ANNA MARIA — The Center of Anna Maria Island’s 2017-18 budget process is underway and board Chair David Zaccagnino hopes the numbers will reflect the organization’s commitment to the community.
Zaccagnino presided over his first meeting as chair June 21, presenting the Center’s current financial state along with his hopes for the future of the nonprofit.
Following up on a hope expressed by former board Chair Patty McBean, Zaccagnino said he had committed to going through the Center’s finances line by line, paying particular attention to any irregularities and places where the organization can potentially cut costs.
According to Center Treasurer Jim Froeschle, the organization is operating at expected expense levels, the issue with the finances comes in the amount of revenue it’s receiving from donors, the three Island cities and Manatee County.
Zaccagnino said he has gone through the Center’s four credit card statements, all with a combined total of $525, and is working his way through the rest of the financial statements. He met the morning of June 21 with former chair Bill Shuman, who is currently a board member, to go over his findings.
Zaccagnino said McBean was invited to the meeting but did not attend.
McBean, along with Sam Pakbaz, Margie Shard, Frank Agnelli and Ed Chiles all resigned from the Center’s board following the outfall of an emergency meeting held June 19 when Shuman resigned. McBean was promoted from vice chair and then quickly replaced with Zaccagnino in a 10-4 vote held by e-mail and confirmed at the June 21 meeting.
While most resigned from the board because of added pressure from the community, Zaccagnino said, Chiles resigned due to a new business venture. The resignations bring the board members numbers down to 10. The maximum number allowed under the Center’s current bylaws is 17 board members.
Zaccagnino said the board is in the midst of forming two committees.
One is a human resources committee to study employee compensation and benefits. The committee also will advise Lessig on best employee practices and develop a set of benefit rule “so everyone is treated the same.” Zaccagnino says he hopes the new direction will reduce turnover, even if the Center is not financially able to be monetarily competitive with similar organizations in nearby municipalities.
The second committee is a financial review committee to help keep the Center’s revenue and spending in check. Though Zaccagnino invited all three Island cities to assign a representative to participate on the committee, he did stress that anyone viewing the Center’s financial statements would have to sign a nondisclosure agreement, something Holmes Beach Commissioner Carol Soustek doesn’t think city officials can agree to.
Soustek said agreeing to a nondisclosure could be a conflict for commissioners who serve as liaisons to the Center because of their charge to report findings back to their respective city commissions.
Bradenton Beach Commissioner John Chappie said he appreciated “the openness of what you’re talking about today.”
Zaccagnino said he’s primarily concerned with “getting the train back on the rails.”
Froeschle reported the Center’s May financial results were $18,800 in the black during a typically slow month. The numbers were helped by donations from the cities of Holmes Beach and Anna Maria toward the Center’s youth program, which left that area $15,100 in the black. That area along with $35,000 after expenses in fundraising resulted in the positive May number.
To date, the Center is still negative $226,300 with an expected loss of $230,000 to $240,000 by the June 30 end of the fiscal year, according to Froeschle.
Going forward, Froeschle said the organization’s strategy is to focus on membership revenue, investing in its programs and building new revenue streams, which has been an issue for the nonprofit in the past.
Part of the Center’s plan is developing a new generation of donors. The problem with that segment of the plan, Froeschle said, is the new generation of islanders may not have any historic ties to the Center so reaching out to them may be more difficult.
Transparency and the budget
Both Froeschle and Zaccagnino say they want to increase the transparency behind Center operations to help the community and city leaders feel more comfortable with the nonprofit.
Part of that transparency is hosting monthly open board meetings. Another part is creating a budget that helps the Center adapt to its current circumstances while still remaining in the community for current and future generations.
“The budget is taking priority over expense oversight but we’re starting the process,” Shuman said.
Lessig identified several areas where the Center can save funds in the coming fiscal year, which begins July 1. One is in non-recurring investments including staff conferences and training, marketing and promotion investments and professional fees. Those program areas, Lessig estimates, can be cut to save the Center around $27,500 in the coming year.
Lessig also seeks to renegotiate some of the organization’s service contracts to save between $15,000 and $23,000 in the new fiscal year. She also is looking at expanding the Center’s partnership opportunities with local organizations and businesses, along with advertising facility rentals and seeking grant opportunities.
Though the budget won’t be ready for the July 1 first day of the new fiscal year, a detailed version was planned to be collected by the Center’s accountant, condensed and delivered to Lessig by June 26 for review. A closed meeting of Lessig and other board members is scheduled to be held June 28 to review the budget. A full presentation of the budget from program directors and a board vote is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, July 19, at the Center, 407 Magnolia Ave., Anna Maria.