Columbia Council Rep Report

CA Board Work Session February 13, 2020

Columbia Association Board of Directors

Work Session, February 13, 2020 (Click here for the agenda and background packet.)


Resident Speakout

Chuck Brubeck is a resident of Columbia and incoming member of the Downtown Columbia Advisory Board.  He spoke about the partnership.  He said a partnership is critical to build and create what people hope the new development will be.  He believes that CA is a critical part of what makes the downtown partnership viable.

Barbara Kellner lives in Wilde Lake.  She is an active participant in all that is downtown.  She is a new partnership Board member.   She is passionate about Columbia.  She says the original vision of Columbia has been reinvented for the 21st century.  It remains a special place but now updated.  She believes it is vital that CA continue to be the keeper of the vision of Columbia.

Ashley Vaughan is from Harpers Choice and is on the CA Millennial Advisory Committee. She read a letter from the committee asking CA to continue to fund the Downtown Columbia Partnership (DTC).   Activities are engaging millennials unlike other organizations.   Ashley requested that the CA Board continue to support the DTC.

Paul Verchinski spoke against giving funds to the DTC.  He said that DTC is basically a marketing organization that is primarily marketing for Howard Hughes Corporation.  He feels either the county or HHC should be spending the money to market the new development of downtown.

Work Session Topics – Discussion on Draft FY 21 and Conditional FY 22 Budgets – Operating and Capital

The DTC gave the CA Board its budget just a week or two ago.  It is unfortunate that the budget was submitted so late in the budget season.  The Board needs to look closely at it in order to ask the myriad of questions.  CA has given DTC $200,000 a year for a few years now but have not gotten updates and have not received this budget until very recently, although it was requested a while ago.  If any organization wants money in any amount, the Board needs to scrutinize the use of the funds because this money comes from annual charge payers.   The Board discussed the request for this money again in this budget.

One Board member said she supports this contribution, then another agreed.  However a third said nowhere on their website is Columbia Association or CA activities are mentioned.  If this is a partnership, and money is requested, why is CA not included as a partner?  There were arguments on both side of the argument: should CA fund or not fund the DTC?

There was discussion about the elevator for Historic Oakland.  After 50 years, it is my belief that this building needs to be brought up to 2020 so those with mobility issues including the elderly can more easily use this facility.  It is a beautiful older building.  Columbia’s population is aging.  It is a shame for Town Center to not be able to get more use of this building because there isn’t an elevator to reach the upper floor.

One Board member spoke about a new concept or process whereby a village creates a meeting or gathering space. The participants, i.e. residents, decide what changes to make to an area of the village to create this new space.   The Board also talked about the neighborhood centers.  The Board has not seen any reports yet nor the survey but hopefully that information will be provided soon.

Work Session Topics – Capital Projects and Open Space Updates

Dennis Mattey, Columbia Association, Director, Open Space and Construction Services showed the Board more upgrades that have taken place around Columbia, including bridges, Kahler Hall, Amherst House, Claret Hall and the new sound system at Slayton House.  The planters that were installed outside of Stonehouse look much better than the bollards that were falling apart.  Constant improvements are made to keep Columbia looking good.

Work Session Topics – Suggestions from the Subcommittee on Board Professional Development

Board training discussion has been postponed.  This is a concern because I have been fighting to get Board training for seven years.  Being postponed again is really a disappointment.

There was discussion about the concerns of the Ad Hoc committee.  Changes that committee members feel should be made were discussed and it was not at an easy conversation.

It was mentioned that new roofs for CA buildings should consider green roofs for environmental purposes.  Other suggestions or explanations were made about planning for the year; i.e. planning the president’s goals begin in May not September.

Public testimony is often dealt with by a letter unless it is a major issue that CA needs to have someone present testimony in person.   That person can be the President, or staff person or a Board member depending on timing and situation.

It was suggested that the Board meet at the beginning of the new year (May) for the new Board to meet with one another and senior staff on a social basis.  It is hoped that we can be stronger structurally as a Board.

The budget will be voted on at the next meeting 2/27/2020.

Enjoy the mild winter.  Hopefully spring will be here soon.

Warm regards,
Nancy McCord
[email protected]