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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

TWO NEW ARTICLES WERE ADDED ON SEPTEMBER 27.

IT TAKES MINUTES FROM THE LAST DREDGING TO DEMONSTRATE THE LIES, AND FAILURES OF THIS BOARD, AND THE WATER AMENITIES COMMITTEE

Residents, particularly canal lot residents, The Wedgefield Examiner has written documented articles regarding the blatant disregard of our governing documents.  I've posted WPA minutes, as we verified that there was no discussion from the board table, or recorded in the WPA official minutes of any reports from the water amenities committee about a maintenance dredge, and for certain no vote from the board table to approve $135,000 in reserves for use in a maintenance dredge.  I have contended, and substantiated that the entire board has sat by and let Garrison state untruths about the canal lot owners, legal terms, and legal judgements.  I've asked the canal lot owners to take a close look at the board members who serve on the water amenities/canal committee, the committee members - non board, and decide whether you want to support their illegal attempt to dredge the canals under Garrison's conditions - illegal conditions.  I contend that board members McMillin, Anderson, John Walton, and Johnson know better, as do the non board canal committee members.  Since we've posted minutes relating to recent to make a point, I'm providing you with the official minutes leading up to the last dredge.  They are lengthy but worth reading to verify exactly what steps, according to governing documents - most of this committee participated in when the dredge procedures were up front, and legal.  They know better.

While every board member should know better, and stand up for what is legal, and ethical, Garrison should because even with all the effort demonstrated in the minutes, Garrison was a leading character in the group that sued the board for the last dredge.  

Don't trust this board, and this committee with commitment of money, and a dredge, when they all have ignored all that is provided below, and denied you and all other fellow residents - information, and in fact have allowed it to be distorted.

President Walton has failed miserably in his duties as president.  Here is what our by-laws say about his role as president:Section 2: President: The President shall be the Chief Executive Officer of The
Association and shall in general supervise and control all of the business and affairs of
The Association. He/she may sign with the Secretary, or any other proper officer of The
Association authorized by the Board of Directors, any deeds, mortgages, bonds, contracts, or other instruments which the Board of Directors has authorized and directed to be
executed, and in general he/she shall perform all duties incident to the office of the
President and such other duties as may be prescribed by the Board of Directors, from time to time. 

DECEMBER 2008
Canals-Jude Davis
On November 20, 2008, Judge Anderson of the SC Administrative Law Court found in favor of Wedgefield Plantation Association and denied the SC Environmental Law Project’s appeal of the SC Department of

Health and Environmental Control‘s decision to grant us permits to dredge our canal system. He ordered DHEC to issue Water Quality and Coastal Zone Management Consistency permits, as they proposed in 2007, thus permitting maintenance dredging of the Wedgefield canals. These documents are now in the hands of the US Army Crops of Engineers, which should issue the actual permits in 2009 after a legally required Public Notice period.
In the meantime, we expect to reactivate the dredging funding subcommittee. It will begin investigating possible sources of grants, assistance, and other funding strategies. As there are still a few unpaid bills another solicitation letter was send to canal lot owners in early December. Our thanks to those who have contributed money, time, and expertise over many years and helped us reach this important milestone.
We expect to hold an open informational meeting sometime in early 2009 to recap the project to date and map out what the next steps might be. It will be open to all interested Wedgefield residents. 

JANUARY 2009

Canal Report: Jude Davis
The Environmental Law project asked Judge Anderson to reconsider his ruling. Mary Shahid, the lawyer for the WPA canal committee, filed a rebuttal. The Corps of Engineers has said that the public notice has already been held. This means that the permit can be issued as soon as the judge issues his ruling

FEBRUARY 2009
Canal Report: Karl Gettman/ Mike Davis
On December 8, 2008, Heather Preston, Director of the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), Division of Water Quality, issued the documents that will allow WPA to perform maintenance dredging of the Wedgefield Canal system, once published by the US Army Corps of Engineers. Attached are copies for the WPA files. Specifically included are 1)Certification in accordance with section 401 of the Clean Waters Act as amended, 2)Permit in accordance with the SC Code of Laws, 3)Construction in Navigable Waters Permit, and 4)Certification in Accordance with the Coastal Zone Management Program.
DHEC forwarded copies of these permits to the Corps office in Charleston last month and we are patiently waiting for formal issuance of the actual documents. Our Agent for the application, Bobby Riggs of Newkirk Engineering, is working with the Corps to try to
expedite the process. We understand however that a three to six month lag time is typical for routine permit issuance.
In the interim, the Canal Committee has several action items. The first is getting new firm bids for the project from interested vendors. In theory, the costs should have gone up since we got budgetary quotes in 2006. The current economic climate, lower fuel cost, and lack of business may actually result in lower bids. The second is reactivation of the “funding” sub-committee. This group’s mission is to investigate all possible funding strategies including seeking assistance from federal, state, and local agencies. We are also working with the WPA Webmaster to set up a Canal Committee sub page on the WPA website to post copies of all the important documents and Committee reports. Finally, we still are planning an open information meeting once the permits are received from the Corps of Engineers. It will recap the project to date and explore what the next steps should be and will be open to all interested Wedgefield residents.
On the legal issues, Judge Anderson of the SC Administrative Law Court issued an amended Final Order on January 22, 2009. A copy is attached for the WPA files. He modified his original order issued November 24, 2008 after the Environmental Law Project filed a motion for reconsideration. The fundamental findings were unchanged and he reaffirmed his order to DHEC to issue permits.
There are still some unpaid bills but we gratefully thank those who have contributed money, time, and expertise over many years and helped us reach this important milestone.

