President’s Comments

President’s Comments April 2017 Board Meeting

I want to thank Jim Swartz for filling in for me tonight.  I have some out-of-state family commitments today.

As you already notice, we are having our April Board Meeting and subsequent Board Meetings at the Clubhouse.  Following these meetings will be a social reception for Members the Board.  The Board is hoping that this will promote a sense of Community.  This is to be an opportunity for the Membership to meet other Members and the Board.  Sorry I am missing the first one.

As a reminder, there were only two Candidates for the two open Board Seats.  According to the Bylaws, when the number of candidates equal or are less than the number of open Seats, the Board can suspend the Election by confirming the candidates.  We confirmed the candidates at the March Board Meeting.  The two new Board Members for the 2017 to 2020 period are Jim Swartz and Ron Morris.

Our new business Office is complete and at the old location.  The new Office is in use. A special thanks to Dan Mullins, our Association Operations Manager, and Jim Swartz, our Vice President of the Board for navigating the construction process.  And a further thanks to Dan and Jim along with our office staff, Pat Sowry and Jen Addair, and our Maintenance staff for the transition back to Route 6.

The Annual Meeting will be held on April 29, 2017, 1pm right here at the Clubhouse.  Following the meeting will be a social with other Members and the Board, and then a tour of the new Office for those making the trip to Route 6.

The Board cancelled out of the joint Village-Association meeting in March for what turned out to be a record snow for the area.  We will reschedule after the Board has an opportunity to agree upon potential dates which will be provide to the Village.  In addition the Board will address the Mayor’s suggestion that we have a few representatives rather than the entire Board.

Volunteerism:  I want to thank all the Volunteers that it took to put on several activities over the past several weeks.  The Polar Bear Plunge, Dog Training, Winter Fest,  Friends and Neighbors Dinner, Shores Hold ém, Quilting, and the Fishing Club.  If I missed any I apologize to that group. Hopefully, these activities will continue to increase and our Members will create and/or find activities that interest them.  It is no small task to put on these events and the Board is greatly appreciative of these events for the development of our Community.

March President’s Comments

At the February 2017 Board Meeting, questions arose over the Impact Fee.  The Impact Fee is charged at each property transfer, except in the death of an owner passing his property on to family heirs.  The current Impact Fee is $1,000.   The amount collected in 2016 was $76,000.  The purpose of the Impact Fee is to have new property owners contribute to the roads, general fund and amenities which is how the Impact Fee is allocated.  The Board subsequently discussed the Impact Fee and decided to make no changes to how the Impact Fee is administered or to the amount.

As we discussed at the December and February meetings, the Association will host Roger Corlett, the Ashtabula County Auditor.  Mr. Corlett will discuss how real estate taxes are accessed, collected, and dispersed.  At Mr Corlett’s request, this first meeting will be with the Board, and the Association Operations Manager.  A subsequent meeting will then be planned with the Membership.

Important Item:  The next several Board Meetings, including the April 6th meeting, will be held at the Clubhouse followed by a Members reception. Light refreshments will be provided as an opportunity to interact with the Board, Club Presidents, and one another.

Last Saturday, the Winterfest, a planned outdoor activity, was held indoors at the Clubhouse, due to the lack of winter weather.  There were games, crafts, movies, and treats for all.  The event was Free.  The Board wishes to thank Office Employee, Jen Addair, Association Maintenance and Board Member/President of STARS, Jack McMillin, and their throng of STARS Club volunteers for a fun day.  Everyone that attended would have to agree that the kids had a good time and the adults had a good time watching them have a good time.  The Board hopes that STARS does this again.

The nominations to the Board for the 2017 Election closed on February 28, 2017 at 1:00pm.  There are two seats open for the next three years.  The qualified candidates are incumbents:  Jim Swartz, and Ron Morris.  Update: Based on the By-Laws, being the same number of candidates as positions available, the Board can vote to eliminate the Ballot which was done at the March Board Meeting.  Therefore, there will be no Ballot.  There is an out-of-pocket savings as well as a considerable time savings.

The Annual Meeting will be held at the Clubhouse on Saturday April 29, 2017, 1pm.  A summary of the previous year will be covered.  Refreshments will be served at the end.  And this year the Board will host a tour of the new Office following the refreshments at the Clubhouse.

