November 14, 2011 WNA meeting minutes
President Joshua Merritt brought the meeting to order at 7:07 pm. He gave an overview of the topics he wanted to discuss at the meeting: neighborhood safety, ideas for spending some of our reserved savings, and moderation of the listserv.
Treasurer Marilyn Rogers introduced the new officers: Joshua Merritt (President), Carolyn Spock (Vice President), Marilyn Rogers (Treasurer), and Sarah Gregory (Secretary). She is collecting $5 dues for membership; the membership year begins in October and returning members need to renew in order to remain eligible to vote. Also, Marilyn handed out WNA magnets to members.
President Joshua Merritt announced that WNA now has a PayPal account. This will enable WNA to accept membership dues online at firstname.lastname@example.org. This way people do not have to attend the WNA meetings in order to join the group. PayPal charges 30 cents plus 2.9% on each transaction, but WNA will absorb these costs. After a year’s trial with PayPal, WNA plans to re-address this option as a way to collect membership dues.
Treasurer Marilyn Rogers gave the treasurer’s report. As of October 31, 2011, WNA had a balance of $2657.99 in the Austin Tel-Co Credit Union. WNA has $5 in its PayPal account. The cost of newsletter printing was $192, and this cost has not yet been reflected in the current bank statement.
Former Treasurer Opie Gonzalez reported that most newsletter advertisers would be re-newing their ads. He expected renewals from Lisa Golden, UFCU, Clean Cut, among others.
President Merritt emphasized the importance of the newsletter as the one source of communication for people who do not attend the WNA meetings. Moreover, WNA has accountability to the advertisers to publish the newsletter in a timely manner. He clarified the group expectation that we publish the WNA newsletter quarterly instead of bi-monthly. He announced his plan to create a calendar with deadlines for editorial content along with a scheduled call for content through the listserv. Member BJ Golding suggested that he provide topics for articles as well as leaving the topics open to interested writers. Some suggested topics were neighborhood real estate news and recycling tips.
Steve Rogers moved to approve former Secretary Carolyn Spock’s minutes from the September WNA meeting. Adam seconded the motion, and the motion carried.These minutes are posted on wootenna.com.
President Merritt questioned members about their interest in Neighborhood Watch. With the uptick in burglaries, break-ins, and broken car windows, who would be willing to commit to active participation in Neighborhood Watch? Five members including President Merritt expressed interest: Patty Colligan, Burton Anderson, Chris Gregory, and BJ Golding. The group will be chaired by Treasurer Marilyn Rogers. These members committed to communicating before the next meeting in January so that they could follow-up with the group.
President Merritt mentioned that several Neighborhood Watch signs in the neighborhood were tarnished and needed replacement. Treasurer Rogers reported that a company called Guardian Security would give our group 6 free signs; however, they place their logo on the signs. The only cost is that they be invited to speak at a WNA meeting. According to city regulations, Neighborhood Watch signs can be replaced on existing posts or be placed on the back of stop signs, as long as they are smaller than the stop sign. Also, the city can put in new sign posts for the cost of approximately $30. Rogers said that the city contact regarding signs is Mike Martinez. Steve Rogers pointed out that simply replacing old signs might not be a good idea; instead, it might be better to place signs in front of homes in which homeowners support or are active in Neighborhood Watch. The group decided to re-address Neighborhood Watch signs at the next meeting.
President Merritt opened the floor to members on ideas to spend some of WNA’s reserved savings. Burton Anderson proposed that we market the Wooten Neighborhood and promote neighbor identity (for example with Wooten signs). Former president Adam Turner suggested that we improve and expand the trails in Wooten Park. He would like to see a crushed granite running trail around the park that running clubs and Wooten Elementary students could use. He pointed out that this could be expensive, but that AISD might be willing to work with us. On a smaller scale, additional park benches and picnic tables would be nice to have. BJ Golding proposed the idea of hosting an annual community picnic in the park complete with movies and music. He pointed out that local businesses might be willing to sponsor it. He said that he would be willing to lead this event. President Merritt suggested a donation to Sustainable Neighborhoods. This group plans to gain permission from TX Dot in order to plant 15 trees at the intersection of Lamar and RM-2222. They are accepting donations of money and manpower for this project. Merritt pointed out that SN advocates for us, so he feels that a donation to their cause would be appropriate.
With all of these suggestions on the floor, President Merritt suggested that we provide time for people to think about how to spend our money and that we vote and approve projects at the next meeting. He reminded members that they must be current on their dues in order to vote. Former treasurer Opie Gonzalez recommended that we keep a balance of at least $500 but that the remaining funds be used for WNA projects or donations to local charities.
Steve Rogers, chair of the Wooten Neighborhood Plan Contact Team (WNPCT), explained that this team is open to participation and usually meets the Monday following the WNA meeting. (This month is an exception; they will not be meeting.) The group has created the Wooten Neighborhood Plan, which can be accessed on the city’s website. Anyone who would like to change land use within the neighborhood must contact the WNPCT. They are open to discussion about issues to take up with city; the group’s goal is to identify a central issue to keep the group focused and united. Adam Turner pointed out that the bond package that passed earlier this month has funds for pedestrian and bike transportation and that perhaps our neighborhood contact team could advocate for that.
Finally, President Merritt discussed monitoring the listserv. He asked if neighbors felt comfortable with the level of openness on the listserv which is informally monitored by a few individuals. Adam Turner suggested that listserv etiquette might be a good topic for an upcoming newsletter article. Most members agreed that they liked keeping the listserv open to all neighbors and that moderators have been effective in maintaining common courtesy on the listserv without being heavy-handed.
Patty Colligan mentioned that she was surprised to learn that the Wooten Neighborhood Facebook page was not officially sponsored by the Wooten Neighborhood Association. President Merritt said that he would reach out to the person who started the Facebook page, so that WNA could work more closely with the Facebook group. He will follow-up on this issue at the next meeting.
Treasurer Marilyn Rogers asked new members to make introductions. Brandon and Scott moved into the neighborhood in July, and Doris on Brockman had heard about the WNA meeting through the newsletter.
Adam Turner moved to adjourn the meeting, and Chris Gregory seconded the motion. The meeting was adjourned at 8:20 pm.