Fox Point Update: December 2023 Edition
- On December 4, 2023
By Abe Ryder | Email
Greetings Fox Point Neighbors,
I cannot believe we are coming to the conclusion of 2023 with Thanksgiving in the rearview mirror and a forward look to the holidays. It is the time of gift-giving, reflection, and celebration with friends and family. May everyone have a happy and joyous holiday season! Personally, I am reminded by many who live outside Fox Point that our neighborhood continues to be a destination to drive around and view the holiday and Christmas lights that so many of us put up this time of year. Thank you neighbors for decorating your home for so many of us to enjoy – what a gift! Cannot wait once again to see the luminaries come out this year!
As we do enter that final stretch to conclude 2023, your Fox Point Board has been tirelessly at work, investing significant time and effort with multiple sessions to finalize the 2024 budget to determine our operating and capital needs. We have also been contemplating future capital expenditures in the short-to-medium term along with what it would take to save for the long term when we eventually replace a pool decades from now and continue to ensure our lake remains healthy. The Board even performs an effective challenge with the Finance Committee which is composed of former Fox Point Board Presidents and members, as an independent check. As one can appreciate, the Board does not take the budget process or its obligation to be fiscally responsible lightly, as these expenses are funded via annual assessments that impact all homeowners and families in Fox Point.
As I personally reflect upon the holiday season and Fox Point, I am reminded that we all have been the recipients of the gift that previous Fox Point Boards gave to us. They had prioritized savings and reserve building so that we could pay for a full pool replacement, pool house renovation, and monument wall replacement/restoration that have taken place over the past eight years without any incurrence of debt or special assessments. Additionally, those projects consumed hours upon hours of volunteer time which has benefited us all. On behalf of all of Fox Pointers, thank you for your stewardship and volunteerism. This Board will continue to pay forward that gift to ensure future generations of Fox Pointers benefit from financial discipline and asset stewardship – our obligation. With a neighborhood that is over 50 years old, we are in that season of asset replacement/maintenance and reserve building. As one knows with their own home, assets do wear out over time. (See Kyle’s Treasurer report for more details on the 2024 budget and beyond.) REMEMBER, this is the cost (and the tremendous benefit) of living in Fox Point. It is a true gift to be able to live in Fox Point.
From a Nominating Committee standpoint, I am happy to report that we have four candidates to fill the four open Board positions. They are Lisa Brooks, Jason Ehlert, Steve Kipferl (running for a second term) and Greg Salter. We thank these neighbors for their interest in volunteering to lead Fox Point. Please read on to see their respective bios. THANK YOU to Taylor Shanfeld for chairing our Nominating Committee and all committee members for their time in helping select candidates.
Our next meeting will be held on Monday, December 18th at 7 PM via Google Meet. We will send out login details for the meeting via Nextdoor/Instagram as we approach that date. As always, we encourage homeowners to attend our monthly Board meetings. We welcome ideas, suggestions, and feedback as we all have a vested interest in this community we call home.
All the best.
ANNOUNCING YOUR 2024 FOX POINT HOMEOWNERS’ ASSOCIATION BOARD MEMBER NOMINEES
When house hunting in Barrington 30 years ago, my husband, David, and I were wisely advised to buy a house where our kids would be happiest. Fox Point fit the bill – and that would still be the case today. The pool, tennis courts, lake, proximity to schools, and its close community feel offer conveniences and amenities that are unmatched by any neighborhood in the area. We continue to enjoy the neighborly interaction with families of all ages.
Over the years I have volunteered on a variety of committees within Fox Point and at Lines School. I worked at Sunny Hill School as a teacher’s aide, as an advisor assistant for an Ameriprise financial advisory firm, and 14 years in association management at the Association of Licensed Architects (ALA).
Since retiring 2 years ago, I have started working with local non-profits. As Civic Chair, I look forward to getting to know more families in our neighborhood and getting involved with the Barrington community. I have always been proud to say we live in Fox Point and would be honored to serve on the board.
I attended Michigan State University and am originally from Michigan. My wife Wendy and I moved to Barrington in 2012 and into Fox Point two years ago. We have two children together and spend most of our time on the soccer or baseball field. Currently, I work for a startup Tech company that focuses on last-mile logistics. In my free time (which is far and few between), I enjoy playing golf and doing yard work around my house. I’m looking forward to taking the role as Common Grounds and hope that I can help maintain and enhance the property.
