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OPA Board discusses propsals on FY 2015 budget guidance

11/7/13 | By Sheila R. Cherry, Associate Editor

OCEAN PINES—When the Ocean Pines Association Board of Directors goes into work session on Nov. 6, two budget matters that were brought up during the Oct. 26 regular meeting will be raised as points for further discussion.

First, a proposal presented by Director Bill Cordwell, would provide official guidance from the board to General Manager Bob Thompson relating to the development of his fiscal year 2015 budget. It would focus primarily on the capital budget, operating budget and Internal Revenue Service assessment stemming from the OPA Beach Club parking operations.

The proposal would address the OPA’s capital budget, by suggesting that the capital funding provided by the 5-Year Funding Plan be continued in 2015.

“FY 2015 represents the first year following the five consecutive years of $26 annual assessment increases to help fund the Association's major capital projects and this component of the 5- Year Funding Plan should be continued at the same level as in FY 2014 (no increase), consistent with the original intent and as communicated to the Membership,” the draft said.

Costs for major repairs, renovations and upgrades to OPA facilities should be a cornerstone to capital funding, according to the proposed guidance, which also advised that in addition to the 5- Year Funding Plan, other resources for funding for projects be consider also.

Casino funds should continue to be used for funding road resurfacing, it said.

On the issue of the OPA operating budget, the board would call for amenity financial reports that realistically reflect efforts to increase revenues and decrease expenses and for significant increases or decreases in budgeted revenues to be supported by the amenity's business plan and appropriately explained.

“The budget should reflect Yacht Club operations commencing upon its expected opening date and continuing through the entire fiscal year,” according to the proposed guidance.

While the board opted to maintain the general manager’s overall autonomy on salary increases, the total amount of personnel raises would be capped at no more than 3 percent of the total amount paid to all employees. Moreover, any salary increases awarded would be required to be based on merit, rather than across the board.

Another proposal the board is expected to discuss during the work session was that the FY 2015 budget include the position of assistant general manager, whose responsibilities would include member relations and communications, as well as oversight of human resource functions, which would allow the unfilled HR position included in the FY 2014 budget to be eliminated. The board is also expected to deliberate adding a possible staff technology position.

The board's proposed guidelines, if ultimately approved, would recommend that major new programs or services, and the operations of significant amenities, be accompanied by business plans or business cases in order to assist with review and comprehension.

A related budget matter that is likely to be discussed is a proposal that the $4 assessment increase component of the 5-year funding Plan in the FY 2014 budget continue through FY 2015, at the same level, to help eliminate an increase in the operating fund deficit created by a one-time IRS assessment charged against the OPA in FY 2012.

The board will also discuss a second motion, which was presented by Director Jack Collins that essentially would give the board’s support to input from the Budget and Finance Committee that was offered for inclusion in the board’s guidance. The initial presentation of the committee’s advice was presented to the board by Committee Chairman Dennis Hudson during an Oct. 2 meeting.

During that meeting, Hudson told the board the committee wanted to offer budget development assistance in a more proactive and targeted manner during fiscal year 2014-2015. He pointed out that the committee was required by the OPA by-laws and resolution to provide guidance to the board prior to the budget preparation process.

“In the past we have gone through every department, good, bad or otherwise. We’ve decided that the major thing that we should be concerned about this year in the budget process is revenue—the generation and calculation of revenue,” Hudson told the board at the time.

 Other topics the agenda for the work session included an update on the project for constructing the new Yacht Club and a proposed change to guidelines from the Architectural Review

Committee relating to posted signage.

There will be no votes during the work session, according to OPA President Tom Terry.


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