MARCH 2009
Canal Report: Karl Gettmann/ Mike Davis
On March 9, 2009, the US Army Corps of Engineers issued permit number 2006-03476-41V to Wedgefield Plantation Association allowing periodic maintenance dredging of our canal system over a ten-year life span. I have attached a copy for the WPA office and files. As soon as a PDF version is available, it will also be posted on the WPA website.
Specifically the permit allows for expansion of the existing previously permitted spoils site on WPA-owed property, to a capacity of approximately 151,000 cubic yards by raising the perimeter embankment by 1.5 feet. It also permits with certain conditions an immediate maintenance dredging of approximately 99,000 cubic yards, which will establish a centerline depth of 8 feet below mean low water in the main access canals and 6 feet in the finger canals. Finally, it provides for subsequent maintenance dredging of approximately 30,000 cubic yards before the permit expires on March 31, 2019.
The Canal Committee met on March 15 to discuss several agenda items. First was whether the Canal Committee mission or “charge” needs to be redefined by WPA at this time. At various times since its inception in 2001, the Canal Committee was tasked with either “getting permits”, or “getting funding”, or some variation. We agreed to draft a set of recommended or suggested specific tasks or goals for the next phase of the canal dredging project, and ask the WPA Board to put it on the April meeting agenda as “new business”.
We believe the key tasks, as outlined last month, should be to:
1) Get up-to-date
budgetary-only proposals from prospective vendors, to
assess the current cost of the project
2) 3)
4)
Restart the funding subcommittee, and charge them with exploring all possible scenarios for funding maintenance dredging before the Committee makes any specific proposals to the WPA Board.
Investigate the feasibility of "differential assessment". Our governing documents in one place imply that equal assessments are required, but they are contradictory and inconsistent. This may require advice from an attorney who is expert in HOA governance issues, and possibly a clarification to the Bylaws presented for consideration and voted on at the next annual meeting.
Hold an "informational meeting" open to all Wedgefield property owners, to present and discuss what options are available and possibly agree on one or more proposed plans of action.
Second was the issue of unpaid bills. Despite generous private contributions from many canal lot owners, there is a balance owed to McNair Law firm of Charleston. We agreed to have one last “fund drive”, now that permits are in hand, to try to raise enough money to close the books on this phase of the project.
Finally, we want to thank those who have contributed not only their money, but also time, expertise, and moral support over these last eight years. Your encouragement has helped us reach this important milestone, but it is just the first step in a still long and winding road. We recognize that restoring the canals is possibly the most contentious and difficult issue WPA will face over the next few years. We also believe our overriding mission is to find a way to get the job done in a way that is acceptable to the majority of Wedgefield owners, and without further litigation or malice. We are always open to constructive ideas on how to do that and look forward continuing the quest. 

APRIL 2009
Canal Report: Karl Gettmann requested Mike Davis give the report.
The WPA Canal Committee is holding an open informational meeting on Tuesday, April 28 at 7:00 PM at the WPA office. We will briefly recap the history of the project to date, outline the various steps needed to restore the canals and their associated costs, suggest several scenarios for funding the work, and most importantly solicit feedback from residents as to how to best get the job done without resorting to expensive and time wasting litigation. All interested Wedgefield residents are welcome.
In the last 30 days, the Canal Committee has gotten updated budgetary quotes from prospective contractors qualified to perform the various tasks needed to restore the Wedgefield canals. After on-site meetings with them, it is becoming apparent that there should be four distinct phases to the process:
  1. Topographic resurvey of spoils site, hydrographic resurvey of canals, and preparation of Bid Specs and detailed engineering drawings
  2. Site preparation, including restoring the old spoils basin and providing access
  3. Hydraulic dredging itself, with oversight and management by 3rd party
4. Post-dredging cleanup and documentation; planning for future supplemental
maintenance dredging.
Now that the needed permits are in hand, the Canal Committee would like to move on to the next phase. To that end, we respectfully ask that the WP A Board tonight take the three following actions:
1. Reaffirm the Canal Committee as a regular standing subcommittee of the Water Amenities Committee. The "charge" of this group is to continue managing the technical aspects of the canal maintenance project, such as vetting of prospective vendors, development of specific action plans for WP A to consider, coordination of funded activities, and development of a 5 to 15 year plan for the long-term maintenance of the canals.
We propose the following members: John McBride, Mike Davis, Larry McMillin, John Walton, and Ed Wozniak. We also seeking at least two additional members, ideally non- canal lot owners, who may be named in the near future
2. Establish a "Canal Funding Committee" as a new sub-committee of the Water Amenities Committee. The "charge" of this group is to investigate all possible scenarios
for funding canal dredging, including but not limited to local, state, and federal grants, differential assessment strategies, voluntary contributions, and the establishment of a waterfront sub-association, with supplemental assessment rights. When this information is in hand, the Funding Committee will coordinate with the Canal sub-committee and prepare one or more action plans for the WP A Board to consider for approval and funding.
We propose Carolyn McBride to be leader of this group, and are actively seeking two or more additional volunteers. Candidates should be Wedgefield residents in good standing, ideally with grant writing or fund raising experience.
Both of these sub-committees, as part of a regular standing WPA committee should have access to WP A office support and be reimbursed for reasonable approved expenses such as postage, office supplies, and incidentals not to exceed an amount to be set by the Board for the balance of fiscal year.
3. Fund the first phase of the canal restoration project, i.e. the topographic resurvey of the spoils site, the hydrographic resurvey of canals, and preparation of bid specifications and detailed engineering drawings immediately. Time is of the essence here; in our discussions with prospective vendors, we determined that our project might be eligible for Recovery Act (stimulus) funds if we can make it "shovel ready" in the next quarter. We have given the Board copies of proposals from prospective vendors that range from about $30,000 to $57,000. We respectfully request that tonight you approve in principle funding in an amount not to exceed a limit you set which would permit signing a contrac1 with one of these contractors within the next 30 days, after review of three or more bid proposals.
While this request is not a budgeted expense for fiscal 2009, we believe it would be a good investment in the project because of the possibility of reducing the overall cost to WP A over time. Based on our analysis of projected 2009 WPA expenses, economies to date would keep the overall WP A budget in line so a special assessment would NOT be needed and reserves would not be reduced.
Finally, we feel it imperative that WPA develop a "15 Year Plan" for the long-term maintenance of the Wedgefield canals, as recommended by the Compliance Committee Report for 2008. If we ultimately perform an initial maintenance dredging in the near future, there will be a need to establish a reserve fund for future canal maintenance. The goal would be to attain enough in reserve in 5-9 years, to fund the 2nd maintenance dredging as allowed by the current Corps of Engineers permit. It also needs to address in general terms how to accomplish future maintenance beyond the 10-year life of the permit. This does not require any formal action by the Board at this point, except to note that it is a long-term need and should be part of the charge to the Water Amenities and Canal Committees.
Larry McMillin made a motion to reaffirm the Canal Committee as a regular standing subcommittee of the Water Amenities Committee. The "charge" of this group is to