I am ecstatic to have the opportunity to run for the Fox Point Homeowners Association Board almost 30 years after moving to Fox Point for the first time. I moved to the neighborhood when I was entering 3rd grade and attended Lines, Station, and Barrington High School. After college and a few years in Chicago my wife, Kristi, and I decided to move back to Barrington after our first son was born. Kristi and I met at BHS and there was no question in our minds that Fox Point was where we wanted to raise our family.
Since moving back 7 years ago, we have had the pleasure of living on both the South and North sides of the neighborhood and the joy of watching our children grow in this amazing community. We are thankful for all of the FP amenities and you will find us at the pool most days of the summer. We are even more thankful for the incredible people that make Fox Point such a welcoming place to live. I am eager for the chance to join the board and to help continue to improve this neighborhood that has given so much to me and my family.
Professionally, I am a Chartered Financial Analyst and I lead the Capital Markets group for the central and eastern U.S. for Ryan Companies, a national commercial real estate developer. I oversee a team of six people and am responsible for capitalizing our development projects with equity and debt. I am passionate about improving communities through real estate and believe I can bring value to Fox Point through that professional experience.
Having served as a member of the board over the past 3 years, I am proud to say we have moved the neighborhood forward and I hope to have a chance to continue to contribute to further neighborhood improvement in the next 3 years.
By day, I am a foot and ankle surgeon, and work out of three offices in the Northwest suburbs. My day is split between seeing patients in the office, performing surgery at Good Shepherd Hospital, and managing a multi-physician practice that I share with my father. I am proud to be a University of Iowa Hawkeye where I graduated with a major in Biology. I went to medical school locally at Rosalind Franklin University, where I earned my medical degree and a master’s in Healthcare Administration. I completed my residency at Rush University Medical Center, and after a long road, I am happy to be working in my own practice!
My wife, Brooke, and I moved to Fox Point in January of 2020. We are both Barrington natives and spent a lot of our childhood in Fox Point. Brooke was raised in the neighborhood, and interestingly enough we bought the house that she grew up in from her parents! We have a six-year-old son, Bennett, and a 3-year-old daughter, Blaire.
I live on the lake, and my son and I spend many hours on the water. We love to take out our paddle boats, fish, and explore the island during the winter. My hope is that we can continue to improve the quality of the lake so everyone can enjoy it!
We love the community of Fox Point, and it was an easy decision for both of us to move back here. Our family is invested in this neighborhood for the long haul, and I am excited to have an opportunity to continue to push our neighborhood forward and keep it the really special place that it is and has been for a long time.
By Kyle Powal | Email
As 2023 comes to an end, the board has finalized the 2024 budget. We spent hours discussing and planning our anticipated expenditures for the coming year. We continue to be mindful of all Fox Point’s assets as well as the costs to maintain, repair, and eventually replace them. Inflation is not new to any of us as we have witnessed rising costs throughout most facets of our lives. Our HOA is no different and we must remain responsible while planning for years to come. When looking at our estimated operating expenses for 2024, costs are rising over 6%. These expenses are critical to the board’s operation of our neighborhood amenities.
From a capital standpoint, the HOA has just under $1M in reserves. While this number seems healthy, the board has identified potential future reserve expenses that could exceed eight figures – one of the main drivers being a pool replacement in 35 to 40 years. We must remain diligent in continuing to build a solid reserve fund for maintenance, repair, and eventual replacement of HOA assets. For 53 years, FPHOA has maintained one overall financial goal – AVOIDANCE OF DEBT and thus avoiding the need to impose Special Assessments on all owners. The current board is acting in the HOA’s best interest to keep this tradition alive.
Your board has some exciting plans for 2024 and beyond. As many of you remember from this past summer, the playground is nearing its useful life. Bill Graff and the team are well on their way to exploring options to replace the playground! The grills will be installed this spring, in time for everyone to enjoy during the summer! Because erosion continues to be a problem at the boat landing, we plan to move forward with installing a long-term seawall. These are just a few of the projects your board is working on. Please refer to the respective board reports for additional information on all of these projects.
There will be plenty of opportunities to pitch in and volunteer your time and talents over the coming months. Please reach out to a board member or join us during our monthly meetings. It is incredible how much we can accomplish with a bit of organization and a small donation of our time. We would love to hear your ideas and look forward to seeing you around the neighborhood!
