Things You Should Know...
May 1, 2015: If you read my column last month, you know I shared the thought that we would have to think about what we wanted to be as a Club going forward. We are no longer the "little club that could" but we aren't a big club either.
We have goals and objectives for attracting young families to the Club but we don't know if we have "the balance sheet" as a Club of 600 voting members to meet what this demographic will want. We need to think about that as we go forward. I encourage you to read that column to generate some thoughts about the future of the Club.
Now for more immediate concerns: We are running a near break-even budget and that is a bit scary. This is concerning especially when we consider that the members approved a dues increase at the 2013 Annual Meeting.
Over the past several months, the Finance Committee has worked over the data with our General Manager and office Accountant to see how we were handling G&A expenses (general and administrative), our hourly employee work patterns and other expenses versus the services we offer our Members. We were especially concerned with our G&A expenses which are considerably higher now than when we were in the old Clubhouse.
Bottom-line: Bill Kocan (our General Manager) and our staff have been running a pretty tight ship while giving us a very nice Club experience. That was nice to hear but what about the budget? Well, as I said, we are running a budget that is a near break-even outcome and our first quarter results are tracking to budget (for more information on that score see the material from the Finance Town Hall of April 19).
We are paying down our loan and funding some of our long-term obligations, but we are not able to fully fund the "rainy day" fund which is supposed to be available for one quarter's worth of operation (about $400,000). This is a worry.
Why is this a worry? Well, let's say we have something catastrophic happen or we see a recession of the magnitude of the one that hit in 2008 and we lose 40 Voting Members. We would be in trouble because at the current level of services and the current level of income we bring in we don't have any real "give" in the budget – very little to set aside in case we need it later.
So, what to do? Well, we considered a variety of options ranging from cutting services, laying off personnel, increasing banquet rentals, and raising the cap on Voting members to increasing prices on food and beverage. The Finance Committee even did a study into whether we should re-institute food and bar minimums which many members have suggested (result: it wouldn't bring in much money as most members spend way over the minimum – we must like our Club).
You have heard me say that I am in favor of raising the Member cap to 650 members – it would bring in $1 million in 10 years – but that is something that would have to be approved by the members and I believe should be contemplated only as part of a long-term objective related to expansion. We may get to that but what to do now for our day-to-day operations?
Well, after much thought, the Finance Committee recommended the first across the board increase in food and beverage prices in almost a decade.
The "mark-up" over our costs that we charge members is way below what a typical restaurant or public establishment would charge. That makes sense since you pay a membership fee and expect a good deal.
Well, we are going to adjust the "mark-up" so that we are still giving you a good deal but one which will bring in almost $95,000 on an annual basis and would allow us to fund our "rainy day" account. The Board approved the increase and it will take affect on June 1.
How will this specifically affect your favorite beverage or food order? It will vary depending on the item but this amounts to a 25 cent to 50-cent increase on most beverages but as much as $1 on some high end brands.
Naturally, we don't like raising the prices on our members or on ourselves but the Finance Committee and the Board thought this the best available option to help us better meet our financial objectives in very quick order. We hope you will understand the necessity and the sincere effort the Finance Committee and the Board have made to keep EYC a great place to be and a good value.
Now, on to the real boating season. See you at the Club.