continue managing the technical aspects of the canal maintenance project, such as vetting of prospective vendors, development of specific action plans for WP A to consider, coordination of funded activities, and development of a 5 to 15 year plan for the long-term maintenance of the canals.
We propose the following members: John McBride, Mike Davis, Larry McMillin, John Walton, and Ed Wozniak. We also are seeking at least two additional members, ideally non- canal lot owners, who may be named in the near future. This motion was seconded by Madeline Claveloux. Discussion followed. Brenda Martin suggested that we included a diverse committee that includes both canal and non-canal residents, and also includes both retired and working residents. The motion passed unanimously.
Larry McMillin made a motion to establish a "Canal Funding Committee" as a new sub- committee of the Water Amenities Committee. The "charge" of this group is to investigate all possible scenarios for funding canal dredging, including but not limited to local, state, and federal grants, differential assessment strategies, voluntary contributions, and the establishment of a waterfront sub-association, with supplemental assessment rights. When this information is in hand, the Funding Committee will coordinate with the Canal sub- committee and prepare one or more action plans for the WP A Board to consider for approval and funding.
We propose Carolyn McBride to be leader of this group, and are actively seeking two or more additional volunteers. Candidates should be Wedgefield residents in good standing, ideally with grant writing or fund raising experience. This motion was seconded by Johnny Huggins, motion passed unanimously.
Larry McMillin made a motion to fund the first phase of the canal restoration project, i.e. the topographic resurvey of the spoils site, the hydrographic resurvey of canals, and preparation of bid specifications and detailed engineering drawings immediately, between $30,000 and $50,000, not to exceed $50,000.00. This motion was seconded by Johnny Huggins. Discussion followed. Brenda Martin stated that she supported this study so the community is working with facts based on a professional engineering study and can outline the scope of the dredging project accurately. The motion passed unanimously 

MAY 2009

Canal Report: Karl Gettmann requested Mike Davis give the report.
The WPA Canal Committee held a well-attended informational meeting on Tuesday, April 28 at the WPA office. A short slide presentation recapped the project to date, and outlined four proposed phases to restore the canals. It also covered preliminary cost estimates, along with some alternative funding scenarios being investigated, and ended with a lively question and answer session.
We apologize to those who had to observe from outside or could not attend the second presentation. Printed copies of the summary handout are available from Kathy at the WPA office, and copies of both the slide presentation and handout are up on the WPA website under Committee Reports-Water Amenities. As we try to build community consensus on to how to best get this difficult job done, we plan to hold similar meetings on a regular basis, and will use an appropriate larger venue as needed.
.
This month the Canal Committee also solicited sealed proposals from prospective Professional Services contractors for the phase one tasks. They were opened on May 8
th by Karl Gettmann, with one other WPA Board member and the entire Committee in attendance. On May 11th the contract was awarded to The Earthworks Group of Murrells Inlet, and we held a kick-off meeting with them on May 15th to review contract details and establish a timetable. The spoil site topographic survey should begin this week.
We are still actively seeking additional volunteers. We need at least two additional members for the Canal Committee itself to help with the technical aspects of planning and supervision. The ideal candidates would be non-canal lot owners, so that we can get better input from that perspective, but we will gratefully accept anyone who is willing to pitch in, put in the hours, and help develop a workable action plan. In addition, the Funding Subcommittee is seeking two or more additional volunteers, ideally with grant writing or fund raising experience. Candidates should be Wedgefield property owners in good standing. Please contact Karl Gettmann if you would like to help with this project.
The Canal Committee appreciates the constructive feedback we have received since the information meeting. As always, we are open to your suggestions, comments, or questions. 

JUNE 2009

Canal Report: Karl Gettmann requested Mike Davis give the report.
Following the award of the Phase 1 contract and the kick-off meeting in mid May, our Engineering contractor, the Earthworks Group of Murrells Inlet, has been hard at work surveying the old spoils site adjacent to the Black River. They had to do a lot of bush hogging and clearing through 20 plus years of overgrowth to get clean sight lines across the center and around the perimeter. They set two temporary benchmarks along the north side of the landing road, which must stay in place until the project is completed; please do not disturb them.
All of the spoil site fieldwork is now completed. Their next task is to import all the measurements into the site database and begin designing the revamped basin within the permit guidelines to meet the required capacity for spoils. The preliminary drawings should be available in another week, and once approved by the Canal Committee, the topographic survey will be completed.
Earthworks also obtained the 2002 and 2006 canal system hydrographic survey data in electronic form from the previous Engineering contractor, GEL of Charleston. Those earlier surveys were paid for by voluntary contributions from canal lot owners. Earthworks’ preliminary analysis indicates that the old data, once correlated with the current survey, will be adequate to recompute the required dredge volumes and should make a new full hydrographic re-survey unnecessary. A final determination will be made next week.
Once WPA approves the drawings, Earthworks will generate a bid specification package. They will then solicit proposals from qualified contractors, and at last give us valid hard data of projected costs of spoil site preparation and dredging itself.
We are still actively seeking additional volunteers for both the Canal Committee and the Funding Subcommittee. Please contact our Chairman Karl Gettmann through the WPA office if you would like to get involved, or to submit constructive feedback, suggestions, comments, or questions.

