Lifeguard Wages and Facility Upgrades Key Topics at November Board Meeting

At the beginning of the meeting, WCA President Shawn Yesner gave the floor to two homeowners. The homeowners had requested a refund of a variance fee. When they purchased the house in question, it had an elevated paver patio. They asked the modification committee for permission to install a safety railing, and the committee denied their request. They then submitted the same request to the variance committee, which approved it, but charged them a $150 variance fee. Sells, who had previously consulted with the couple, said that the homeowners were trying to comply with county code, a move that should have been made by those who initially installed the patio. He then made a motion to refund the variance fee, but no one seconded it and it failed.

Blakley Echeverry was the only board member who was not present.

Returning to old business, Director Eric Holt gave an update on work completed by Tampa Bay Tech Solutions, the WCA’s new IT vendor. The company has updated the support software on all eight WCA computers and transitioned the board to a new Google account. As part of the transition, board members now have their own new Gmail addresses. Holt moved to formally adopt the use of the new Gmail addresses for all official WCA business by September 2023, which is when the next board election will be held. Board members voted 5 to 1 in favor of the motion, with Director Jim Brinker providing the sole nay vote.

The next item of business was the tennis tournament being organized by AB Tennis for the Westchase Charitable Foundation. The foundation has requested the use of all tennis courts on February 4 and 5, 2023, and Holt said the decision was up to Facilities Manager Dwight Kilgore. Kilgore said he thought at least two of the eight courts should be kept available for residents.

Holt added that the foundation would like to hold an event with food and beverage service as part of the tournament and would like to serve alcohol. Property Manager Debbie Sainz said that the community has no liquor liability policy, so the foundation would have to get their own. Brinker moved to allow the foundation to have alcohol at their event, given they procure the proper permits and liability insurance. Holt recused himself because he sits on the foundation’s board, and Sells was opposed to the motion, which passed 4 to 1.

Board members then discussed the split air conditioning unit that potentially was to be installed in the lifeguard office at the West Park Village pool. The board received a bid for $4677 to run new electrical conduits to the office, which are necessary to install the AC unit. Sells moved to accept the bid, and Brinker seconded the motion.

Prior to voting on that initial motion, Holt suggested that instead of paying almost $10,000 for the electrical work and actual unit, the board consider purchasing a top-of-the-line window or floor unit. The board then voted on the initial motion, which failed 5 to 1. Brinker then moved to purchase a portable unit for no more than $1200, and his motion passed unanimously.

The final item of old business was the matter of the Avery Construction contracts for the bathroom renovations at both swim and tennis facilities. The work would now be under two separate contracts, one for Countryway and one for Parley, since they are two separate parcels.

Yesner said that the goal was to get the construction started and completed as soon as possible.

The board then discussed whether there was a need for a builder’s risk insurance policy. Sainz said she’d received a quote for $579 for a limit of $141,000 worth of coverage. Sells moved to acquire the policy, and his motion passed unanimously.

The Master Plan Committee recommended purchasing more resort-style furnishings for the swimming facilities, despite the fact that all pool furniture was replaced in 2019. Sells argued that the current chairs and lounges aren’t in need of replacement, but he understood the desire to turn the Parley pool into more of a resort-style facility. He recommended limiting the new furniture to Parley, and moved to defer the project to the first quarter of next year, when the pool would be used more regularly. His motion passed unanimously.

In her manager’s report, Sainz said the annual budget showed a net loss of $40,000 through the end of October. Part of that was the $15,000 spent on the new sound systems for the swim and tennis facilities, which was not included in the budget. An overage in legal fees constituted another portion of the loss. The windows at the West Park Village pool facility were installed in early November, said Sainz, and the metal roofs were scheduled to be installed in mid or late December.

During his report, Kilgore said that lifeguards’ starting pay is currently $12 per hour, and that he offers incentive pay of $15 per hour for those who work 6:30-10 a.m., which are considered irregular hours. The incentive pay has created some conflict among lifeguards, and he proposed increasing lifeguards’ hourly wage by $1 and lowering the incentive wage to $.50 more than an employee’s hourly base pay. With these proposed increases, staffing costs would still be under budget for the current year.

Sells moved to increase the lifeguards’ starting salary from $12 to $13 and change the incentive pay for irregular hours, per Kilgore’s proposal, effective January 1, 2023. The motion passed unanimously.

The board then voted to ratify the motion to create a head lifeguard position and approve Kilgore’s job description for the position. Kilgore said he planned to take leave for two weeks beginning November 23 and hoped that the head lifeguard would be on staff prior to his departure. Sainz said for that to happen, the candidate would need to come on board prior to receiving the results of their drug testing. Yesner moved to hire the candidate pending the results of the drug test, and everyone voted in favor of his motion.

Holt said he had a spreadsheet of 58 reserve line item projects going back as far as 2010 that were fully funded but hadn’t all been acted upon. He suggested revisiting the list on an annual basis to ensure that projects didn’t fall through the cracks. Sells moved to create a temporary working group to prioritize projects for maintenance or replacement at WCA facilities, and his motion passed unanimously.

Holt then reported that two people have stepped up to serve on the newly created Notifications Committee, but that no one had volunteered to chair it. He volunteered to serve as chair, and the board voted unanimously in favor of the measure.

The board then asked Sainz and Kilgore to step out of the room while they considered year-end gifts for staff members and contract employees. The total budget for these gifts was $8500, said Yesner. Following a discussion of how much money to give to swim and tennis center employees, the conversation then turned to gifts for the community association managers who are employed by Greenacre Properties, Inc.

Holt brought up concerns he had with giving monetary gifts to contract employees, suggesting gift baskets instead. Following a brief debate, the board voted 5 to 1 to continue with monetary gifts for the night watchman, the two community managers and the community’s administrative assistant, who are all employed by Greenacre Properties, Inc.


By Lynn Gonzalez
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