(Jan. 9, 2020) The Ocean Pines Association Board of Directors members shared their objectives for the new year last Friday, with an emphasis on staying on the path that made 2019 successful.
OPA President Doug Parks, hitting a common chord among the directors, said with a number of capital projects underway during the winter months, assuring those continue to track on budget and on schedule would be a primary focus this year.
“Important investments and commitments were made to making much needed changes in the Ocean Pines area,” he said. “To continue on the success that we’re building on right now, that’s clearly number one.”
In addition to projects at the Ocean Pines Golf Course, including an expanded clubhouse and replacing the golf cart storage barn, the association is building an addition to the police building.
Preceded by a contentious leadership change at the general manager position, along with several board resignations, the board’s membership following the 2019 election has begun to gel favorably, Parks said.
“We kind of settled in as a group,” he said. “We are both diverse and like-minded.”
Continuing to foster fruitful board relations to continue the association’s fiscal turnaround is also a big picture thought for Parks after recent calendar changes.
“Some relationships have already been well established, while other relationships are being built as we speak,” he said. “They’re all heading in the right direction.”
OPA Vice President Steve Tuttle also noted the importance of bringing the array of capital projects to completion within the established budgetary restraints.
“We need to keep it in line,” he said.
With fiscal year 2020/2021 work hitting full stride during a multi-day budget meeting beginning Jan. 6, the other item of concern for Tuttle is delving into the association balance ledgers to assure revenues outpace expenses.
“We need to keep in accord with budget constraints,” he said.
In addition to keeping capital projects on pace, OPA Treasurer Larry Perrone said his attention is primarily on financial matters, most notably continuing to pay down accrued debt that topped $1.5 million after fiscal 2018.
“General Manager (John Viola) has done a great job cutting expenses,” he said. “As treasurer, my major concern is that we continue to operate as we did [during 2019] but also we still have a portion of that previous debt to pay down.”
Perrone hopes to find the financial sweet spot between mopping up prior debt without curtailing justified expenditures.
“My objective is to find the balance between continuing our debt reduction program and expense control,” he said.
Harkening back to his 2019 election platform, Board member Frank Daly said accountability remains a crucial ingredient for the association to continue improving during 2020.
“One of the things I said is we need to create a culture of operating excellence rather than a culture of … damnable indifference,” he said. “Last year we made a lot of progress with the new general manager.”
In Daly’s estimation what constitutes a “culture of excellence” boils down to institutional follow through.
“You do everything complete, correct, on cost and on time every time throughout the organization,” he said.
“We have to … make sure that we collect everything that we need to maintain everything in good operating order for all the people in Ocean Pines and not a penny more,” he said. “Not shortchange anything to let facilities rot into nothingness like we have in the past.”
Board member Camilla Rogers, while getting quickly up to speed on association matters after winning election in 2019, is looking to champion several efforts that are underway, including revamping the orientation process for new leadership and advisory committee chairpersons.
Also of particular interest to Rogers for 2020 is an undertaking by members of the OPA Communications Committee, including Chairwoman Jenny Cropper Rines and board liaison
, to replace a multitude of manually adjusted marquee signs with a smaller number of digital messaging boards.
“What if we had a local emergency and we needed to do something quickly?” she said. “You can’t get people out there in time to change the lettering on those signs.”
Board member Dr. Colette Horn also pointed to wrapping up capital construction projects at the golf course and the police building.
“I look forward to seeing the two construction projects completed and the buildings occupied,” she said.
Horn envisions revenues increasing at the golf course after the new clubhouse is operational.
Continuing forward with multi-phase plans launched in 2019 to address long standing drainage issues is another area that has Horn’s attention.
“I also look forward to seeing the drainage program continue to address the trouble spots that we are capable of improving,” she said.