November 2016 Meeting Minutes
Yahara Lakes Association, Ltd.
Board of Directors Meeting Minutes
Thursday, November 10, 2016 11:30 a.m. - 1:15 p.m.
The Yahara Lakes Association Board of Directors held its regularly scheduled meeting on Thursday, November 10, 2016, in the Associated Bank (3002 Fish Hatchery Road) Conference room.
The following members and advisors were present: Dick Adler, Stuart Allbaugh, Doug Bach, Roy Carter, Bill Fitzpatrick, Caroline Fribance, Carol Gillen, Mike Jensen, Allan Levin, Joe Tisserand, Sal Troia and Rhonda Arries
Members and advisors not present: Mike Gerner, Annette Hellmer, Bob Miller, Dick Pearson, Jerry Rekowski, Dan Schultz, James Tye and Debbie Waite
11:40 a.m. Call to Order: President, Roy Carter, called the meeting to order at 11:40 a.m.
11:41 a.m. Minutes: Bill Fitzpatrick made a motion to approve the October 13, 2016 meeting minutes. Joe Tisserand seconded the motion. Motion passed.
11:42 a.m. Roy Carter led the discussion regarding board member re-election nominees (Stuart Allbaugh, Roy Carter, Carol Gillen, Allan Levin, Dick Pearson and Joe Tisserand) to be voted on by Dec. 12, 2016. Also, Bob Miller will need to be replaced on the board by March 2017 as he will no longer be living on Lake Monona and is moving to Ireland. Dan Schultz contacted Lars Barber as a potential replacement but Lars declined at this time. Carol Gillen suggested emailing the membership base for a suggestion to replace Bob Miller. Allan Levin will include this in the secretary meeting minutes which Rhonda Arries will email to the membership base.
12:00 p.m. Treasurer’s report: Sal Troia, Treasurer Sal Troia discussed moving all YLA funds from Old National Bank to Associated Bank. At a previous board meeting, a motion was made to place some funds in a CD at Johnson Bank. After discussion, it was decided to keep all monies at one banking location. Dick Adler made a motion to keep all banking funds at Associated Bank and not place funds in a CD at Johnson Bank. Allan Levin seconded the motion. Motion passed. Year –to – date net income is $9,398. Net income for the year is estimated to be $7,500 vs. a budget of $6,100 and vs the year 2015 of $4,726. Donations to-date are $6,745 which surpasses 2015 donations of $4,830. Roy Carter noted that in November, a $2,500 donation from Purple Moon Foundation (Dale Leibowitz) was made. Sal noted that while cash balances are ~ $58k and net income is favorable, the overall long term trend of declining membership is a concern for YLA’s future financial health. He noted that much of the positive financial results for 2016 have come from donations and not from operations. This will need to be a top priority for 2017. Joe Tisserand made a motion to accept the Treasurer’s report. Dick Adler seconded the motion. Motion passed.
12:15 p.m. Special Events Committee – Co-Chairs: Dick Adler & Joe Tisserand Dick Adler would like the Annual Dinner event be placed on each board meeting’s agenda so that work can begin on selecting a great speaker and getting 100+ attendees. As a reminder, the board voted to hold the 2017 Annual Meeting on June 20, 2017 at Blackhawk Country Club.
12:16 p.m. Membership Committee – Chair: Roy Carter
Rhonda Arries reported 336 members year-to-date in 2016 (26 corporate and 310 individual members). vs. 380 total members in 2015. Overall membership is down 12% year over year. 30 new members were added in 2016: 20 new members came from CLA, 3 new corporate members and 7 new members from other sources. In 2015, there were 46 new members. A full breakdown of membership is on http://yaharalakes.org/boardmembers-only/
Mike Jensen, Sal Troia and Carol Gillen formed a subcommittee to look at the membership decline and presented their key takeaways. Importantly, this is an urgent issue requiring action. They found there isn’t a clear understanding why membership is declining but have noted several contributing factors such as confusion between CLA and YLA, lack of compelling or unifying issues for riparians, and historical membership practices aren’t working as well (see handout).
The subcommittee feels that a minimum threshold membership base is fast approaching before the organization is no longer truly viable. Sal Troia noted that currently there’s money in the bank but there needs to be ~ 200 to 250 members in order to run YLA operations at the current membership dues level. The rate of membership loss is trending downward at a precipitous rate. YLA is no longer the 400+ member organization it was in 2012.
Caroline Fribance stated the issue is more than financial because YLA’s mission is to act on the collective voice of a larger member organization (i.e. when you lose members, your collective voice is weaker).
Doug Bach noted that YLA’s seat on the Lakes & Watershed (L&W) is written into legislative law and he noted that YLA may not be utilizing its voice/legislative representation as much as it could or should. Discussion ensued regarding making members and non-members aware of YLA’s representation of riparians on Dane County L &W Commission. However, it was also noted that L&W has not played as great of a role recently because organizations such as CLA have greater funding and have taken a leadership role in increasing water quality. It was agreed that Mike Gerner should be asked to bring an L&W and CLA update along with his insights for the next board meeting.
