Pines GM report shares positive numbers

Viola unveiled September monthly financials showing budget ahead of estimates

By Greg Ellison

(Nov. 25, 2021) The Ocean Pines Association’s financial performance continued in the black through September, with revenues for the month closing $200,000 ahead of budget, with expenses just $25,000 more than projected.

Appearing before the association board of directors Saturday, General Manager John Viola said, “We’re operating on all cylinders.”

Viola said top financial performers in revenue-generating amenities were golf, racquet sports and aquatics.

“Marinas came in favorable,” he said.

Year-to-date through September, association balance sheets show a positive budget variance of about $1.3 million, with revenues over by $1.07 million and expenses under by about $232,000.

“Throughout the year we’ve continued expense reductions,” he said. “We’ve scrubbed all accounts.”

As would be expected this time of year, expenses will begin to outpace revenues and remain that way in the remaining months of the fiscal year, Viola said.

“The numbers will come down,” he said. “Some of it is timing for maintenance.”

As for October, Viola said it appears to be running ahead of budget by $75,000.

On other fronts, Viola discussed maintenance on the North Gate Bridge.

Following a recent accident at the bridge involving a flipped vehicle, Viola said potential improvements are being considered.

“We are working with Vista [Engineering] to address the approach to the bridge,” he said.

Viola said association officials discussed the situation with Worcester County officials, who provided a list of contractors to consult.

“We will be coming forward with more details on the project in the next few months,” he said.

Viola said in terms of immediate repair needs, nothing is pressing.

“It’s nothing structural,” he said. “We are waiting for materials but it is stabilized.”

Project costs are initially estimated at $15,000, including $7,800 for timber and $7,500 for in-house labor costs.

“It will probably take another 14 weeks to get materials,” he said. “Insurance will be involved one way or the other.”

On a related note, Viola said bids are being solicited to power-wash the bridge.

Viola also provided an overview of a reserve study recently completed by Richmond-based Design Management Associates.

“It’s a valuable tool [and] puts fixed assets into perspective,” he said.

Completing the report to the board was Doug Greene, reserve specialist and partner with DMA, with oversight from Public Works Office Manager Linda Martin, and support from Viola and Finance Director Steve Phillips.

The data was presented to the Budget and Finance Committee last week.

“Budget and Finance signed off on all our assumptions in detail,” he said.

The DMA study was first completed in 2015 and last updated in 2018.

“It gives us a guide so we can get an understanding where our reserves are,” he said. “Which is a big number and big part of our balance sheet.”

Sticking to financial fronts, Viola said preparation work for the next fiscal year’s budget is moving along steadily.

“We have met with all department heads [and] all will present to Budget and Finance,” he said.

Department heads and second-in-command positions will take part in a multi-day presentation to the Budget and Finance Committee from Jan. 4-6.

Viola said Budget Committee members would be provided a binder no later than Christmas Eve to prepare for the detailed presentation.

“They can really get into it,” he said.

The advance time allows for initial questions to be answered.

“We’ll address any questions they have,” he said. “We address any assumptions, pricing, expense control, capital outlays and the DMA study with the team.”

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