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OPA Board discusses propsals on FY 2015 budget guidance

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.