Dear Columbia Association Community,
Columbia Association (CA) has felt the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and like each of you, we’ve had to adjust. Following is a summary of CA’s efforts to keep our community safe, a preview of changes in programming, and a brief discussion of the rationale for these changes. Because of our accountability to diverse stakeholders – most notably the residents and businesses who pay CA’s Annual Charge as well as members whose dues support CA facilities and programs – our decisions have been complex and difficult.
Keeping Columbia Safe
On March 15, CA closed all its facilities and cancelled programming indefinitely. The CA board of directors and CA team members (employees) immediately began planning for reopening community venues and programs, while at the same time delivering essential services (open space maintenance) in a manner that did not endanger residents, members or team members.
Following Governor Hogan’s Maryland Strong 3 phase plan to reopen businesses, CA has modeled numerous approaches to reopening programs and facilities, depending upon timing of reopen decisions at the state and county level.
- We opened two outdoor tennis clubs and golf facilities on May 13, with training for staff and clear guidelines to keep members and staff safe. Hobbit’s Glen tennis remains closed for renovations to the clay courts.
- We regret that we will not open outdoor pools or hold summer camps in 2020. We understand that this will deeply disappoint many of our residents and members. This decision was only made after careful consideration of all options available. (please read “Rationale” below)
- Final preparations are underway now to safely reopen fitness clubs, the Columbia Swim Center, and the Long Reach Tennis Club when we receive approval from Howard County leadership, hopefully within the next several weeks.
Rationale for Tough Decisions
CA is a unique organization. We are a homeowners association serving more than 100,000 residents. We are also a membership organization serving nearly 60,000 members using our sports and fitness facilities and community services and programs (including summer camps, before and after school services, etc.). On February 20, the CA board approved FY 2021 (5/1/20-4/30/21) budget which included projected operating income of $80M. With the March 15 closure of all CA facilities and programming indefinitely, leadership revised operating expenses to match the new reality. CA’s projected total income will be down 30% and non-Annual Charge income will be down 56%. This loss of income led to the difficult programming decisions outlined above, as well as the decision to layoff or furlough more than 90% of our team members (with the remaining ones taking pay cuts of up to 50%) and to reduce the FY 21 capital budget by 47% from $15M to $8M.
CA will continue to adjust as the COVID-19 pandemic and its resulting economic crisis evolves. With your continued support CA will thrive but, inevitably, it must continue to change to adapt to this new reality. Please forward your comments or questions to us at https://pardot.columbiaassociation.org/e/22832/ct-us-contact-board-directors-/6zb5n6/1510369027?h=zKz3cA0ZV3SOEpOg4ZvTGNDG1mB-FXVvp9LCQohzVEE.
Andrew C. Stack, Board of Directors
Milton W. MatthewsChair, President/CEO