Mad River Glen Cooperative
Board of Trustees
Minutes of Meeting
September 11, 1999
Attendees: Deri Meier, John Schultz, Mary Kirkpatrick, Ken Eaton, Rocky Bleier, Allen Russell, Leigh Michl
Absent: Chach Curtis, Rick Singer
1. The Board approved the minutes of the August 13, 1998 meeting.
2. Shareowner Comments:
Irma Heeter addressed the contract between the Coop and Coca-Cola. The Assistant General Manager stated that Coke will not be advertising in the Base Box. Coke gave MRG a green and white striped tent, which has no trademark or logo whatsoever on it. MRG spent $6,000.00 last year on Coke products. Coke will be giving MRG a $5,000.00 cash incentive for the program.
Rick Aikin spoke about communications. He stated that shareowners are feeling left out, particularly about the hiring of a General Manager because there was not enough information made public. He feels MRG should have advertised in the Burlington Free Press and Times Argus. John Schultz, in response, asked how we can communicate better. It was decided that a committee would be formed about communication. Rocky Bleier, Trustee, will chair that committee. It was noted that all minutes of meetings are available in the office during normal business hours. Shareowners can get a copy of all minutes for $15.00 a year via U.S. postage. There is no charge to pick up a set of minutes at the office. The Echo is published according to a schedule periodically. There is a full time-full year shareowner relations person, Dave Hatoff, who is available to answer the questions and concerns of the shareowners.
3. The Status of the General Manager Search.
Deri Meier, President, discussed the hiring process undertaken. The Board hired an executive recruiter, who specializes in ski industry searches. The recruiter received 50 applications. The Board interviewed six (6) applicants, and hopes to have a decision by Green and Gold weekend.
Rich Aiken complained about using an executive search person. He stated his wife, Judy, could have been helpful on a committee for the hiring, which, in his opinion, should have included shareowners.
Lawrence Mott had a different view. He felt that many shareowners were volunteering their time, and energy forward to volunteer. He felt that shareowners could come to Board meetings or contact friends to get information about issues from the web page.
Irma Heeter: Shareowners and local applicants should be given special consideration for the General Manager position.
Joe Koch: The Board is well qualified to chose a General Manager.
Gamal inquired how candidates for General Manager were rated and tallied.
Wendy Bridgewater: Coop members did not even know there was a General Manager search process. A special letter should have gone out to shareowners. Not everyone has available access to a computer to check the web site or to read minutes. Perhaps a special letter should still go out.
4. Bruce Woodward, President of the Homeowners Association, read prepared comments as to negotiations between the Homeowner’s Association and the Coop as to the roads. Fifty percent (50%) of the homeowners live on Shush Pass, Ridge Road, and Upper Mountain Road. The homeowners had discussed MRG’s proposal on Sunday, September 5, 1999. The homeowners’ position is that they do not want to enter into a legal agreement because there is no authority for the homeowners’ group to make anything binding. However, members of the road committee of the Association will make every effort to contribute to the maintenance agreement. The homeowners need to formally organize, which they have not done, and are unwilling to do. The homeowners have sent a letter to their constituents asking for a contribution. The letter is going to be held pending a Coop decision to proceed without a binding agreement.
MRG’s offer, approved previously on the roads was as follows:
The cost to repair the roads will be $18,000.00. The Coop agreed to pay $10,000.00. $8,000.00 was to be paid by the homeowners, although MRG agreed to finance this $8,000.00 under terms, with personal signatures. Future maintenance including plowing to be shared.
Irma Heeter wanted the parking lot fixed first.
5. Rocky Bleier spoke as a shareowner. He was upset with the comments of the President to the Free Press about historic preservation. Mary Kirkpatrick stated that the recommendation of the single chair committee had been to put Mad River Glen as a whole, and Mad River Glen’s single chair into historic preservation status. This recommendation had been brought to the Board. The Board had decided to try to make improvements and renovations of the single chair consistent with historic preservation, and had shelved the question of putting either the single chair or the area into formal preservation programs. Deri Meier apologized for any inference that the Board isn’t interested in historic preservation of the area and/or the single chair.
6. John Brownly, an adjoining landowner, had a question concerning his shared well with MRG. He was advised to contact the General Manager directly.
7. Rocky Bleier apologized for the fact that the Board meeting had been scheduled on a Jewish New Year. This had been an oversight, and the Board apologizes.
