Minutes – April 12, 2016

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Fetch Dog Park spring meeting MINUTES April 12, 2016 Voorhees Street City Building

5-7 PM ( 2 hours)

Members present Leadership Team: Grzelak, Jacobs, Mason, Fretty, Clayton (new member), Houghton, Linville, Barney,Wheeler, Venute. Members: Mineo, Rizic, Ewing, Williams

Roll call, sign in, welcome:  The meeting was opened by Chairman Mason who summarized items from our September 2015 meeting.  Those minutes had been circulated by email and were approved. Following the last meeting the Shadly’s resigned. I discussed the issue with her and she had compelling reasons for her decision. The main topic in that meeting was the need to increase membership and we have had very little success and this issue will be addressed in today’s meeting.

Treasurer’s Report was discussed by Elisabeth Grzelak (copy included).  Of note were the bills for the fencing completed in our special needs project (3500.00) and the sale of 98 tags with income from them of $1,650.  Our present balance is $11,141.92.  This is our total (including grants) as the funds in the city account have all been utilized for necessary expenses.  In May our liability insurance premium of $863 will be due and they have been informed of our special needs project and security to see if that will require additional premium. The Treasurer’s report was approved.

A detailed update on the progress of the special needs area and the security system was provided by Darrel Jacobs and Jerry Venute as they have been the lead volunteers in its construction.  Darrel started the discussion by thanking all members of the team and others for their help and wishes that more help could have been available.  The fencing is up and all 3 areas are now clearly distinguished.  The concrete pads (parking and special needs) and sidewalks were just finished.  Consultation with C2 engineers , Paul Offut and others was necessary to ensure all was up to code and could drain adequately. As soon as the City completes the electrical connection near the entry the security system (Wagner Security) will be installed and special gates will be installed for the special needs area.   Access to water will come also to the special needs area.  The good news is that it is almost finished, a distinctive, attractive area that we can be proud of.  The bad news is that the costs went over budget and beyond the grants we have obtained.  While all the bills are not in it is felt that the costs of labor, supplies and site preparation will be in the range of $13,000.00+ and concrete $6000.00 or around $20,000.00.  The security system with installation and 100 fobs should cost around $2000.00.  We will be able to terminate a membership for cause by an adjustment in the control box so that his fob is no longer active. Considering our present balance of $11,000.00 we are going to have to come up with 11,000.00 to cover just these costs.  Following a lengthy question and answer session a motion was made and seconded to approve the report and the vote taken. The report was approved.  Fund raising efforts will be discussed in new business.

Maintenance-plans, projections and projects were presented by Jacobs, Venute, Wheeler and Fretty.  The fence rails (horizontal) are our main problem.  We have been advi9sed to spray them with bleach and then follow with an expensive chemical spray.  This has consumed money and countless volunteer hours but is now complete except for the new fence for the special needs area.  It is anticipated this technique plus touchups will add life to the rails.  This rapid deterioration was a disappointing surprise to all of us that had planned this fence.  The chemicals are on hand .

The drainage for the north end and mid park has been improved with fill and tiling.  The north end now has two new entities “The Bridge and Lake Mistake” One more new tile is planned for east of the Bridge and Lake Mistake.  Spraying of weeds and thistles will be done by volunteers as last year.  Fretty, Wheeler, Venute are the mow volunteers and will be requesting city help to get the mower ready for summer season.     It is hoped we can acquire a mulch blade.  It was pointed out that our mower was used when purchased and one of these days it will be necessary to purchase another.

The abbreviated rule form was presented by Elisabeth Grzelak.  It is essentially the same as the back of our rule book and those posted on the sign at the park.  It was approved as presented by vote.  A copy will be enclosed with minutes.  This lead to our discussion of what type of brochure do we need to develop to promote the park and make people aware of its new improvements.  Much discussion followed as to what should be the contents.  Short rule form? Membership application for tag?

It was finally agreed that a new form be developed with pictures and description such as were developed for our fund raiser with Carmack Car Capital.  Elisabeth will proceed to develop it with Cassie who was very instrumental in the event.  She created a beautiful form and we need something similar   that will emphasize our Special Needs area and new security system.  The members present at the meeting felt that the new security system will be a big plus in encouraging dog owners to join.   Once this new brochure is completed we can approach merchants to “stuff” it with their merchandise.  For example Pet Supplies Plus has been very helpful.  It is so critical that we increase our membership so adequate income is generated to maintain the park.  We must obtain volunteers to re-visit all the veterinarians and groomers to get the word out.  Depending on location and activity the admission and rule forms could be incorporated in the presentation.  We must also make the rounds of all the service organizations with this update and in the presentations a plea for financial help can be incorporated.

The Humane Society inquired about having access to the park so that their volunteers could exercise dogs that are being held.  The Humane Society is only able to afford rabies vaccination on these dogs and many times only a much abbreviated history about aggression or other undesirable traits is known.  The final consensus was that in view of unknowns and potential risk to present members and their dogs we would not be able to permit their entry into the park.  All present members dogs have been vaccinated against Leptospiral virus and the Humane Society cannot afford this.  However this is not a closed issue and if changes  are made it can be re-visited because it could be a good thing for the community.

New Business

The question was raised by Darrel Jacobs about the feasibility of offering FETCH hats to new Rangers or friends of Fetch.  After discussion it was felt it would not be wise to consider any new expenses considering our financial position.  We think it is good for identification of the Rangers but feel we should ask them to purchase their own.  If anyone wants to purchase Darrel has the name of a provider.  This approach was approved by those present.

Darrel Jacobs then raised the issue of membership and Leadership.  The 2 senior members, John Mason and Darrel Jacobs are getting older and are having major changes in their lives that is affecting their availability and capability.  We need to develop succession plans.  Considering our present membership and the ongoing issues of completing the Special Needs area and security it was not felt to be a good time to change anything but it points to the need to increase membership and increase involvement of present membership.  It was suggested that we contact all the present members via their email to inquire about service on the Leadership Team and/?/or become Rangers.   Elisabeth will get this started but all of us must help

The final item for discussion centered on what we could do to raise funds to cover the debt that has arisen in the construction and development of our new project—Special Needs and Security.  Member David suggested that we re-visit the grants from Wheeler and Cadle hoping they could allow some more funds.  It was also suggested we reach out to Foundations such as Presence and Vermilion HealthCare to see if they could help or have suggestions.  We should also make presentations to the service clubs not only for promotion as mentioned earlier but to seek their help with donations.  AMBUCS with their history in the Special needs area will be contacted.  John Mason will make contacts in these areas. The question of forming a 5013C was re-visited.  For the size of our operation and the cost and effort to maintain it did not appear to be a helpful option.

At 7PM the financial topic and its discussion were exhausted with no emergent solutions apparent a motion was made to adjourn.  When all the bills are in it may finally require some type of loan until we can raise the funds.  The Team and its members will continue to search for solutions.

A motion to adjourn was made and approved

Respectfully Submitted

John C. Mason, Jr. MD