The proposed 2024 Budget is the framework of an intention to spend, and consists of 3 components:
- Operating – These are recurring annual expenses to support the daily/seasonal operations.
- Capital Reserves – These are monies that represent the approximate depreciation of common assets, over time, set aside for future major cyclical maintenance expenses, major repairs, restoration, and replacement of assets.
- Annual Assessment – Each owner’s equal share of Operating Expenses and allocation to Capital Reserves which approximates the annual deterioration (depreciation) of all hard assets and funding towards the health of the Lake, Creek, and Pond assets.
Proposed 2024 Operating Budget- $287,150
There are six components within the Operating Budget: Administration, Pool, Lake Management, Tennis Common Grounds, and Social. Within these components, Insurance, Professional Pool Management, and Landscaping are the most significant expenses.
Proposed 2024 Capital Expenditures- $260,500
There are several projects planned for 2024:
- Seawall – $100,000. Installation of a 50+ year seawall along HOA property at the boat landings.
- Playground Replacement – $70,000. The useful life of this equipment is approaching its end and needs to be replaced.
- Phoslock Treatment – $36,000. We remain in the early phase of restoring the overall health of Lake Louise. While phosphorus is an essential element for plant life, too much phosphorus can speed up algae bloom and unpleasant odors, common in lakes throughout the world. This multi-year treatment is intended to reduce excess phosphorus, common in lawn fertilizers that drain into the lake.
- Pool Complex Repairs – $17,500. As a reminder, the pool is eight years old and equipment to operate the pool does wear out and needs to be replaced.
- Cul-de-sac Restoration – $15,000.
- Fish Stocking – $7,500.
- Asphalt Sealing – $7,500.
- Carp Barrier – $6,000. This will prevent carp from entering the lake from downstream. This will improve the overall health and ecosystem of the lake.
- Tennis Court Cleaning and Tree Trimming – $1,000.
- While we believe all expenses for this project are behind us, I am looking for a small group of volunteers to help install the paver bricks this spring.
We will be increasing our Capital Reserve Fund by $123,100 in 2024.
Proposed 2024 Annual Assessment – $1,500
The Annual Assessment funds the Operating budget, Capital expenditures, and depreciation of assets over time so that there are adequate funds available to take care of business when it becomes necessary to do so. In 2024, we intend to allocate the annual Assessment as follows:
37.78%- Operating Expenses
62.22%- Capital Reserves
We have invested over $3 million into capital projects (replacement of 50-year-old Pool, Tennis Courts and major, top to bottom, renovation of the Pool House, Masonry Wall Restoration, etc.) over the past 7 years and intend to invest an additional $260,500 in 2024. We have done so without incurring debt/imposing a Special Assessment because our Capital Reserves have been adequate to take care of business.
To avoid debt, the value of an HOA’s Capital Reserve needs to be tied to its future liabilities. We have 30 high-level common assets with hundreds of moving parts behind them. Sooner or later, everything wears out and requires restoration or replacement. The allocation from the Annual Assessment to Capital Reserves should approximate the annual rate of depreciation of all assets. Inflation is also a factor in restoration and replacement costs.
The Lake/Pond /Creek has been on the back burner while the restoration/replacement of many major hard assets occurred. We are committed to restoring the health of the lake, going forward.
While there is no clear end to rising costs, the board has approved a 10% increase in our annual assessments. The 2024 obligation will be $1,500 per household.
The 2024 calendar year Annual Assessment will be invoiced in late February and is due March 31, 2024.
2024 and Beyond
State law requires us to project capital expenses and disclose whether borrowing funds/imposing a Special Assessment is contemplated two years into the future.
Our projections follow the Proposed 2024 Budget and include the replacement of 3,020 linear feet of wood fences along the north and south side of Lake-Cook Road and the replacement of 5000 square feet of asphalt in the pool parking lot and boat dock area. We also plan on replacing the shade structures at the pool, as needed. Two additional expenses to keep front of mind, although may not occur for many years, are Lake Management/Dredging as well as the pool replacement.
Our current reserve account is in a fully insured money market account with a current interest rate of 4% (fluctuates with market conditions). In 2023, we expect to earn over $25,000 in interest income! For comparison, the HOA earned about $800 of interest income in 2022 due to low-interest rates.
As interest rates hold or continue to climb, the board is thinking proactively and has approved a tiered investment approach to maximize our return on savings. We will be utilizing both Certificates of Deposits and T-Bills with various maturity dates to earn more in interest while preserving our principal. We will not exceed 50% of our total reserve holdings, as to remain liquid in the event of an unexpected expense. Implementing this plan should result in an estimated interest income of nearly $50,000 in 2024!
