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Pines budget finishes year on plus side

By Morgan Pilz, Staff Writer

By Morgan Pilz
Operations Director Colby Phillips shares the operations report during the monthly board of directors meeting on Saturday, June 1.

(June 6, 2019) The Ocean Pines Association continued its positive fiscal trend for 2019, wrapping up the fiscal year in April $130,584 ahead of its budget.

The unaudited numbers were delivered by interim General Manager John Viola in his monthly treasurer’s report at last Saturday’s board of directors meeting and stand in stark contrast to the association’s poor financial showing the year before.

In fiscal 2018, the association’s operating fund closed out more than $1.2 million below budget, while the fiscal 2017 audited statement was better, with a loss of $363,000 against budget.

From May 1, 2018 until April 30 this year, revenues beat the budget by $535,790, while expenses climbed by a lesser degree at $392,090. Viola also included new capital, which was over budget slightly, by $13,116.

In April, revenues topped the budget by $40,369, and expenses and new capital were over budget by $29,613, Viola said.

Departments performed better than budgeted numbers by $414,000. These departments include the Recreation and Parks Department at $231,000, which also includes additional amenities, police at $91,000, Public Works $45,000, finance at $30,000 and Fire/EMS $17,000.

Other departments missed the budget by $283,000. The General Manager’s Office exceeded the budget by $90,000, the administration building and general maintenance also by $90,000 and other expenses missed the mark by $13,000.

Legal fees were also a cause for some of the deficit, Viola said.

“Our legal fees just keep going up,” Viola said. “We had a budget of $75,000 in 2018-19 year for legal … came in around $150,000. We can talk about golf, we can talk about the yacht club, but legal fees are affecting our assessments.”

The reserve forecast for the end of the fiscal year is $8.8 million, including $5.2 million in replacement reserves, $2.5 million in bulkheads and $1.1 million in roads. The overall rate of return for the month of April is approximately 2.4 percent. As of April 30, the association had about $14.6 million in cash overall, Viola said.

Final audited figures for fiscal 2019 will be released during the Ocean Pines Annual Meeting, scheduled Aug. 10.

On the operations side, Operations Director Colby Phillips told the board that a group meeting will take place on June 14 at 9:30 a.m. regarding drainage maintenance.

“We have a group that’s been meeting once a month consisting of a couple residents and some people who are familiar with the background on drainage issues,” Phillips said. “Our next meeting is open to anybody at the Public Works building, if anyone would like to join us on that which is discussing our plan and placement.”

Phillips also talked about bulkheads and creating a timeline and system for the homes which need the work.

“We’re really trying to get a good system in place moving forward,” Phillips said. “John [Viola] has evaluate with us and has been working diligently on a timeline going forward with those homes which we will put out as we get that in place.”

Addressing other major projects in the community, Phillips said improvements to the White Horse Park playground were scheduled to finish the week of June 17, and recent renovations at the Swim and Racquet Club tennis courts finished well under budget.

“We budgeted $100,000 and we got [the project] completed for a little over $15,000, so we saved about $84,000,“ Phillips said.