2018 Annual Board Report (No Financials)

Annual Report for the Website

 Fairfield Bay Community Club

Annual Report for 2018

 

Before you turn your attention to the 2018 fiscal summary, the Board wishes to share the year’s program accomplishments, our plans for 2019, and challenges we face.  Much of what we’re doing and planning, as well as what has been accomplished, would not have been possible had the Community Club and City of Fairfield Bay not worked seamlessly to move the community forward.

 

Where We’ve Been, Where We’re Going

When the housing bubble burst in 2008, home sales across the nation came to a virtual standstill.  Recent retirees who had purchased building sites and planned to retire to Fairfield Bay couldn’t sell their homes.  Housing starts and sales of existing homes ground to a halt.  The slow but steady decline in Fairfield Bay’s population that started in the mid 1990’s began to accelerate.    By 2012 there were more than 250 housing units for sale.  Something had to change.

It was obvious that we could no longer rely on retirees to grow our community.  After much study, the Community Club Board decided on a new strategy:  capitalize on the natural beauty of the area and market Fairfield Bay as both a recreation and retirement destination.

The first challenge was to get people to come for a visit and discover the recreational opportunities that we have to offer.  To achieve that goal, we have invested in a multifaceted marketing effort.  We partner effectively with Arkansas Parks and Tourism, Wyndham Timeshares, and various corporate sponsors.  We rely heavily on social media and use TV appearances, radio spots, regional magazines, and local and regional newspaper to showcase what we offer.  The target audience is people living within a 3 hour drive of Fairfield Bay.  The new strategy is paying dividends.

Our strategy is working.  Today, fewer than 80 houses and condos are for sale, the fewest since 1993.   New homes are under construction.  Two private developers have housing developments underway.  Many of our new home owners are part-time residents who come regularly to enjoy the amenities that the Community Club offers.  New home starts come primarily from visitors who return often and eventually decide to make Fairfield Bay their primary residence.

 

Signature Events and Festivals

Throughout the season we feature weekend festivals and activities that draw visitors to the Bay.  Special weekend events include:

  • Boati Gras on the water – The Fairfield Bay Marina jump starts the year with a day-long event in the spirit of Mardi Gras. Brightly decorated pontoon boats go on parade, with food, celebration, live music and a dance to follow.  (Last weekend in April)
  • Blooming in the Bay, Blues and BBQ –Begins with the Master Gardeners’ annual plant sale at Ed Leamon Park. Two blocks of Dave Creek Pkwy are blocked off for an all-day BBQ cook-off; Cruisin’ the Bay (car show); vendors selling arts, crafts, and more. The day ends with live music and a street dance in the evening.  (Second weekend in May)
  • Fun in the Sun – The summer season begins at the Cool Pool with games, pickleball and volley ball tournaments, horseshoes, a live band, and plenty to eat.  (Saturday before Memorial Day)
  • Fourth of July Festival in the Bay –The celebration of America’s birthday begins at 9:00 featuring the Best Little Parade in Town, followed by a ceremony to honor our military veterans. Vendors offer food, crafts, and Fourth of July paraphernalia.  At dusk dozens and dozens of boats dot the water and  crowds line the shore to watch the best fireworks display on the lake.
  • Luau on the Lake – A Hawaiian luau with pulled pork from whole hogs roasted in the ground is served with all the fixings, followed by games, a grass skirt contest, a bucking, mechanical bull, and live music. (First Saturday of August)
  • Endless Summer Bash – A Labor Day warmup at the Cool Pool with games, bands, a pickleball tournament, and lots of food and drink.  (Saturday before Labor Day)
  • Bayfest Arts and Crafts – A day of bands, games, dog show, food, and lots of vendors selling crafts .  (September 14)
  • Octoberfest in the Bay– A traditional harvest celebration with beer and German food, as well as a host of craft vendors and Old World displays. Adding to the fun is Storyfest, an all-day attraction, featuring noted storytellers from across the country. (First Saturday of October)
  • Festival of Trees at the Conference Center— An added treat for hotel guests, Conference Center visitors, and party goers. Local groups and merchants compete for the best decorated Christmas tree.  Voting lasts from early through mid-December.

Focus on Recreation

In addition to our traditional recreation venues (the marina, golf, tennis, pickleball, disc golf, foot golf, swimming, miniature golf, volley ball, basketball, and shuffleboard), we’ve literally gone to the woods.

Trails for walking, hiking, and bicycling are being developed.  Four UTV adventure trails have been cleared, mapped, and marked.  The Community Club and City are working together to secure additional funding to expand and improve our trail systems and introduce visitors to heretofore inaccessible areas of the Bay.

Fairfield Bay is the only place in the region where such a unique and extensive variety of recreational facilities are available to weekend visitors and vacationers.

 

Our Commitment to Non-Resident Members

Marketing Fairfield Bay as a “recreation and relocation destination” doesn’t mean that the Club’s Board of Directors will ignore those non-resident members who only own lots.   One of the Board’s primary goals is to increase the value of unimproved lots and to find ways to develop and add value to the undeveloped areas of Fairfield Bay.

