by Mike Conroy
On Thursday, Jan. 28, the Montgomery Village Foundation (MVF) Board of Directors met virtually for the first meeting of 2021. The top discussion item on the agenda was changes to the MVF Activity Card Distribution Policy, in preparation for the 2021 pool season.
Director of Recreation and Parks Duncan Mullis reported that the Recreation Committee and staff had discussed the 2020 pool season and noted positive changes resulting from COVID procedures that could potentially be continued for future seasons. Due to the pandemic, MVF had temporarily suspended the Activity Card policy, offering residents an online option to receive Activity Cards and/or update expired photos. This change allowed for instant access to the pool, as well as eliminated the need for residents to report to the MVF Office for the in-person process. Given the success of this new process, the committee proposed making this part of the distribution policy, as well as modifying the number of years before a new card is required.
Changes to the Activity Card Distribution Policy included eliminating the need for the 5-year renewal/updated photo, as well as the preferred option to request Activity Cards online. Adults will no longer need to update their photo every 5 years. Instead, the only time a new card needs to be issue is for: replacement (lost card), new card/new resident, or residents who have turned 10 or 16 years old. Information letters and annual validation stickers will still be issued as in previous years. To view the full updated policy, visit www.montgomeryvillage.com.
Other Agenda Items
The Board also received the slate of candidates for the 2021 MVF Board of Directors election. Six candidates are vying for the three open seats this year, including two incumbents. For full election details, click here.
Mullis shared some statistics and evaluation of the 2020 Pool Season with the Board. He noted although the season was unique and presented many challenges, the Aquatics Team of Jason Nicklow, Petra Padilla and Brendan Phelan did a fantastic job of making sure pools were safe and open on the first allowed day, even ahead of many other pools in Montgomery County. He said all operations followed established COVID protocols and guidelines, and while attendance was lower than previous years, it was understandable given capacity limits, shifted opening dates and general concerns regarding pool usage during the pandemic.
Mullis also presented an update on the North Creek Pool and Bathhouse renovation project, saying the pool construction is taking shape and ready to be built back up. The grading was complete and gravel was laid, framing for the walls was established and concrete would soon follow; the pump house had also been demolished. He noted that there were some permitting delays for the bathhouse, but the renovation should begin soon. Given the project delays from COVID this past year, the anticipated completion has been extended to August. Mullis said he would provide updates to the Board on a regular basis.
Finally, the Board approved staff to pursue a health sponsor for the exercise equipment to be installed at the Watkins Mill Recreation Area. Mullis noted that the concept had been brought up and discussed by the Recreation Committee and sent to the Board for further opinion and direction. He noted the concept was to solicit a sponsor in the health industry to help pay for the cost of the equipment, in exchange for marketing and signage bearing the sponsor’s name. Full details on a sponsorship package have yet to be worked out, but the concept was given the go-ahead by the Board.
Details about the reimagining of the Watkins Mill site can be found online at www.montgomeryvillage.com. To learn more about the current plan and provide feedback, join the virtual meeting scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 11; see full article here for more information and connection instructions.
Board President Pete Webb thanked the candidates for the 2021 MVF Board of Directors election for their participation in the earlier Meet and Greet, and wished them all the best for the election. He noted that with six candidates, it would be good election, and encouraged them all to continue to find ways to serve the community, no matter what the election results returned in March.
Executive Vice President (EVP) Dave Humpton gave an update on two county roadway projects in the Village. He said Montgomery Village Avenue recently had major sections patched, and the bus stops replaced with concrete, but no complete overlay was planned. Additionally, he said improvement of the intersection of MD Rt. 355 and Watkins Mill Road (addition of a thru-lanes and turning lanes), has greatly increased the effectiveness of the intersection.
Humpton also said that he, General Counsel Christopher Hitchens and Director of Community Management Karen Kodjanian were closely monitoring state legislation that could potentially affect Village residents, HOAs or condominium associations. They work closely with the District 39 team, Senator Nancy King and similar organizations like the Columbia Association and report on important bills. Currently, they are watching bills regarding community manager licensing; mandatory reserve studies; electric car charging stations; composting; and operating and building new pools.
Humpton gave an update on the condominium litigation, noting the condominium’s appeal would be heard in early February. He said the entire process has been costly, and MVF has been transparent about the process. To date, MVF has spent approximately $241,000 to litigate the case, and is owed over $280,000 in back assessments from the two condominiums who have not continued to pay.
Board Treasurer Bob Carey presented the Treasurer’s Report with preliminary results for the year ended December 31, 2020. He reported the highlights as final numbers cannot be determined until the annual audit is complete. Income was reported at $9.3 million year-to-date, and Expenses were $1.3 million below budget mainly due to prudent spending during COVID closures. Carey said Cash and Investments were strong at $10.9 million, up from $9.1 million at the same time last year.
He also noted that Accounts Receivable (AR) were up slightly (approximately $60,000), which was understandable given the pandemic. As such, the AR Reserve was increased $38,000 to account for about half of the bad debt (excluding the bad debt from the condominium lawsuit).
Carey reported the Current Ratio (assets over liabilities) at 6.9, which is very good. He concluded by noting the annual audit was beginning, with the auditors currently conducting their field work virtually. The full audit would be done in February (also virtually) and results would be complete in time for the Tuesday, March 2 Audit Committee meeting.
The next MVF Board of Directors meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 25, as a conference call. Residents can join the call early, from 7 to 7:30 p.m. to Meet the Candidates for the MVF Board of Directors election. Full meeting details, the meeting packet and/or participation instructions will be posted online at www.montgomeryvillage.com the week before the meeting.