LPA Annual Meeting Includes 2016 Reports, 2017 Outlook

By Susan Thompson

The 48th annual meeting of the Lake Panorama Association was May 13, with about 100 people in attendance. The meeting provided an update on activities during the past year, plus a look ahead at the remainder of 2017.

Mary Jane Carothers was elected to fill an empty seat on the LPA board, replacing Bob Batschelet who had completed a three-year term. Tom Jeschke was reelected to another board term. Jason Grossman and Les Marks also were on the board ballot. 

Jim Spradling, LPA board treasurer, provided the 2016 financial and audit report for the LPA and its subsidiary, LPN, LLC. For 2016, Spradling said the LPN operation showed an operating loss of $116,574. Overall revenue was up $10,048 from 2015, with golf activities and lodging higher, and conference center revenue lower.

“Maintaining a profitable subsidiary that specializes in the golf and restaurant industry continues to be a challenge,” Spradling said. “However, I can report the LPN board of managers is working with LPN staff to ensure our subsidiary is pursuing improved strategies to maximize performance in future years.”

Turning to the LPA, Spradling noted the LPA concluded 2016 with very positive financial numbers. However, budgeted operating income for 2017 is significantly less than in the actual results shown for 2016 and 2015. The 2017 budget calls for an operating loss of about $61,000. He said the projected operating loss was intentionally budgeted because of two unique items in this year’s budget.

One project is the reverse osmosis pilot plant, which is budgeted at $60,000. “Although the potential plant would be a capital expense, this study is being treated as an operational expense in our 2017 budget,” Spradling said. “The board did not feel it was appropriate to raise dues or water rates for this single study, and therefore determined it was acceptable to budget for a loss.”

In addition, Spradling said $50,000 has been set aside for potential consulting to assist the LPN, LLC board of managers and LPN staff with improving the financial performance of the subsidiary. He said this money has not yet been allocated to a specific study, and will be reviewed further by the LPA board before any final commitment is made.

Spradling said the LPA board decided a 3.5 percent dues increase should be applied for 2017, rather than the maximum increase of 5 percent. “In the end, the $61,863 loss will likely be a profit of $125,000 after audit adjustments for land expense allocation,” he said. “The board’s budgeting process also focuses extensively on cash flow. Cash balances are targeted for 20 percent, with the possibility these will be in the 17-18 percent range if non-budgeted expenditures are approved by the board as a mid-year budget amendment.”

Jeschke, who has served the past year as LPA board president, chaired the meeting. In his president’s report, he paid special recognition to fellow board member Charles Schnack for his longstanding efforts in the tree nursery.

Jeschke said the LPA board and staff undertake an extensive budget process during the months of September, October and November. “This ensures a thorough understanding of operational and capital expenditures for the coming year, with special attention to where we can and cannot afford to increase spending. We believe we have a sound budget for 2017,” he said.

With regard to improved amenities, Jeschke said the LPA continues to balance its investment across many categories. “LPA roads, the dam, the water plant, LPA equipment, the marina, Panorama West and Lake Panorama National are all areas of focus,” he said. Jeschke highlighted the board’s attention to the dam and complimented past boards on maintaining a proactive approach to this core asset.

John Dinnebier, LPN director of operations, introduced key staff. In particular, he mentioned Andrew Labath, who took over as executive chef a year ago and who Dinnebier said is doing a great job in the LPN kitchen.

Dinnebier reviewed the number of golf rounds played last year by both members and guests. “It’s important to have strong numbers in both those categories. We work to balance the times we have tournaments and outings with the times members can have the course available for leagues and open play,” he said.

Dinnebier said the 2017 calendar of events is strong. He expressed appreciation to LPA members, as well as members of the LPN and Panorama West golf course, for their continued support over the past year. 

Dinnebier spoke about his work with the LPN, LLC board of managers and shared his gratitude for their commitment and support throughout the year. He highlighted improvements to the conference center, including the 2016 upgrade of the kitchen and the Links Lounge. Dinnebier also recognized the member-led effort to repaint the banquet room to kickoff the 2017 season.

John Rutledge has begun his 10th year as LPA general manager. He introduced key staff and thanked them for their work. Rutledge said 2016 was a good year and 2017 is off to a good start. He highlighted several projects.

  • The Lake Panorama Rural Improvement Zone was officially renewed on April 11 for the 20-year period beginning July 1, 2019 and ending June 30, 2029. As part of the renewal process, RIZ completed an extensive study of Lake Panorama’s water quality and siltation, which will be the basis for planning over the next 22 years.
  • 2017 marks the final phase of projects related to the Cory Farm purchase, which began in mid-2013. The Cory Sediment basin is complete and served as a depository of dredging spoils for minor work in Boulder Cove and Helen’s Cove. This basin will serve the area from Helen’s Cove to Hughes Cove for decades.
  • The Helen’s Cove CREP wetland is complete, although the vegetation will take a while to become established. Brad Halterman, LPA project manager, will coordinate member education events when the wetland has developed further.
  • The Hughes Cove CREP wetland is currently under construction. It will be roughly a year behind the Helen’s Cove wetland in its development, based upon timing of the earthwork.
  • LPA and RIZ partner on dredging the lake. This year, the dredge will be in the upper basin until late-June, then relocated above the debris trap until around Labor Day.
  • Dredging in Burchfield Cove is scheduled for fall of 2017, and will begin sometime after Labor Day. LPA will meet with the barge companies after their spring rush and coordinate timing. Once finalized, the effected members will be notified of timing and expectations.
  • RIZ is investigating the possibility of additional wetlands. These projects are in development and more information will be shared as possible.
  • LPA is scheduled to sealcoat roughly the same amount of roads this year as last year, which is roughly nine miles. Cost per mile is about $20,000, not including the cost of the prep work done by the LPA staff. LPA will spend roughly $265,000 on road surfacing and road aggregate in 2017, which is the same as 2016.
  • The LPA beach groomer has gotten strong reviews. This investment not only removes goose droppings from the beach, but also sticks, rocks, walnuts, and more. LPA continues to run this twice a week during the busy season.
  • Security continues to have a successful whitetail deer management program. There are some concentrated pockets of deer, but the overall LPA population seems to be balanced.
  • The LPA will complete two thorough inspections at the dam this year. One will be the five-year required inspection, which was last done in 2012. The other will be to review the separation berm between the concrete primary spillway and the earthen emergency spillway. 

The preliminary results of the reverse osmosis pilot plant are “looking good, but we won’t know the final outcome until late-summer or early-fall,” Rutledge said. “The goal of this test is to understand what the next step would be for LPA water plant improvements. I am pleased this possibility would build on the investments we made several years ago.”

Rutledge thanked the three new board candidates - Carothers, Grossman and Marks - for meeting with him to learn about the LPA budget and for attending board meetings in preparation for their potential election. “All candidates put forth a strong effort to be prepared,” he said. He closed by thanking all LPA members for their continued support and passion for the betterment of the Lake Panorama community, then answered questions from the audience before the meeting adjourned.