Columbia Council Rep Report

CA Board Work Session October 19, 2020

Columbia Association Board of Directors

Work Session, October 19, 2020 (Click here for the agenda and meeting packet.)


Resident Speakout

Paul Verchinski from Oakland Mills, spoke about the budget and suggests CA gets rid of Haven on the Lake and Fairway Hills.  He says CA needs to get back to basics.

He says that CA is not doing things an HOA should do.  He says CA is doing things that it should not do.  He says CA should be thinking about our residents.

Ronald Putz called and backed up what Paul Verchinski said.  He had nothing more to add.  There were questions about the cost of closing vs. keeping the neighborhood centers open.

Rusty Toler, who lives in Owen Brown, spoke but we couldn’t hear him so he will email his report.

Alex Hekimian from Oakland Mills called in saying what the community wants funded the most is the outdoor pools and open space.  There were surveys over a period of several years.  Open space and neighborhood pools won again.  Outdoor pools and open space with the bike paths win over and over.

Detailed Review of the Component Parts of the Budget

On October 10, the Board agreed to a few values that it needs to keep in mind as we work our way through the budget.

What are CA’s fixed costs? How much does CA have to spend? And, what cannot be spent?

CA’s revenue sources include the annual charge, membership fees, loans and rentals.

The expenditures that must be paid include lease & rent payments (i.e. HQ & Haven), debt service, software licenses, golf cart leases, taxes, staff salaries and employee benefits.

The Board hopes to get answers to the questions above for the October 29 budget meeting so that members can better understand the actual amount CA has to spend after understanding the fixed expenses.

One Board member asked what would happen if any or all facilities had to be shut down. It does not appear that will happen.  The Board wants to better understand all the steps and all the possibilities.

Credited open space comes into play when discussing the option of selling off any facility (such as a golf club).  There are things that limit what can or cannot be done.  Dorsey is the only outdoor pool that is not credited open space. Other pools are all credited open space.  Credited open space amounts to 36% of the land in Columbia

There are many departments which are subsidized by the annual charge.  For example, the camp department was subsidized to the tune of over $820,000.   Camps generated about $750,000 in revenue but cost more than twice that to run. These close looks can give a clue about where changes need to be made.

Neighborhood Centers Follow-up Presentation – June 2019

The Dorsey Hall neighborhood center is not on credited open space.  Other centers are on open space but it’s possible for them to be converted to day care centers. The loss to villages has been determined.

It appears that the villages, except Hickory Ridge, are losing money each year by running the neighborhood centers.  In addition, CA also spends about $2 million annually.

The buildings are for the core mission.  Renting out for parties is not the core mission.  Covenant enforcement, community advocacy and special events are the reason the villages exist according to CA.

In the discussion about neighborhood centers, the numbers include the community centers which only complicates the issue.  The Board was told that it was too difficult to separate the neighborhood centers from community centers.  I disagreed and suggested it would not be difficult if the village managers were asked for the information.

The Board hopes to see fixed costs at the October 29 workshop, including depreciation costs and reserve obligation.  CA must determine what is the bottom line to work with when discovering where the unallocated money can go.

The Board also discussed at length about what needs to be included in the material from the finance team.


Best regards,

Nancy McCord

[email protected]