President’s Comments Feb 2017 Board Meeting

By Tom Sopko – RRA Board President

The Board wishes each Member a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year.

I apologize for canceling January Meeting. The weather was bad, and forecasted to get worse. It seemed to be the prudent thing to do. We contacted as many regular attendees as possible. Hopefully you got the message.

As we discussed at the December meeting, the Association will host Roger Corlett, the Ashtabula County Auditor at the Clubhouse. Roger will discuss with the Membership how real estate taxes are accessed, collected, and dispersed. The meeting date is targeted to include the snowbirds.

For 2017, the Village of Roaming Shores elected to maintain their own Village owned roads. Previously, they paid the Association to maintain their roads. The Village owns approximately 1.75 miles of roads. For the month of January 2017, the Association maintained the Village’s roads along with our own Association private roads, while the Village set themselves up with the necessary maintenance equipment.

As we begin 2017, the Board wishes to remind you of the capital improvements done by the Association. Examples are, the new Office building; the Clubhouse renovations which included painting, doors and windows, flooring and lighting; the pavilions concrete flooring; and the dredging; just to mention a few. These all occurred at no additional costs to the Membership.

And just as a reminder, your Directors are unpaid dedicated volunteers.

And we thank you for your continued support.

President’s Comments December 2016 Board Meeting

By Tom Sopko – RRA Board President

  1. The Board and the Association wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy Holiday, and a Happy New Year.
  1. The RomeRock Association is a Homeowners Association. The members of RomeRock Association consist of the owners of real property within the Roaming Rock Shores Subdivision along with their spouses and others approved for membership in accordance with the Association’s By-Laws.

“Homeowner’s associations (HOA) are formed by planned communities with single-family homes or multiple unit or condominiums. An HOA is typically established to make and enforce rules regarding the properties within the jurisdiction. Most HOAs are incorporated and are subject to state laws. The association has a board of directors that are elected to enforce and oversee the HOA governing documents.”*

* (

  1. At the November 2016 Joint meeting with the Council for the Village of Roaming Shores, it was questioned whether RomeRock Association has been “double dipping” on the road fees. This has upset a number of Members, which I can understand.  However, I would like to clarify that the Association is not double dipping.
    1. A majority of the roads in the Roaming Rock Shores Subdivision are private roads owned and maintained by the Association. All properties in the Subdivision and their owners are charged a road assessment as part of being an HOA. The road assessment is used to pay for all of the roads owned and maintained by the Association. .  As property owners in the Village and County, we all pay taxes for which some of it goes to the County and some the Village, and eventually some is allocated to roads.
    2. We all pay taxes to maintain County or Village roads that we do not live on or use. We all pay a proportionate share of the costs to maintain all of the Association’s properties and facilities, including the roads and the lake, regardless of the extent we use them as they are all equally available for the use and enjoyment of the members and they help to enhance the value of all properties that are part of the Association.
    3. Dues and Assessments are part of being a member of a homeowners association. The dues/assessments are paid whether a Member use facilities (such as roads, pools, volley ball court, etc.) or not.  The costs of the facilities available to all members are apportioned by lot and membership as it is simply not reasonable or realistic to apportion costs based on quantity of use. As Members, we all pay a proportionate share of the cost of all facilities and not just those we choose to use or not use.
  1. The action item from the Joint Village – Association Meeting of November 10, 2016 is to form a Committee to review the monetary payment by the Village to the Association for maintaining Village Roads. The Association remains ready for that meeting.
  1. The Board wants to express their sympathies to the John Ball Family for their loss.


