Columbia Association (CA) finished the second quarter of FY 2014 with financial results $911,000 (or 5 percent) more than the amount budgeted, but $211,000 less than the same period in FY 2013. Total income of $49.3 million was slightly less than what was budgeted for the period, and essentially the same as compared to the same period in FY 13.
Total operating expenses of $30.2 million were 4.8 percent less than the amount budgeted, and $476,000, or 1.6 percent, higher than the amount spent in the same period in FY 13. CA projects finishing FY 14 with an increase in net assets of approximately $3.5 million.
During the second quarter, the Finance team restructured and formatted the quarterly Board Report and financial statements, with the underlying changes in the chart of accounts and subsidiary systems, to accurately reflect the new organizational structure. In addition, the Finance team is both leading and supporting the beginning of the two-year budget process for fiscal years 2015 and 2016. The Purchasing team continues to actively support major projects such as the new wellness facility construction, the Hobbit’s Glen Golf Club Clubhouse, major pond reconstruction projects, etc., as well as acting as contract administrators for projects throughout the organization.
Community Building and Open Space
The Community Building and Open Space Service Bureau consists of Open Space Management and Community Building and includes the functions and divisions of Landscape Services, Capital Improvements, Community Planning, Watershed Management, Open Space Management Administration, Land Maintenance, Fleet Maintenance and RV Park.
Noteworthy accomplishments during the second quarter include substantial completion of the Columbia DogPark; implementation of the first pathway signage pilot project in Wilde Lake and Town Center; an award of $505,000 in grants from the State of Maryland for watershed management projects; completion of the restoration of the Patriot Lane Pond in Oakland Mills and Homespun Pond in Owen Brown; completion of numerous Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) improvements at CA facility parking lots; development of a maintenance program for plantings in the water quality retrofit facilities constructed to date; event support; initial training for the Weed Warrior program; startup of the Columbia Market Analysis study; and continuation of monitoring the planning and development initiatives in Columbia and updating the “Planning and Development Tracker.”
The service bureau ended the second quarter $1.2 million under budget, which is a positive result due to a combination of greater-than-budgeted revenue and lower-than-budgeted spending.
The Community Services Division finished the second quarter $133,000 favorably, with actual results less than what was budgeted. The positive variance is primarily due to savings in operating supplies, rentals, repair and maintenance and smaller savings throughout most of the expense lines.
Some highlights of the second quarter include: the Summer Lakefront Festival attracting crowds of 400–500 people per movie night; School Age Services continuing to develop programs to combat childhood obesity; the International Exchange and Multicultural programs having a successful cuisine exchange with 17 participants from Cergy-Pontoise, France; the World Languages Cafés being held monthly with more than 100 participants each time; and the recent Ghana Fest activity, held to celebrate CA’s new relationship with Tema, Ghana, attracting about 400 people.
The annual charge amount of $2,834,000 provides support to village associations to fund village elections, covenant enforcement personnel, village board activities, community building maintenance and community-building programs and services that residents enjoy in the community centers.
Sales and Marketing
CA’s Sales and Marketing team continues to sell and promote memberships and programs. Some of the highlights that will be the focus of winter 2014 efforts include the following.
In September, the launch of the mobile app highlighting CA pathways and facilities was successful. Through the end of the second quarter, we had approximately 1,900 downloads.
The team is developing ADA signage for all CA facilities and parking lots, as well as updating interior and exterior signs.
A branding work team to expand CA’s brand beyond Marketing was established.
Golf and CA memberships were promoted via ESPN Radio during NFL Kickoff and U.S. Open and Masters Tournament.
The 6-Class Pass was promoted in Beacon Newspaper, Howard County Senior Resource guide; The Baltimore Sun’s Special “Social Security Guide”; and the 50+EXPO Program Guide.
CA was awarded “Partner of the Year” by Howard County Tourism for its efforts to promote CA facilities, programs and golf partner marketing.
The team partnered with Howard County Tourism to promote golf clubs and Columbia SportsPark, provided marketing support to Get Active Howard County and Family Wellness Day and coordinated the 50+EXPO exposure through the Howard County Office on Aging.
Sport and Fitness
A number of new programs and highlights occurred during the first two quarters of FY 2014, including the opening of the 23 outdoor pools on Memorial Day weekend; hosting the annual KidsDay at Hopewell Pool; participating in the “World’s Largest Swim Lesson” and “Goggles for Guppies”; offering inexpensive lessons and safety training through the “Columbia Swims” program, with 124 participants; hosting the summer Kidz Triathlon, with more than 600 participants; offering the Columbia Neighborhood Swim League to more than 2,400 participants with 14 teams; launching the special 6-Class Pass for active adults ages 65 and older; offering group fitness outreach sessions to various senior centers in Columbia and the library to offer classes and programs; launching the new group fitness programs in the pavilion at Steven’s Forest Pool; beta-testing a new, medically-based “BOOM” program that allows participants to optimize their ability to increase lean body mass and methodically burn fat; hosting a new skateboarding competition at the Columbia SkatePark; offering First Tee programs, with more than 700 participants; and hosting the return of the “Rock Your Jeans” fitness program at Supreme Sports Club.
The division completed the period under budget, due mainly to two items: the timing of the payment of tickets for resale and Package Plan membership income. The Package Plan membership income is currently expected to end the year approximately the same as FY 2013, but 3 percent less than what was budgeted. It is expected that the Sport and Fitness Division will finish the year with financial results that are lower than what was budgeted.