JULY 2009
Canal Report: Karl Gettmann requested Mike Davis give the report.
Since the last report in June, our Engineering contractor, the Earthworks Group of Murrells Inlet, completed the design for the rework of the old spoils site, which the Canal Committee approved after some minor changes. The design meets the capacity requirement of the US Army Corps of Engineers Permit with about a 10% surplus to allow for settling of the perimeter dike over time. It also includes a clever water quality baffle in the design, which should help meet or exceed agency standards for turbidity in the water returned to the environment.
Earthworks validated and successfully imported data from the 2002-2006 GEL hydrographic surveys into their drawing package, which eliminated the need for a new survey. This will substantially reduce the final bill for their contracted phase one services.
Last week Earthworks issued bid specifications packages for both the site work and the dredging work itself to over one dozen prospective contractors. The sealed bid reply date is in early August, and will provide the Canal and Funding Committees specific projected costs of spoil site preparation and dredging itself to work with. Once WPA and the Canal Committee have opened bids, they will make a summary available to interested residents.
The Funding Subcommittee has been hard at work seeking outside funding but recent negative publicity about Wedgefield is proving to be a major obstacle. Once they have the firm cost quotes, additional specific requests for aid will be made. They are also analyzing various funding strategies and should make a preliminary report to WPA with one or more action plans to evaluate and consider before the August Board Meeting.
We still need additional volunteers for both the Canal Committee and the Funding Subcommittee. The most important and difficult task of finding a way to fund restoration of the canals that the majority of our fellow residents can accept is now on the table. Please contact our Chairman Karl Gettmann through the WPA office if you would like to get involved, or to submit constructive feedback, suggestions, comments, or questions.

 AUGUST 2009 THE VOTE TO DREDGE AND FUND THE CANAL DREDGING.
Canal Report: Karl Gettmann requested Mike Davis give the report.
Mike Davis: Normally I try to summarize my report to try......
George Wilson: Your not on the Board, how come he‟s giving the report? What was that spiel you gave me?
Mike Davis: I was asked by my Chairman to give the report.

