CA foresees $4.4 million surplus in fiscal 2003

Higher income, savings contribute to healthy outlook for association

Columbia

September 29, 2002|By Laura Cadiz | Laura Cadiz,SUN STAFF

The Columbia Association's earnings for the first quarter, which ended July 31, indicate the homeowners association appears on track to end the 2003 fiscal year next spring with a $4.4 million surplus.

That surplus would be about $1.4 million larger than budgeted - partly due to increased income and partly because of operating savings, association President Maggie J. Brown told the association's board of directors Thursday night.

New construction in Town Center and higher-than-expected property reassessments are contributing to the income increase, Brown said.

At the end of the first quarter, the association's income was $30.6 million and is expected to total $48.3 million - $567,000 higher than budgeted - by the end of the fiscal year April 30.

A $100,000 savings in operating expenses at the 23 outdoor pools, as well as savings at other CA facilities, means the association expects to end the fiscal year with operating expenses $600,000 lower than anticipated, Brown said. The association expects to close the fiscal year with $30.1 million in operating expenses.

"The pools did do a good job in controlling supply expenses this year," said Rob Goldman, the association vice president for sport and fitness.

The association also received $225,000 in reimbursement of legal fees from covenant enforcement, helping the association's architectural resource committee to close the quarter $265,000 better than budgeted.

Overall, the association ended the first quarter with an $18.7 million surplus, $1.1 million more than projected.

The association's sports and fitness division ended July with a $324,000 deficit but is expecting to end the fiscal year $154,000 better than budgeted on net from operations. However, the division is estimated to close the fiscal year with $1.9 million in debt.

Most of the sports and fitness centers - including the Horse Center, the Swim Center and the Supreme Sports Club - are expected to achieve or surpass the budgeted net from operations by the end of April, Goldman told the board.

Four facilities - the Columbia Gym, Fairway Hills Golf Club, Hobbit's Glen Golf Club and the Sports Park - are expected to earn less than budgeted but are all expected to improve their performance from last year, Goldman said.

Hobbit's Glen has become a troubled course lately, with damaged greens affecting revenue. Brown has said her top priority for the fiscal 2004 capital budget is to repair the course, and the board is expected to examine the issue next month during a budget retreat.

According to the budget report, all revenue categories at the course were under budget at the end of the first quarter because of a drop in membership sales and two diseases, anthracnose and bacterial wilt, that infected the greens.

The report also stated that "Negative publicity from the media has deterred the normal volume of play at Hobbit's Glen." There have been a number of news articles reporting on protests by Hobbit's Glen members about poor playing conditions at the course.

The course closed the first fiscal quarter $92,000 in the black.

At Fairway Hills, drought conditions requiring more labor expenditures to maintain the course partially contributed to the club's revenues being $35,000 below budget - $54,000 in debt - according to the report.

However, Goldman told the board the club is within about 700 rounds of the amount of play budgeted at the course.

"We're close to budget, and we believe we will achieve or surpass rounds at Fairway," Goldman said.

The association's open-space management division ended the first quarter with $2.4 million in losses, but that is $202,000 better than projected.

The RV park is operating better than expected, closing the quarter $19,000 in debt, which is $10,000 less than the budget forecast. There is only one vacancy among the 179 parking spaces, and about 70 people are on a waiting list to fill any available 20-, 30- and 40-foot spaces, said Chick Rhodehamel, the association's vice president for open-space management.

The community services division is expected to end the year $351,000 better than budgeted, with a $6 million deficit. It ended the quarter $1.8 million in the black, which was $524,000 better than projected.

During the summer, 4,421 campers participated in the association's 24 camps. One hundred twenty-seven campers participated in reduced rate (50 percent or 75 percent) programs, and the total subsidy was $73,000, said Michelle Miller, the association's vice president for community services.

The camps closed the quarter $38,000 in debt and are expected to end the year with a $189,000 deficit.

Based on first-quarter earnings, the administrative services division is expected to close the fiscal year with $4.4 million in losses, which is $48,000 better than expected. The department ended July $983,000 in debt.

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