One Community (The Villager 2015-11)

One Community

By Chao Wu
Finally, as a part of the FY17 and FY18 budget process, the CA Board of Directors has approved building a new indoor tennis court in Long Reach. We had more than 40 tennis players attending the last CA board meeting and the oldest player is 85 years old. I hope everybody will enjoy and use this 6-court indoor facility when it is built.

CA Board members have diverse views on pond maintenance especially when many board members realized the yearly maintenance fees are not cheap. Some ponds may be converted to wetlands in the future for better, easier and cheaper maintenance.

The CA Board has approved a living wage ($12.36/hr) for all full time employees. However, the Board did not approve a living wage for part time and temporary workers due to cost concerns. With the popular trend of paying a living wage or even a $15 minimum wage, the Board needs to think about how CA can pay our employees fairly and attract the best talent while maintaining fiscal responsibility. We are proud that we are leading the trend in this living wage battle. Neither Howard Community College nor Howard County government has a living wage program for employees.

Here, I would like to share some numbers on CA’s employee expenses. I really appreciated that CA’s Vice President Susan Krabbe prepared the following data for me:

Expenses distribution
Expenses 2015 2014 2013 2012
Full time $13,672,773 $14,793,132 $15,682,129 $15,129,935
Part time $5,224,247 $6,129,287 $6,605,219 $6,307,761
Temporary $2,000,883 $1,489,882 $1,460,667 $1,403,781
Total Operating Expenses $58,857,000 $57,932,000 $60,006,000 $55,654,000
Staff number
Staff Number 2015 2014 2013 2012
Full time 271 260 257 250
Part time 796 728 709 792
Temporary 659 699 628 692
Expenses distribution percentage
Salary (% of Total Operating Expenses) 2015 2014 2013 2012
Full time 23.23% 25.54% 26.13% 27.19%
Part time 8.88% 10.58% 11.01% 11.33%
Temporary 3.40% 2.57% 2.43% 2.52%

The average annual salary breakdown is:

Average salary
Average Annual Salary 2015 2014 2013 2012
Full time $50,453 $56,897 $61,020 $60,520
Part time $6,563 $8,419 $9,316 $7,964
Temporary $3,036 $2,131 $2,326 $2,029

1. All salaries information is for the calendar year noted. The 2015 information is through mid-October.
2. The team member numbers are as of the summer maximum, either July or August of the years noted.
3. The team member numbers represent actual team members, not the number of positions.
4. Total expenses are for the fiscal years ended April 30, 2012, April 30, 2013, April 30, 2014 and April 30, 2015.

Several observations:
1. CA spending on the staff expenses is gradually decreasing over the last four years. This indicates CA is working more efficiently.
2. Average expense for full time employees is also decreasing. Actually, I am not sure whether this is good or bad.
3. CA is hiring more full time employees. For part-time and temporary employees, the numbers fluctuate a little bit.
I attended the River Hill Community Association’s Volunteer Appreciation Party and was overwhelmed to see so many people contributing their time and effort to making our community better. I also would like to thank our Association’s staff for their highly efficient and effective work.

I just want to say “Happy Holidays” to all, my dear residents.

Chao Wu, Ph.D.

River Hill Representative to Columbia Council
Columbia Association Board of Directors
Email: Tel: 240-481-9637 Website:
Disclaimer: This letter only represents Dr. Chao Wu’s personal opinion. It does not represent River Hill Board of Directors nor Columbia Association’s Board.