The Columbia Association's Board of Directors approved the FY22 Operating and Capital budgets (for the period May 1, 2021 to April 30, 2022) during the February 25, 2021 Columbia Association Board of Directors Meeting.
The approved budget finalizes the fate of Haven on the Lake. Haven on the Lake will cease operation effective May 1, 2021. Haven on the Lake opened in 2014 at the Columbia Lakefront on the lower level of the Rouse Building below Whole Foods at a cost of over $5 million. The wellness center ever reached it's anticipated growth and financial goals, suffering annual net loses of approximately $2 million in each of the past 4 years.
Only 15 out of CA's 23 pools will open this summer. The following 8 pools will remain closed for the second summer in a row: Bryant Woods, Clary's Forest, Dasher Green, Faulkner Ridge, Jeffers Hill, Locust Park, MacGill's Common, and Talbott Springs.
On the positive side, there will be no increase in annual assessments. CA also approved funding to reopen 20 out of 23 before-and-after care locations this coming fall (Note that it was not apparent which 3 locations will not reopen). Open space funding has returned to pre-COVID levels and international and multicultural programming will return.
Prior to approving the budget, the CA voted 8-2 to approve the following resolution (Note that this is transcribed by me from the stream of the meeting, so apologize for any inaccuracies):
The CA Board recognizes that outdoor pools are an important amenity for Columbia while at the same time recognizing that the current pandemic seriously impacts CA’s ability to provide services. In addition to the financial situation, state and county regulations continue to impact how the pools will operate and the number of people allowed into the pool area at any given time. CA is facing a potential shortage of lifeguards for the outdoor pool. Recognizing the importance of community pools, CA staff has proposed a plan that will allow CA to open 15 outdoor pools 7 days a week throughout the summer. This will allow the CNSL’s 14 teams to operate this summer and will include recreational as well as programmed swimming. The 2 indoor pools at the swim center and the indoor pools at 3 CA fitness centers will also remain open this summer. CA will allow free pool admissions the second Sunday of each month as well as continue the 50% subsidy for qualifying low-income families, which total $1.5 million in the budget. This does not mean that CA intends to permanently close the other 8 pools. The CA Board and staff will continue to monitor the outdoor pool situation. The CA Board authorizes for CA staff to open additional outdoor pools in FY22 if staff provides information to the CA Board that there are significant positive developments in our finances, in the COVID situation in the state and county, and if there are increases in the lifeguard situation.
This resolution passed 8-2 with Hickory Ridge representative Jessamine Duvall and Dorsey’s Search representative Dick Boulton voting against. Duvall explained her no vote that while she supports everything that is said in the statement, it does not amend the budget and primarily amounts to a press release.
The Columbia Association's blog has further descriptions and explanations on what the approved Fiscal year 2022 budget means for the community.
Here is the official press release from CA announcing the budget adoption.
CA Board of Directors Approves FY 2022 Budget; Includes Opening 15 Neighborhood Pools
COLUMBIA, MD - Columbia Association’s (CA) Board of Directors approved the organization’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 budget. FY 2022 officially begins May 1, 2021, and ends April 30, 2022. The Board has spent the last several weeks discussing the proposal from CA leadership and considering input from the public.
Estimated revenue for FY 2022 is $63.6 million, almost $20 million below the original estimate for the last fiscal year.
“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.
Here are some of the significant items that fall under this approved FY 2022 budget: No increase in annual charge rates 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%.
Reopening 15 of our neighborhood pools
With the approval of the FY 2022 budget, CA plans to open the following pools this summer:
Clemens Crossing (CCP)
Dorsey Hall (DHP)
Hobbit's Glen (HGP)
Hopewell Mini WaterPark (HWP)
Kendall Ridge (KRP)
Phelps Luck (PLP)
River Hill (RHP)
Running Brook (RBP)
Steven's Forest (SFP)
Swansfield Mini Water Park (SWP)
Thunder Hill (THP)
“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,” Sports & Fitness Director Dan Burns said. “Even taking increased vaccinations and declining case numbers into consideration, restrictions will still be necessary to keep everyone safe. We’re counting on our team members and pool guests to be prepared to adapt.”
For more information on the outdoor pool season, visit ColumbiaAssociation.org/Pools. CA also encourages anyone interested in pool-related updates to sign up for the CA Swim newsletter and CA Swim on Facebook and Twitter.
Ceasing operations of Haven on the Lake
Effective May 1, 2021, CA will no longer operate Haven on the Lake in the building owned by Howard Hughes Corporation on the Downtown Lakefront.
“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.”
Keeping Haven on the Lake open would result in a more than $430,000 net loss every year in addition to rent and other fixed costs. Before-and-after school care at 20 schools
Assuming more Howard County students will resume in-person instruction this fall, CA is prepared to reopen before-and-after school care at 20 locations for the 2021-2022 school year. The FY 2022 budget also funds a handful of camps this summer. CA plans to release that information in March.
The return of international and multicultural programming
CA will bring back a full-time Program Manager for the International and Multicultural program who will re-establish communications and plan future exchanges with Columbia’s Sister Cities in France, Spain, Ghana, Haiti and China. The Program Manager will also reinstate some of the local cultural programming we haven’t been able to gather for, such as Cultural Cafes.
Pre-pandemic maintenance levels in open space
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.
“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 W. 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.”
What The Approved Fiscal Year 2022 Budget Means For You - an article that provides a more in-depth overview of FY 2022
CA Financial Reports - links to detailed financial documents
Haven FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions about the Haven’s pending closure
CA pools page - newly revamped to reflect most important information