Keeping the Club Floating High

There was a large and interested turnout for Tuesday night’s meeting (1/14) reviewing the financial affairs of the Arizona Yacht Club—and a clear consensus among the group that AYC is an inexpensive club, that it’s time to ratchet up dues and entry fees, and that it’s essential to keep the club on a sound footing.

The biggest cost we face is Lake Pleasant racing, but it’s also our most important activity. As Steve Nahkala said, “It’s why I belong to AYC.”

Over the last two years, the fleet captains have slowly increased race fees, especially those for nonmembers, to close the gap between revenue and expenses, but Lake Pleasant racing is still a big consumer of club dollars. (Tempe Town Lake racing takes in a bit more than it spends, thanks to the ability to use ASF equipment.)

In contrast, club dues have remained unchanged since 2003, when they were boosted from $75 to $125 per year. If dues had kept pace with the Consumer Price Index, they would have been $158 last year.

Club treasurer Tony Chapman

Club treasurer Tony Chapman

When former Commodore Bill Hutchinson asked what the club was doing to keep a healthy reserve in order to be ready when equipment replacements are needed, Treasurer Tony Chapman replied, “Bingo. That’s the heart of the question tonight.” In fact, reserves are hovering around $20,000 after drifting down the last few years in which when the club was breaking even or losing money (last year we were about $170 in the black).

Some members questioned the decision to purchase the Boston Whaler Outrage, with its higher operating cost, instead of sticking with the aluminum bass boat that’s been the runabout for the last dozen years. Fleet Captain Greg Woodcock responded by saying that the bass boat was an accident waiting to happen and had to be patched together to make it out onto the water. Lake Pleasant Fleet Captain Bruce Andress noted that one of the big expenses was avoidable repairs when people were careless in the way they took care of the boats. (The board attempted to address that issue by requiring certification for all club boat operators.)

When asked if the group was ready to raise the dues, the response was overwhelmingly yes. Now it’s up to the board to propose the next step. If they think it’s time for a dues increase, the move would need to be approved by a vote of members, probably at the same time as the vote for next year’s officers.

Here’s a link to the current AYC budget. And here’s an explanation of how the club operates.