President’s Comments Nov 2016 Board Meeting

  1. In the past Month of October 2016, the Mayor has commented many times, “Sopko said” or “Sopko was right”, or “Sopko pointed out”.
    1. I just wanted it to be clear that Sopko is just another Association Board Member who happens to be the President representing the Board. What I say has been vetted by the Board and represents the Boards position.
    2. If I make my own comment, I state that it is my feeling at the beginning of the comment.
  1. We are the Village and we are the Association. Members of Ohio Lakes Community Association (OCLA) highly praised our Village and Association arrangement.
    1. Recently, there has been significant comment by the Mayor in the Shores News about the Dam Purchase Agreement not being good for the Village. The question should be is it good for the Community.
  1. The Association would like to remind the Members that we the Association would have a difficult time purchasing insurance on the Dam.
    1. A good example of dam insurance is Hide-A-Way Hills. There annual dam insurance costs increased toward $100,000.  They dropped their insurance.
    2. The Dam failed when they had no insurance and the cost per Member to repair the Dam was $4,000. The entire Dam repair was $2.5 million.
    3. Our Association Assessments would have to rise if the Association we were to insure the Dam. Per Member, the figure is estimated to be $8 assessment increase per year per $10,000 additional premium on the insurance.  The Assessment increase for dam insurance is estimated to be on the order of $24 to $80 per Member per year.
  1. The Board wants the Members to recall that we are both Members of the Association and Residents of the Village.
    1. We all pay taxes to the Village and we all pay dues/assessments to the Association. The Community should be getting some help from the Village and the Association.

President’s Comments May 2016 Board Meeting

By Tom Sopko | RRA President

  1. Summary of the Election for Directors
    1. Election for 3 Directors to serve for 3 years.
    2. Candidates
      1. Ed Baitt *
      2. John Lindemann *
      3. John Martin *
      4. Jack McMillin
    3. * indicates winning the election
    4. Thank you to all the candidates for running.
    5. Congratulations to the winners.
  1. Officer Elections for the 2016/2017 Association operating year, same as last year.
    1. Tom Sopko – President
    2. Jim Swartz – Vice President
    3. John Martin – Treasurer
    4. Dave Emick – Secretary
  1. Is there or has there ever been a Dredging Fund?
    1. The issue has come up several times recently.
    2. There is no fund and never has been a Dredging Fund.
    3. We could find no record of a Dredging Fund
      1. It may have been discussed by previous Boards, but was never implemented.
      2. The last major Assessment increase, $85, went into the General Fund.
  1. Police on the Lake
    1. The Village and Association reached agreement on providing police coverage on the Lake at varying times.
  1. Summary of the Ohio Lakes Community Association Meeting sponsored by Hide-Away-Hills and Pine Lakes.
    1. Summary provided separately.
    2. This fall’s Ohio Lakes Community Association Meeting will be held here in the Clubhouse.

Hide-Away-Hills/Pine Lake Summary

By Tom Sopko | RRA President

Hide Away Hills and Pine Lakes jointly sponsored the Spring 2016 Ohio Lakes Communities Association (OLCA) meeting held at Hide Away Hills.  We did not see any of Pine Lakes.  Jen Addair, one of our office employees, is a Board Member for OLCA.  RRA Board attendees were Dave Emick, Jim Swartz and myself.  Dan Mullins, our Association Manager attended.

