Hello again everyone. I hope that your 2010 is off to a good start. The holidays were a busy time at BBMAC
, as we welcomed nine different college swim teams to BBMAC form mid December through mid January for winter training. Most of the teams were from the mid-west or Canada. Collectively, the nine teams brought in about $30,000 in much needed revenue resulting in one of our most financially successful months ever. A few have already booked their spots at BBMAC next year and one team has even reserved time two years from now in December 2011. BBMAC will host additional college and club swim teams in March and April for spring break training.
The beginning of a new year is traditionally a time for change and 2010 is no different at BBMAC. This will be the last newsletter from the BBMAC Foundation. The District assumed the responsibility for operating and maintaining BBMAC on January 31, 2010. At the final BBMAC executive board meeting on January 20, 2010, the BBMAC board voted to approve the Letter of Agreement with the District terminating the Aquatics Agreement. What many of you may not know is that shortly after January 31, the BBMAC Foundation will dissolve. I realize the decision to dissolve the Foundation may come as a surprise to some of you. Unfortunately, despite the collective and concerted efforts of the BBMAC board since the end of last summer and through the fall, we have been unable to generate enough critical mass going forward to establish and sustain a viable fundraising arm.
This decision was a difficult one but in light of the difficulties we have encountered, it is the right one. Certain groups in the community have more of a vested interest than others in a thriving BBMAC. What we have found is that any potential base of support within these groups is being pulled in a multitude of different directions, each requiring ever growing commitments of time and/or money. As someone remarked to me recently in response to concern that I expressed at the difficulties we were encountering, ‘it is a lot more fun to build a pool than to maintain one.’
So what will become of the beautiful facility that is BBMAC? Speaking only for myself, I believe that the facility will remain open. The current manager has done an outstanding job in improving both operational efficiency and revenue generation. Whether or not one was for or against the building of the pool, it has been built at the cost of over $8,000,000 of taxpayer funds. With that kind of investment, the District leadership (and perhaps as well as the greater Coronado Community leadership and citizenry) now would be imprudently remiss if they did not seek to preserve and enhance the viability of BBMAC by any means at their disposal. With the District’s annual $100,000 contribution from the deferred maintenance budget for four years, (part of which covers the manager’s $60,000 salary plus benefits, below the six figure salary cited by some critics) the remaining $600,000-$650,000 remaining in the pool operations reserve fund (formerly known as the endowment) and with increased marketing to paying groups, the facility may be able to sustain the likely deficits from operating for another 3-4 years and maybe a bit longer. Perhaps after that time, there will be other sources of funds identified that can replace the District’s current contribution as well as to replace the funds used from the reserve fund. Listening to reports in the local and statewide media, this school district, like others statewide, faces significant budget reductions in the coming year. Gut wrenching choices lie ahead as the District is forced to reduce its budget by $2.3 million or almost 10% in the next fiscal year. Fiscal recovery back to the levels seen just in the last year or two may take until the middle of this decade at the earliest. Thus it would seem that the District’s current contribution to protect the viability of the BBMAC investment is about the best that can be expected for quite some time.
Unfortunately, the combination of BBMAC’s operating shortfall, the dwindling pool operations reserve fund and the District’s impending budget reductions seems to prevent the possibility of any District use of BBMAC for PE classes for the next few years. There is also the possibility that the facility may be unavailable for school athletic teams in the foreseeable future. Currently, the cost of providing lifeguard services for the girl’s water polo team is privately subsidized by the parent’s booster club. BBMAC cannot and was never intended to subsidize the personnel costs associated with supporting District programs. Ironically, as the District assumes the operations for BBMAC, it will be the closest it has ever been to operating as envisioned in the original business plan crafted over five year ago which called for covering all of the pool’s costs on behalf of the District, “net of lifeguards.”
Obviously, the BBMAC project has not worked out as hoped despite the efforts of many over the last ten years. Since assuming the responsibility for the Aquatics Agreement back in July of 2008, the BBMAC Foundation has taken the aquatics facility from the brink of financial disaster, brought it to a closer balanced operating budget, improved accountability and efficiency, identified several critical issue requiring immediate attention and made recommendations on how to remedy those issues. Your BBMAC board believes we have done all that we can do to facilitate a successful course. We have been completely candid and transparent with the District on the operational and fundraising challenges of this terrific facility. Those challenges required the use of the endowment which was and is the District’s reserve. The District has always had control of those funds. As a practical matter, any repayment of funds drawn from the endowment is constrained by the twin challenges of operational deficits and lack of volunteer and fundraising support.
Unfortunately, we have not found a way to balance the books without some sort of additional subsidy nor are we able to rally enough financial and volunteer support from those who have had and continue to have the most vested interest in BBMAC. It is our hope that those in positions of authority as well as the prime beneficiaries of BBMAC step up and bring new energy and input to carry the project to a bright and sustainable future.
Thank you very much for your support and best wishes to all of you.