Message from the Board of Directors: Monthly Swim Fee Increase
After receiving a couple of questions from members asking about the reasoning behind the most recent dues increase, the board feels that a more detailed rationale is appropriate because there is a good chance that there are many others who have similar questions.
Prior to the onset of the pandemic, DAM's budgets were designed to keep us even from year to year. 2020 would have been year 2 of a previously implemented 3-year-plan to keep up with rising fixed costs. When the pandemic hit, revenues dropped precipitously when all members moved to "leave" status due to the inaccessibility of the pools.
While DAM does not pay the City of Davis for the pools when we don't use them, we still have many fixed costs, the largest of which is for salaried employees. The DAM board committed early on to make sure they were protected. We then had to cancel all of our revenue generating events such as Berryessa and April Pool’s Day, a large portion of which are factored into our annual budgets. At this early stage of the pandemic - very early on - we projected a LOSS of approximately $70,000 for 2020.
Then some GREAT THINGS started happening – over 300 of our members donated their dues to DAM. When the CARES act was passed, a forgivable loan program was established to help small businesses (like DAM) meet payroll and other expenses during the lockdown. DAM also received one-time grants from USMS and PacMasters. These, and many other donations large and small, completely changed DAM's financial picture in 2020, allowing us to very nearly break even and avoid dipping deeply into reserves.
Unfortunately, it is becoming clear that flipping the calendar over to 2021 will not provide relief. First and foremost, we are limited to two swimmers per lane for the foreseeable future. We rent Civic Pool for 54 hours per week (nearly the same as before the pandemic), and we have divvied the time up so that our swimmers can have the LIMITED swim program that we now offer. But the number of swimmers is capped at 432. Under current conditions, DAM cannot make a profit, or even break even, with 432 members paying dues at current rates.
Last year, the generosity of our members, various relief programs and grants provided DAM with a one-time revenue boost. Those will not come this year. We also anticipate less charitable giving to DAM as the pandemic wears on. Combined with decreased membership, our best budget projections for 2021 all pointed to significant losses for DAM.
The board could deal with the projected losses by just ignoring them - and drawing on reserves to cover the losses. That would let us keep dues at their current levels, but it also draws on our hard-earned reserves to keep dues down while many of our members cannot swim at all.
We could also simply raise dues so that our 432 swimmers who are swimming would bear the brunt of the costs, and while DAM would no doubt still receive many, many donations from its members, we would be able to meet a breakeven goal without heavily relying on donations.
We also have the option to adjust our fixed costs somewhat after Stu and Mary's formal retirement on May 1. The board and the search committee are actively discussing ways to adjust our coaching staff hiring in ways that will still provide top-notch coaching, but also reducing DAM's overall personnel costs. In this regard we have a lot of flexibility, and given the tremendous uncertainty we face in the next few months, that is a very good thing to have. We have factored into our budget projections some reduction in our fixed salary costs for the portion of the year after Stu and Mary's retirement.
In the end the board decided to raise swim fees for those who are fortunate enough to have pool time. We did not take this lightly and did not do it for the purposes of profit. We realize that many of our members may struggle to pay dues, and we are willing to hear and assist those members who rely on swimming for mental and physical health, but are facing very real struggles. We hope, in the end, that we have struck a good balance of all the competing interests.
What will I be paying each month? The new monthly pay schedule effective January 1, 2021
|Monthly Membership Payment | All fees included|
|Pay per swim||$9 per month + $10 per swim (coached practices only)|
|Unlimited swims, members under 65 years of age||$58 per month|
|Unlimited swims, members 65-79 years of age||$53 per month|
|Unlimited swims, members 80 years of age or older||$9 per month|