We appreciate how much the Club means to members of our community. Navigating the COVID-19 crisis may be the biggest challenge the Club has faced since its groundbreaking in 1982. The Board is focused on providing our fellow members with the maximum possible value for the cost of their membership in 2020, while protecting the health of members and staff and ensuring the Club remains viable for years to come. We know this year’s pool season will be unlike any other season in our Club’s past. In order to provide members with the opportunity to enjoy the Club, we must take actions that we didn’t anticipate two months ago.
Each year, we incur costs to maintain the grounds, pay utilities, pay taxes, pay property and casualty insurance, maintain both pools, and pay our contractors. If we simply closed the gates and returned in 2021, we would incur a minimum $90,000 in fixed costs. The total cost to operate the Club for the year is roughly double that amount if we open up on June 11th. As a Club, we rely on membership dues to operate and maintain the Club year round.
The main pool is structurally designed to carry the weight of the water in the pool. If we leave the pool empty, we run the risk of the pool cracking or even buckling. Anything that falls into an empty pool, such as a tree branch or a lounge chair, will damage the pool. Filling the pool protects the pool from physical and structural damage. We must also run the pumps, filters, and chlorination systems during the summer months to prevent the buildup of bacteria, algae, mosquitos, and viruses. Algae and bacteria can damage the pool coating and tiles and presents a health hazard to local residents and the Club can be fined by County health inspectors.
Yes, we will survive 2020. We fully expect to take a significant financial hit to our cash position in 2020. Fortunately, over the last few years, the Board has made several decisions to improve the financial position of the Club. We have a Reserve Fund (savings account) that we maintain for major maintenance and capital improvements. If you were a member of the Club in 2016, you remember the pool suffered major structural damage four days before opening day and the pool remained closed until early July. We used our Reserve Funds to survive that crisis, and our insurance and our strong membership base allowed us to replenish those reserves. Early last year, we separately paid off the remaining balance of the loan we secured to renovate the Clubhouse several years ago.
At the same time, we made some recent decisions which increased overall fixed and operating costs. After experiencing a significant decline in performance with our previous pool management company, we contracted with Crystal Aquatics to help us improve the level of service. That level of service and attention comes at a price. We added Member Splash to help us with our business operations, and we made the decision to absorb those costs the first year while we implement the new system into our business processes.
As the President of the Board, I’ll be blunt: 2020 will set us back financially five to ten years. We’ve suspended all recapitalization and maintenance projects and will reevaluate those projects after the 2020 season. We’ll have a better sense of our just how grim our financial situation is about a month from now, and we’ll have to immediately begin to build a preliminary budget for 2021.
We will not know the full extent of the financial impact until after the due date for 2020 dues. The stronger we are at the end of 2020, the better prepared we will be for 2021.
In summary, we head into 2020 with no debt, a solid base of cash on hand, and a substantial Reserve Fund. However, that won’t last without significant membership renewals for 2020. I strongly encourage you to pay your dues by the due date if you are able. We have many financial decisions to make in early June that will affect the future of the Club.
You can pay your dues through our new member portal, powered by Member Splash. The billing contact for each family membership should have already received a several emails with username and password information. Check your spam folder if you haven’t seen these emails.
Once you log onto the portal, you’ll see a button underneath “Make a Payment.” The system allows you to pay instantaneously via credit card or by check via mail. If you pay by credit card, our system will immediately process your payment and reflect your paid status. If you have additional questions about how to use Member Splash, please contact us using this link.
You can update your family’s information through our new member portal, powered by Member Splash. It’s the responsibility of each family to keep the Club informed of address changes and changes in household composition. The billing contact for each family membership should have already received a several emails with username and password information. Check your spam folder if you haven’t seen these emails.
Once you log onto the portal, you’ll be able to view and edit all the information in the system for your family. You can update billing contact information, emergency contact information, each family member’s information, upload a current picture for each family member, and change your password. The information you provide will help the lifeguards ensure each member is positively and accurately checked into the facility. All of the information in Member Splash is encrypted and securely stored in the cloud.
