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General Manager John Viola highlights successes during OPA annual meeting

General Manager John Viola speaks to the attendees at the 2023 OPA annual meeting in August

By Cindy Hoffman, Staff Writer

(Aug. 31, 2023) Ocean Pines Association General Manager John Viola took residents back five years in his state of the association report at Saturday’s annual meeting.

Those were the days, he told the audience, that the association had an operating deficit of approximately $1.6 million, maintenance on bulkheads, drainage and roads were not on track, the amenities were operating at a loss, and the infrastructures in the community needed to be overhauled.

Today, the OPA has an operating surplus.

“We have had the best of times over the last five years.  We have something special here, we really do, I hope you realize that,” Viola said.

He said the surplus is all being reinvested into the amenities, infrastructure, and assessments, a move that has been paying off. This year the association’s financial performance is trending favorably to budget, with golf, aquatics and racquet sports along with food and beverage all showing improvement over previous figures.

Viola highlighted the extensive infrastructure work done in the community, including a new roof on the Swim and Racquet Club building, new wrought iron fencing to replace the chain link around the Yacht Club pool, decking repairs and additional palm trees planted at the Beach Club, acoustic panels in the meeting room and enhancements to the lobby of the Golf Clubhouse.

Viola also complimented the leadership and team of the golf course.

“We are operating on all cylinders now.  The numbers show it. It’s top notch,” Viola said.

Down on the waterfront, he said the new T-docks and gas pier have improved the customer experience at the Yacht Club marina. Repairs have been made to the Yacht Club building, included repairing the building entrance and the ceiling in the ballroom.

All the attention to the Racquet Club is also paying off, he reported, with an increasing number of members, thanks to infrastructure improvements, maintenance of the courts, and the new racquet sports manager, Tim Johnson.

Viola also highlighted the bulkhead program, which is proceeding while keeping costs down, reflecting the fact that the assessments for waterfront properties did not go up this year.

Much attention has been paid to drainage issues over the past 10 years. Viola provided a chart that showed that in Fiscal Year 2013-14, OPA paid only $11,494 on drainage maintenance. This year, OPA is paying $425,000 for maintenance, down more than $300,000 from last year at $767,565.  All the funding is coming out of assessments, while keeping assessments low.

Other work completed includes replacing or painting mailboxes, landscaping, new lights, flower boxes and trim on the North Gate bridge, repaving and line striping of roads, and significant rehab of the administration building.

Big projects Viola is looking at include the irrigation system for the golf course, evaluating the racquet center building and more immediately the restrooms in the current building, next stages for drainage, bulkheads and roads, and the replacement of the South Side Fire House.

He is coordinating with a fire department work group regarding replacing the South Gate fire station.  He expected to have recommendations ready to present to the board of directors in October.