By John Leaman

          There are two primary pieces to finances at O.R., namely the Operating Budget and the Reserve Budget.  The Operating Budget provides the funding for the day to day operation of the CO-OP, whereas the Reserve Budget provides a reserve for the replacement and/or restoration of capital items when needed.  Both budgets are established on an annual basis with a fiscal year running from October 1st through September 30th of the following year.  They form the basis for the assessments against the shareholders for the CO-OP's financing.

          In the early days the budgets were put together by the Board, mostly based on recommendations from management, and without the analytical techniques and historical information available today. At times there was a committee labeled finance committee, but little recorded regarding their function. When Shirley Burlingham was Board President in 1990 she established the Capital Assets Committee (fondly known as the CAP Committee), with Joe Aldrich as chairperson, to deal with the Reserve needs.  They worked diligently to identify, inventory, establish life expectancy and replacement costs for all capital assets.  Shirley Burlingham joined this effort after being President of the Board and was instrumental in creating the records for the reserve. This was a very significant undertaking.  After this information was created they did an annual review to update reserve needs.  Also there was a professional consultant hired periodically to provide a independent view for the reserve posturing.   Once the Reserve information and process was fully established, it became a rather routine annual process to review and update the data well maintained in a spreadsheet and management could readily and routinely do this.

           There had been two town hall meetings, the first under Shirley Burlingham and the second under John Egger, where the number one desire or the participating shareholders was to enlarge and update the Rec Hall.  Because of this and the reduced need for intensive reserve effort, John Leaman as Board President in 2003, transitioned the effort of the CAP Committee to developing the Rec Hall expansion and update proposal for shareholder consideration.  This proposition was taken through the preliminary design phase and put forth for shareholder approval in 2005 when they decided they either didn't want to do it after all or they didn't want to spend the money to do it.  It is interesting to note that the Rec Hall update, without expansion, completed in 2009, cost as much as was anticipated for the expansion and upgrade turned down in 2005.  In any case the CAP Committee was dissolved at that point.

          The budgeting process had become an annual contentious affair, with argumentative meetings and even attempts toward alternate budgets proposed by some unit owners.  Because of this the Board President in 2003, re-established a Finance Committee to draft and recommend the Operating Budget to the Board.  Although the committee would consult with management for their needs and also review past performance, the budget they proposed was the committee's recommendation to the Board.  The initial committee was chaired by Ralph Chrisey and deliberately staffed by shareholders with differing views.  The committee functioned very well and remained under Ralph's leadership until his untimely death in 2006.  At that point Emery Smith became chairperson and remained so until his election to the Board of Directors in 2008.  Emery was then succeeded by Joyce Schmidt, who was one of the original members of the committee. Subsequently, Arline Edwards, became the chairperson and Joyce remained on the committee as the only original member.  

In the 2013/2014 budget cycle, the committee not only had to deal with the adjustments accompanying the contracting out of Ocean Resorts' management, but also the BOD requested the committee to take on the responsibility for proposing the reserve budget assessmant.  This was an arduous task because they had never worked the reserves, the facts related to the individual capital items needed thorough review, and the reserve process was in need of upgrading to provide for more efficient and effective use of the reserve funds.  To complicate matters, this happened near the end of the season and almost anything they would proposeto do differently would require shareholder vote at the worst time of the year for voting, as most residents were directing their attention northward.  As a result, the committee directed their efforts on updating the reserve process to be completed for the next annual cycle.