Dear Burke Mountain Owner:
With the ski season well over and our focus shifting to enjoying the beautiful Northeast Kingdom summer and mountain biking, I wanted to update all owners on the progress and accomplishments we achieved together last season and this year as members of the Burke Mountain Owners Association. More than a 100 owners participated in our annual meeting on January 13, 2018. It was a productive and lively meeting that covered a range of topics of importance to the owners. Below is a brief summary of what happened at the meeting, and the follow up that has occurred since then on the matters discussed.
Resort Progress and Receivership
Kevin Mack, general manager of the resort, reported on snowmaking, the new T-Bar improvements, the hotel, and the status of the receivership. Despite investing $750,000 in snowmaking (pipes, etc.) the resort faced challenges in making snow early in the season due to the extreme temperatures that resulted in low water levels in the river that feeds the snow making pond. He shared the good news that in the two years of the receivership, Michael Goldberg has invested almost $2 million to resolve financial issues at Burke, to keep the mountain operating, and to put things in place to facilitate sale to a new owner/operator. Since that meeting, the receiver announced plans to begin marketing for sale both Burke and Jay. However Kevin Mack underscored this will be a lengthy process with much preparatory work to do so that we should not expect any real movement for quite some time. BMOA intends to work closely with the receiver and the resort to ensure that the strong partnership we have established with the interim management of Burke Mountain continues with the eventual new resort owners.
Member Use of Hotel Fitness Center and Pool
Kevin also affirmed that all paid up members of BMOA (and those current on water, sewer and road fees) could use the fitness and pool facilities in the Burke Hotel for FREE. He explained how to take advantage of this new benefit that BMOA was able to negotiate on behalf of its members. The names of all owners are on file at the reception desk. You will need to sign a onetime consent form, and then check in each time you use the facilities and get a day access card issued. This benefit is available only to owners and their families; guests or renters can use the facilities for a $5 daily fee. Members present gave Kevin a round of applause for making this valuable resource available to owners.
Update from the Academy
Willy Booker, the head of Burke Mountain Academy, also updated members on recent events at BMA. He recounted his long history with the school, including having attended and graduated in the early 90’s, coaching students in the early 2000’s, and more recently serving on and chairing the board of directors. Willy also gave more details on BMA’s $1.5 million investment in the new T-Bar (and explained some of the minor electrical glitches that have been resolved) and described the exciting partnership BMA has established with the US Ski Team that brought new activity to the mountain. He underscored that Michael Goldberg has been a great partner with BMA to help make all of this possible.
Water, Sewer and Roads
We devoted a portion of the owners meeting to reviewing the status and approving the budgets for the water, sewer and road companies. The resort hired Scott Wood to manage the systems full time, which significantly strengthened its capacity and expertise in these areas. Kevin said he will be working to get to the heart of the system problems and looking for ways to modernize what we’re doing and being more proactive in supporting the system. $30,000 was spent this year on road and sewer repairs, including $23k for replacement of culverts on Alpine Road and High Meadows. Despite cost increases, rates have remained flat for many years, and both companies ran a small loss in 2017. The owners approved a 2018 budget for the water company and the road/sewer company that maintains fees at the current level for the next year. During this period, the owners will work closely with the resort to devise a longer term operational and funding strategy for the companies. An advisory committee, headed by BMOA board member and Bear Path resident Rick Griffiths, was established to participate with Scott on the planning process. Volunteers were solicited and the group held its first meeting this spring, with a goal of recommending a plan of action and rate structure to the owners for next year. Lastly, BMOA reported on its successful efforts to clarify and assume fiduciary responsibility of $250,000 in escrow balances for the three companies, and new bank accounts were established at Passumpsic Savings under BMOA’s control. 10% of the fees collected for water, sewer and roads are deposited annually in these accounts for capital improvements and repairs.
Approval of New BMOA Bylaws
At the January owners’ meeting the members discussed and then voted on the revised BMOA bylaws that clarify the association’s purpose and rules for operation and governance. They were unanimously supported by all the owners at the general meeting, by each condo association, BMA, and the resort. After all other member and association business was conducted, the meeting was temporarily adjourned so that we could collect 17 additional proxies to meet the 50% passage requirement (115 votes out of a maximum eligible voting pool of 230). The meeting resumed on February 25, 2018 only to record these proxies, and the bylaws were then formally adopted.
Election of Board and Officers
The new bylaws reestablish and affirme a strong partnership framework for BMOA that is well suited to addressing today’s challenges and opportunities on the mountain. In particular, they reflect and leverage the roles of the other organizations and partners on the mountain that have emerged since BMOA was first established by Doug Kitchel back in the 80’s when he developed the lower mountain community. They provide board representation to each condo association, BMA, the resort, and two homeowners. A new slate of directors was elected by the members. and comprised of the following people: Keith Ballek (Wintergreen); Scott Bedell ( at large, condo owner in Mountainbrook and Burkeside); Tom Bledsoe (Mountainbrook); Willy Booker (BMA); Joe Cerami (Sprucewoods); Mike Dyson (at large, Burkeside owner); Rick Griffiths (Bear Path); Chuck Goldrick (Powderhorn); Chrissie Heinrich (homeowner and Sno Bear); Kevin Mack (Burke Mountain Resort); Mark Manikian (homeowner); and David Stahler (Burkeside). At the BMOA board meeting on Feburary 25, the board elected the following officers: Tom Bledsoe, president; Chuck Goldrick, vice president; Chrissie Heinrich, secretary; and Mark Manikian, treasurer. Kim Butler, Director and principal of the Commercial Real Estate and Business Law groups at Downs, Rachlin, Martin, was engaged to serve as BMOA’s attorney.
With this strong foundation in place, the board and members have begun work on the key priorities for 2018. These include working with the Resort to devise a longer term funding and strategic plan for the water, sewer and road companies; engage with the receiver on matters relating to the eventual sale of the mountain; clarifying the exact boundaries and the lots that are governed by the Declarations and Covenants; and devising a strategy to revise these documents, as needed and desired by owners in the future.
On behalf of the board, I would like to thank all the owners and partners that have worked together over the last two years to relaunch BMOA, and to achieve so many important results for the owners in this short period of time. Please feel free to contact me by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by phone (617-669-1812) if you have questions, ideas, or would to get more involved.