  1. Hide Away Hills (HAH) General Description
    1. Extremely rural, heavily wooded.
    2. Completely gated. 5 gates.  One main gate, manned 24/7.  Other gates operated by key fob like our lake boat ramp gate.
    3. Lot sizes about an acre.
    4. 710 Members
    5. Roads are very narrow and rough. Chip and tar on bare ground.
      1. Many places too narrow for two cars to pass, no pull offs, courtesy required.
      2. Buses are not permitted.
      3. Speed limit, 19MPH. Lucky to get up to that speed.
      4. 37 miles of roads.
    6. 40% occupancy, year around.
    7. Average property sale price with a home on it before dam failure (dam failure discussed later) $178K in 2012 and $161K in 2013. After dam failure about $136K, average price in 2015.  About 35 realtor sales per year from 2012 to 2015; private sales not tracked.
      1. Homes seemed very nice, well kept.
    8. Mail received in central locations, little buildings, not at a mailbox at each house.
    9. Off lake property with no home has little value, sometimes lots being given away.
    10. About 200 homes on lake and 500 homes off lake.
    11. Water supply is by individual well. Sewers by individual septic.
  1. Hide-Away-Hills Lake
    1. 110 acre
    2. Clear water as described to us. From high up, it looked a little green. Close up it was clear enough to see a few feet down.  No floating material.
    3. Water shed includes no farmland, meaning no fertilizer runoff.
    4. Lake Speed limit 30mph
    5. Power boating not suggested on Lake in 2015. Not suggested for 2016.  Lake down about 2.5 feet due to dam failure. Water needs to be down about 8 feet to make repairs.
  1. Hide-Away Hills Dam Failure
    1. Earthen dam slippage and failure noticed in November 2013
    2. ODNR required a new dam to be built, or the Lake to be drained
    3. Dam repair to cost about $2.5million, about $4000 per Member.
    4. Member vote required, 66-2/3% must approve to assess this amount.
      1. Actual vote was 85% in favor of doing Dam Repairs and assessing each member $4000.
  1. Revenue Sources
    1. Bar & Brewery and Food Service in Clubhouse
      1. Bar & Brewery is profitable
      2. Food service is not profitable. However, pizza service is profitable.
    2. Dues, $1910/year per member
    3. Road Assessment, $200/year
    4. Impact or Amenity Fee, $4200 per property transfer
  1. Amenities and Volunteerism
    1. Amenities are funded through Impact Fee. Fee is $4200 per property transfer. Allocation of this fee:
      1. 50% to amenities
      2. 40% to general fund
      3. 10% to other
    2. Amenity fund about $100K, fluctuates based on money in and out.
    3. Use of amenities was free to members
    4. 24 Committees, examples
      1. Sound system in Club House.
      2. Airstrip
      3. Golf course, 9 hole
      4. Shooting range
      5. Long range planning
      6. Nominating
      7. Tennis
      8. Swimming pool (one pool)
      9. Chapel
      10. Organic gardening
      11. Amphitheater, outdoor entertainment
      12. Many more
    5. Each committee must raise some of their own money, before being able to request money from the Amenity fund.
    6. Board did not allocate Amenity money, but had the final vote on installing an amenity.
  1. Pine Lakes (PL) General Description (Pine Lakes was the co-host, but we did not get to see any of their facilities)
    1. 14 acre lake. This is not a typo, it is 14 acres.
      1. Electric motors only on lake
      2. 1 mi around lake
      3. 39 homeowners, all on lake
    2. Founded in 1964
    3. Major activities
      1. Golf cart poker run
      2. 4th of July Fireworks
  1. Pine Lake Revenue Sources
    1. Dues
      1. $600 per lot with a house
      2. $120 per vacant lot
    2. Selling Timber
      1. Last two years, $30K and $15K
    3. Restaurant and Bar
    4. Bingo cards.  $36K revenue last year after all expenses were paid including property taxes on the building and property used for ticket sales, and employee wages.  One person paid to operate Gambling.
    5. Associate Members for swimming, $50/couple/year
    6. Campground rental space, $840/year
  1. Membership, three types
    1. Members, owning property
    2. Swim associate members
    3. RV Campers at the campground.
  1. Amenities
    1. Playground
    2. Swimming pool
    3. Bar and grill

President’s Comments April 2016 Board Meeting

By Tom Sopko

The Board taking positions on Issues.  The Board does not always take position on an issue.  However, individual Board Members may take a personal position on an issue just as any other Member can do.  A position by an individual Board Member does not constitute a Board Position.

Members running for the Board.  Three seats open; there are four candidates.  There will be a ballot; dues/assessment paying members who have filled out a Membership application should have received a ballot.  Had there been 3 candidates for 3 seats the Board would have done away with the Ballot.  Here are the four candidates:

  1. Ed Baitt
  2. John Lindemann
  3. John Martin
  4. Jack McMillin

The Board has provided priority direction to Dan Mullins, the Association Manager.  Priorities:

  1. Preparation of the facilities and grounds for the Members. Memorial Day.  4th of July.  50th Anniversary.  Opening the pools and bathrooms.
  2. Dredging Operations

The Joint Village-Association meeting will be April 14, 2016, 7:30 pm at the Village Hall.  The three agenda items proposed by the Association are:

  1. Village Police Jurisdiction
  2. Road Maintenance Fees
  3. Residential Building Bond

The Board has published in the Newspaper, Email Blast and on the website, the reasons for selecting the location of the New Office.  We will ask the newspaper to publish one more time.

At the April Board Meeting, there will be the 3rd reading for three by-law changes, which in summary are:

  1. Rather than do three readings for each by-law amendment change, we will do one reading and two considerations. (Update- tabled)
  2. The Association will dispense with a Director ballot if there are the same or fewer candidates as there are seats open.
  3. Change the wording, husband and wife, to spouse to be consistent with the Supreme Court Ruling.

