By Steve Sestak, President, Quivira, Inc. Board of Directors
The 2018 budget process is now underway. At Lake Quivira, the budget consists of two essential components; the Operating Budget and the Capital Budget. The Capital Budget includes Capital Equipment and Capital Projects. Capital Projects include near-term and long-range initiatives to improve, replace and enhance our facilities, grounds and other assets. Together, these budgets determine the level of dues we pay; the primary funding source for each of these budgets.
As is common at this stage in the process, a long list of budget requests has been submitted by the committees, the members and the staff. I do not question the importance of each of these requests, but to develop realistic budgets and maintain dues at a responsible level, a clear set of priorities must be established, and each request should meet one or more of them.
Member Experience. One priority must be to ensure proper resources are provided to deliver the member experience we expect. As members, we all have certain expectations of the level of service at Lake Quivira. From proper staffing to the required funding of routine operating and maintenance activities, each dollar contributes to the member experience that is delivered.
Infrastructure Renewal. Lake Quivira has a significant amount of infrastructure issues needing to be addressed. From failing culverts to ineffective retention ponds to aging roads and outdated IT systems, many of these projects will require a concerted effort and deliberate investment over multiple years to resolve. Another priority must be to begin addressing the highest-priority areas.
Membership Growth. The final priority must be placed on those projects likely to contribute to membership growth and retention. The continued deficits in Associate Member levels limits the amount of available funding to do all the things we would like to do. We all must recognize membership growth will come only if the necessary investments are made to attract new members.
Each year, the Board is tasked with deciding which requests to include in the budgets. These decisions must balance the urgency of each request, the impact on the community and the ability to pay for it. If a request fails to meet any of these priorities, it should not be included. When it comes to making the tough decisions of how much can be done in a single year, the emphasis should be placed on those requests which meet several of the priorities.
As we develop the 2018 plans and budgets, I am sure some will feel we are not doing enough in the areas important to them. Others will feel we are doing too much in areas which don’t matter to them. Ultimately, there is only one set of budgets, and they are shared and funded by all of us.