George Wilson: I was asking the President, not you.
Karl Gettmann: Mr. Davis is an authorized committee member.
George Wilson: What was that spiel you gave at the beginning of the meeting? “Only Board Members will speak.” Can you give the report?
Karl Gettmann: I can give the report. (applause from Audience)
Karl Gettmann: Alright knock it off! Mr. Davis has been making these reports for months on end and done so admirably. And you sir are out of line.
George Wilson: No.
Karl Gettmann: You are out of line, sit down or leave.
George Wilson: The reason I
said that..... (Inaudible on tape)
Karl Gettmann: You can leave now.
Crowd: (Loud Commotion)
George Wilson: (Inaudible on tape)
Karl Gettmann: I don‟t recall saying only Board Members, (crowd getting louder) we have committee members that are also authorized to speak.
Karl Gettmann: Alright! If you would like me to close the meeting down I can do that. Member of Audience: Can we just get on with the meeting?
Karl Gettmann: I‟d like you to leave.
George Wilson: You are the Water Amenities person.
Karl Gettmann: We have been having the report made by Mr. Davis for months and there
has never been a complaint, he‟s as authorized to speak as I am. I have given him that authority. He‟s a member of the Board.
George Wilson: (Inaudible)
Karl Gettmann: You are out of line, George!
Unidentified member: Get him outta here!
Unidentified member: Hey look
, don‟t disrupt this meeting; you are only one voice here. George Wilson: I am over 200 voices.
Unidentified member: I don‟t hear 200 voices I only hear one. Don‟t disrupt the meeting, lets get on with the meeting. If you don‟t like it then you can leave. (Applause from audience)
Karl Gettmann: I‟m not going to put up with much more. (commotion) Just keep it quiet! Unidentified member: Carry on with the meeting, please. Let‟s hear it all. You‟re doing a very good job.
Mike Davis: I‟m just going to read it verbatim.
Since the last report in July, our Engineering contractor, the Earthworks Group of Murrells Inlet, completed the process of getting firm bids for the canal restoration project. As reported last month, over a dozen prospective contractors were invited to bid. Most of them attended an on-site pre-bid conference on July 23rd where Earthworks answered technical and procedural questions from the floor. The prospective contractors also visited the spoil site and canal system by boat to ensure all were familiar with existing site conditions before bidding.
The sealed bids were opened at the Earthworks office at 2:00 PM on Wednesday, August 5th, 2009. They were read aloud in the presence of two principals of the Earthworks Group, two members of the WPA Board of Directors, four members of the Canal Committee, and one member of the Funding Committee. We were very pleased to find that all the bids were close to the low end of the budgetary range. Qualified bids for the
spoil site rework ranged from approximately $321,000 to $382,000, and from approximately $693,000 to $721,000 for the canal dredging.
We subsequently received a letter dated August 10 from Earthworks recommending specific vendors for the two phases based on their professional reputations, experience, and responsiveness of their proposals. The two recommended contractors were also the lowest of all qualified bids received. The Canal Committee concurs with Earthworks‟ recommendations. Copies of the recommendation letter as well as the raw bid results are attached to this report for your information.
These very attractive bid prices are only valid for a short time. In order to lock them in, the Canal Committee recommends that the WPA Board consider signing contracts with the two recommended firms at this time. That decision would however be contingent upon subsequent adoption of an acceptable plan to fund the costs. We understand that the Funding Committee will present one or more financing proposals in their August report to the Board.
If the Board does approve both signing of contracts with the two recommended vendors AND a funding scheme, the Canal Committee additionally recommends that WPA continue to retain Earthworks, our Engineering firm of record, to supervise the work and perform a post-dredge closeout. We feel that professional oversight by a qualified Civil Engineering firm would be critical to the success of the overall project. In particular, a post dredge hydraulic survey is the best way to verify the amount of spoils removed, and ensure that we have gotten good value for the expense. It also would help ensure all aspects of the work meet the permit guidelines. Attached for your information is their proposal for those professional services.
If WPA approves all three of these recommendations, the approximate total cost would be just over $1,000,000. That is approximately $10 per cubic yard all up, or less than $7.00 per cubic yard for the dredging phase alone. These numbers are far less than those recently circulated by various opponents of the project.
The Canal Committee recognizes that whether to adopt our recommendations or not may be the most difficult decision you or any other Board has had to face in many years. Nevertheless, you now have in hand sufficient expert legal and technical advice and the firm financial data needed to make an informed decision. We are grateful that you have had the courage to support both the Canal and Funding Committees‟ efforts to get the information necessary to make these decisions based on factual information. These costs are not likely to be this affordable again in the foreseeable future, and we hope you are convinced that when paired with an equitable funding scheme, approving the restoration of the Wedgefield canals at this time is the right thing to do.
Canal Funding Committee Report Carolyn McBride
The Canal Funding Committee made-up of Quinn Smith, Janet Smith, R.V. Wheeler, John McBride, and myself, met on August 11, 2009 and again discussed funding options using the results from the dredging and spoil site bids recently received. We followed up with loan information required by the bank for funding the options. The committee worked from the perspective of “what is best, fair, and equitable for the plantation as a
community.” Four options were decided upon to present to the Board. The recommended option took into account what would be most attractive or favorable for those on fixed incomes to manage, which was a key criteria that the Board requested of the committee. The Funding Committee also met with the Water Amenities Committee, of whom our committee is under, and they concurred with our recommendation which was presented to the Board on August 13, 2009.
Specifics of the option are as follows:
There would be an increase in HOA dues of $175 for ALL units. This figure includes interest and would be paid for five years, for a total of $875 per unit. It is an increase of $14.58 a month out of pocket expense. Wedgefield Plantation Association would fund the project over the five year period with a payment that breaks down to $434 per unit (or unit owner). The canal units would pay the same as all units just described and an additional $5000.00
“special assessment” payable over the next twelve months. Adding in the average of $2000 they have already paid to obtain the dredging permit, brings their total to $8,309. This is six times what would be paid by non-canal units. Canal lot units will have the option of paying approximately $2000.00 additionally to have dredging done around their docks. This would bring their costs up to almost eight times that of non-canal units.
All of this would be contingent upon approval of the required financing.
Motion- A motion made by Larry McMillin to proceed with the spoil site and the dredging of the canals by accepting the recommendation of Earthworks with the awarding of the bid to D & L Siteworks for the Spoil Site Restoration in the amount of $321,332.00 and to Marco Construction for the Dredging of the Canals in the amount of $692,677.00, and to continue to keep Earthworks as the Manager of the project, not to exceed an additional $44,000.00. Seconded by Madeline Claveloux.
Discussion
Johnny Huggins stated he is a non-canal person and he has questions concerning this. Who really owns the canals? What I have to go by is what our attorney told us before this meeting. Our attorney stated we do own the canals even though I have had contradicted information. I am going to vote the way I feel. Anything we vote on now is by the
recommendation of our attorney. I‟m sorry if it doesn‟t turn out the way you like. We tried.
Ruth Reames- I was asked to serve as Treasurer for the plantation, I just wanted to work on payroll returns and balance the checkbook. I wanted to help my community. I had no idea I was getting into this. I‟m just a regular person trying to do the right thing. Like Johnny said, our attorney has given us legal advice and I have lost sleep over this, I‟ve not eaten and physical ill. And I have people looking at me now like they hate my guts. I don‟t even know who you are. And whenever I vote I don‟t want people angry with me and I don‟t want people calling my house anymore. I‟m doing the best I know how to do, I‟m a volunteer and I live next door to you guys. I‟m your neighbor. We have a great place to live here. It all depends on our attitude. I still don‟t know how I‟m going to vote. I‟m going to do the best way I can.
Karl Gettmann- I hope we are going to discuss the issues.
Scott Marlowe- I have a question on the funding, most big projects come in at or under budget. What stipulations are in the contract that covers overages?
Mike Davis- One of the reasons that we hired an engineering firm is to help us with this process. They drew up the Bid Specifications, it is pretty ironclad. It‟s what is called a prime contract lump sum and there are performance penalties. The only exceptions are “Acts of God”, hurricanes, etc. The only additional cost will be if they have to demobilize and come back to restart the job for any reason. All those stipulation are covered in the paperwork Earthworks have prepared for us.
Scott Marlowe- We have received information on ownership of the canals. The applications that we filled out for DHEC and the Corp. of Engineers wording is the same in both of them. All waters in South Carolina are considered public trust property deeded by virtue of state ownership of the streambed or by navigational servitude of both. The State of South Carolina are the custodian of these lands and/or waters. It is with the interest of the State that the public trust to which these lands are held.” I just wanted everyone to be reminded of that before you cast your vote and a letter that came in today from the state Attorney General‟s office which says, “This office has been contacted by a member of a group of citizens about the ownership of the canals at Wedgefield Plantation. We have provided a copy of „to whom it may concern‟ letter, your letter states in part that the Wedgefield Plantation Association owns the canals.” I know that the State may have an interest in the beds of the canals. We have not yet determined if the beds are owned by the State. The purpose of writing you is that the State does not waive any ownership claim they may have.” I wanted that to be read before you vote. Then I will make one more comment if there is any more discussion.
Karl Gettmann: Is there anyone else that has comments? I have one thing I want to say, for months now everyone has been fighting, complaining and making a big issue on who owns the canals. Does it really matter? (Commotion from audience) This meeting is still in session. I am entitled to make comments, you don‟t have to agree. The canals have been part of this Plantation since the beginning, and there are some of you that would like to see them become mud holes. I think ownership of the canals is not as important as our duty as members of this community to maintain this entire Plantation and the pristine and beautiful condition in which it was envisioned and built up to be. That includes the canals. Any other discussion?
Scott Marlowe: I know that some will agree and disagree with all of us, especially on ownership, but I have to say when I saw the number, $175.00 a year, it‟s a pretty good number. It was a lot better than what everyone was lead to believe. My big concern is who owns the canals, if the State of South Carolina could be construed out of this letter, doesn‟t know who owns it, then how do we know? With that being said, and with this new information that we didn‟t get until late, I ask that we table this motion until we know who owns the canals.
Karl Gettmann: We have a motion that we table this, do we have a second?
Johnny Huggins: I second. Karl Gettmann: Discussion? There was further discussion.
Karl Gettmann: This is a motion that doesn‟t have merit. We are looking at the best bids we can get in terms of the cost, but they have a limited life span to them. We can‟t wait for next months meeting to agree. This Board is facing difficult issues here.
Johnny Huggins: I have discussion on that motion. We do not have a plan to start dredging for another year. Why is a 30-day wait so important?
Jude Davis: The bids that we have, the dredging bid in particular, is dependant on our spoil site being restored and ready for dredge material from January 2010. We have a limited window when we can dredge. If we do not dredge by January 2010 we will then have to go to the following year and I imagine we would have to re-bid the project and I would expect the cost to go up.
Johnny Huggins: Well, it doesn‟t look like the economy would cause it to go up, it anything it would come down.
Karl Gettmann: That‟s the end of discussion; I‟m going to ask for a vote on the motion to table. I would like to do a roll call vote. The motion is to table this matter:
Madeline Claveloux: No
Ruth Reames: Yes

