The Eastsound Water Board is in the process of the first revision of the Association’s Bylaws and Operating Rules since 2009. This document is an overview of the most significant changes that are being proposed. It also includes a link to the revised documents that are being presented to the membership for comment. Two membership engagement meetings are planned to seek member feedback on the proposed changes. Members can also find PDF versions of the proposed Bylaws and Operating Rules and updated membership agreement through the below links.
(click on each link to get to the PDF. When a new tab opens, click on the image of the front page of the PDF and it will open the document.)
The scheduled dates for the member engagement discussions are:
• Monday March 16 @ 5pm at the Orcas Senior Center
• Wednesday March 18 @ 5pm at the Orcas Senior Center
The General Manager is also accepting written member feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org
Bylaw Revisions Synopsis
IMPACT UNITS AND ERU’s (UNDER DEFINITIONS)
The term IMPACT UNITs is replacing the term ERU’s (Equivalent Residential Unit) as it pertains to each membership agreement. For more than 20 years each membership agreement has had some number of ERU’s assigned to it as a reflection of the anticipated impact each account is likely to have on the water system. Single family homes commonly have 1.0 ERU’s and will have 1.0 IMPACT UNITS. Non-residential members have had 1.75 ERU’s and will now have 1.75 Impact Units. Members will have Impact Units exactly equal to the number or ERU’s currently owned. The change of terminology is proposed to clarify confusion between the ERU’s associated with your membership agreement and the use of ERU’s by the State Department of Health to quantify a water system’s capacity. Learn more in the DEFINITION section of the Bylaws under IMPACT UNITS and ERU’s
MEMBER REPRESENTATIVES (UNDER DEFINITIONS)
Historically only individuals with a current membership agreement were eligible to serve on the Board. The proposed Bylaws allow up to 2 non-members to serve on the Board of Directors. This will allow water system customers such as Opal Homeowners or OPALCO the opportunity to seek election to the Board.
NOTICE AND ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS
The revisions expand the option for how members can choose to be provided legal notice from the Association. While notice through the mail remains, proposed new options include email, website posting and local newspapers as recognized options. The revisions also specifically allow the use of online voting while preserving paper ballot voting and the use of proxies.
SPECIAL MEETINGS (ARTICLE V. SECTION B)
It is proposed to lower the requirement associated with calling a special meeting of the Association. Currently a petition with 20% of the membership’s signatures is required. The proposed revision requires on 3% of the eligible votes, making it easier for members to call a Special Meeting of the Association.
GUIDING PRINCIPLES (ARTICLE VI)
The Association’s attorney helped craft new language specific to the responsibilities of Board members. Revisions include a process via which the Board or the membership may seek removal of members of the Board.
AMENDING BYLAWS (ARTICLE VII SECTION B)
Currently the Board need only provide notice to the membership when a change is made to the Bylaws. The Revision expands the Board’s responsibilities to engage the membership prior to approving any changes to the Bylaws. The revisions require “engagement meeting(s)” with the membership be held prior to a Board vote to approve any changes to the Bylaws. An approval of changes in the By Laws requires five of seven (5 of 7) Board members (a supermajority) to pass any such changes.
Operating Rules Revisions Synopsis
The revision brings the Association’s Multi Unit Direct Billing Program into the Operating Rules. This Program details the conditions under which multiple meters on a single property can be used.
The revision brings the rate structure, connection fees, membership payment plan policies and other fees into the Operating Rules. To help control costs and expand our collection of member’s email addresses for our automated leak alert system the Board is proposing to adopt a $5 per bill fee for paper billing services at the start of calendar year 2021.
MEMBERSHIP AGREEMENT PAYMENT PLAN COLLECTION OPTIONS
The revisions prescribe that all new payment plans associated with a membership agreement include authorizing the Association to apply a lien on the property for non-payment under the agreed upon payment plan.
Impact Units replace ERUs. Impact Units are a function in the fee structure of the Association.
MIXED USE ALLOWANCE FOR NON-RESIDENTIAL SERVICE CLASS
The revision incorporates the historic precedent for allowing non-residential (commercial) membership agreements with 1.75 IMPACT UNITS up to 2 living units in addition to a commercial function.
PROPERTY SALE AND MEMBERSHIP TRANSFERS
The revision clarifies that upon the sale of a property, the sellers’ membership agreement expires and a new membership agreement is created with the buyer. Membership agreements are not transferred at time of sale.
POLICIES AND PROCEDURES REGARDING TRANSFERS
The Operating Rule Revisions details processes for the following changes to membership agreements.
- Upon the sale of a tax parcel to an unrelated party
- Upon a change of title involving related parties or legal entities
- Upon a subdivision of a tax parcel with existing Impact Unit(s)
- Upon the merger of two tax parcels
- From a Member to the Association
- From one tax parcel to another tax parcel under common ownership
CONDITIONAL TRANSFER RELATED TO NEW DEVELOPMENT
County Code requires a “Certificate of Water Availability” (CWA) as part of a building permit or subdivision application. Eastsound Water can provide a CWA only to those who have a membership agreement. The revision describes the conditions under which Impact Units could potentially be “returned” to the Association if the proposed development is unable to be permitted by the County.
MEMBERSHIP AGREEMENT REVISIONS
In the Process of revising the Association’s Bylaws and Operating Rule the Board also upgraded the Association’s membership agreement in anticipation of moving the membership process to an online system. The new membership agreement more clearly details both the Association’s and member’s responsibilities. The Board intends to ask all members redo their membership agreements.