By Greg Ellison
(April 29, 2021) Along with providing an update on pending and current capital projects, Ocean Pines General Manager John Viola reviewed the association’s current financials during the Board of Directors meeting last Wednesday evening.
Irrigation project proposal
Viola said preliminary designs have been received for a proposal to irrigate the Ocean Pines Golf Course with treated wastewater effluent.
In February 2002, the Ocean Pines Service Area Water & Wastewater Advisory Board received permission from the Worcester County Commissioners to explore the possibility of spraying treated sewage effluent at the site.
Worcester Deputy Public Works Director John Ross was charged with overseeing an exploration of the feasibility of using highly treated effluent for the Ocean Pines Wastewater Treatment Plant to water the course greens.
“Highly treated effluent” is defined as water meeting current Maryland Department of the Environment bay restoration standards.
During a recent meeting with a design consultant retained by the county, Viola was accompanied by Director of Golf John Malinowski and Superintendent Justin Hartshorne.
“They gave a cost estimate and what it would look like,” he said. “Obviously, now this has to be vetted”
Treated effluent is being used for spray irrigation purposes at nearly three-dozen facilities across the state, nine of which are golf courses, with three located in Worcester County, including Glen Riddle, Eagle’s Landing and Lighthouse Sound.
Viola said in light of the latest design update, a town hall question-and-answer session, similar to one held last March with Ross and Pines golf course officials, might be warranted.
“To educate and answer questions like we did last time for the association, and especially the board,” he said.
Viola said plans for an upcoming town hall on the issue would be assembled in the next few weeks.
“They can go over the plans and answer all the questions [about] the timing and the cost,” he said. “This is all a proposal.”
Beach Club maintenance
Viola said repair work at the club has been less expensive than anticipated so far.
Exterior building painting is budgeted at just over $15,000, with costs estimated at $6,000 to add fresh color for upper and lower decks and the price tag set at roughly $5,500 to replace rotted board decking.
“I was down there this morning [and] the building has been painted,” he said.
Bulkhead, drainage projects
Bulkhead repairs, which began last September, are following the timetable, with work on the Pintail Drive canal now nearly wrapped.
“It was scheduled for completion April 30,” he said.
Due to recent subpar weather conditions, backfilling and sodding should wrap by May 7.
Viola said the Bainbridge Pond drainage project began on March 15 and is slated to finish by June 30.
Viola said ideal weather patterns during spring could trim days off the time estimate.
In addition to Public Works Manager Nobie Violante and Public Works Drainage Supervisor Justin Reiner overseeing the project, Public Works Director Eddie Wells is coordinating activities with Worcester County officials, Vista Engineering and contractor EQR.
On the financial front, Viola said the association closed March with a positive operating fund variance of roughly $199,000, which included total expenses finishing under budget by $108,000, complimented by revenues topping projections by about $91,000.
With one month remaining in the current fiscal year, those figures leave the association with a positive operating fund variance of $1,329,000, with expenses under budget by $1,108,000 and revenues ahead of projections by $221,000.
Looking at department breakdowns for March, Viola said Public Works finished with a positive variance of $92,000 to lead the pack, with the majority of that sum generated by auctioning several outdated OPA work trucks.
Viola said the recent vehicle sale generated roughly $50,000.
“We will have less trucks then we’ve had in the past,” he said, adding that the association would budget for replacement vehicles in the future.
Viola also broke down bottom line budget numbers with and without federal stimulus funding tied to coronavirus.
The OPA received $1,143,000 through the Payroll Protection Program instituted by the Small Business Administration last spring, with food and beverage contractor the Matt Ortt Company applying for and receiving $271,000, along with the association later being awarded $105,000 in CARES Act funding.
“We booked that as revenue at this time,” he said.
To end March, General Administration reflected a positive budget variance of more than $1,1092,000.
Viola said all the association’s PPP funding went to cover salary costs.
“If I took out all the stimulus we would have lost somewhere around $400,000,” he said.
Viola said it remains unclear if the SBA will forgive PPP loans for the OPA, while explaining what will happen if the matter is unsettled at the close of the association’s fiscal year on April 30.
“Our financials will go out the way I’ve been reporting them [and] we would still show that favorability,” he said. “We would put a footnote saying this is contingent upon approval by the government.”
If the PPP award is not forgiven, it will be treated as a 1 percent loan.
“If it’s not forgiven and we find out next year, that would be a prior period adjustment,” he said. “Which would effect our retained earnings [and] basically then wipe out the money that we put in there from this.”