Positive financial trends continue 

After three months, Association more than $300,000 ahead of budget

Ocean Pines General Manager John Viola, with Executive Secretary Michelle Bennett, left, and Operations Director Colby Phillips, provides operational and financial reports during a regular Board meeting on Aug. 31.

Ocean Pines continued its positive financial streak in July, posting a $54,649 favorable variance to the budget. 

After the first three months of the fiscal year, the Association is ahead by more than $300,000. By comparison, a year ago Ocean Pines was roughly $7,000 behind budgetGeneral Manager John Viola said during a regular Board meeting on Saturday.  

Amenities and departments that overperformed during the first three months included the Yacht Club ($107,000), Beach Club ($53,000), Recreation and Parks ($40,000), Beach Parking ($37,000), Marinas ($36,000), Public Works ($33,000), Finance and Administration ($28,000), GM Office ($20,000) and Golf ($2,000). 

Viola described several “headwinds,” or items that will negatively affect the bottom line by the end of the fiscal year. Included were $30,000 for Golf Course chemicals, a $30,000 higher than expected cost for an employee compensation study, $22,500 to remove the crabbing pier, $12,000 in unbudgeted new capital items, $5,000 for Beach Club bathroom attendantand $2,500 for a Marina security guard. Those items total $102,000. 

At the Golf Course, Viola said, the added expense was a case of “cutting costs at any costs and, odds are, it’s going to cost you somewhere.” 

Still, he acknowledged the significant financial turnaround, highlighting both food and beverage operational improvements driven by the Matt Ortt Companies, and careful examination of administration and management practices. 

“If I look at last year, year-to-date July 31, we were unfavorable [overall] approximately $7,000,” Viola said. “The admin and management budget was unfavorable $51,000 year-to-date, last year. This year … we’re favorable [$48,000].” 

He specifically credited the Budget and Finance Committee and former committee chairman Larry Perrone, who is now a Board member and the Association Treasurer. 

“There was a lot of study on it  to capture and understand what was happening,” Viola said. “We’ve addressed it for this year and, so far, we’ve kept it in line. 

Viola also offered updates on several ongoing projects.  

He said the replacement Golf clubhouse and cart barn, and Police station expansion, continue to be on target and on budget. He said clubhouse construction could start later this month, with the cart barn and Police quarters following in October. 

The Golf amenity is currently working out of portable offices, but numbers for July were strong, Viola said.  

“The team down at the Golf Course has kept everything on track … even with all the change and the stress on the course,” he said.  

Outside contractor work on a new Craft Club building should also start this month. 

Viola said Ocean Pines was largely on track with implementation of the new Northstar software systems, give or take a week of potential setbacksHe said a slight delay is unsurprising, given the busy time of year 

He said Association staff is working to diversify its bench strength,” meaning employees will be more capable or working across departments. 

“I believe that with a cross-trained team we’ll be more efficient, [and] that will definitely help as far as our budget and expenses going forward,” he said. Its also very good to cross train our employees to make them more valuable, whether it’s with Ocean Pines or wherever else [they go] in their career.”  

Other ongoing projects include supplying guest Wi-Fi at the Yacht Club and releasing a request for proposals for an auditing firm, Viola said.  

He also acknowledged receiving several calls about a rusty barge left at the bulkhead staging area near Wood Duck. Viola said the watercraft did not belong to any company the Association is currently contracting with, and that Operations Director Colby Phillips has worked to address the issue.  

That was something from another company,” he said. Colby and her team have worked on it aggressively and I believe they have addressed the situation.” 

To view a PDF of Viola’s report, visit https://www.oceanpines.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/GM-Operations-report.pdf.   

To view a video of the entire presentation, visit https://youtu.be/SwMRwJmjx3w?t=286 

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