Guild Meeting Minutes December 8, 2012

In attendance:  Sue Ranta, Linda Carlson, Mandy Binder, Catherine Easton, Cheryl Rennick, Henda Pretorius, Jan Jaecks, Jan Tooker, Mary Howell, Shelda Baylor, Lori Beck, Patricia Miller, Jane Mailand, Victoria Hilton, Sharon Valencia.

Catherine called the meeting to order at 1:00. She thanked everyone for the year in which she was president.

Mary has agreed to continue as co-president or adviser.

Election of officers:

Cheryl said she would continue as Treasurer. Jane volunteered to take over for Cheryl.

Linda will, with Mary’s help, take on the job of President

Jane, Mary and Linda will be signatories on the financial accounts.

Victoria will keep up the Facebook page.

Sue will continue as Recording Secretary.

Jan will continue as Corresponding Secretary.

Henda will take over writing The Thrums newsletters.

January meeting we will plan activities for the new year.

We made $400 on the St. Marks sale, but found the space to be very congested.

Guild dues are due in January, $30. Payment of Annual Studio Fees of $150 is due in January also, for rights to keep a key, use the looms/wheels and come and go as needed.

Cheryl noted that we’ve had a donation of $200.

We currently pay rent of $365 per month.

Cheryl reported that we are getting a debit card for Paypal/Etsy. There is no cost to have one.

Jane reported on information about an ETSY site for us.
A vote was taken and passed that we will go ahead with an ETSY site.
Mandy will help monitor our site and work with Jane.
Sue will take photos of items we will put on ETSY to sell.
Jan will set up our ETSY account
Henda will write up a note about us for ETSY website.
We will agree to ship within 24 hours of sale of item.
All items listed on ETSY will remain in the studio and will not be sold from the studio while they are listed on ETSY.
We will check into offering insurance for people purchasing from our site, at their expense. Shipping costs will be above the cost of the item, to include cost of shipping container (handling charge) and postage.
Express shipment is an option at buyer’s expense.
All sales are final.
Reassess site after one year.

Jan’s report on our studio (see attached report, below)
We don’t have a lease, though we have been in this space for 25 years.

We’ve now had two major floods. We may have asbestos in the current red vinyl floor, which is not a danger unless disturbed.

If you have a loom here please take it home to eliminate possibility of damage should we flood again.

We decided to look for alternative space and find out what our options are. Anyone may investigate space you know about, and send information to Jan to compile our possibilities. Do not make a commitment in the Guild’s name at this time. Sue plans to work with realtors and property owners to see what can be found.

Henda will look into grants through Cooper Foundation, others.  She will need help from someone with experience in grant writing.

The Rug/Tapestry Study Group will have a show October 4-31 at Westminster Presbyterian Church, with an Opening Reception on Oct 4 from 5-8pm.  More details to come.

Next monthly meeting will be January 12, 2013.

Respectfully submitted,
Sue Ranta, Secretary

Jan’s Studio Report

Monday, 12/3/12:  I called Lynn Fisher (General Manager for Great Place Properties) Monday and he said he does not intend to help pay to resurface our floor. He said that since he was not involved in the laying of the vinyl floor (which he would not have recommended in that setting) and because he felt the vinyl was poorly installed (which allowed water to get under the flooring), he feels it is our responsibility to fix the floor at this point.

I did point out the landlord/tenant laws require a landlord to make the space habitable. He said he's aware of the laws but because he feels it's our fault that the vinyl was even there in the first place, he feels it's our responsibility to repair the damage.

I also pointed out the other things we've done to improve the space, which contributes to the value of the building, but this did not sway him. Rather, it seemed to confirm for him that we manage the space ourselves and that it's our responsibility.

I asked his recommendation for the floor at this point, he said he would recommend we paint it. I did tell him we'd like to consider an epoxy paint finish because it's more durable than painting, and he cautioned that if we do something like that, we need to consider the other tenants in the building due to fumes from the epoxy during application.

I did tell him that if we do the repairs, we would be submitting him a bill. He said we can submit the bill, but that he wouldn't be paying it.

I did tell him that the two light fixtures (in front of the bathroom and in the entryway) still need to be replaced. He said they will do the light fixtures this week, and will also look at the front door today.

I did not discuss the other repairs today. I will be talking to him more about these in the near future: bathroom ceiling and cabinet/counter next to fridge.

