Notes from the Board of Directors Meeting

Chuck Heitbrink, HOA Board Secretary

The board of directors met on Monday, Sept. 27, at 10 a.m. in the ballroom. The following are notes from that meeting:

Members present: Steve Seel, Lisa Onyx, Jim Anderson, Dan Buescher, Dirk Close, Linda DiPalma, Chuck Heitbrink, and Manager Layne Varney

The meeting was called to order at 10 a.m. by President Steve Seel.

The board reviewed the Minutes for the May 22, 2021, and the Sept. 8, 2021, Executive Session. A motion by Jim to approve the minutes, seconded by Dirk. Approved 7/0

The Treasurer’s Report was given by Jim. He advised the board that year-to-date cash was $1,650,700 and the Contingency Fund was $260,407. He reviewed the major capital funds and reported home sales and restaurant revenue continued to exceed budget. During the summer, he and Layne had conducted a review of our IT and protection against ransomware. Jim reported that our IT management is taking proper precautions.

The Manager’s Report was presented by Layne.

Preliminary Budget

A preliminary copy of the proposed budget was distributed, and it included revenues of $3,171,065 and expenses of $2,625,345. The preliminary budget indicates that homeowner dues for next year be increased by $5 per month. The budget will be approved at the October board meeting.

Election Committee Report

Barbara Ott was asked to make an Election Committee Report. She reported the three candidates in good standing and had submitted the complete paperwork and were approved for the election. The candidates (Dan Buescher, Dirk Close, and Lyman Warnock) will be featured in SunBird News, eblasts, and will be introduced and offered an opportunity to comment at the October board meeting.

SunBird COVID-19 Report

A survey was conducted in SunBird, resulting in learning that 95% of the residents have been vaccinated. These percentages are similar with data from the AZDHS, indicating that 90% of the Arizona populations’ 65-plus have been vaccinated. He reminded the community to please be responsible for yourself and respect others.

Three employees over the summer were either potentially exposed to COVID-19 or had tested positive. The employee who contracted had very limited contact with persons, stayed home, and is still at home with complications. A second person, who was vaccinated, had limited contact, stayed home for 10 days, and tested negative twice before returning to work. An employee was vaccinated and then had symptoms, tested positive, had been working, so the entire department was closed and all employees in that department were tested, all resulting in negative tests.


Account status for 2021: Collected $6,543.23. Two homes are six months or more delinquent, and 12 homes are 30 days past due. The delinquent rate as of the end of August was three-quarters of a percent.

During the month of August, 16 homes were sold in SunBird, for a total of 114. September has had eight sales. Projected home sales for the entire year is 110.


• New stair handrails installed at east end of clubhouse that are now ADA compliant. Stair handrails in upper south clubhouse leading to the swimming pool are under construction, replacing the old railing, making them ADA compliant.

• Main Riggs Road SunBird entrance signage has been updated with much more prominent visibility.

• Solar lights added to Cooper and Hunt Highway signage installed earlier this year.

• Clubhouse balcony awnings have all been replaced, matching the new paint colors.

• Horizon Room chairs replaced, booths added and recovered, kitchen flooring stripped and sealed with new surface, and decorative acoustical tiles installed updating the look.

• Ballroom hardwood floor stripped, retreated and waxed.

• Clubhouse swimming pool deep cleaned, decking and filters replaced with new elements and sand. Water drained.

• Large radio tower removed behind the ballroom was removed by Orbitel Communications.

• Fire suppression sprinkler system valve for the entire clubhouse was replaced and the eight-inch main fire shut-off line feeding the clubhouse was also replaced.

• Road maintenance work is underway by Cactus Asphalt and Paving. Crack sealing is nearly completed, and the seal coating has started. Friday, due to weather, the scheduled work was halted and will be rescheduled at the end of work. All road work scheduled still stands. Some people have driven through or around and even moved the cones to drive into the areas or work or during cure time.

Landscape Common Areas

Common area landscape tree trimming was delayed by the contractor due to several emergencies caused by storms and a lack of labor workers to complete. Common area trees have been completed.

This delay also set back the work of the annual palm tree trimming, which is nearing completion. This has also delayed the skinning of some of the palm trees.

Lights and irrigation replacement project delayed by contractor due to labor shortage. Irrigation replacement project has started with the completion of the new common area light fixtures. The old light fixtures are nearly all removed.


Summer activities include: Bar Bingo, Fame Trivia, DJ nights, various music entertainers, Wii bowling, baseball and horse races, Fourth of July Service, Bus trips, Patriot Day, Studio 54 tribute band. Many, many more events are planned. SunBird’s First Annual Music Festival will be Nov. 20.

A goal has been set leading more people to SunBird’s website. Through several eblast emails, the website has been linked to activities, pictures, information, and the golf course’s website. During the last 30 days, 477 opened activities and events, 199 opened Patriot Day pictures, 181 linked to the Golf Club website, and 112 opened the Horizon Room Menu.


Roving Patrol staff is now equipped with body cameras to assist in evaluating service and documenting events that may occur.

Additional cameras have been installed at the laundry room pool with one directed at dumpster area. Found person using dumpsters not in compliance.

Golf cart went off road Sept. 23 and crashed into the new stair handrails by the swimming pool.

Committee Liaison Reports

• The Architectural Control Committee reported that samples of the Home Colors approved at the May board meeting were available to be checked out at the office. One hundred twelve permits were issued over the summer. Weeds continue to be a problem, and 189 letters of compliance have been sent. The committee will return to meeting twice a month beginning Oct. 13.

• The Finance Committee reported they had met several times over the summer. Budget reviews and a Five-Year Reserve Study will be completed later this month. A review of the bank services was completed over the summer. The committee thanked Jim McCutcheon for his service to the committee and wished him well with his move.

