Record of the Jekyll Island State Park Authority (JISPA) Board Meeting of 20 December 2010, in Chalets 7&8 of the Interim Convention Center, as recorded for the Jekyll Island Citizens Association by Steven Y. Newell
(Note: IPJI has placed some text in "bold" type for emphasis and has clarified some statements)
Chairman Bob Krueger brought the meeting to order at 9:30 AM. Board members present were Buddy De Loach, Mike Hodges, Sybil Lynn, and Richard Royal. New DNR Commissioner Mark Williams was introduced as the newest member of the JISPA Board (see <http://jacksonville.com/news/georgia/2010-12-09/story/board-chooses-mark-williams-georgia-dnr-commissioner>). Also present was Park Authority Executive Director Jones Hooks, and legal counsel Adam Kirk. The audience numbered about 25 persons.
CONSERVATION AND PRESERVATION
Chairman Royal requested that Sea Turtle Director Dr. Terry Norton provide an update on progress in developing the JISPA Conservation Plan. Norton reported that the Conservation Plan Committee, of which Norton is the chair, had met, along with representatives of the public Al Tate and Steve Newell, from 12:30 to 4:30 on 1 December, to discuss the rough, initial draft of the Plan. Committee members and the two public representatives were asked to submit written suggestions for revision of the rough draft to AECOM consultant Jay Exum by 17 December. From 5:30 to 7:30 on 1 December, a public meeting regarding the rough-draft Plan was held, and the public made several suggestions for revision of the overview that was presented at the meeting. [IPJI Clarification: Unfortunately, the public was not provided with a copy of the draft Plan. A description of the Plan was provided at the December 1st meeting by consultant AECOM Jay Exum, and then the audience was invited to comment on Exum’s presentation. A number of people at the meeting protested, saying that it was difficult to comment substantively on a document without first having had a chance to read it. Subsequently, IPJI filed a request for a copy of the draft Plan, in accord with the Georgia Open Records Act, and posted it on IPJI’s website for public review. Once the draft Plan was posted, the JIA announced that public input would not be accepted and advised people who had hoped to submit comments to wait until the next version of the Plan is released, which will be on January 4th]. Suggestions for revision will be used to prepare a new draft of the Plan, which will be placed on the Park Authority website on or about 1 January. Public comment on the January draft will be sought during at least the first 30 days after its posting. Exum will prepare a final draft, after considering the January comments, and submit it to the Park Authority Board at a date to be determined.
Chairman Hodges reported administrative income for the month of November of $456,000 ($5,000 under budget). Enterprise income was $468,000 ($59,000 under budget). Revenues for the fiscal year-to-date were $8.1 million ($238,000 over budget, and $486,000 over the same figure for the previous fiscal year). Net operating cash income (after expenses) for November was a loss of $198,000 ($32,000 better than budget). For the year to date, net income was $1.132 million ($502,000 better than budget).
Hotel income for the calendar year 2010 versus 2009 was up $14,000 for the Oceanside Inn, but it was down (as much as $300,000) for all other hotels (except the Hampton, which was not open in 2009).
Accounting Director Marjorie Johnson reported that AT&T has requested permission to place new, upgraded antennas on two water towers (south and north end). The lease rate for each of these new antennas will be $30,000 yearly (and be increased 3% each year). The leases will begin in January, 2011. The Board approved the AT&T leases.
An amendment was proposed for the lease held by Villas By The Sea. Director Hooks described the amendment: extension for 10 years through the end of 2048, and the base lease terms will be indexed to CPI beginning in 2012, with a maximum increase in any year of 8%. A transfer fee of 1% of gross sales prices for condominiums in the Villas will be due to the JISPA. The current fee of 3% of rentals to be paid to JISPA remains in effect. Prior to considering a lease extension, a survey was made of structural soundness of the Villas properties, and the conclusion was that the structures are in good shape. Mark Williams asked whether the Villas Homeowner's Association had any requirement to report a pending condominium sale? Answer: yes, they do. Williams suggested that a closing attorney could be required to collect that 1% fee, reducing the possibility of placing of liens, etc. Adam Kirk observed that the Homeowner's Association has an obligation to notify closing attorneys of the 1% fee. The Board approved the lease extension.
Amendments were proposed for the two ground leases held by Trammell Crow (TC) (the former Buccaneer [aka Canopy Bluff] and Georgia Coast Inn [aka Beachview] sites). No move has yet been made by TC to build hospitality products on their ground leases, as required by their present lease agreements, though TC has continued to pay its ground-lease fees. The proposed amendments would result in increases in ground-lease fees (for the Beachview site, from about $139 thousand to about $149 thousand annually; for the Canopy Bluff site, from about $200 thousand to about $214 thousand annually). The potential default of the leases, due to noncompliance with the agreement to build hospitality products, would be placed into forbearance (term courtesy of Adam Kirk). During the next six months of lease extension, milestones in the direction of accomplishing of provision of hospitality products would have to be met (including feasibility reporting, study of financing alternatives, etc.). Upon satisfactory reaching of the milestones, TC could seek to extend the lease negotiations for another six months. If no agreement can be reached after the second six months, regarding plans for hotels or other accommodations on the two sites, then either TC or JISPA could terminate the ground leases with 90 days notice. The two lease extensions were approved.