The final deadline for annual Club dues is May 31, 2020 at 11:59PM EDT. The due date is normally mid-March, but given the uncertainty of the last few months, we pushed back the date until more information was known. This deadline will not be extended. You must pay your dues by the deadline to ensure your membership remains in good standing. Please read Article 3, Sections 5 through 8 of our bylaws for more information.
Absentee membership is an inactive membership, usually provided for "active members in good standing who are temporarily relocated and expect to return to active membership at a later date." If you choose to transfer to inactive status, you will lose access Club facilities, including the pool and tennis court. You will not be able to regain your active membership until the 2021 season. If you are considering switching to Absentee membership in 2020, I strongly encourage you to read Article 3, Section 2 of our bylaws before making that decision.
If your dues have not been received by the Club by May 31, 2020, you will not have access to Club facilities including the pool and tennis court, you will incur at late fee of $50, and your membership may be suspended by the Board of Directors. I encourage you to read Article 3, Section 8 of our bylaws for more information. We do not want you to inadvertently become delinquent or have your membership terminated.
We know that some of you have experienced severe financial hardship over the last few months. If you’re in this situation, please contact our Membership Director. While we cannot promise anything specific, we will address each hardship case individually and confidentially in a fair and consistent manner.
From the information we have received in the last week or so, we know that Fairfax County intends to provide guidance and allow the opening of pools this summer. They have not set final guidance. That said, if the pools are ordered to remain closed for the year, we will have open communications with paid active members to determine the way forward, which would likely include a Special Meeting (see Article 4, Section 2 of our bylaws).
For those who haven’t heard, the Northern Virginia Swimming League made the difficult decision last week to cancel the 2020 NVSL competition season. I sent Swim Team families an email to let them know the heartbreaking news. The swim team representatives and Coach Christine are looking at multiple ways to keep swimmers engaged in and out of the water this year. While plans are still evolving, our sights are set on fully competing again in 2021.
No, our bylaws do not allow a tennis-only or pool-only membership. Article 3, Section 4 of our bylaws states: "Membership fees or annual dues cannot be paid separately for tennis or pool access."
Any social events at the Club must be held in accordance with state and local guidance and restrictions. We do not plan to hold any events that will create large gatherings of people, and we will not use the Clubhouse for gatherings or meetings. We will adjust as the local conditions allow, but large in-person social gatherings are unlikely. If you have creative ideas or if you’d like to serve as the Club’s Social Coordinator, let us know.
We're not the experts, but we do listen to them. This is what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has to say: “There is no evidence that COVID-19 can spread to people through the water used in pools, hot tubs, or water playgrounds. Proper operation and disinfection of pools, hot tubs, and water playgrounds should kill the virus that causes COVID-19. Limit close contact with people outside your home in public spaces, both in and out of the water.” We know from the CDC that proper operation and maintenance of the pools (including disinfection with chlorine) should inactivate the virus in the water. We do not need to add additional chlorine to the water; the normal operating conditions of our pools are sufficient. Get more information about COVID-19 and water.
Following the guidance of Fairfax County, the CDC, and other experts, we plan to limit pool capacity, clean regularly, close most indoor spaces, use recommended PPE, and keep members outside with enough room to socially distance themselves from one another. We know that the threat of community spread is dramatically reduced when physically distancing from other in outdoor settings. See above for some the specific steps we are taking. We will need your cooperation to ensure that we can operate safely. We will update processes and procedures as new information is known and as conditions dictate.
If you’ve been diagnosed with COVID-19 or are showing any symptoms of COVID-19, please do not come to the Club under any circumstances. Please visit Fairfax County’s toolkit on what to do if you have symptoms, and let us know so we can take additional steps to ensure the safety of our members and lifeguards.
We plan to host a Zoom meeting on Wednesday evening at 7:00 PM EDT. If you don’t have Zoom, you can dial in at (301)715-8592. The Meeting ID is 97385873344 and the Password is 936912. Keep in mind that a maximum of 100 people can join the meeting. If necessary, we’ll schedule additional meetings. Alternatively, or if you have a personal question you’d rather not ask in front of others, reach out to one of us. Here’s our contact page.