Opening the back country to hikers, bicyclists, and UTV enthusiasts has stirred interest in owning lots in remote locations.  The Board continues to look for additional ways to increase the value of undeveloped lots.

If you have purchased or inherited a lot in Fairfield Bay and that lot is on an unimproved road with no utilities, we may be able to help.  We will work to find a comparable lot that has access to utilities and is on a hard surfaced road.   Then we can talk trade.

 

2019 Goals and Challenges

Accomplishing our goals in a timely fashion will require the City to tender grant proposals and the Community Club to provide in-kind matches and logistic support as needed. The Club will continue to seek corporate sponsorship for special events and activities.  Immediate goals include:

  • Sponsoring at least two UTV rallies every year.
  • Enhancing the UTV experience by improving our designated trails and providing better maps and trail markers.
  • Providing parking for trailers and UTVs at two trail heads.
  • Adding new hiking and bicycling trails.
  • Developing camping facilities with restrooms and showers for recreation seekers who want to camp at remote sites.
  • Adding additional recreational venues: better pickleball courts and new bocce ball lanes.
  • Continuing to improve our festivals and special events.

In addition, the Club will:

  • Fine tune our marketing strategies.
  • Seek ways to add value to unimproved lots, especially those in undeveloped areas.
  • Improve our nine major weekend festivals.
  • Promote new business and investment opportunities in Fairfield Bay.

Accomplishments

  • While tourism in Arkansas increased by 2% in 2018, tourism in Fairfield Bay rose by 16.2%. Sales tax receipts for Fairfield Bay have risen each of the past six years.  Sales tax receipts for the first quarter of 2019 showed a 27% increase over that same period in 2018.  These figures reflect the dedicated efforts of the Community Club, the City, and the many volunteers who work tirelessly to grow Fairfield Bay.
  • A new 63 room Cobblestone Inn and Suites opened next door to the Fairfield Bay Conference Center in May. Both facilities are off to a good start, with 20 conferences already scheduled in 2019.
  • UTV trails are attracting visitors from multiple states. Our four well-marked trails have revealed some beautiful areas in the undeveloped parts of Fairfield Bay.
  • UTV enthusiasts are purchasing homes, condos, and undeveloped lots.
  • The inventory of homes and condos for sale is at its lowest level since 1993.
  • Forgotten Peninsula, a new private housing development, is underway on a lake front area near the upper end of Grand Isle Dr. Utilities are in and paid for.  When 1.2 miles of access road is complete, construction on the first home is slated to begin.
  • The Community Club and Chamber of Commerce will staff a new Visitor Center in the former Lions Club building on Dave Creek Parkway. It will be open this summer.
  • The City has received economic development funds to resurface Lost Creek Parkway. Improvements begin at the Hotel/Conference Center and end at the Mountain Ranch Golf Course and Wyndham Timeshares.
  • The Fairfield Bay Marina features new service docks that can accommodate several boats at once.
  • The Belle of the Bay (party boat) is newly refurbished and ready to rent thanks to the corporate sponsorship of Cowboy Motors of Clinton and Heber Springs.
  • Three new pontoon boats have been added to the rental fleet.

Fairfield Bay Community Club Inc. (Annual Financial Report)

2018 has been a challenging year for our finance department.  The appointment of a new chief financial officer provided an opportunity for the Club’s general manager to assess our accounting practices, focusing on accounts receivable (A/R).  It was determined that the A/R for periods prior to 2018 was overstated by $190,000.  Our auditors were apprised of the ongoing error.   Prior period adjustments were made to correct the errors.

The most serious result of the overvalued A/R estimates was that it masked a gradual, steady increase in the attrition of dues paying members.  Accurate accounting practices for 2018 reveal that the loss of dues paying members is occurring at 10% per annum.  The Board of Directors has taken steps to bring expenditures into line and to mitigate the attrition rate.

We closed the books on 2018 with a profit from operations of $14,620 before taxes.  We adjusted our A/R by $32,509 based on our new, more accurate tracking system.  This adjustment brought our income tax loss to $38,120.  Complete financial statements for 2018 can be viewed on the back of this trifold.

Our auditors, Landmark CPAs, issued a clean opinion for the 2018 audit, marking the sixth consecutive year that the Club has received a clean audit.  The financial information contained in this Annual Report gives a true representation of our Club’s position.

 

Staying Connected

Your Board of Directors hopes that you will take advantage of the ways we have designed for you to stay connected with what’s happening in the Community Club and in Fairfield Bay.  To that end, please go to www.myfairfieldbay.com and click the link to the Members Forum Facebook page.  If you own property in Fairfield Bay and pay Community Club dues, you are eligible to join the Members Forum.

Members Forum is a safe, regularly monitored site that allow you to keep up with what going on, share your ideas, and ask questions of the Board and its administers.  Please take a minute to join and keep up with what’s going on in Fairfield Bay.