off to a start. In January, the Beach House mortgage was paid off in full, and your 2018 annual assessment reflected the absence of principle and interest payments on the mortgage. In February, the vote on the Golf Course amendment was tallied, with an excellent participation rate of over two-thirds of all property owners casting a ballot, and over two-thirds approving the amendment. The golf course has made a number of improvements as promised, and the golf course is current on their payment plan to pay off their past due assessments. Despite the earlier heavy rains, the course is in excellent condition and enjoying a lot of play.
In April, we had a good annual meeting with informative reports from the Committees who are the backbone of all the work that it takes to keep Rivers Edge going. In the President’s Message, read at the meeting and distributed electronically later, I emphasized the role that volunteers play in making Rivers a wonderful place to live.
General Appearance. Despite one of the coldest winters in many years, the community came out of the Spring and into early Summer looking spectacular. Kudos to a group of ladies in the community who made some great annual plant selections and spent many hours dressing up the front entrance. With all the rains and then several very hot, dry weeks, the landscape group already is working up plans for Fall
plantings and have contracted for a more comprehensive landscape plan for the entrance and the roadway beyond the entrance. During the summer, the golf course pro shop staff received numerous complements from golfers playing Rivers Edge for the first time on how beautiful the community looks as soon as you approach the main gate on Copas Road. We will do another mowing of unimproved lots as soon as grass and weeds slow down their growth rate.
Paving and Drainage
A small project was just completed to finish addressing some drainage issues in the swale along part of Laurel Valley Drive across from the River Hall back parking lot. The Town of Shallotte asked for permission from the state Department of Transportation to do some work on the drainage ditch across Copas Road for some distance, both in the area of our front entrance and the entrance area to Fairway Crossings. Thank you to the Town of Shallotte for addressing a major street flooding problem at the entrance to Fairway Crest.
One paving projects is coming up soon, as soon as contractors get caught up on the time lost during the heavy rains and the emergency repairs around the county that rain caused. We will finish paving that part of Laurel Valley Drive from the entrance to River Hall on around the curve and up the hill across from the pond. That will complete the repaving of the oldest section of roadway in Rivers Edge.
Repairs and patches to the drop inlets and other small washouts around or near drop inlets caused by the heavy rains should be completed very soon.
Facilities and Beach Club
As you know from communications from the Facilities Committee and the Beach Club Committee, we had to do some lengthy detective work on the causes of, and solutions to, to two problems. The outdoor swimming pool developed a leak causing the loss of thousands of gallons of water (all underground and undetected). The problem was identified by our pool service and repaired. Pool hours were almost entirely unaffected, thanks to Facilities and the pool service vendor.
At the Beach House, a problem hidden inside the walls caused by water somehow finding its way into a section of wall is a major concern. Apparently, the problem has been going on a long time. Repairs will be necessary to siding, the wall, and most importantly to replace a major support beam. That required some engineering analysis to make sure the structural integrity is preserved and to avoid a repeat problem. We have a vendor under contract, and work should start soon on that project. Access and use of the Beach House has not been affected this summer, and the repairs hopefully will cause only minor inconveniences. We expect funds held in beach house reserve will be sufficient to cover the cost.
Management and Governance
Not all the work directly involves common property facilities. We formalized last year processes to periodically rebid contracts that typically are multi-year. Requests for Proposals have been issued and bid reviews will soon be completed for the Landscape Maintenance contract and for the Management Services contract. Both contracts expire at the end of 2018. Procedures developed for these important
long-term contracts will be formalized as part of improving our vendor selection and management to ensure we get best value in our contracted services.
We also have made important changes in planning for and managing capital reserves, under the leadership of the Finance Committee. Our facilities now are of an age where we can expect larger repairs. By careful management of the operating budget and budgeting more effectively in reserve budgets for future repairs and improvements, we hope to avoid unhappy surprises for large, unanticipated expenditures. Those of you who study the annual budget can expect to see additional reserve categories that will help you understand better where your annual assessments go.
The Communications and Long-range Planning Committees are preparing the questionnaire for the second Property Owners Survey. The first such survey for Rivers Edge was completed and reported to all property owners in 2016. That first survey went well, and the Board was able to use the results to prioritize subsequent annual budgets as well as respond to other issues that did not necessarily involve the budget. We anticipate an early Fall date for this survey. We hope all property owners will take the time to complete the online survey so that we can hear from everyone. An important emphasis in this survey will be to reach out to owners of unimproved property, especially those who live far from Rivers Edge and rarely are here in the development. The Long-range Planning Committee also has made some initial contact with area realtors and started plans for better marketing the community.
Fun, Entertainment and a little Education
Other committees have been very busy this year. The Social Committee is very active in putting together major activities for the community. The ever-popular Road Rally was once again fun for all participants, and the Welcome Summer Party was a big hit. The start of football season will be marked by a Tailgate Party. Facilities completed a major resurfacing and partial transformation of the tennis courts to support the growing population in the community who have become Pickle Ball addicts (that’s what some of them say they are).
Keep up with News and Events on the website to see all the activities both within and outside the community. In addition to lots of community fun, Rivers Edge residents are generous with their time and other resources participating in a lot of local area volunteer work. Stories and pictures are regularly featured.
We also from time to time sponsor educational evenings including a presentation and discussion on how the Rivers Edge budget works, training in CPR instruction, and stay tuned for an early Fall evening on the history of the land before Rivers Edge was here and the surrounding area, including the Town of Shallotte. If you have ever wondered where and what “the Wandering Glade” and “Tar Landing” are, you will learn that they are a part of our community, or just off the community in the Shallotte River.
Not only is Rivers Edge itself a great place to live, but the area around us is increasingly attractive as a destination. The Town of Shallotte is moving forward with the River Walk project, preparing for the initial infrastructure investments and starting construction of the first phase of the River Walk itself. This major town investment, only two miles from our development, should make Rivers Edge an even better choice to live. It also should have a positive impact on our property values.
I hope everyone has had a great Summer. We are looking forward to a great Fall.
President, REPOA Board