by Mike Conroy
With the Montgomery Village Foundation (MVF) Office still closed due to the health emergency, many staff have been working to modify regular processes to meet new requirements or operate under virtual circumstances. At the May 28 MVF Board of Directors virtual meeting, changes to several regular processes were approved.
In preparation and anticipation for an eventual pool season (pending opening instructions and protocol from Montgomery County), the Board approved modified Pool Opening and Activity Card Process plans.
Director of Recreation and Parks Duncan Mullis noted that staff were preparing Hurley Park, Whetstone, Stedwick, Lake Marion and Peggy Mark (leisure area only, no lazy river) pools for the 2020 pool season, including a number of COVID-19 measures. Pool patrons may see signage and social distancing reminders in the bathhouses and on the pool deck; sneeze/cough barriers at the front desks; ; modified furniture plans which includes residents bringing their own chairs/towel; certain pool features closed; and limited numbers of patrons permitted in the pool, including only allowing MVF residents entry.
Residents have not received Activity Card validation stickers for the 2020 season, as the normal process for this was put on hold when the office was closed. Instead, the proposed process would allow those residents with a valid 2019 Activity Card entry to the pools. New residents, or those who need new cards would be given a temporary letter to allow entry which would include instructions on how to obtain a permanent card. No Activity Cards will be issued at the MVF Office, eliminating the need for residents to get updated photos, as has been done in the past. Cards will not be held by the pool attendant while patrons are at the pools, and guest cards and annual pool memberships (for non-residents) will be eliminated for the 2020 season, as entry will only be permitted for MVF residents only.
When final direction from the county and state about pools is released, a final list of changes, requirements and pool hours will be sent, and the Activity Card process will start for residents who need an Activity Card. Due to the fluidity of the reopening phases, no final date or opening procedures has been set yet as MVF is waiting for Montgomery County approval.
In addition, to facilitate finishing the annual MVF Board of Directors election, updates were made to the Election and Voting Procedures and the Guidelines for Ballot Counting, as recommended by the Election Committee. The election counting process will take place via video conference call so that residents, candidates and committee members can observe while adhering to social distancing requirements. Normally this process is open to the public in the MVF Office, but that is not feasible at this time. Those wishing to observe any portion of the count can find call-in instructions here. The ballot count will take place on Monday, June. 8.
Board President Glenn Gargan noted the continued success of providing services online during the health emergency and thanked staff for their diligence and service to all residents. He also expressed thanks to outgoing Board members Benjamin Davis and Pete Young.
EVP Dave Humpton reported that even with a limited number of employees working remotely or performing necessary work at the office, MVF remains busy and responsive. He noted that each department is performing some work to maintain services and prepare for an eventual reopening of the MVF Office.
Although Montgomery County announced that they are entering Phase 1 reopening, not much will change for MVF in the short-term—staff who are able will continue to telework, and the office will remain closed. He said per the County Executive’s Order, camps and outdoor activities/sports in limited numbers will be able to open, but it will take some time for staff to get those activities set up. There was no new information regarding pools, but MVF will be ready to open pools when the county allows.
In development news, Humpton reported he was hopeful for some work to begin on both the former Golf Course and Professional Center properties (Bloom & Lidl projects). Both developers said they hoped to get started ASAP, but there has been little activity so far. He also reported that Colonial Pipeline will be repairing a portion of pipeline just off Montgomery Village Avenue impacting the residents of Fairway Island in Patton Ridge. This is a major construction project that involves the development of a temporary construction road connecting Duffer way and Meadowcroft Lane. The work will be extensive, but thorough, and Colonial has been very responsive and forthcoming with communication about the project. The project began in the beginning of June and is estimated to take at least 60 days.
Mr. Humpton also noted the Census is ongoing, but Montgomery Village is still a low count area. He believes that our numbers will eventually come up, but COVID-19 has played a part in not getting message out county-wide. He noted the count directly affects funding for the county.
Finally, he noted the county’s South Lake Elementary School renovation project will likely be delayed by about a year, but is still a high priority in the CIP.
MVF Treasurer Bob Carey presented the financial report for the month ending April 30, 2020. He said that Revenue was unfavorable to the budget due to the closure and lack of ability to have revenue-generating programs, however, Expenses were correspondingly favorable to the budget. He noted that Investments were favorable for the month, but unfavorable overall. The Balance Sheet remains strong with over $9 million in Cash and Investments. Carey also said Assessment Collections were up $250,000 from last year due to payment plans, delinquencies starting and the condominium lawsuit.
The next MVF Board of Directors meeting will most likely be conducted in the same virtual manner, and is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 25. It will include a brief Annual Meeting to review the 2019 financials, seat the newly elected Board members and elect new officers. Participation instructions and meeting information will be posted online at www.montgomeryvillage.com the week before the meeting.