The meeting was called to order by President Lani Farr at 4:00PM at the Cemetery.
Also present were Trustees Lynda Edmonds and Greg Taylor. Absent were Trustees Lisa Hammond, due to illness, and Bill Morris on vacation.
Also present were Manager Doug Basolo, Assistant Manager Logan Marlow and Jamie Alamillo from Alamillo Landscape. Visitors from the Public in attendance were Ernie & Becky Morales, Tom & Linda Robertson, Curtis and Susie Adams, Liz Hinklin, Marjie Bartels and Mike Horn from Fillmore and Jennifer Lawrence from Ventura.
PUBLIC COMMENT – Jennifer Lawrence asked how people interested in the Cemetery could best help. She said she could bring tools to help cleaning headstones. There are a lot of people who no longer live in the area and have loved ones buried here. She stated her parents are buried elsewhere and
she has paid a high school student to clean her parents headstones in her absence and possibly this might be a suggestion. Curtis Adams said he was concerned about headstones he had just passed not being trimmed and we need to get it on the ballot to get more money for the Cemetery. He stated he knew that Doug and Jamie were working hard to make it better. Jennifer also mentioned the roots of the big trees pushing up on the headstones, Linda Robertson stated that $5 per parcel is not enough and when there was a negative response in the past maybe people need to donate to hire another person.
She stated that Bardsdale is much larger than Piru and they pay $254 so the $5 Bardsdale receives is not nearly enough. Liz Hinklin thanked the Board for all they do and put up with from the Public. She feels the Cemetery has gotten better and appreciates everyone’s efforts. She is frustrated and upset because she takes her time to come and care for her families graves and a lot of people do not and just want to complain on social media. She said nowhere in the contract does it say that the Cemetery is responsible for the upkeep of each headstone. She will come and keep hers trimmed and be back in 3 weeks and overgrown. She suggested we might add to the information we give families who purchase plots that they are responsible for the area around their headstone. She said she is willing to help organize getting groups to come out and help with the Cemetery. She said those who complain on Facebook if they want things done should be here. Ernie Morales said he understands the finances and says because there was not much interest in the increase before does not mean we shouldn’t try again. Everyone wants something pleasing and aesthetic but he understands the dynamics of what it takes. Becky Morales said it does no good to point fingers as everyone here is interested in helping the Cemetery. Marjie Bartels said under a different subject that she wanted to know what was happening with the restroom situation. She was told that would be addressed under old business.
MANAGER’S REPORT – Doug reported there are some problems with the gophers but the new company is doing a better job. We need to have the palm trees trimmed and have 5 graves ready for sod. He would like to remove the shrubs between the office and gas house and replace with fence and privacy screen. The last time the roads were resurfaced was in 2009 and is needed again. The potholes need to be redone. He has contacted the salesman regarding a new niche wall and hopefully will be hearing from him shortly. There are only 5 spaces left for sale in the present wall. He also reported that in the Fiscal Year 2020-2021 we had 15 cremations and 40 full burials and Fiscal Year 2021-2022 there were 30 cremations and 57n burials. The increase this past Fiscal Year was partially due to Covid restrictions previously and people waiting to have a service. He stated when he started in 2009 we had 37 burials and 2 cremations. Over the years we have averaged 45-50 burials, barely enough to keep the doors open. This past Fiscal Year the total was 87, the most ever.
LANDSCAPE REPORT – Jamie handed out a map of the Cemetery and explained how they mow and trim the sections. He said with the present budget he has one person mowing on Tuesday and Thursday and one person weedeating. He has just added another 4 hours of weedeating per week which will help. He stated how fast the grass grows with the fertilizing and watering. He explained he also has family including his father in Bardsdale and cares about the cemetery and doing the best he can working with the Cemetery budget.
MINUTES – The minutes of the previous regular meeting of May 16th and the Special Meeting of June 20th had been emailed to the Board and posted on the website. Greg moved these minutes be approved as presented. Lani made the 2nd and the motion passed.
