GM Viola says team effort, benchmarks led to successful process
The Ocean Pines Board on Tuesday voted 6-0, with one abstention, to approve the fiscal year 2020/2021 budget. Association Vice President Steve Tuttle abstained from the vote.
Taking effect May 1, the approved budget preserves the current basic annual assessment of $986.
Association President Doug Parks praised General Manager John Viola and Ocean Pines staff, as well as the Budget and Finance Committee, for their role in crafting the budget.
“The process, I think, went very, very well this year and hopefully it’s used as a standard as we move forward in subsequent years to prepare the budget,” Parks said. “Kudos to all those involved, and I thank them for their efforts and applaud them for getting us a budget that we [could] work with in a very reasonable and organized way.”
Viola said staff and particularly Association department heads contributed to what was, by all accounts, a smoother than normal budget process that finished several weeks early.
The proposed budget was released in December, followed by a three-day Budget and Finance Committee review and one daylong Board of Directors review session in January. The Board then held a public hearing on Feb. 5 and budget adoption occurred two weeks later, on Feb. 18.
“It was a team effort, we used a bottom’s up approach, held public meetings, prepared analysis, and had work plans support all numbers,” Viola said. “Everybody contributed – Golf, Aquatics, Public Works, Public Relations, Finance, Rec and Parks, Police, Racquet Sports, and the Marina.”
Elaborating on the “bottom’s up” approach, Viola said, “I didn’t start off with last year’s budget and work backwards, and just change some numbers.”
“Everybody started off from scratch, pen to paper, considering what they thought their revenues and expenses would be,” he said. “I just think the review process, the feedback, the communication, the meetings – everything was smooth. We had due dates and we talked about the issues for each department, and then they [staff] went and did it.”
At the center of the entire process, Viola said, was countless hours of work done behind the scenes by the Finance Department, led by Director of Finance and Operational Logistics Steve Phillips.
Viola also singled out Accounting Manager Julia Johnson, Accounts Payable Supervisor Geraldine Tate, and Assessment and Membership Supervisor Ruth Ann Meyer.
“This is their time to shine,” Viola said. “Steve redid that entire department and, to do that budget while we’re putting in a new software system, plus all the construction going on and the compensation study we did late last year – it was excellent work.”
Viola previously lent a hand during Ocean Pines budget sessions, both as chair of the Budget and Finance Committee and as a volunteer CFO, but this was his first budget in the GM’s chair. Based on what he already knew, Viola was confident he and the team could meet all the deadlines.
“There was full transparency throughout the entire process, everyone gave detailed plans and benchmarks, we held meetings out in the open, and I kept the Board up to date – and that’s a big one,” he said. “Nothing was a surprise, everything was explained, and we always did reconciliations. Everything was communicated and the Board was kept apprised of everything we were doing.”
It also helped, Viola said, that staff could use real numbers based on work that was already being done, from bulkheads to roads to drainage.
“We didn’t reinvent the wheel,” he said. “The analysis we did all year gets rolled into the budget. What everyone is already doing every month is geared toward that process, and that all contributed to our success.”
To view the approved budget, visit: https://www.oceanpines.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/FINAL-APPROVED-FY21-BUDGET.pdf.
To view a video of the budget approval meeting, visit https://youtu.be/TDel8W8RbPk.
Links for specific agenda topics are as follows:
Call to Order – Doug Parks, President
Pledge of Allegiance – All
Approval of Agenda – Board https://youtu.be/TDel8W8RbPk?t=25
President’s Remarks – Doug Parks, President https://youtu.be/TDel8W8RbPk?t=45
Public Comments (None)
Motion – To Approve the 2020-21 Budget – Larry Perrone https://youtu.be/TDel8W8RbPk?t=89