ZRS Board Minutes – Mar. 24, 2018

20180324 ZR Board Minutes

Attendees: Kai Hui, Liaoran, Taiso, Jian Zhi

Convened at 10:11



    1. Financials
      1. Significant contributions at the end of last year; about $1,100 per month including this bump; about $600 per month this calendar year
      2. Slight profit in 2015, slight loss in 2016 and on track with 2015 this year
      3. Basket donations increasing
      4. Utilities cost averaging $23 per month; treasurer providing half of group income to landlord, which comes to about this much.
      5. Request for $50 rent increase from landlord, retroactive for 2018
        1. Board agrees to rent increase and will pay $150 due for the start of 2018
      6. $20,000 in the building fund (savings)
    2. Subcommittee Reports/Updates
      1. Building and Grounds – Manju
        1. Lawn care – mowing
          1. Have gladly done the mowing the past two seasons. Unfortunately I’m having trouble with my right knee. I have a second evaluation, this time at the VA orthopedic surgeon’s office in Green Bay tomorrow, Friday, 3/23. At this point I don’t know whether I will be physically able to do lawn care this summer. Hope to know by mid-April at least.
          2. While I would consider polling the ZRS community for volunteers to mow, the grass grows so quickly from early May until early July, that is needs mowing more frequently than weekly. My hunch is that even if I were to schedule mowing after Saturday’s sits and were to have two movers and a string trimmer available, it would be difficult for ZRS community members to consistently provide the required labor.  This brings up the possibility that mowing will have to be contracted to a commercial operator. No cost estimate has been requested as yet.
            1. The board understands that this is too big of a job for the committee chair alone; before we contract, the board would like to make a substantial effort to enlist sangha-members in lawn care same, with mowing being one critical task; the board also feels mowing more than once per week is not needed; Liaoran to talk to the committee chair about what kind of role he can play in coordinating this volunteer effort.
        2. Lawn care – weeding & seeding in part of rear lawn
          1. The addition of donated dirt fill to depressions in the back lawn late last fall occurred without sufficient time for weed treatment and sufficient re-seeding. The area will need to be evaluated the end of April/early May. There will be materials cost for any required weed, fertilizer, and seed products – $50 estimated.
            1. The board approves this expense as part of $200 budget for the summer.
        3. Mowing equipment –  if ZRS continues to provide lawn care
          1. The semi-self propelled Lawn Boy mower that was purchased from the building’s previous owner by our landlord is on it’s last legs and not worth the cost of repair. It may make it through the current year, but may also require replacement. A low cost replacement would run in the $250-$300 range depending on features and availability of sale pricing.
            1. The board is open replacing the mower should it break down; Liaoran has recommended switching to a battery-powered mower as a low-cost alternative and will look into the price.
        4. Front and rear gardens, inside plants
          1. In my judgement there has been an overall vision missing for design and care of ZRS’s gardens and inside plants. We have operated informally for the past two seasons with generous contributions of plants and labor from individual members. There has been difficulty, however, with coordinating continuity in the care required due to the variety of plants & bushes donated and to the degree of individual attention needed on a regular schedule..
          2. Now that the building’s exterior siding work has been completed, the front garden particularly needs attention to its appearance. See also signage considerations, item #5 below.
          3. I would suggest that the Board consider creating a voluntary, either standing or ad hoc sub-committee  of the Board or Bldg. & Grounds to (1) examine these issues in more detail and (2) make recommendations to the Board for consideration, modification, and approval. It would  be helpful if one of the Board members would sit on the committee or attend the first meeting at least to help define parameters of finance and scope appropriate to the current situation.
            1. Taiso to connect with Donna and Renee about their ideas for plant maintenance and to discuss the possibility of a subcommittee.
          4. Signage
            1. If the Board is considering placing signage either on the building’s front exterior or a sign in the front garden, I’d request that this be done soon before the front garden areas are worked on.
              1. Taiso to look into Grand Chute requirements regarding signage to assess options.
          5. Plumbing – Leaking front faucet
            1. For the past two seasons, ground wasps have nested below the concrete walk to our front entrance. They enter from holes in the concrete immediately in front of the main entrance door. Recent addition by the landlord of a rain collection system on the building’s front should alleviate the pooling water problem. A second contributing condition is the constant slow leak in the front hose bibb (faucet) to the right of the main entrance. The wasp exterminator estimated that he needed to spray 5 gal or more of solution to treat the open space below the sidewalk when he came this past summer. Once watering of the front garden begins (the cut-off valve below the kitchen sink is opened), the hose bibb will continue leaking into this open space.
            2. Request the Board determine whether this is a problem for ZRS or whether it should be forwarded to the landlord.
              1. Liaoran, Taiso and Shane to address magnitude of plumbing problem.
              2. Wasp issue will continue to be monitored.
          6. Hand Towels
            1. Since we have moved into the building, we have purchased rolls of paper toweling for the three dispensers in the two bathrooms and kitchen. My recollection is that the last case of cheap towelling we bought lasted ~9 months & cost about $38.00. The treasurer would have the correct date and price. With the increase in our membership and attendance numbers, we would probably now use more towelling over a similar period. The paper towelling actually made for use in these dispensers is center-pull and sheet-scored. A case costs about twice as much, ~$75.00.
            2. A cheaper alternative would be to use cloth hand towels and hooks/towel rods. The disadvantages would be poorer sanitation and the necessity of regular washing. This is, however, the method used in the kitchen & bathrooms at the Milwaukee  and Furnace Mountain Zen Centers, as well as most zen centers I have visited. I personally have never had a problem with it. It seemed “homey.” These centers have a residential staff, however.
            3. We are now out of paper toweling in the kitchen & will be out in the bathrooms soon enough. What direction would the Board like to go, paper or cloth towels? If the former, adapting the cheaper paper towelling or use the more expensive towelling made for the dispensers?
              1. The board would like to continue using the dispensers and approves the expense for new paper towels intended for the dispensers. Kai Hui will purchase if the committee chair is unable.
      2. Zendo Opening – Myoshin
        1. Liz and John would like to be openers now. I can let them use my key when convenient but there may be times when I can not. I am not sure what key holder policies are, but that would be my only question for the board.
      3. Zendo Cleaning – Reishin
        1. No Update–Reishin contemplating new way to handle duties.
      4. Newsletter – Jian Zhi
        1. Taiso to draft a message for the email containing the newsletter requesting pledges; will send to Liaoran for proofing; Jian Zhi to use it to distribute the newsletter
      5. Library – Taiso
        1. Taiso continuing to work on filling out the collection and implementing the cataloguing software (manual checkout for now)
      6. Kai Hui suggesting we reassess committee chairs yearly
    3. Review of comment cards & requests for board agenda topics
      1. Liaoran received a request from a Bikku overseas for an invitation to visit so he can apply for a visa; taking caution regarding this slightly suspicious request
        1. Liaoran will request more details regarding his background before determining next step
    4. Old Business
    5. New Business
      1. Taiso has planned a celebration for Kensho on May 5 involving a half-day sit followed by a potluck
        1. Kensho will likely sit tanto on May 3
        2. People being celebrated for enabling us to be here:
          1. Soen Nakagawa, Eido Shimano, Junpo
          2. Manju, Vicara, Daruma
          3. Kensho, Reishin
        3. Liaoran happy to speak to financials and make a pledge request of some kind at the potluck
      2. Taiso received a crystal from someone he worked with in Nova; he would like to keep it on the altar for about a month as invitation for him to come
        1. Board approves

















Adjourned at 11:50