HISID focuses on budget, capital improvement requests

Friday, August 24, 2012

HOLIDAY ISLAND -- In a marathon all-day meeting with a short break for lunch Monday, the Holiday Island Board of Commissioners looked at its mid-year financial review and considered capital improvement requests for 2013.

Office Manager Marilyn Clave presented spreadsheets on the district's financial picture from January through June, and each department head explained several line items, particularly items that exceeded or fell short of budget.

Overall, Clave said, the district is "not too far off" from this same time last year in terms of assessment income.

This year so far, $892,000, or 31.4 percent of budgeted has been paid, compared to $741,000, or 36.9 percent, this time last year.

She said the dollar amount is higher due to the higher lot assessments, but the number of lots paid is about the same.

For all sources, actual income in the first six months, rounded, was $1.865 million; operating expenses were $828,000; and wages and burden were $591,000, for a net gain of $446,000, as opposed to a net loss last year of $127,000. Compared to a budget projection of $826,000, the district is at 54 percent of budget, she said.

However, Clave and the board noted that some corrections need to be made, such as $200,000 overstated in assessment income going toward the sewer debt and $200,000 of interest expense on the wastewater treatment plant loan that had been capitalized in the past but will have to be expensed this year.

Clave suggested the board could vote to turn in an amended budget to the county.

Commissioner Bruce Larson said just correcting those two things in the budget would show the district "half a million dollars in the red."

"I don't think we want to say that's our plan for the year, so we have to find some other offsetting reductions in what we're going to spend because I don't see any other source of income, so we're going to have to find some other places where we can save money to offset that half a million dollars before we can adopt a corrected, revised budget."

Larson also pointed out that some end-of-year projections in the departments are not accurate because they show 100 percent income received or expenses paid, and the year isn't over yet.

Clave said some departments tried to figure out actual projections for the end of the year, and some just used budgeted figures. She will come back with an amended spreadsheet after department heads turn in revised end-of-year projections and any other offsets that can be incorporated.

She said the district is in good shape on its sewer debt payments and is $36,000 ahead. She said the district still owes $5.5 million on that loan. Payments are about $365,000 per year.

"So if you didn't do anything at all, you've got enough to pay a couple years in there," she added. But money will still come in on assessments each year to go toward the sewer debt.

The board came back from lunch to look at the 2013 Capital Improvements Program (CIP). Interim District Manager Donna Putnam presented a revised plan from initial requests presented in July totaling $612,000, which are now down to $601,000.

Some of the requests are funded from operating funds, some from equipment reserve funds and some from grants, such as fire department grants or tax funds from the county for roads.

Some items that need immediate attention are the Haddock Creek lift station rehabilitation, leak detection and repair and an HVAC unit at the Recreation Center.

The district may consider making some changes in how it procures equipment. Golf Course Maintenance Superintendent Mark Mowrey said the district should "seriously consider" looking at a lease program for its mowers and other equipment.

"I have so many pieces of equipment in such poor condition that it's become difficult to decide what to replace," he said.

He said equipment is aging, and if the district buys used, "You're buying somebody else's problem."

One lease package he saw was $76,000 per year for $300,000' worth of equipment.

"I have no problem with lease programs," said Chairman Linda Griswold. "I think we truly need to look at those district-wide."

It was noted a lease program would have to be funded from the operating budget, however. The equipment reserve fund is only to purchase equipment.

In other discussions, the board:

* Said they will not answer Kathy Bischoff's -- or anyone's -- questions about the Assessment of Benefits process now that a lawsuit has been filed against the district over it because anything they say might be used against them in court.

* Heard proposals from two golf cart leasing companies. The district is in its fourth year of a five-year lease with Yamaha Golf Cart Co. Yamaha allows the district to roll over the contract after the third year, but Clear Creek Vehicles of Springfield, Mo., asked that the district finish out its contract and give them a chance to compete in two years.

* Discussed uniforms for employees. The district currently pays $7,000 to $8,000 per year for them. The district will look at furnishing logo t-shirts right away for new employees so residents feel safer if a district employee knocks on the door.

* Discussed getting an appointment with the county Board of Equalization to see about exempting or reducing property taxes on lots in the district's name. Most of the lots are foreclosures or quit-claims. Griswold said she had taken no action because no one on the board or in the district office responded to her request some time ago for direction, and the appointment application was due by 4:30 that day. When the meeting ended at 4 p.m., she filled out the application and faxed it.

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