On Thursday, November 29, 2018, at Way Elementary School, a vote of PLEBA members was taken on the question of whether to increase the annual dues by $25 for all members. By a vote of 18 to 6, the motion to increase the dues passed.
This dues increase will be instrumental in providing for proper maintenance and improvements of the beach. Moreover, it will also help build a reserve to protect the beach in case of an emergency.
It should not be lost on PLEBA members that 24 households decided the fate of 280 households. The Board supported the increase, so we appreciate the support of the majority of votes. Nevertheless, it is disappointing that there was so little interest by the general membership. Less than 10% of households sent a representative.
The debate before the vote was spirited–a euphemism that means people were passionate. The two major points of contention were the $50 extra fee that boaters pay and the cost of lifeguards.
In the past, the extra $50 boater fee was not kept separate and was not available when improvements and maintenance was needed. The Board has committed to keeping a separate tally of this fee so that it can be used exclusively for boaters’ needs. Obviously, funds from the general budget can still be used when necessary, but this will ensure that the unique needs of boaters will be better addressed.
The discussion about lifeguards centered on the question of their efficient use. Lifeguards are the single largest line item in the budget and the most flexible. There is an understandable objection to seeing lifeguards on the beach for extensive periods with no guests during times when visitors are unlikely. A couple months ago, Sarah Ming initiated a process to re-examine how we schedule and utilize lifeguards. In 2019, we will try to put our lifeguards to better use.
I would like to take this opportunity to once again point out that a large number of households are not up-to-date in their dues. Regardless of how much you use the beach, all of use are part of a community. Living here has the terrific opportunity to use the beautiful beach, but also the obligation to help pay for it. There are many costs in our lives that are part of communal living but don’t benefit all members of the community. Please keep this in mind, when your bill comes this spring. The burden is minimal but our community is worth it.