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OPA announces $10.9 million budget draft

(Jan. 15, 2015) Ocean Pines unveiled preliminary budget figures for fiscal year 2016 during an OPA board meeting on Thursday, Jan. 8.
Held during a particularly icy day at the Country Club when the heat happened to be off, the sparse meeting included just five of the seven board members and a small gathering of press and residents.
General Manager Bob Thompson said the community did not “go outside the box this year dramatically at all,” in shaping the $10.9 million budget, adding the primary focus of the proposal was to continue “positive momentum” of amenities including aquatics, the yacht club and golf.
Chief impact areas on the proposed budget included fuel costs, increases in the mandatory minimum wage, and health care requirements.
“We had some positive variances in budget that were impacted by … fuel costs being down for vehicles as well as facilities,” Thompson said.
“Mandatory minimum wage increases did have a dramatic impact when you look at the number of part-time, and the number of people we actually expand to during seasonal operations,” Thompson continued. “It dramatically impacts the bottom line, as well as the Affordable Care Act created challenges when you’re looking at individuals that exceed the 1,560 hours of working here.”
The proposed budget did not include rate increases for amenities, with the exception of Pickleball.
Planned increases in the budget included software enhancements and expanded services at the yacht club, and increased food and beverage offerings and swim lessons in aquatics.
“Golf, we felt that momentum was there, however we did need to focus some efforts on the expanded Tern Grille offerings,” Thompson said.
The proposal includes a $25 increase in assessment fees, $24 of which were triggered by increased funding requests from the fire department.
“The fire department did have a rather substantial increase request this year, and their primary area is their receivables were a lot lower than what they anticipated, in addition to some increases in expenses [making] the gap a little wider,” Thompson said.
Budget and finance committee meetings on the 2016 budget began on Monday, Jan. 12. Following committee recommendations, the board will take up the budget on Jan. 26 and 27, with board approval due on Feb. 21.