Safety & Welfare
By Bill Graff | Email
Happy Holidays to one and all! Thanks for helping to keep the neighborhood safe and FUN this year! My son asked me what I wanted for Christmas, and I told him 3 things, really simple, and they don’t cost too much!!
- Light your gas lights, PLEASE!
- Wear reflective clothing on yourselves, your kids, and your pets, PLEASE!
- 25 MPH is the Speed Limit in the neighborhood, again 25MPH!
Have a wonderful December. I hope I don’t get any coal in my stocking with this wish list!
By Melissa Pohl | Email
Happy Merry all the things, Fox Point! Without further hesitation, let’s chat–
SANTA VISITS! We have been able to secure a Mr. and Mrs. Claus this year for a 2-hour period on Sunday, December 17th from 3:00-5:00. I’m still looking for more volunteers, so if you know someone who is able and willing to commit to 2 hours on Saturday the 16th as well, that would be amazing (and allow all kiddos to be seen!). The sign-up is here!
We are collecting a minimum donation of $5 per HOME, where the proceeds will go towards a gift card for the volunteers, and anything above and beyond will go towards a local charity!
We have brought back our Luminaries this year! Thanks to all who signed up!
The timeline for this beautiful tradition is Pick-up on December 10th (you’ll receive an e-mail) and we are lighting our luminaries in unison on December 17th at twilight. See the picture below to get an idea of what we are aiming to do:
Last but not least, DANG our neighborhood is GORGEOUS! When we have been driving through the neighborhood at night–it has been borderline magical. Thank YOU to all of YOU who make Fox Point the BEST and most beautiful place to live! Cheers!
By Mark Villalovos | Email
Celebrate the Holidays at Fox Point: Embrace the Season!
Season’s Greetings, Fox Point neighbors!
As the holiday season approaches, I wanted to take a moment to extend my warmest wishes to all of you. It’s that wonderful time of year when our neighborhood comes alive with festive decorations, twinkling lights, and the joyful laughter of our community.
Now, I know it can be tempting to stay indoors where it’s warm and cozy during the colder months, but let me share a piece of advice we received when my family and I moved here in 2017: “There’s no such thing as poor weather, only poor apparel choices.”
We took that advice to heart and invested in rain gear, snow boots, spikes for my running shoes, and now embrace layers as our best friends. It’s amazing to see Fox Point kids building snowmen in their front yards, and it’s equally inspiring to witness our neighbors braving the cold with their dog walks and morning runs, even with temps in the teens.
So, let’s all embrace whatever weather comes our way this holiday season and #refusetohibernate! There’s something magical about breathing in that crisp, clean air and feeling the joy of the season all around us. As we gather with family and friends to celebrate, let’s remember the spirit of giving and togetherness that defines our community. May your holiday season be filled with warmth, laughter, and the company of loved ones.
NOTE! Do you have a favorite holiday tradition, photo, recipe, or other story you’d like to share with your neighbors? Please visit this LINK or email us at Civic@FoxPoint.org and we’ll share it in an upcoming newsletter – we’d love to hear your stories!
Wishing you all a joyful and festive holiday season.
By Jay Roberts | Email
Happy Holidays! Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!
As we head into the winter season, Common Grounds will start to prep for next year. Below are some items that we will potentially look into and budget for next year. Some of these may be pushed back a year or two depending on what other projects that are happening as well.
- Wood fence replacement or other solution
- Cul-de-sac cleanups
- Cul-de-sac champions
- Dead plant/tree assessment
We will continue the tradition of “decorating” the monument areas for the winter and holiday season. Early this month we will lay out some evergreen branches at the entrances to replace the fall mums. In addition to that, we intend to put up some type of wreath or decoration along the walls to get into the Christmas spirit!
By Steven Kipferl | Email
Happy Holidays neighbors! Lake Louise has frozen but she’s thin. Please be very careful on the ice this winter! As a reminder we recommend going out on the lake with a buddy and never going alone. Ice should be at least 4 inches thick to walk on. Use the lake at your own risk as always but please exercise caution during the winter months. Otherwise the lake will pick up again in the spring.
If you’re interested in projects or conversation about the lake join the lake committee by “dropping a line” to firstname.lastname@example.org