We continue to do our research and planning for dredging.
Jerry Kedziora and George Artka spent a day recently in Kewaunee, meeting with the US Army Corps. In a nut-shell, the USACE told us that they have no money and they have very little to offer organizations like SSYC and our “shallow draft harbor”.
I met with Jill Organ and James Keegan of Milwaukee County Parks, and we’ve established an informal timetable that covers the next four months and positions SSYC and Milwaukee County to apply for the necessary permits. The next activity will be for a small team of SSYC volunteers to make a fairly accurate depth survey of the area to be considered for dredging. We’d like to get that accomplished in April in preparation for a meeting with the County on or about May 1st. We will use the survey to establish the boundaries of a more detailed and accurate survey.
Once the final survey is completed we will be in a position to calculate the amount of material that will need to be removed and have the Wisconsin DNR tell us where they want core samples taken for analysis. I’m hoping that this detailed survey can be completed in May and any necessary samples taken in June or July.
The permit process is likely to take six months, and we would like to be in a position to dredge in the spring of 2014. We can only speculate on costs until we know the volume involved and the level of contamination in the spoils.
I provided some data last month on the demographics of the club and I concluded with a comment that we do need to revisit the definition of Life Membership at SSYC. We plan to call a meeting of a committee of the whole to discuss this on April 9th. Let me offer four “straw man” proposals for you to think about as a starting point. These ideas have come from various members of the Board and from the Bylaws and Membership committees, and are presented here as best I remember them and with some of my personal thoughts included:
1. Create a new category, Senior member, which would take the place of the first 10 years of what is currently Life membership. A member would then move from Senior to Life. Senior members would pay reduced dues, reduced assessments, and a reduced monthly minimum. (This is very similar to Racine Yacht Club’s membership categories.) I envision that we would grandfather all existing Life members, so this would phase in over a 10-year period.
2. Create a new category, Active Life member, which would apply to any Life member who has a slip or who spends more than a certain amount (perhaps $1,000?) annually at the club. This could be based upon the prior year’s data or the current year’s slip license. Active Life members would pay reduced dues, etc. The thought is that this would take effect immediately, and no one would be grandfathered.
3. Limit the number of Life members to a set number, or a percentage of Active members. When a life member passes away, an opening would be created and the most senior Active member would become a life member. (This is how it is done at Milwaukee YC.) The challenge with this proposal would be in implementing it. I assume all current Life members would be grandfathered. The biggest issue I see is that it would be somewhat draconian to anyone about to become a Life member. That is, last year’s candidates became Life members immediately while next year’s group might have to wait ten years. Phasing it in could be complex.
4. Raise the minimum age for Life membership. The biggest challenge is figuring out how to implement a change such that it would be fair (see #3 above). One option would be to raise the age limit by 1 year every even numbered year, until a new limit of 65 was reached: 61 in 2014, 62 in 2016, 63 in 2018, 64 in 2020 and 65 in 2022. Ten years would be required years to shift it to 65, but it would allow people who are close to the criteria to be phased into the new rules.
I’d also like to report to you on our follow-up efforts associated with the report form the Audit Committee that was delivered in November. Areas of concern included a number of items on the balance sheet, payroll records & processes and accounts receivable information. Let me address each of these.
The audit committee recommended twenty-one adjusting journal entries be made. Further research by Pat, Morrene and Kristin resulted in thirteen of them being made, four became obsolete as the year’s finances were wrapped up and four more were determined to be unnecessary. The most significant item identified was the accounting associated with the final building remodel assessment levied in 2009. After quite a bit of research we now understand what was done. Unfortunately, the accounting system entries weren’t done correctly and so adjustments to address them were made in the 2012 books. As a result, our 2012 EOY financials show a $12,000 profit when they would otherwise have shown a $2,000 loss.
Pat Nora brought in an outside consultant (from Account Temps) who did a payroll review. No major errors or problems were found. She did make ten recommendations and these have all been implemented.
We had a long discussion at the December general membership meeting on the topic of accounts receivables. This has been a major focus of our Financial Secretary and the Board for the last nine months. We will be contracting with a collection agency in an attempt to recover some of the outstanding amounts. We will not recover 100%, the collection agency will take their cut and as a result it will be necessary to write-off a portion. We remain very uncomfortable allowing members to look at the finances of other members given the discussions that occur at the bar. We will, however, allow the audit committee access to the accounts receivable information for individual members who grant them that access. This will allow the committee to audit a subset of the data. While not being a random sample, it can become a representative sample.
Overall, in addition to the adjusting journal entries, the committee made thirteen recommendations. Eleven have been implemented to-date. They also made twelve suggestions, and eight of those have been implemented.
On a lighter note, the club would like to have a few bicycles on-hand to be offered to visiting boaters. I think four is about the right number. So if you have a bicycle that is in good condition but is gathering dust, consider donating it to the club once the boats are all launched.
As always, I am honored to serve as your Commodore.