Mike Jensen stated the declining membership base is an urgent issue because of its ability to influence (i.e. small vs. large collective voice) and financial viability to the organization. In 2012, membership grew 14% because of the “pier” issue which many riparians saw as a compelling and engaging issue to rally around.
Mike Jensen also noted Lake Waubesa membership in YLA is growing. He believes this is because YLA is connecting and engaging with Lake Waubesa riparians on issues specifically impacting them. On other lakes, or on a more macro-Dane County level, YLA hasn’t had a unifying issue that is connecting or engaging riparians.
It was unanimously agreed that there is confusion between YLA vs CLA. It was also agreed that CLA is doing great work and YLA needs to support them. In 2016, it was noted the CLA joint mailing is now garnering diminishing returns (i.e. not as many new members).
New possibilities include increasing membership engagement, increasing the perceived value of membership, re-engaging previous members, increasing learning and generally beginning to actively experiment to see which options work.
Mike Jensen noted that YLA needs to do more contemporary marketing & communications. He suggested leveraging corporate connections by giving discounts to members – look for ways to “ladder up” these relationships and opportunities to deepen the connection; talk and email those members who don’t renew because retention is easier than getting new members; conduct a survey with current and past members – does YLA have the right image, is YLA communicating in the right ways, etc. (Bill Fitzpatrick noted that a few surveys were done in the late 90’s and early 2000’s and agreed that the feedback can be valuable); in order to distinguish and clarify YLA’s mission vs CLA, a tag line such as “A lakefront property owner’s association” should be used for YLA; exit interviews should be done for members who haven’t renewed; get small groups of riparians by lake and find out their issues; hold events by lake and invite members and prospective members to socialize and talk about issues that are important to them. Caroline Fribance noted that zebra mussels are a new and current issue for all local riparians and that even reporting information is important. Others agreed that it’s important to report on this issue but there’s not a lot YLA can actively act upon the issue and therefore not a “unifying” riparian issue.
Mike Jensen estimated that YLA should be able to attract a certain percentage of all riparians and feels this is likely a higher % than where we’re at right now. He stated YLA needs to create value for members that extend to relationship building and making their lake living experience better – and in a unique way - because we all are lake property owners. For example, the Next Door app is a neighborhood contact system that connects people – YLA needs to build membership connections.
Carol Gillen suggested asking the current membership base for a volunteer to set up a Facebook page and/or Twitter account. The volunteer member would post current issues and events related to riparians. Rhonda Arries will include this volunteer request in the next mass email communication.
Sal Troia asked that an off-site, facilitated meeting be scheduled to follow up on the above ideas. Mike Jensen agreed and stated the meeting needed to be goal driven and generate specific outcomes. Mike volunteered to schedule the meeting. Sal Troia made a motion to approve a facilitated, off-site meeting in early 2017 to work on issues and outcomes to address declining membership. Dick Adler seconded the motion. Motion passed.
Joe Tisserand thanked Mike Jensen, Carol Gillen and Sal Troia on their terrific efforts and analysis to-date on this important issue. All other board members echoed their thanks to this group for their work.
Newsletter: Publishing schedule is February, May, August and November Carol Gillen reminded the board that she will not be available to work on the February newsletter. Allan Levin will ensure the February newsletter articles will be provided to Rhonda Arries at the end of January.
1:00 p.m. Environmental Committee – Chair: Allan Levin
Clean Lakes Alliance (CLA) – Mike Gerner and Bob Miller are CLA Board of Directors. o n/a
Lakes & Watershed (L&W) – Mike Gerner o n/a
Watershed Network Group o Roy Carter noted that this organization has asked YLA for a representative
1:01 p.m. Government Committee – Chair: Dan Schultz
1:02 p.m. Riparian Issues Committee – Chair: Annette Hellmer
Stuart Allbaugh reported that on Sept. 19 the McFarland Village Board met to discuss the “Mad City” shoreline development. The Village Board responded to YLA President - Roy Carter’s concerns. While the development is moving forward, YLA had a big impact on changing the village board’s view regarding scale and impact of the project. Stuart stated that keeping YLA in the forefront with property owners is important. Shoreline development is an important issue for all riparians and is a key issue YLA should stay involved with.
1:14 p.m. Old/New Business:
It was agreed the 2017 YLA Board Meeting schedule will remain on the 2 nd Tuesdays of the month (for all months except February, June, August and December when board meetings will not be held).
1:15 p.m. Doug Bach made a motion to adjourn the meeting. Mike Jensen seconded the motion. Motion passed.
Next meeting date is January 12, 2017