Inside and Outside(The Villager 2017-2)

Inside and Outside

Dr. Chao Wu

Inside Columbia Association

The Columbia Association’s (CA) Board is discussing the 2018 capital budget. As usual, the budget is separated into three categories: Capital I, Capital II and Capital III.

As part of the Capital Budget, we are considering several multi-million dollar projects for improvements at the following facilities: Columbia Swim Center ($2.7 million), Athletic Club ($2.5 million), Ice Rink ($2.0 million). The total budget for capital projects is $17 million. The proposed total income for FY 2018 is $72 million.

The Board is discussing a $75K grant in the 2018 operating budget for the Inner Arbor Trust (IAT). This expense was proposed by CA board chair Andy Stack. The Chrysalis will be ready by the end of March 2017 and IAT is running out of money to operate it.

Implementing a comprehensive pond management plan requires a total of $3.8 million from now on. Because such a large amount of money is required, we need to phase the repair plan over several years based on priority. Some money has been put in FY 2018 budget for high priority project. CA tried to return some ponds back to the county government for maintenance and they would not take them. This pond management needs to occur every 10 years.

The staff is proposing a dashboard to keep track how CA is doing quarterly. The dashboard will indicate how and where operational, programmatic and financial changes need to be made for organizational improvement. This will help the board and our residents understand CA better.

Outside Columbia Association

There are important things happening locally. The County Council is debating a Sanctuary Howard bill (CB9-2017) to declare “sanctuary” status in Howard County. The purpose is to shield undocumented immigrants from deportation. The bill was proposed by council members Dr. Calvin Ball (District 3) and’ Ms. Jen Terrasa (District 2). You can email to reach all council members to express your support or opposition to this bill. The bill is schedule on a vote on Feb. 6, 2017.

There is controversy within the Howard County Public School System, The Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Foose, is suing the Board of Education (BOE) as a whole and the members individually. CA board member Reg Avery was mentioned in the report and he was also the president of Parent Teacher Association Council of Howard County (PTAC of HoCo). I am not sure how this lawsuit will unfold and hope our kids’ education will not be impacted negatively.

I am sitting on the reinstated BOE Operating Budget Review committee. The committee will provide some useful feedback to the BOE on the 2018 operating budget. This time an additional $65 million in HCPSS operating budget was proposed over last year’s last year’s approved budget.

I am looking forward to your feedback on all issues discussed here.

Chao Wu, Ph.D.

River Hill Representative to Columbia Council and Columbia Association Board of Directors

Email:  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.