By David Anderson, The Aegis, Bel Air, Md.
"We are creating a plan to make the college financially strong," college President
Golladay said college officials are developing measures to ensure money does not have to be drawn from the reserve fund to balance the operating budget, a gradual process that is expected to take three to four years.
It is projected to be reduced to
She noted members of the
Enrollment has also leveled out and then dropped during the past two to three years after increasing substantially from 2009 to 2011; college officials have raised tuition three times since 2010, and a
Golladay maintained that HCC's tuition is among the lowest in the state for community colleges.
Operations support auxiliary
As college officials have been taking from HCC's reserve fund to balance the operating budget, they have also been taking funds from the operating budget to cover gaps in auxiliary funds that are used to cover revenue and expenses for college functions and facilities not covered in the operating budget.
Such auxiliary operations include the
College officials have been shifting significant amounts of money in recent years from other auxiliary funds and the operating budget to support the baseball fields.
"There's just one source of revenue, and it's just rental fees for the various fields," Morrison said of the
The fields that have been part of the controversy during the winter and spring of 2014 include the main turf field, which the college allocated about
The funds have gone to improvements to the turf field, the
Officials have submitted a request to the county for
Golladay, who became HCC president in 2010, said
"I was directed by the board of trustees to correct this; we are addressing this in a graduated approach" to get the park back to where it is self-sustaining, he explained.
Golladay denied the athletic complex operating losses are symptomatic of bigger financial problems at the college. According to its audited financial report for the 2012-13, HCC posted an operating loss of
Golladay noted that one issue the college faces is maintaining adequate cash flows during a period of heavy construction activity on campus, explaining HCC has to pay contractors with college funds before the state and county will reimburse them.
Though the trustees, upon Golladay's recommendation, have raised tuition and student fees for next year, the HCC president said tuition remains "reasonable" and that he and the board are "attentive to the cost of attending HCC," which he said still ranks among the lowest for
Golladay said HCC is "financially stable" and every effort is being made to replenish the reserve fund that has been drawn down, again by a gradual approach over the next three to four years, at which point he said, "I'm confident we will be in good financial shape."
The collection of fields is known as
The members of the HCC Board of Trustees stated in 1989, when the park was built on college-owned land with county and state funds, that it should be a self-supporting enterprise, according to Golladay.
The college president told members of the
"Prices of the maintenance of the field have gone up, even for something like light bulbs for the night lights" Golladay said.
The statement showed revenues and expenses dating back to the 2007 fiscal year, and revenues varied over the years. They were as high as
Morrison said revenues vary from year to year, in large part, because of the weather.
The major annual expenses of running the field, which stood at
Struggling with fees
With those costs in mind, athletic officials published in
The per-game price for the softball fields is
The youth baseball league Ripken Baseball pays
The operators of three adult baseball leagues, including the
They were able to get the rates down to
Golladay said during his Aegis interview that college officials still want the community adult leagues to be able to use the fields, hence the name
"It's part of our name, and we want to be community-centric," he said.
Morrison said the published rates of
Softball league operators are also working with the college, which one league official described as a frustrating process.
She said in a recent interview that the per-game price has been lowered to
If the league plays one game a week, they will pay a minimum of
Balsamo said the league used to pay a flat fee of
"For people that are raising families... that's outrageous for us," she said of the new costs.
Council gets involved
"My desire is to work with him to ensure that the community has the opportunity to have an affordable recreational opportunity at the college," she said recently.
Lisanti said she plans to "keep communicating" with Golladay to ensure the agreements with the leagues are "long term."
Golladay acknowledged before the council that mistakes had been made.
"The mistake we made was that we gave the impression that we wanted to collect an increase in fees all at once instead of in a graduated approach," he said. "Quite rightly, the adult baseball leagues and the softball leagues were very concerned about that."
Golladay noted that "the mistake some of the leagues made was not coming to me first and directly to sit down and discuss" their concerns.
"You identify a problem, you sit down and talk it out, you can find a solution, and we did," he said.
(c)2014 The Aegis (Bel Air, Md.)
Visit The Aegis (Bel Air, Md.) at www.baltimoresun.com/explore/harford/publications/the-aegis
Distributed by MCT Information Services