General Manager’s Report
The mountain is in good shape. Eleven (11) bridges have been repaired. Vehicles have been repaired. There has been a splice on the new double line because of routine stretch with the new line. Share Marketing sold five (5) shares in the month of August. The total for the year-to-date is 149 toward a projected 175 for the year. The success of the share marketing efforts has been attributed to the web site, e-mail and much communication.
The “12 and under free ski pass” has been a popular issue. 592 passes have been given to children. 116 of these are to children 5 and under. 127 of these are being given to people who had passes at other areas. Mary Kirkpatrick asked how many new parent passes have been bought as a result of the free kids 12 and under pass. Management has not looked at this number, and does not have this number available at this time. Mr. Michl stressed the need to quantify to the extent possible the financial impact of the 12 and under program.
Capital improvements have been made to the deck in the Base Box, the shop roof and Base Box roof, and the heat installed in the office building.
The local chamber of commerce has a program “stay and play.” As a result of this program there have been 52, two-day stays which have become 3-day stays.
The barbeque in July 1999 was a break even. The input from the vendors was positive. Approximately 500 people came and stayed approximately an hour. Share sales, Dave Hatoff, gave out information and signed up people for the seasons passes, particularly the 12 and under free pass. It rained that day, otherwise a better turn out was expected. Rocky Bleier commented that every vendor said that Eric Friedman had been great.
Upcoming events are:
09/17/99 The golf tournament
09/25 – 26/99 The lift opens for fall foliage 10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
10/02 – 03/99 Green and Gold. There will be a Board meeting at 9:00 a.m. on 10/02/99
David Hatoff is responsible for doing a joint effort with Wilderness House in the Boston area. It will be an open house with Mad River Glen participants. If someone wants more information they should speak to Dave Hatoff.
The 1998/99 budget — Departments As Profit Centers Analysis (copy attached)
This analysis was reviewed by the Board. It was generally discussed that certain departments are not required to operate as profit centers and cannot. The analysis is more for educational purposes.
There is a day care in the summer in the Cricket Club building with a rental of the space.
Kay Fiorenza commented that we ought to take up a collection for an audio.
Mary Kirkpatrick agreed to bring a tape player to make a tape recording of the meeting.
Operating Budget 1999/2000
Mary Kirkpatrick wanted an explanation for why the budgeted revenue figure is $1,700,000.00 instead of $1,600,000.00 which was the prior year’s target in the past two (2) years. Jamie Wimble pointed out that, in fact, there isn’t a $102,000.00 increase, it is closer to a $50,000.00 increase, and this is made up of little things, such as the gear page, interest, etc. A $200,000.00 profit is projected. Much discussion was had about whether this was realistic. John Schultz commented that he thought the budget process was on the high side because it presupposes snow; if there is no snow, there must be the ability to pare down the expenses.
Mr. Wimble said that management had developed two contingency plans, two additional ones (not presented here) with scaled back numbers.
The Board reminded everyone that it had approved a $5,000.00 tuition refund policy which is reflected in the budget.
A motion to approve the 1999/2000 operating budget was made by Leigh Michl. It was seconded by Ken Eaton. It was unanimously approved.
Long Term Capital Plan
A ten (10) year capital plan was reviewed. Mary Kirkpatrick suggested that the net income should be lower than $180,000.00, as that was not an accurate number based upon her review of management’s previously presented net income numbers. Leigh Michl thought the average was $175,000.00 net profit, but wanted to leave the $180,000.00 as reasonable. Deri Meier wanted to increase the operating profit projection for 1999/2000 to $200,000.00, so as to bring it in line with the operating budget just approved. John Schultz was willing to do that only if we made further reductions to the projected net income figure in the following years, down from $180,000.00. Allen Russell wanted to know if we even needed to approve a long term capital budget.
There was general discussion over whether we needed management to review and revise the capital budget figure as to buildings. This request is a continuation and follow up to the request made at June 1999 meeting for a review of the buildings plan, long term. Ultimately, it was concluded that the capital budget would not be approved at the present time and needed further discussion.
The Board then went into executive session.
After executive session, a motion was made, seconded, and unanimously agreed to hire Robert Ackland as General Manager, under terms discussed and given to the President.
The meeting concluded at 1:45.