FINANCIAL REPORT – Lynda stated she had just received the Financials via email as the accountant has been out with Covid and presented an overview of the finances. The Fiscal Year 2021-2022 which just ended June 30th the Cemetery had a net income of $7,330.61. Income from property taxes was $31,002.63. It takes approximately $15,000 per month to run the Cemetery. The audit fee was $7500 and is going up to $8500 this coming year. Total grounds expense $787,000 including the gopher contract 1 time a week and having the trees trimmed. We also spent a little over $7000 this year on the office including a new roof, ceiling, flooring, new safe, painting inside and out and an awning for the front of the office. Lani was able to get a desk donated and Lani and Lynda donated the pictures, tables and rugs. So far we have received donations totaling $3,800 with two additional donations received today.
Lynda stated that she had gone back 5 years prior and we had losses: 2017-18, $10,789 loss; 2018-19 $1,524 loss; 2019-2020 $38,936 loss and 20-20-2021 a loss of $31,265 so this is the first year in the last 5 she researched that we have shown a small profit. We have a general fund where transfers are made to the payroll account. At the County we have a General Fund that we can draw from when we run short that presently has a balance of $166,036. There is also an Endowment Fund with a balance of $128,765.28 that may only be used for property purchase, a new columbarium or major improvements but not for general upkeep and maintenance. Our expenses include wages, payroll taxes. electric which has gone p tremendously which includes the pump for watering and so being on a pump we pay a fee for extracting ground water to United Water and their rates keep going up and to Fillmore/Piru Basin Pumpers, workmen’s comp., health insurance and PERS retirement to name a few. We have someone who digs the graves for us. The survey to raise the $5 assessment was sent out in 2018 to 7,000 property owners and only 668 were returned a 9.7% return and of those returned 41.8% opposed the increase.
A 60% vote is needed to pass so it was the decision of the Board at that time not to pursue further as we had just spent $30,600 to the consulting firm who helped Piru pass their $25 assessment rate and would cost another approximate $30,000 to put on the ballot. Only property owners within the District pay the $5 per parcel, not dwelling. If you own an apartment building with apartments you pay $5 and El Dorado has 2 parcels with approximately 300 homes and they pay $10 per year. There are 42 parcels within the District that are valued at less than $5000 and they pay no assessment per the County. The Boards intentions we’re to hold meeting within the community to explain our financials and why the increase is needed to see if we could get more support and then Covid hit and it was tabled. but is again being considered.
- Office – completed and many compliments and those present encouraged to see what has been done.
- Fence – Greg reported the repairs had been done to the fence and the painters were waiting for a little cooler weather to begin painting.
- Volunteer Day – Lani stated we would like to do another Volunteer Day but it would not be until Fall when the weather is a little cooler. Prior to Covid there were a couple of volunteer days organized by a group from the Mormon Church and 4-5 came out twice along with Lani and Lynda. This had been advertised on Facebook but no one else from the community participated.
- Restrooms – Lani stated that Bill was not present and he was working on this project and seeing if a grant is possible. She opened up Public Comment as she knew Marjie Bartels had questions. Marjie wanted to know if we had heard anything about the Grant and if not we should look into doing something else as she felt a bathroom that is not a portable is necessary. Curtis Adams said he disagreed as he had been to many services at the Cemetery and felt what we had was adequate if someone really needed a restroom. Marjie asked if the Board would at least look into other options and she was told this would be done.
- Road repair – addressed under Manager’s Report.
OTHER – Lynda reported that she and Lani had talked to Brian Kraft who handles our website regarding adding “Frequently asked questions” and also
a like to our Financial Statement and this would be done in the near future. She also announced to those present that the Minutes and Agendas for the meetings were available on the website. Requirements are that an Agenda for a Regular Meeting must be posted 72 hours in advance’ a Special Meeting 24 hours in advance and no notice for an Emergency Meeting which may be called by any member of the Board for one specific item. Prior to having a website which has been in existence for about 4 years this notices were posted in the window of the office. She announced the website is Bardsdalecemetery.com.
There being no further business the meeting was adjourned at 4:54 PM until the next regular meeting on September 19, 2022.
Lynda Edmonds, Secretary