POA GM explains 2018 budget at meeting
Judson: Organization is exceeding 2017 predictions
Instead of a regular board work session on Thursday last week, Tom Judson, POA general manager, presented the 2018 budget to an audience of about 20 members in Riordan Hall. This week, the board will vote on both the budget and the fee schedule for 2018.
“We’re having a tremendous year,” Judson said, explaining that the POA, as a whole. is doing $1.8 million better than the 2017 budget predicted. He credited accountability, explaining that his department heads wrote their own budgets and were held to them.
Judson assured the audience that, although the board has used reserved funds to make some needed improvements over the past few years, there will always be enough reserves to cover emergencies. Emergency reserves are $1.2 million for the POA and
$500,000 for the water utility.
But reserves are getting lower and, in 2019, an assessment increase will be necessary to keep improving the amenities, he said.
In 2017, the only departments not doing better than budget are Golf and Food and Beverage. Golf is struggling because of two course closures, Judson said. Berksdale was completely closed for weeks after the April flood and only opened nine holes in late June. A second course, Highlands, was closed for two months while the collars around the greens were replanted.
Food and Beverage experienced delays opening restaurants at Lakepoint and the Country Club. Lakepoint opened late, but the Country Club is still closed for renovations.
Later in the presentation, Judson said that many positions budgeted for in 2017 were never filled because workers could not be found. That helped keep labor costs down in golf maintenance as well as some other departments. There was also some revenue that probably won’t be repeated, including a back payment on assessment by a large multi-lot owner. It was also a good year for investment income.
Next year, fees will go up for golf, swimming pools and boat slip rentals.
In 2018, all the golf courses will be open, with the exception of two months this winter when the bunkers at Dogwood will be replaced. Also, the golf budget in 2018 will include play managers who will be employed part-time between April and September. The play managers were discontinued due to money issues in 2013.
The budget for both the pro shops and golf maintenance will be up in 2018. Most of the capital expenses in golf are to replace aging equipment, including mowers and trucks. The bunkers at Dogwood, a capital expense of just under $300,000, is the exception.
With renovations to the country club expected to be complete by the first of the year, the only capital expense for the Food and Beverage Division will be for a used utility van. Both Lakepoint and the new pub at the Highlands should be open the entire year, and the country club will probably be open for at least 11 months.
Additional salaries were added to Maintenance and Construction, Judson said. Since it’s been difficult to find contractors to take on the small jobs, he thinks hiring additional maintenance workers will help fill that gap.
Recreation will have some significant capital expenses in the form of a renovation and addition at Branchwood. The lobby and restrooms will be completely renovated, a new exercise space will be added to the back of the building and the exercise equipment will be housed there, leaving the current exercise space open for classes. The Branchwood project will cost $998,000 and work may begin early in 2018.
Other recreation expenses include upgrades to the RV park, renovations to the Metfield pool area and some improvements to the tennis courts.
The beach at Lake Avalon will be opened in 2018, and fees to use the beach will be collected. Beach fees will be the same as the fees for outdoor pools. Outdoor pool fees for nonmembers will go from $2.75 to $3.
The water utility budget is separate from the POA budget, and Judson proposed a $3.6 million upgrade to the meter system. Every meter will be replaced with a meter that can be read instantly from the water office. Customers will be able to access that information from their smartphones or computers.
Not only will customers be able to see how changes like a new washing machine will affect their water bills, it will also help the water utility detect leaks quickly. Both the customer and the water utility will save money through quick repairs.
Income for the POA without water is budgeted at to be $18,104,00 million in 2018, compared to $17,068,000 listed in the 2017 budget. Expenses listed for 2018 are slightly higher than income at $18,259,000.
The board is expected to vote on the budget and the fee schedule at its regular meeting Thursday at 6:30 p.m.