Newark Street Community Garden Association
November 2, 2019
Notice having been given and a quorum being present (see attached attendance sheet), President Maureen Spagnolo called the meeting to order at the picnic tables shortly after noon for the purpose of voting on a proposal to raise the dues and fees to help fund the new water system.
She explained briefly that the board had decided that it was necessary to replace the long-failing water system. The reserve fund of approximately $17,000 and Go Fund Me fund of about $4,000 were a little short of the estimate (approximate $22,000), and it was possible that the actual cost could go up. A member has offered to loan the garden (at no interest) a sum to cover the plumbing bill and leave us with a small reserve. The proposal to raise the dues to $30/plot and the no-work fee to $50 would enable us to pay back the loan and replenish the reserve.
There was a discussion about whether the board had considered doing the project in phases; Bill Bonner and others explained that that would cost more because we would continue to need repairs and it would be difficult to get the same crew to finish the project. There was also a question about the possibility of a special assessment to fund the project. Maureen said that was still an option if the increase in dues and no-work fees did not generate enough income. That could be discussed at the Spring meeting when we would have the final cost of the water project and would know how much cash the increased fees and dues had generated. Once the loan is paid off and the reserve is built back up, we can consider whether to amend the fee schedule.
There was a question about what percentage of gardeners did not pay the no-work fee but also did not perform the required hours of community work required by DPR and by our rules. Bill was not sure of the exact numbers but said it was a significant number. We are now tracking whether people do the 10 hours and, if they don’t and also don’t pay the non-work fee, they will not be able to renew for the next season. Of course, Maureen explained, if someone has a financial or other hardship, they should contact the board to work that out. A new gardener who just got his plot said he had already paid next years’ dues at the old rate; Maureen said that was fine, he was grandfathered in for 2020.
Following the discussion, there was a motion to raise the dues to $30 and the no-work fee to $50 starting with the 2020 season. The motion was seconded and unanimously approved. The meeting then adjourned and we enjoyed a delicious potluck lunch.