Johnny Huggins: Yes Brenda Martin: No Karl Gettmann: No Jude Davis: No Larry McMillin: No Scott Marlowe: Yes Bob Arendt: Yes
Karl Gettmann: 5 to 4, motion is not tabled. We have a motion that we proceed with the restoration spoil site. I‟m going to call a roll call vote again.
Madeline Claveloux: Yes
Ruth Reames: No

Johnny Huggins: No Brenda Martin: Yes Karl Gettmann: Yes Jude Davis: Yes Larry McMillin: Yes Scott Marlowe: No Bob Arendt: No

Karl Gettmann: Vote is 5-4, in favor. Motion is adopted. We also have an issue before us to accept the recommendation the Funding and Subcommittee. We need to present the other motion:
Brenda Martin: Motion: I move that we accept the recommendation the Funding Subcommittee and approve paying $50,000 from Operating Expenses annually for 5 years, increasing the annual assessment $175 for 5 years for all Wedgefield Plantation property owners and an additional 1 time special assessment for all canal front properties of $5000 payable over 12 months. This funding motion is subject to bank approval.
Karl Gettmann: We have a motion before us, I move that we accept the recommendation the Funding Subcommittee and approve paying $50,000 from Operating Expenses annually for 5 years, increasing the annual assessment $175 for 5 years for all Wedgefield Plantation property owners and an additional 1 time special assessment for all canal front properties owners of $5000 payable over 12 months. This funding motion is subject to bank approval. Do I have a second? Seconded by Madeline Claveloux. Discussion? Roll call vote again:
Madeline Claveloux: Yes Ruth Reames: Yes Johnny Huggins: Yes Brenda Martin: Yes Karl Gettmann: Yes Jude Davis: Yes
Larry McMillin: Yes
Scott Marlowe: No
Bob Arendt: No
Karl Gettmann: Vote is 7-2, motion passes. 

REMEMBER THE PHRASE - "SILENCE IS GOLDEN"? WHEN IT DESTROYS INTEGRITY, AND SOUND GOVERNANCE, IT ISN'T!



Your WPA board appears to be operating under "silence is golden", and it isn't benefiting Wedgefield, and it often flies in the face of our governing documents, and harms our Wedgefield community.  I've transcribed another portion of the resident comment section of the WPA December 2015 board meeting.  Since your board has gone silent in another area - they no longer post the official recordings of WPA board meetings on the WPA website, you'll have to go to The Wedgefield Times to listen to the tape, and verify my transcription for yourself.  The portion of the tape that I have transcribed starts at about 43 minutes into the tape.  

To set the stage for the transcription I'm bringing you to the point where the canal resident has asked the board about a maintenance dredge, and Garrison has given her some of his rhetoric.  As we begin to transcribe Garrison speaks for the whole board, including those who serve on the water amenities committee.

TRANSCRIPTION WILL BE PROVIDED IN BLACK TYPE, COMMENTS, WHEN INSERTED, WILL BE NOTED AS SUCH, AND PROVIDED IN RED TYPE:

Garrison has been speaking, and we pick up the transcription here, regarding the canals.  Garrison,  "As far as this board, and the responsibility to do it - I would respectfully disagree.  You have an agreement that was reached in court, after 5 years, or so of wrangling.  Everyone in the lawsuit agreed that we don't own the canals.  So I find it a stretch to say this board has responsibility - pretty much unilaterally agreed by all the people that were involved in the lawsuit that we don't own....I don't believe PERSONALLY that this board has any LEGAL responsibility WHAT SO EVER.  I would agree, and that the board had a MORAL responsibility, and I do also agree that it has an effect on the canal owners values.  VERY FRANKLY, I don't think it makes my property worth a dollar more, or less whether the canal behind your house is dredged, or not.  Again - SUBJECTIVE difference of opinion.  There is and was in fact a proposed by-law - that was proposed for this years ballot to prohibit WPA from spending ANY money what so ever on canals.  I can PROMISE YOU it will be on the ballot.  The reason it didn't make it this year was it was so poorly worked that it was rejected by the board attorney.  It's going to be rewritten and it will be there.  I can almost guarantee you.  I don't mean that to SCARE ANYBODY, or anything else, because I don't.....You NEED to UNDERSTAND there is UNDER FOOT - folks adamantly opposed to any WPA funds being spent on those canals.  So, as strongly as you believe that - this board has a responsibility to do something about it, at least an equal # of people out there believe exactly the opposite."