• The Project Review Committee reported that several signs and handrails had been installed around the clubhouse. New entrance signs have been installed. New booths and awnings have been installed in the Horizon Room. A new slip-resistant floor was installed in the Horizon Room kitchen. These projects were all preapproved.

• The Rules Committee reported that parking issues with landscaping trucks and trailers will be monitored by the Patrol. Linda reminded the board and the community that there is a Code of Conduct for Homeowners and Staff, and if anyone sees a member of the staff being treated inappropriately, they are asked to contact the Patrol. This is a time when anger has become commonplace in our society and, unfortunately, SunBird has not been spared. The next scheduled meeting for the committee is Oct. 4 at 1 p.m. in the Pima Room.

• The Welcoming & Marketing Committee did not meet over the summer; however, the committee continued to sponsor meetings with our residents who are still working. We implemented several of their requests, including extending pool hours and selling event tickets in the evening. We are continuing to work with the Horizon Room and have implemented some dessert recommendations. One of them is sundaes with Crème de Menthe or Bailey’s and, of course, chocolate. Our next meeting for working residents is Oct. 14 in the Lakeview Room.

• HOA/Golf Committee did not meet over the summer. Their first meeting of the fall will be Oct. 14.

The HOA/Golf Ad-Hoc Group

Met several times over the summer and discussed several topics including, but not limited to, the mortgage, membership, water rights, possible outside management, and several other items. The meetings were very positive, and several items were clarified.

Horizon Room Report—Presented by Chuck Heitbrink

I would like to update the board and the community on the progress in the Horizon Room since my last report in May. I would also like to thank Lisa Onyx, Linda DiPalma, Fran Hock, Dave DePlois, and Layne Varney for their willingness to meet almost weekly to work through the proposed changes for the Horizon Room.

In June we reviewed new items for the menu and sampled several of them and decided what we would add to the new menu. We also reviewed the appetizer menu items and adjusted the preparation and presentation.

In late June, I met with the kitchen staff and sampled steaks offered by one of our purveyors. Their program would offer us a consistent product and a locked in a price through the end of the year. This allowed us to price a Breakfast Steak and Dinner Steak for the menu and not be susceptible to price and quality fluctuations.

During June and early July, we featured several of our new menu items as specials for Tuesday Dinners and weekly breakfast and lunch specials.

By the middle of July, we finalized the menu and ordered food items, and the new menu was rolled out for the Horizon Room. At first, the comments were favorable on the menu. But I think it was the look of the menu, as residents continued to order their regular items. However, we continued to promote items from the breakfast and lunch menu for our weekly specials.

Soon, several of the new items began to gain interest, and orders of new products increased. This included items from our appetizer menu, too.

Bar Bingo presented a new challenge for the Horizon Room. We were able to increase our wait staff, and that allowed us to serve our residents. On the second Bar Bingo, we had an even larger turnout and, at one time, we had over 120 dinner orders hit the kitchen within 15 minutes. The kitchen staff was able to work through the rush with minimal delays. Last Friday we experienced a similar issue, with almost 100 orders hitting at the same time. We are developing a plan to reduce wait time and maintain consistency.

In late August we featured a new coupon, offering $3 off, to promote Breakfast items on Monday through Thursday. We did this to increase traffic on our slower mornings.

We have now been using the menu for two months, and we are beginning to look at new items to add and delete those items that are not selling. In early October we plan to roll out our revised menu. Although these changes will be minimal, we will have some new items that have been suggested by the residents and kitchen staff.

In September our restaurant manager resigned. This change created a new opportunity, and we immediately went to work to make plans to serve our residents. We continued to search for new servers and kitchen staff to meet the anticipated needs of the returning of snowbird residents; however, this continues to be a challenge. Steve and Layne have asked me to help oversee operations as we search for a manager. Let me assure you, this is a temporary position only.

We felt it necessary to create oversight, and to that end, we selected Scott, with over 30 years of restaurant experience, to lead our kitchen staff. Additionally, we have placed Merissa as our front of the house lead and Mimi to serve as our bar manager.

Two weeks ago, we began our Tailgate Menu featuring Hot Dogs, Brats, and Spicy Sausage Links during Sunday afternoon football and Monday night football. We have had good crowds and anticipate more participation as the word spreads of our expanded hours during these games.

Last week we added two new servers to the staff. This will help us meet the scheduled 75-plus hours a week the Horizon Room is open.

It is our goal to continue to serve you with quality and consistent menu items as we work to find a new restaurant manager. In the meantime, we will continue to listen to you and attempt to meet your expectations. As an example, this week we are planning a wine testing with several residents to determine what new selections of red wine we should stock.

This is an important time for the Horizon Room as we search for the right candidate to lead the staff and meet the needs of the community. I want to share what one of our lead staff members said to Layne and me: “Don’t rush and fill the position with just anyone. Find the right one.” That, I can assure you, will be our goal, and we ask for your continued support during the transition period as we serve you.

In summary, we have listened to all your comments and suggestions and have attempted to implement them. We have:

• Reviewed and changed the menu and the appetizer menus to feature healthier options and additional selections.

• Improved the consistency and quality of the menu items

• Increase hours of operations

• Open for Sunday and Monday football games

I ask that if you have not been to the Horizon Room in a while, come and see what we have done for you. I think you will be pleased.

The board and the community thanked the Horizon Room Committee for all their efforts.

Layne reviewed the comment sheets. Several of these have been acted upon or require no further action. Those comments that require further action will be reviewed.

Steve updated the board on the next board meeting and the annual meeting scheduled for November.

With no further business, President Steve Seel adjourned the meeting at 11:10 a.m.

The next board of directors business meeting will be Monday, Nov. 22, at 10 a.m. in the ballroom.