What The Approved Fiscal Year 2022 Budget Means For You
During the Board Meeting on February 25, Columbia Association’s (CA) Board of Directors approved the organization’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 budget. FY 2022 covers the period from May 1, 2021, to April 30, 2022.
Since mid-January, the Board has been discussing the proposal from CA leadership and considering input from the public.
That budget has now been finalized and approved by the Board, laying out our fiscal framework for the organization for the next 12 months, starting on May 1.
So what does this budget mean for the programs, services and activities provided by CA? More importantly, what does that mean for you and your family?
The following is a comprehensive overview of the finalized plans for FY 2022. You can find detailed budget documents on our Financial Reports page.
Major points for FY 2022
Some major points from the approved FY 2022 budget include:
- No increase in the annual charge rate or cap
- Reopening 15 of our neighborhood pools
- Ceasing operations of Haven on the Lake
- Before-and-after school care at 20 schools
- The return of international and multicultural programming
- Ongoing investment in the more than 3,600 acres of open space
Impact of the pandemic
First, let’s talk about the context of the current fiscal year – FY 2021.
During the past year, the pandemic and the downturn in the economy have taken their toll on CA. The services, programs and activities provided by CA – particularly the ones that generate substantial income for the organization – were among those most affected.
The temporary shutdown and ongoing capacity restrictions have had a significant impact on Sports & Fitness memberships, user fees (i.e. – personal training, green fees, tennis court time, lessons, leagues, etc.) and enrollment in our School Aged Services programming. These areas of CA’s day-to-day operations traditionally generate most of CA’s non-annual charge income.
Once the impact of the pandemic became apparent, projections for CA’s overall income went from nearly $80 million to approximately $56 million. Estimated revenue for FY 2022 is $63.6 million, still almost $20 million below the original estimate for FY 2021. In short, we will see the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic for years to come. You can read more about the financial challenges of the last year in this article.
Note – Open Space/Facility Services represents less than 1% of income in each budget scenario and is not shown.
Like many entities across industry sectors, CA will continue to adjust to stay financially viable and relevant.
“It is safe to say we have all had to change our expectations of ‘normal.’ While some shifts may be temporary, it is inevitable that some changes will be with CA for years to come. As an organization, we embrace all changes that help us focus on our service to the Columbia community and our role, along with our community partners, to enhance the quality of life here,” President/CEO Milton W. Matthews said.
“As an organization, we embrace all changes that help us focus on our service to the Columbia community and our role, along with our community partners, to enhance the quality of life here.”
Milton W. Matthews, President/CEO
No increase in the annual charge rate or the cap
There is no increase in the annual charge rate (currently at $0.68 per $100 of assessed valuation) in FY 2022. The cap will also remain at 3.5%.
“CA understands our financial hardships are shared by the entire Columbia community. While it makes up almost two-thirds of CA’s projected income for FY 2022, we knew raising the annual charge was not the solution,” CFO Susan Krabbe said. “We are pleased the Board has followed through with staff’s proposal to hold steady on the rate and cap for annual charge payers.”
Reopening 15 of our neighborhood pools
The FY 2022 budget includes funding for 15 neighborhood pools. The pools selected to open this summer (Memorial Day to end of August) were carefully selected based on a combination of factors, such as accommodating a full Columbia Neighborhood Swim League (CNSL) program for the young people of our community, daily attendance, programming, location, and ADA accessibility. In fact, the 15 pools to reopen accounted for more than 80% of 2019 attendance.
Pools opening in 2021*
Pools not opening in 2021
*The 15 pools that will open this summer accounted for more than 80% of 2019 attendance.
Snack bars will not operate at outdoor pools. Additionally, pools will only be open from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend.
“The decision to close the outdoor pools last year was extremely difficult,” Sports & Fitness Director Dan Burns said. “CA looks forward to bringing back this summer tradition for this community, but it’s important to understand how different this experience will be compared to years past. Even taking increased vaccinations and declining case numbers into consideration, restrictions still will be necessary to keep everyone safe. We’re counting on our team members and pool guests to be prepared to adapt.”
“It’s important to understand how different this experience will be compared to years past. Even taking increased vaccinations and declining case numbers into consideration, restrictions still will be necessary to keep everyone safe. We’re counting on our team members and pool guests to be prepared to adapt.”
