BERLIN — The OPA Board of Directors passed the fiscal 2013 budget with little fanfare or argument — although there were plenty of speeches — over the objection of Dave Stevens with a vote of 6-1. The $9.7 million budget includes a basic annual assessment of $873 and capital expenditures totaling $3.9 million.
Although the operating budget includes substantive organizational changes, it represents no increase in costs in favor of a redistribution of liability plan aimed at reducing operational costs and simultaneously driving revenue.
Given that the OPA will have no personnel costs associated with the Golf Club some of the payroll savings will be used elsewhere to change or improve operations.
A facilities manager will be added to the staff. This position was created to make sure the OPA spends less on contractors and also does a better job and maintaining their facilities.
There will also be added a human resources manager. Thompson asked for such a position in his FY 2012 budget but retracted the request in favor of a HR subscription service. He ade a case to the board the the subscription service was not as valuable as having someone on staff.
The other major addition is an aquatics instructor who will be responsible for helping to increase revenues in that usually lagging department.
In addition to appealing for the new positions, Thompson is asking the board of directors for options to bestow raises where he feels they are warranted.While he is asking for an aggregate of 3 percent, Thompson was clear that it was not a call for across-the-board raises.
Admin issue closed
In response to repeated and pointed requests about the $46,000 spent on the Administration Building Thompson once again enumerated the specific reasons, rationale and cost for the building’s redo.
Most of the facility’s carpet and furniture had not been replaced in more than 20 years. The building was also reconfigured so that people could have privacy when doing financial business with the OPA — arranging to pay delinquent assessments, for example — and so that there was more storage with no real loss of floorspace.
Thompson, who has been repeatedly asked about the renovations at recent meetings provided documentation that included all the times he’s provided documentation on the issue in the past, and places interested board members could find videos of the presentations and discussions. Director Dave Stevens has been aggressive in questioning the expenditures for the last several months.
“I hope this clarifies any issues with the admin building,” Thompson said.
Thompson told the board he and staff were in the process of interviewing companies who could build them a more functional, better searchable website. He assured the directors that the staff wouldn’t buy a program that they were unable to maintain themselves.
The project, he said, would be well within budgeted guidelines from the FT 2012 budget.
Reporting on the budget Thompson said that it looked as if the OPA wold miss targeted budget goals by more than $80,000. This can mostly be attributed to disappointments in Golf and Yacht Club expenses and revenue shortfalls. The association is likely to not actually lose money, the shortage is not in cash and was made up in other departments, it is still something on which Thompson said he expects to improve.
Oral arguments in the IRS v. OPA tax suit were presented at the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, last month and Thompson said they will hear the outcome in 90-120 days.
In an effort to improve the tennis court playability, the OPA will spend about $19,000 to fix tennis court drainage issue.
“If this works for us, we’re going to go back and do it on the other side of the tennis court,” Thompson said.
As announced earlier, the funding is complete for the Dog Park and work is expected to begin on the park shortly. Thompson said that he will convene a meeting with the principles responsible for putting the dog park coalition together and begin to draw up rules, practices and regulations for the board’s review.
He expects the park to open this spring.
OPA President Tom Terry addressed several members’ concerns that both he and the other board members had received vie e-mail and telephone.
He said he wanted to once and gain dispel the rumor that the recycling bins at the South Station would be removed now that Waste Management offers curbside recycling. The bins are provided by the county and, as such have no baring on the OPA’s garbage collection plans or processed.
Terry also addressed growing concern that the OPA would be raising gas prices in an effort to increase their profit margin. This, too, he said was patently untrue. “We did not and have not voted on changes on anything having to do with [the gas prices],” he said.