COMMENTS:  We pause in the transcription.  Garrison says, "You NEED to UNDERSTAND there is UNDER FOOT - folks adamantly opposed to any WPA funds being spent on those canals. "  Legal/compliance chair/vice president Garrison, has been the leader of the band of the under foot group adamantly opposed to WPA funds spent on those canals.  He has been active since the last dredge, voted on in 2009, as a private citizen blatantly telling us residents in writing to put their canal assessments in escrow in Anderson Bank, and has been continuing this agenda at the expense of every WPA member, expending WPA legal funds through a series of suspicious lawyers, unwritten legal opinions, hidden and forged documents, while every board member sits by.  Really?  Here is the SILENT part.  Why in December of 2015 is the entire board - except the illegal mouth piece - Garrison, sitting by, and letting Garrison speak about the canals, and answer a canal resident's question?  Where is water amenities chair, John Walton when Garrison is saying these things?  Where are board members Anderson, Johnson, and McMillin, who also sit on the water amenities/canal committee?  As always, they are sitting on their hands, because they aren't raising them to speak.  John Walton, Larry McMillin, and Adam Anderson were first line observers, and hands on workers in the last dredging, and they have stayed silent about any legal plans to help us on this issue, and too many others!  This silence isn't golden.  It is corrupt.  They sit there while Garrison makes these claims about canal ownership, and  judgements.  There were no judgements.  There were settlements, and they came long after the 2009 vote to dredge the canals.  Yes, the state owns the bottoms of the canals.  The 2009 vote to dredge was not made on who owns them, it was made on RESPONSIBILITY.  Johnson wasn't a homeowner in 2009, but McMillin was a board member, and John Walton was an active volunteer on the committee at the time.  Just incase you'd like to think I'm making facts up, I was a board member in 2009, and just before the vote to finance, and dredge, the question and argument about who owns the canals came up in discussion.  The following is a direct quote from the WPA 2009 August meeting minutes, from then President Gettmann regarding ownership:  "The canals have been part of this Plantation since the beginning, and there are some of you that would like to see them become mud holes. I think ownership of the canals is not as important as our duty as members of this community to maintain this entire Plantation and the pristine and beautiful condition in which it was envisioned and built up to be. That includes the canals. "
McMillin VOTED to finance, and dredge the canals.  Individual Assessment was used to assess canal lot owners at a much higher rate, than non canal lot owners.  Anderson, and John Walton were right in the middle of the project.  So, for a moment, let's ask were they committed to the legalities, ethics, governing documents then, or did they just want the canals dredged by any means?  Are they letting Garrison run this unethical show now because they believe he is right, or do they just want the canals dredged, and they are afraid of him?  Don't know!  Don't care!  You should care, because what they are playing with for their own misguided agenda, is the long term future of Wedgefield!  Remember the phrase "every man"?  This is an "EVERY MAN" moment in the history of Wedgefield!  It is a "every member" - regardless of where you live in the association moment, and your very sick board - every member of the board, who hides, remains silent, while the likes of Garrison destroys our future, is culpable.   The basics of Individual Assessment coupled with "responsibility and  
"as our duty as members of this community to maintain this entire Plantation and the pristine and beautiful condition in which it was envisioned and built up to be."  It should be noted that our board attorney of record from the Bell Legal Firm, was present for the August 2009 board meeting, and had met with the board several times before this vote, and had provided written opinions.  "Every member" comes in at this moment because every homeowner, and the assets of their individual property - canals, golf course, condo, etc., are served if we couple responsibility, and Individual Assessment, to serve everyone fairly, and your board has been remaining silent for too long in their representation of us under our governing documents.  REMEMBER "EVERY MEMBER" AS WE MOVE BACK TO TRANSCRIPTION, AND A MEMBER'S RESPONSE TO GARRISON, WHILE YOUR CANAL COMMITTEE SITS SILENTLY BY.

Member:  "The board's responsibility is not based on a MAJORITY.  The board's responsibility is WHAT IS IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF THIS COMMUNITY.  It is not a matter of majority votes.  If everything were votes they would turn out differently.  THERE ARE COVENANTS AND BY-LAWS saying common ground must be maintained - that considered common ground....The last lawsuit - no finding was found that there was wrong doing.  YOU ARE ONE PERSON BOB (Garrison) AND I RESPECT YOUR OPINION.  YOU ARE ONE OPINION, BUT THERE'S A WHOLE BOARD HERE - ALL WITH OPINIONS - JUST SAYING.  AS TIME GOES ON - NO DISCUSSION!  NO MENTION OF MAINTENANCE DREDGING IS A COSTLY MISTAKE!  ....BECAUSE - GOES ON AND ON.  THE BOARD NEEDS TO ADDRESS THIS ISSUE, before it gets so huge - the costs go out of....it really could be done probably at a fairly reasonable price if it is addressed at this point, and time - not two years from now."

COMMENTS:  Your water amenities/canal committee members don't SAY A WORD!  If you have followed their time line, presented in their handouts, and written presentation materials from the canal members meeting in August, the responsible board members, who sit on the committee don't jump in and even tell her they have been working on a dredge.  Why?  Do they think we are too dumb?  Do they know what they are doing hurts every homeowner?  You'll be the judge, but remember they aren't working for us - all of us, they appear to be working for team Garrison, and they haven't been given a speaking part.  I'm sorry (not so much), GUTLESS, AND LAWLESS!  Prepare yourself, another board member is going to jump in against the resident, and your canal committee will show more of their true colors.  The board member has recently resigned, but was an officer of the board, in fact it is then treasurer DeMarchi.  We resume transcription.

Treasurer DeMarchi:  "I would like to address this.  ? (can't hear number) years ago when this board came up with option of putting approximately $30,000 aside each year for the canals....The board has gone above and beyond that.  At the same time - you can ask Larry (McMillin).  You can ask Ed W (long term canal committee member).  Ask anybody that sat on your canal committee - Ed, Jamie C (another committee member), I've hounded these guys OVER THE YEARS to get their butt in gear!  Three years ago when we instituted this $30,000/yr   If we had taken action there - if you could have gotten the canal people OK, we would have donated approximately $180,000 out of the fund of this community to the canal fund because we had 6 years to go before the permit expires OK  WE'VE LET THAT SLIDE FOR 3 YEARS.  If each canal lot owner had set aside $30/month additional instead of giving it to McDonalds, we'd have enough money come 2019 to dredge those canals, SO DON'T LAY IT ON THIS BOARD, because this proposal has been given to several canal lot people and so on.  The canal lot people have been ATROCIOUS, and the BOARD DOES NOT HAVE AN OBLIGATION TO DO ....because the PEOPLE of this community - the many that resent initially when dredging occurred and got THIS SHOVED DOWN THEIR ....have come to reason, and said you know what, I will not.....but it is $50/year that's coming out that is going into a fund - so I'm not fighting it, but it is the canal lot owners responsibility to come up with a viable plan.  If you don't accept it, where does our responsibility
end?  Garrision:  "In terms of board responsibility, I'll tell you this, I believe that it is my responsibility as a board member to be attuned to what the majority of the people that are paying here are willing to do - alright - that's how things work.  THIS ISN'T ABOUT MY OPINION, or yours.  Regardless, about what my opinion is I try to get that picture in terms of what is best for the community.  WE ALL GET ELECTED so that's MY majority... It is only a majority of 214 (COMMENT:  that is all that voted in the 2015 ballot), that vote which isn't even a majority of the residents - I can't do anything about that, but believe very strongly as a board member it is my responsibility to look at what....want ....your a minority on this particular issue...as a group I get that, but REGARDLESS I'm not blinded that there will be some....opposed .  Don't misunderstad that but as Al (DeMarchi) said, the THE CANAL LOT OWNERS GETTING ON BOARD....NOT TOO MANY to do so and as John (Walton) said there just hasn't been a whole lot of interest.  Resident:  "Put it in the Wragg.  Schedule a meeting and invite everyone that is interested in the topic who would like to provide - don't just leave it to the canal lot people - post a meeting date."  Garrison:  "I have offered on NUMEROUS ....to meet with canal lot owners...is that not so, and there was no interest."