Dan Burns, Sports & Fitness Director
The Board of Directors also passed a resolution that gives CA the authority to open additional pools at staff’s discretion if certain conditions allow for it, such as “significant positive developments in finances, in the COVID situation, in state and county regulations and an increase in lifeguards.”
Ceasing operations of Haven on the Lake
Effective April 30, 2021, CA will no longer operate Haven on the Lake in the leased space in the building on the Downtown Lakefront (commonly referred to as the Whole Foods building).
“We are certainly saddened to have to let this wonderful amenity go, but the cost of operating Haven on the Lake and the outlook for its future – paired with the effect of the pandemic on the overall budget – has become too much to sustain,” CFO Susan Krabbe said.
Keeping Haven on the Lake open would result in a more than $430,000 net loss every year. That is in addition to rent and other fixed costs.
“I believe in what Haven on the Lake brings to this community and know what this unique and very special facility means to its members,” Sports & Fitness Director Dan Burns said. “That said, as stewards of CA’s finances, keeping Haven open would be irresponsible for the organization and the community in light of other difficult decisions we have had to make. Our team will work hard to offer as many comparable services as possible at other CA facilities to best serve the individuals who utilize Haven’s services.”
“I believe in what Haven on the Lake brings to this community and know what this unique and very special facility means to its members. That said, as stewards of CA’s finances, keeping Haven open would be irresponsible for the organization and the community in light of other difficult decisions we have had to make.”
Dan Burns, Sports & Fitness Director
Before-and-after school care at 20 schools
Circumstances are continually shifting around the pandemic and what that means for students. Still, CA is preparing to serve more families in the upcoming school year.
The Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) is in the process of returning to hybrid learning this spring. FY 2022 assumes in-person instruction will resume this coming fall on a larger scale, and CA is prepared to reopen before-and-after school care at 20 of the 23 locations CA operated out of prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have been honored to serve a limited number of students and families while HCPSS has been entirely virtual,” Community Services Director Michelle Miller said. “We know hybrid learning and the eventual return of entirely in-person classroom instruction will pose new challenges for everyone, but we are prepared and excited to make more of our locations available to families in the upcoming school year.”
The FY 2022 budget also funds a few camps this summer. CA plans to release that information in March.
The return of international and multicultural programming
In the FY 2022 budget, CA will bring back a full-time Program Manager for the International and Multicultural program. This team member will be charged with re-establishing communications and planning future exchanges with Columbia’s Sister Cities in France, Spain, Ghana, Haiti, and China. The Program Manager also will reinstate local cultural programming, such as Cultural Cafes.
“There will be a time when travel is once again safe and restriction-free. We look forward to reconnecting with Columbia’s Sister Cities and gathering at events that celebrate diversity in this community,” Community Services Director Michelle Miller said. “We are so pleased to see this position reinstated and will begin the hiring process in the coming months.”
Ongoing investment in our open space areas
In the FY 2022 budget, CA will continue to invest in the maintenance, upkeep and improvement of its more than 3,600 acres of open space and nearly 100 miles of pathways. That routine work will return to pre-COVID levels, including response to both urgent and non-urgent work orders.
Approximately $1 million of capital funding will be allocated for pathway renovations and bridge/boardwalk replacements in FY 2022. Additionally, $450,000 in capital investments will be allocated for energy retrofits, watershed improvements and other “going green” initiatives. That funding will ensure CA’s energy systems and buildings are operating as sustainably as possible.
“We understand the value our open space areas have added, particularly throughout the pandemic,” Open Space and Facility Services Director Dennis Mattey said. “We hope that even as restrictions ease up, our team can help families continue to discover and explore one of the aspects of this community that makes it so special.”
Centered on community, focused on the future
Overall, the CA team is optimistic about what lies ahead for the organization and, even more so, for our community.
“The effects of the pandemic have tested the adaptability of our organization and its aftermath will continue to do so for years to come,” President/CEO Milton Matthews said. “Yet, here we are roughly a year following the initial shut down with a budget for a new fiscal year that provides more of our services, programs and activities, and reopens more of our facilities in the coming months. It is truly a testament to the resilience of all community stakeholders and the CA team members who have kept us going through this difficult time. We could not have done it without you.”
“It is truly a testament to the resilience of all community stakeholders and the CA team members who have kept us going through this difficult time. We could not have done it without you.”
Milton W. Matthews, President/CEO