Association Budget Holds The Line On Most Members' Fees

Plan Reserves $1.8 Million To Trim Deficit

March 03, 1991|By Michael James | Michael James,Staff writer

Columbia Association members will pay little or no increases for most membership plans under a new $29.7 million operating budget approved this week.

The 10-member Board of Directors, with little discussion, passed a fiscal 1992 budget Wednesday that calls for reserving $1.8 million to trim the association's $25 million deficit.

Although the association saw its budget deficit hit $28 million three years ago, a financial comeback is being mounted even in the midst of the recession, said Pam Mack, a spokeswoman for the Columbia Association.

Association directors expect that 10,400 members will be signing up for memberships in 1991, about 550 more than last year, Mack said.

"The recession isn't hitting us like it's hitting the county government, which is feeling very different pressures than we are," Mack said.

"We're still getting a lot of new members signing up."

Most of the family membership plans, including those for neighborhood pools, tennis and ice rink facilities, will carry the same yearly price under the new budget. New rates go into effect May 1.

Columbia residents pay a membership fee to use the many recreational and athletic facilities offered by the association, a social and recreational business subsidized by the fees and property assessments. Infiscal 1992, the association will receive $16 million from residents' property taxes.

Family rates for the package plan, the most popular membership, will increase by $9 to $459.

The biggest increase will be for Nautilus club members, who will pay $93 more to renew their family plan. The increase is needed to offset investments for new equipment, Mack said.

In one of the few controversies that emergedduring the budget process, Kendall Ridge residents expressed dismay over the association's decision to once again reject their request for a neighborhood swimming pool. Residents there say the association has given them few of the luxuries given other neighborhoods.

"People in Kendall Ridge are angry, because they have been given nothing,"said Long Reach representative Gail Bailey.

"They have no tot lots, no pathways and no pool, even though the other three Long Reach neighborhoods have them."

The new budget outlines plans to provide Kendall Ridge with tot lots and pathways, although it may be a number of years before those projects are finished, Bailey said. She suggested to the board that Kendall Ridge be given a "super pool" -- a larger, more attractive pool than the others -- to satisfy the residents.

But board member James Loesch, from Hickory Ridge, said Kendall Ridge residents already/have two pools within a two-mile radius of their homes. The traveling distance, based on the proximity of pools for most Columbia residents, is not overly burdensome, Loesch said.

Chief among the new facilities being offered this year to members is the $6.4 million combined Supreme Court athletic club and Skateland roller-skating rink, which will feature gymnasiums, an indoor track, a sauna and weight room and massage rooms.

Among the construction projects listed for the new fiscal year are a six-court Tennis Club at Hobbit's Glen Golf Club, a $900,000 community center for the Village of Dorsey's Search and a $3 million public works garage to be owned bythe association.

The budget also calls for planning to begin on anew 18-hole golf course and clubhouse at Fairway Hills. A four-person "lakes crew" will also be hired to maintain Columbia's three lakes and Jackson Pond.

Approximately $50,000 has also been set aside for a teen nightclub coordinator, who will supervise light and sound equipment at the club's weekly events.

For the first time, two free guest passes will be included with each package plan and neighborhoodpool membership.

"I think if you look at all we're offering, it'sfairly obvious we haven't been hard-hit by the recession," Mack said.

COLUMBIA ASSOCIATION ANNUAL RENEWAL RATES

In dollars, beginning May1

SERVICE. . . . . MEMBERS . INCREASE . NON-MEMBERS . INCREASE

Athletic Club

Family. . . . . . 448 . . . 10. . . . 498. . . . . 9

Individual. . . . 345. . . none. . . 383. . . . . 23

Nautilus

Family. . . . . . 867. . . 93. . . . .1,020. . . . 171

Individual. . . . 347. . . 5. . . . . 408. . . . . 24

Package plan

Family. . . . . . 459. . . 9. . . . . 618. . . . . 12

Individual. . . . 350 . . . 8 . . . . 462. . . . . 12

Pools

Family. . . . . . 200. . . none. . . .300. . . . . none

Individual. . . . 155. . . none. . . 230. . . . . none

Supreme Court

Family. . . . . . 448. . . 22. . . . .498. . . . . 39

Individual. . . . 345. . . 9. . . . . 383. . . . . 35

Swim Center

Family. . . . .. 312. . . none. . . 347. . . . . .none

Individual. . . . 240. . . none. . . 267. . . . . .none

Ice rink

Family. . . . . . 235. . . none.. . 270. . . . . none

Individual. . . . 180. . . none. . . .207. . .. . none

Tennis

Family. . . . . . 270. . . none. . .. 300. . . . .. none

Individual. . . . 197. . . none. . . 219. . . . . none

Source: Columbia Association

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