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Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Coconut Grove Sailing Club has a plan

There are changes planned for the Coconut Grove Sailing Club. The club feels it is being forced to make the changes in order to sustain itself. I attempted to attend last night's meeting but was asked not to because it was a private meeting.

There's a joke there somewhere about a club that doesn't want me as a member . . .

Anyway, the State of Florida now requires all moorings to be open to the public. The state is enforcing its sovereignty over submerged lands and opening them up to everyone is now required by law. So the Sailing Club now has to allow everyone access, not just club members.

By doing this, those with full memberships are losing one of the added values to having the membership. If the club cannot persuade enough people to become full members, it cannot survive.

The cash bar service was eliminated a few years ago because under the club's charter, it is not allowed to operate as a restaurant/bar and must only be open to members. To that end, here is the plan being proposed:

1) Elimination of the $1,000 initiation fee.

2) Reduction in dues: the current regular members pay $700 in dues (those with and without boats pay the same) plus $245 in other assessments for a total annual cost of $945. The proposal is that all members will pay $250 annual membership dues.

3) Creation of a variable operations and maintenance fee: this allows a cost structure that recognizes that members with boats use more of the club facilities and services than those without boats (launch, fuel, hoist etc). In the past all members essentially paid the same for the operation of the club, as part of their membership dues – which were equal for all regular members. This fee will vary from $140/$60 per month for someone with a boat on a mooring to $17/month for someone who does not own, and /or does not keep a boat at the club.

4) Charging the operations fee on a monthly basis: Another barrier to entry, and continued membership, in addition to the initiation fee, was the need to pay “up front” the $945 annual cost of member dues and assessments. The operations and maintenance fee is billed monthly through the club billing system. So - for a regular member without a boat they will be billed only $17/month.

5) Allowing current social members to upgrade to regular membership at a reasonable cost: The proposal is to return to one class of regular members – at a more affordable level for members without boats. They want to retain existing social members and are therefore offering a conversion discount. The upfront cost for a conversion a social membership to a regular member under this proposal will be $137, which is just $2/year more than the current social membership annual dues of $135. (all dues are billed in July- the start of their fiscal year).

Social members who convert to regular membership under this plan will:
1) Vote on all matters requiring membership votes, including the selection of officers – (social members do not have a vote)
2) Parking sticker for use of the club parking lot – (social members do not receive a parking sticker)
3) Monthly billing of operations and maintenance fee, and purchases at the restaurant/bar – (no more need to worry about use of credit cards)
4) Use of club kayaks, sunfish, ensigns and flying scot sailboats at very very low rates.

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