COMMENTS:  
We need to thank the resident who stuck with this issue.  She had responsibility right.  As to that whole board, they sat through a pack of lies presented by Garrison, and DeMarchi, and never called them on the fact that the canal dredging has not been discussed in over 2 years from the board table.  Remember, I have posted all the water amenities reports from the approved WPA board minutes - NEVER MENTIONED - LET ALONE INVITATIONS TO MEET WITH ANYONE Mr. Garrison.  If it never happened, and we've proved it, it is just lies. So every member of that nine member board sat through the lies, and NEVER STOOD UP FOR ANYONE, OR ANYTHING.

Regarding Anderson, John Walton, Johnson, and McMillin, how arrogant of you to propose anything to canal lot owners, asking them to pay privately for dredging - no assessment from the board, but to a private account, when everything you have done, stood by and watched, is illegal. Canal lot owners, your contributions - money, are doing nothing but adding to the destruction of Wedgefield, which now doesn't have far to fall.  These guys don't even defend you when you are called atrocious, and not interested, when no one has even talked to us - not any of us, or represented us from the board table out in the open.  Everyone on that board with their silence have failed to serve us under our governing documents, and are destroying Wedgefield.  

Monday, September 26, 2016

WEDGEFIELD RESIDENT WRITES THE BLOG

The Wedgefield Examiner has received the following letter from a reader of the blog.  As always, their name has been removed.  If you have a comment - agree, or not, you can send it to:
wedgefieldexaminerthe@yahoo.com.

HERE'S THE LETTER:
To
Today at 10:19 AM

Thank you, Madeline, for another batch of very informative blogs on your site.  The last one, in particular, I think is so helpful.  It’s easy to lose sight of which members really need to be ousted because it just seems as though the entire lot are so destructive.  But by pointing out exactly who and what needs to be done should resonate when people vote on the new board.  At least I hope so. 

Sunday, September 25, 2016

THE WPA SEPTEMBER WATER AMENITIES/CANAL REPORT



The report was given by water amenities chair, John Walton.  It was a short report.  31 out of the 79 canal lot owners have paid the $400 for the canal, and spoil site studies.  

This is the wrong way to take care of the canal issue.  Your water amenities/canal committee, along with your board, have done nothing legal, or ethical, under our governing documents, to save the canals over the long term, and have closed all the long term doors, to assist the golf course lot owners.  That, along with their failure to protect our community's beauty through ARC, and the compliance committee's use of our restrictions, and covenants, by-laws, etc. have added to the general decay in Wedgefield.  I'm not taking the time today to discuss the dysfunction of our grounds committee.

We need to help each other by voting Jacky Walton, Bob Garrison, Keith Johnson off the board at the annual meeting.  

WEDGEFIELD HOMEOWNERS NEED THIS, BECAUSE YOUR BOARD DOESN'T WANT TO PROVIDE THE CLIMATE FOR IT TO HAPPEN. AS HOMEOWNERS WE WILL NEED TO FIND A SOLUTION


RESIDENT CALLS FOR "POINT OF ORDER" DURING THE SEPTEMBER WPA MEETING, AND THE NEWEST INFO REGARDING THE GOLF COURSE.


Shortly after the September WPA meeting was called to order, the board progressed to approval of the minutes.  In this case, approval of the minutes from the closed September 12th board meeting.  After the motion was made to approve the minutes, a member in the audience raised his hand, and called for a point of order.  He asked that the minutes be read to the audience.  As he tried to explain why, president Walton, pounded the gavel and told him he was out of order.  Someone from the board table stated that the minutes would be posted on the WPA website.  They aren't.

I haven't discussed this with the resident, so these thoughts are mine.  The meeting on September 12th was called illegally - not properly noticed, and if you recall from a previous documented article, a board attorney of record had written president Walton in the past, and said there were very few reasons to call these closed meetings.  I thank the resident for being brave enough under the bizarre governance we have here, for making the effort to bring information to light, from this hide and seek board. 

The meeting moved to officer reports.  No report from our president, but there was a report from vice president Garrison.  He said the meeting on the 12th was two fold.  Our paid staff secretary had given notice, and they were hiring a new secretary.  He went on to say that the lender for the golf course had been making inquiries about a management group to run the golf course.  Additionally he said that a local person involved with golf courses for over 20 years, and a possible potential buyer had asked to meet with the board strictly for an information exchange.  He would like to make a presentation to the residents.  The meeting will take place on October 11, 7:00PM, at the First Baptist Church.  

First, there wasn't any reason for this meeting to be closed.  Our governing documents should guide - open, or closed.  We have a right to know who the board is recommending hiring, rate of pay, duties, etc.  Second the potential buyer doesn't get to decide if it is an open, or closed meeting.  Let's for grins say that the board felt that that was the only way - closed meeting, that the potential buyer would meet with them.  Then in the least, the board should have posted the meeting, who called it, and the reason for it being called.  Too picky for you?  It shouldn't be, secrecy - outside of the governing documents on huge issues, is standard operating procedure for this board.  

A motion was made, and passed, to spend up to $150 to get the notices out to the residents about the meeting at First Baptist Church on Oct 11.