President’s Comments March 2016 Board Meeting

By Tom Sopko
RRA Board President

  1. In general, the Board does not respond to non-dues paying member comments. There is insufficient time to respond to all Member inquiries, let alone those inquiries of non-dues paying Members.
  1. In response to the question about “does it exist in any of the rules that someone can be prohibited from buying property?”   We cannot prevent people from buying property.  We can make rules preventing certain convicted people from living in the Association.   However, we also need to be careful of instituting rules and by-laws that we cannot enforce.
  1. Board will respond to the Mayors request for a joint meeting. An agenda will be prepared tonight.  Update:  We have provided the Mayor three agenda items.  The meeting is scheduled for April 14.
  1. Just want to remind Members on the difficulty of collecting bad debts. David King, our attorney, highlighted this in his comments at the January 2016 meeting.
  1. The Board’s has provided priority direction to Dan Mullins, the Association Manager. Priorities:
    1. Preparation of the Association for the Members. Memorial Day.  4th of July.  50th Anniversary.
    2. Dredging
  1. Members running for the Board. Three seats open.  Four candidates.  There will be a ballot.  Had there been 3 candidates for 3 seats the Board would have done away with the Ballot.  Here are the four candidates:
    1. Ed Baitt
    2. John Lindemann
    3. John Martin
    4. Jack McMillin


President’s Comments, February 2016 Board Meeting

By Tom Sopko

  1. The Board is charged with making decisions in the best interest of the entire Association.
    1. The Board members are volunteers.
    2. The Board believes that we are acting in the best interest of the Association
    3. The Board represents about 1100 Active Members. Not just those Members who attend Board Meetings or those members who attend special meetings like the location of the new Office.
    4. Update: The Board announced that the new Office is being relocated to Route 6.
    5. Update: The Board announced that the Club House renovations are underway. These include repairing the undermined floor base, new doors and windows, new lighting and new flooring.
  1. Considerations on the selection of the Office back to the Route 6 location.
    1. A cash flow analysis, an outcome recommendation by a Member at the December 10 meeting, showed owning a building to be much less expensive over the long haul than renting a building. Building and owning was selected over renting.
    2. The building had to be a commercial building and not a residential building. Some residential properties, available for purchase, that could be good locations, were eliminated. This resulted in planning to build a commercial building.
    3. Adding on to the Clubhouse was eliminated due to the cost of bringing the entire Clubhouse facility up to current building code. This left the Clubhouse entrance and the Route 6 as potential locations.
    4. The Architect estimated that for the same identical building, at either the Route 6 location or the Clubhouse entrance location, would be $40K to $70K less expensive at the Route 6 location. The existing Route 6 location already had parking, utilities and the proper grading.
    5. The Architect wanted a specific location defined to finalize plans. These plans allow the Association to get construction estimates from various contractors.
  1. There are four Bylaw Amendments being considered. The first three amendments under consideration will need to be read three times:
    1. To do away with the three readings in favor of posting on the Association website and doing three considerations of a new Amendment.
    2. To dispense with the Director Ballot process if there are insufficient candidates and candidates run unopposed.
    3. To change husband and wife, to spouse or spouses based on the US Supreme Court decision. Highly recommended by Kaman and Cusimano and OLCA.
    4. Under consideration is a Sexual Offender amendment to prevent Tier 3 sex offenders from living in the Association and being Members. Considerable legal controversy around this. Highly recommended by Kaman and Cusimano and OLCA. It is posted but will not be voted on tonight. There are no known Sex Offenders registered in the Association now, and now would be a good time to institute it. Let us know what you think.
  1. Issues on Board Communications as related to the Lawsuit. Members have commented that they have not received enough information on the Lawsuit. Last month David King, our Corporate Attorney, addressed questions about the Lawsuit brought by Neighbors for a Better Roaming Shores, Barry O’Connell, Joseph Petraus, and Pat Long. One point made by King, that the Board would like to highlight, is that the Board had been advised to not comment on the Lawsuit. Publically available information can be obtained from the Ashtabula County Clerk of Courts, both online and in person.
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