Pat Overholt inquired about the source of interruptions of phone service in the Park; is it the digging by AT&T? Answer: yes, and digging at the site of the new Convention Center has caused similar problems, due to inaccurate marking of cable locations.
Chairman Buddy DeLoach called upon Marketing Director Eric Garvey. Garvey described a recent luncheon with local businesses regarding potential sponsorship of Park events in 2011. A binder had been produced containing depictions of the events to be held. About $120,000 of commitments were made following the luncheon. A new agreement has been made with the Jekyll Island Foundation – proceeds of some of the Park's events will be forwarded to the Foundation for use in Park projects supported by the Foundation.
Garvey mentioned the groundbreaking ceremony held in early December for the new Convention Center. He noted that the Park's marketing personnel will be "trumpeting" a new "It's All Green" motto, emphasizing the Park's commitment to environmentally positive policies. Several reporters for environmentally oriented outlets have done or promised to do stories on the Park's environmentally positive procedures, including the saving of large oaks during the remodeling of the Convention Center area.
Garvey noted that considerable publicity has been received by the Park for the work with cold-stunned sea turtles of several species being done at the Sea Turtle Center. Garvey emphasized that other aquariums working with sea turtles are sending their most critical cases to the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, because of the very positive reputation for expert care earned by Center Director Terry Norton.
Garvey announced that he is working with the Brunswick and Golden Isles CDB, as they develop a rebranding for the area that will complement the rebranding of Jekyll Island State Park. A new CEO, from the Telluride CDB, Scott McQuaid, is taking over the Brunswick Bureau. McQuaid has stated that he sees a revitalized Jekyll Island State Park as playing a big role in the tourism-marketing efforts in the Golden Isles.
The recent Farm Bureau conventioneers had many positive things to say about the Park's Interim Convention Center facilities, as did the attendees at the Southeast Georgia Health System's Christmas party.
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE
Robert Williams, Director of Construction for Flash Foods provided an update on progress in building the Park's new gas station/convenience store/Dairy Queen. Williams gave 24 January as the turnover date, at which time the construction crews will hand over the project to the management teams, and inventory will be shelved, etc. Buddy DeLoach inquired whether the gasoline to be sold in the Park will contain ethanol? Answer: yes, it will.
Drew Kelly, Project Manager with Brasfield & Gorrie, managing developers of the new Convention Center, gave a slide show of the progress that is being made on the site of the Center. The old Shopping Center was the first demolition work, followed by the old Convention Center. Different types of demolition debris are being stacked for recycling, and utilities are being installed. A concrete-crusher is being used to recycle concrete into new base material. A large magnet is being used to remove rebar and other metal for recycling. The new South Beachview road is now being paved, and will be connected to the entrance parkway and be opened shortly. Chairman Krueger asked whether the 2012 originally scheduled opening date is still the goal? Answer: yes.
Director Hooks reported that 601 lease extensions for residents have been signed, 10 lessees have confirmed declination of the new lease offer, and 5 are still undetermined. Accounting Director Johnson is doing her best to contact the 5 lessees who have not confirmed acceptance/rejection. One hundred nineteen licenses for rental of residences have been processed, and 11 are currently pending.
The courts at the Park's Tennis Center have been resurfaced as of 11 December, and players have complimented the new surfacing. Resurfacing of the pervious bicycle paths on the south end has also been completed, after some repacking of soft spots. Repaving of roads in the Historic District will begin in January, and be paid for from SPLOST monies ($570,000).
The faculty associated with the Franklin Pond music students will be presenting a concert of their own in the Park ("Music and Merlot") in January (the evening of the 15th , in the Morgan Center), sponsored by the Authority and the Club Hotel and the Jekyll Island Arts Association. The proceeds will benefit the Jekyll Island Foundation. It is hoped that this concert will be the beginning of a new relationship with the Atlanta Symphony.
Hooks reported that the Jekyll Island Foundation, under new Director Mac DeVaughn, has initiated a program of annual funding drives.
Hooks warned that revenues are clearly distinctly down for December, probably due to cold weather, detours, etc.
Chairman Krueger remarked that he is very pleased at the near-unanimous positive response to the residential-lease extension offer, and that Governor-Elect Deal has notified the Park Authority that he is pleased with the progress of revitalization in the Park.
Mindy Egan expressed pleasure at the news that Director Hooks has been reappointed. She believed that she has never seen an individual work as hard and accomplish as much as Director Hooks has, and still be as amiable as he is. On behalf of the Park's residents and herself, she expressed happiness to have Director Hooks at the helm.
Joe Malbasa thanked the Board for its good work, and supported Egan's complimentary remarks regarding Director Hooks. He thanked Director Hooks for his work in attracting the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra to the Park for a winter concert. Malbasa observed that some vehicles (e.g. antique cars, boats) have operational difficulties with gasoline containing ethanol. He recommended making non-ethanol gas available in the Park.
Chairman Krueger adjourned the meeting at 10:37 AM.
Respectfully submitted, Steven Y. Newell, Jekyll Island Citizens Association