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New POA directors Grant Grimes and Lou Stephenson

Grimes, Stephenson elected to POA board, Goldman named president

By Barbara Schneider This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Phil and Carolyn Anderson receive gifts of appreciation from the POA staff and board

Even dreary wet weather couldn’t keep an overflow crowd from attending the POA’s Saturday, Dec. 1 annual meeting in the Big Canoe Chapel. POA President Phil Anderson announced Lou Stephenson and Grant Grimes had been elected to fill the POA director seats to be vacated at the close of the meeting by Anderson and Steve Wilson.

At a session immediately following the annual meeting the 2019 POA board members elected Jay Goldman, president; Dudley DeVore, vice president; Jim Farinholt, treasurer; and Wayne Crawford, secretary. Carolyn Littell, a former POA director and Big Canoe resident, was named the developer’s POA representative.

The two county governments covering Big Canoe were represented by county commissioners Becky Denney, (Pickens, Eastern District) and Sharon Fausett, (Dawson, District 1). Don Suddeth, president of Utilities Inc. of Georgia and UIG operations director Ron Medders also attended the meeting.

Financial status reported

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Jayne Hagan, Big Canoe’s director of finance, reviews financial plans

Jayne Hagan, POA director of Finance, reported on 2018 and 2019 financials. Hagan provided a detailed explanation of expected revenues and planned expenditures. Talking about the amenities, she said the biggest loss was the golf amenity by $120,000 due to very wet weather while the Wellness [Fitness] Center and Marina revenue exceeded budget in 2018.

“About $475,000 will not be spent in 2019 as we are over by about $450,000 due to salaries, legal and recruiting fees. We have addressed these issues in the 2019 budget,” she said. (See Jayne Hagan’s article “2019 Capital Budget Explained” in this week’s Smoke Signals Weekly)

“During 2018 we had five new property owner orientations—averaging 80 people at each one,” Hagan said. Year-to-date through October there were 267 closings: 51 lots, 194 resale houses and 22 new homes.

Results from community census

General Manager Jill Philmon reported on the online census survey recently sent out to the email addresses of 2,734 property owners in Big Canoe. Of that number, 1,410 responded for a 51.6 percent response rate. Based on feedback, Philmon said there are 706 full time homes, 178 considered “primary” homes, 321 weekend/vacation homes, 26 rental properties, 11 unused homes and 66 listed as “other.”

Asked the age of “head of household,” 499 replied 60-69 and 479 replied 70-79. The overall mean age, according to Philmon, is 66.5. One-third of respondents moved to Big Canoe in the last eight years.

Discussing the Chambers Master Community Plan, she said a community survey will be sent out in December, adding there are 210 new amenity members.

Questions about everything

Following every POA meeting there is a time for questions, with the first one coming from Carolyn Witt. “Why is there a 30 percent increase in one year in marina slip fees for a profitable amenity? Couldn’t the increase have been more gradual?”

Philmon replied that similar fees are still lower than the other communities that were benchmarked. “We are benchmarking everything as part of a study of Big Canoe’s fees and rates compared to other similar communities.”

Addressing issues with Big Canoe’s postal facility, Steve Shannon asked, “Is there a possibility of establishing our own zip code?”

Philmon turned to Dawson Commissioner Fausett, who replied, “That’s going to be difficult. It’s a federal issue.”

“It would probably take incorporation to get a separate zip code,” said Philmon. Anderson noted that the POA had already engaged Congressman Doug Collins office for assistance with the zip code issue.

Kathy Samples asked about the proposed Big Canoe intern program. “This year will be learning time,” said Philmon. In 2019 she plans to recruit some students and rent some units to house them. “We are looking for hospitality degree students who will get a grade for their time as interns.” She said the program would start small and provide mentoring.

Ray Duncan asked what the amenity fee would be for bocce when it becomes an amenity. The fee will be $10 per person a month, replied Philmon.

Shiraz Alikhan said he’s noticed a drop in the water level in Blackwell Creek. “We are bringing the water level up now,” responded Ron Medders, Utilities Inc. of Georgia. “We lowered the water level to clean the [creek] banks and then had some pump issues.”

Molly Perdue, a new resident as of October, asked about marketing. “Who are we marketing to? Who do we want to attend?” Philmon responded that the current marketing is mostly internal—collateral—as well as advertising to increase golf tournaments, corporate meetings and weddings. “Almost 20 percent of homeowners were introduced to Big Canoe through a wedding or other event,” she added.

Other questions included, “What was the reason for major re-design of the [golf] courses?” “It will not be a major redesign,” said Philmon. “We will be focusing on the cart paths and drainage. And, we want the courses to be challenging for golfers.”

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