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“The good news is the average rounds per day open were 108 compared to 106 in 2019,” said General Manager Bob Weber about golfing activity at Fairfield Glade courses, such as Druid Hills. “So when we were open, people were playing — and more so than 2019.”

The Fairfield Glade Community Club exceeded its financial expectations for 2020, despite a shutdown of amenities that stretched more than a month during the early stages of the COVID-19 global pandemic.

“We began the year with $1.9 million just in POA operating cash,” said Bruce Cox, treasurer for the Community Club board of directors, during the Jan. 28 meeting of the board. “But we ended the year with $3.7 million of operating cash. Our focus continued throughout the year on cost reductions and savings in operations.

“We ended 2020 in a very positive cash position, which gives us a strong start for 2021. We’re certainly looking forward to more normal operations in 2021.”

Fairfield Glade closed amenities from March 21-April 30 last year. That impacted amenity revenue, with fewer golf rounds, fewer people eating at the restaurants and fewer visitors coming to Fairfield Glade to stay at the timeshares.

General Manger Bob Webber reported there were 120,000 rounds of golf played in 2020, but that was 17,000 rounds fewer than budgeted and 15,000 rounds fewer than played the year before. 

“Jeff [Houston] and his team really did a great job making up rounds once we reopened May through the end of the year,” Webber told the board. “The good news is the average rounds per day open were 108 compared to 106 in 2019. So when we were open, people were playing — and more so than 2019.”

The timeshares saw reduced revenue as more people chose not to travel. There were more than 38,000 visitors last year. In January, there were 705 visitors to Fairfield Glade.

“We’re down, unfortunately, because of the closure about $300,000 from the timeshares,” reported Barb Storer.

The club also canceled several capital projects, like the desilting project and road paving, saving $165,000 and $650,000 respectively.

Most savings came from labor costs. 

“We continued to monitor our labor costs throughout the year because it’s one of our major expenses,” Cox said. 

There are currently 141 full-time employees, 68 part-time employees, 12 seasonal employees and one employee on leave.

“Our labor costs for 2020 were $699,000 positive compared to budget,” he said. 

The December 2020 balance sheet showed the following:

• Sewer capital cash: $1.3 million

• Sewer operating cash: $1.7 million

• POA and amenities operating cash: $3.6 million

• POA capital cash: $2.5 million

The sewer department ended the year $100,108 above its budgeted revenue.

“That’s mainly due to a reduction in their spending for repairs and maintenance and materials and supplies.” said Denise Dickenson, director of finance for the Community Club.

“That was on purpose to try to keep our costs down because of COVID.”

In the POA operating activities, there was a positive budget variance of $1.6 million.

“There are savings across the board in almost every department for labor,” she explained.

“We did not have as much seasonal help this year. We had a tax savings in benefits for the wages we were paying to people who were out with COVID,” Dickenson continued. “The government gave us a tax credit for that.”

The Community Club also received a small business grant of $30,000 for COVID-19 relief.

In other business, Webber updated the board on carryover capital projects budgeted for 2020 but not yet completed.

“The total budget doesn’t change. It’s just a matter of moving dollars from one year to the next,” he said. “We do estimates, but due to weather or other things, we may not spend as much in the current year, but we have to spend that money in the next fiscal year.”

The board approved carrying over $172,800 for the sewer department and $525,473 for POA amenities capitol and maintenance projects.

The following purchases were also approved:

• New loader and backhoe for the sewer department, $108,879 with a $20,000 trade in for the 2005 model being replaced

• New loader and backhoe for the community maintenance department, $104,948

• Plumbing and filters for the Druid Hills pool, $56,000

• 2021 walking trails allocation, $62,000

• Golf course improvements and projects, $35,000. Planned projects at Dorchester Golf Course include new bunkers on no. 3, additional tee boxes on no. 17, a fan on the no. 12 green and painting a maintenance facility

• Robin Hood Park parking lot base construction, $33,000. There will be another requisition later in the year for paving, sealing and striping

Board President Ken Flierl also provided an update on ongoing capital projects:

• Mirror Lake Pavilion — continuing through the winter months, weather permitting and based on contractor availability

• Stonehenge Golf Course — kitchen expansion and exterior renovation is underway with plans to reopen the clubhouse with the reopening of the golf course April 1

• Racquet Center — demolition of the existing clubhouse structure has been completed. Members should enter through the pro shop throughout the construction process

• Robin Hood Park — phase one clearing is proceeding, and refurbishing of the existing pavilion and facilities and construction of a new parking lot will proceed as road work on Peavine Rd. is completed

• Heatherhurst Golf Course — final touches remain for the restroom renovation and the pro shop construction is on schedule, with carpet installation set for early February. Completion is anticipated for March 1.

Heather Mullinix is editor of the Crossville Chronicle. She covers schools and education in Cumberland County. She may be reached at hmullinix@crossville-chronicle.com.

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