After talking with Lynn on the phone today, my assessment is that he is not likely to change his mind about paying to redo the floor. I would like to remind everyone that we are paying about $2.20 per square foot per year in rent, which is considerably below the $12 - $14 per square foot that is the average rental price for retail or office space in Lincoln according to (they show industrial space at $4.61 per square foot per year). My husband, who is a property tax appraiser for the State Dept of Revenue, said that if industrial space is going for what this website says it is, then we are paying market value for the building we’re in, due the condition of the space. However, finding another building in similar condition, for which we might pay a similar price, could be difficult. And, of course, we’d still be dealing with a run-down building.

My personal recommendations at this time:
1) if the group feels we should contact an attorney, I would suggest we lay out the facts of the situation and see what the attorney recommends. Precedence may come into play here and since we've done other improvements ourselves in the past, the landlord may not be out of line to expect us to continue in this role. We would need to see what the attorney recommends and then decide what to do at that point.

2) we need to get estimates on various methods for fixing our floor, to see where we’re at. Saturday we can discuss what types of finishes we want to consider. I will bring information on the epoxy coating so we can look at it and see if that's something we even want to consider. I don’t know if I’ll have time to gather info on what it might cost. I'm sure that whatever we do, there will be considerable prep required before we do anything, but hopefully it won't require actual concrete work. Getting estimates on that will take longer.

3) once we have estimates available, then we need to decide what's the best option, and how to pay for it.

4) in the meantime, it would be nice if we could clean the adhesive off the concrete floor so we can walk on it without sticking. We need to decide if we want to do that ourselves or if we want to hire a contractor to do that. Or if we want to just live with it the way it is, until we decide what we're going to do with it, and if we hire someone to do the paint/epoxy/whatever, they can do the prep as part of the project.

5) if we want to consider alternative space, we need to get estimates for that, too. I would think this would be a longer process, and we still might want to do something with the floor before we decide on moving elsewhere.

Wednesday, 12/5/12: Today, our landlord hired a plumber to use a camera to scope out the sewer line, and discovered the sewer pipe is broken underground.  He will be getting a backhoe to dig it out somewhere in the parking lot and replace it. (The sewer line runs to the ally.) Once this is done, our problems (at least with water backing up through the floor drain) should be over.

He told me today that:
         1)      He has cleaned and sanitized (with Pine Sol) the wet concrete floor today.
         2)      He will clean the carpet tomorrow (in the entryway and the first few feet of the North room).
         3)      He cleaned the vinyl runner that we laid down.
         4)      He will replace the drywall in the area behind the fridge this week.
         5)      He will dispose of the rotted cabinets and will bring some metal ones to replace them this     week.
         6)      He has repaired the two light fixtures.
         7)      He will replace the front door.

In the North room, I have moved looms off the wet carpet so they are crowded together in the rest of the room. I had to move one into the classroom temporarily.

It is technically safe to be there but there will be work done there off and on this week (and maybe longer), and the looms are fairly crowded into the spaces that remain dry. The landlord said we can be there. I don’t know when he’ll get the heavy equipment lined up to do the digging and replace the sewer line, so until he does, I suppose this could keep happening. Therefore, I wouldn’t recommend putting things back until that’s been done.

Thursday, 12/6/12: Information from Sharon Valencia who talked with her brother, an attorney:

Hi Jan, I forwarded him the note you sent and he responded with the following and I also talked with him.  He questioned if there was flooring there before, then there may be an expectation of it being replaced. He says:

Interesting and unfortunate situation.  I think the information a lawyer would need to ask would be answered by the lease, the estimates to repair under various options, and the history of the relationship regarding past improvements and repairs. 

The use of the property sounds commercial rather than residential, so the residential landlord-tenant act would not apply, including the habitability issue.  Generally there is no warranty of habitability in commercial property.  

You would have to look to the lease.  Even under a commercial lease you have to be able to enjoy the quiet enjoyment of the property you've leased, but that is a pretty low standard, not likely obligating the landlord to replace flooring, so the lease is critical, and then to a lesser degree prior history of their respective dealings with these issues might be important.  

With regard to options and expenses, it might not be a good idea to replace flooring below grade anyway.  If the landlord will rip it up, scrape, clean and paint the floor, they could buy some rollup carpets and such that would be placed in front of looms and that could be moved, and in any event would not be expensive to replace.

Additionally, if there is evidence the landlord knew of the sewer backup problem potential and should have fixed it, but negligently didn't, there might be an argument he should return the studio to the condition it was in, vis a vis the flooring.

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