GVR members will see no annual dues increase for the second year in a row.
The Board of Directors on Wednesday approved the member fee schedule for 2020, and the dues remain at $493. Board president Charlie Sieck said that while there's no increase in dues, the organization is in no danger of a revenue shortfall.
The board approved expanding the $2,616 New Member Capital Fee. The fee will now also be applied to those who buy a GVR-deeded property who do not sell their current GVR property within 12 months. The fee, now known as the Property Acquisition Capital Fee, goes into effect Oct. 1.
Sieck said the fee expansion does away with the need for a dues increase this year. He also said prior dues increases will have more than made up for inflation going into 2020, negating the need to account for inflation in the fees schedule.
GVR staff presented a preliminary budget to the Fiscal Affairs Committee Aug. 22. It states the capital fee budget has decreased 15 percent because of declining property transactions, notes a $44,000 loss from additional cards being issued to single-person GVR households, and lists a $91,000 loss in GVR program income.
Projected number of class registrations is 9,121 and performing arts events attendees is 12,800 — both decreases from prior years, according to budget highlights presented to the committee. It's not all decreased revenue, however.
The budget highlights project $776,952 of potential new revenue from expanding the capital fee to all additionally purchased properties. The highlights projected the $776,952 based on 297 GVR properties purchased by GVR members in 2018, multiplied by the $2,616 fee.
While there were increases in expenses — 40 percent, or $280,000, in aggregate insurance coverage; $20,000 for board policy governance training; 29 percent, or $896,693, to facilities and equipment — there were also decreases. Total wages and benefits had a $528,223 decrease with a decrease of about seven full-time employees from last year. The reduction is attributed to reallocating duties and holding off on filling vacancies.
The total initial operating and capital budget is $11.2 million, with member dues covering 56.24 percent ($6.7 million) and non-dues revenue covering the remaining 43.76 percent ($4.5 million).
The budget is still not finalized and has only been presented to the FAC. It is now in the hands of the FAC for adjustments and then goes to the board for approval.
Three directors voted against the 2020 fee schedule — Don Weaver, Michael Zelenak and Donna Coon. For Weaver, it wasn't a vote against keeping dues at current levels, but about setting the schedule before a formal budget with adjustments had been presented to the board, he said.
"I'm just saying I want to see all the facts," Weaver said. "And I personally don't feel I've seen all the facts. I just disagree that we should set the rate at this point. I'm a new board member and I'm learning a lot, but I want to see the facts. That's the only problem."
GVR CEO Kent Blumenthal said it's too soon to know whether there are going to be issues until the 2020 budget is set and adjustments have been made. However, the decision is up to the board, he said.
"I won't know until the board determines the final budget of activities that they want to engage in in 2020," Blumenthal said.
Without that feedback the Blumenthal said he is unable to answer whether there is a concern yet. However, Sieck said he doesn't see a problem with setting the schedule before the budget is complete.
"It's a chicken or the egg," Sieck said. "It's somewhere along the line that everything has to be locked down. The membership is really worried about dues and we wanted to send a message to the members that we don't want to increase dues. We have other sources of revenue that we've identified to make it up."
Having a dues increase and the expansion of when the capital fee is applied simultaneously would have been going overboard, he said.