IPJI Note: In January, Steve Newell will be retiring from the Jekyll Island Citizen Association Board after 7 years of service. Initially, he took the minutes in longhand and then began translating them from a voice recorder. His minutes have been an invaluable, detailed resource for those who cannot attend the meetings.
IPJI would like to acknowledge Steve's dedication and service and thank him wholeheartedly for his work and all his efforts on behalf of Jekyll Island State Park.
It is unclear at this time if JICA will continue to provide minutes of the JIA board meetings. Regardless, IPJI hopes to be able to provide its membership with an account of the meetings. Unfortunately, it is doubtful we will be able to fill Steve's shoes!
Record of the Jekyll Island State Park Authority (JISPA) Board Meeting of 17 December 2012, in the Jekyll Island Convention Center, as recorded for JICA
Note: IPJI has placed some text in "bold" type for emphasis and has clarified
some statements in blue.
Chairman Bob Krueger brought the meeting to order at 9:30 AM. Board members present were Buddy DeLoach, Mike Hodges, Sybil Lynn, and Richard Royal. Al Ike, Laura Lanier, and Mark Williams were on conference telephone. Also present was Park Authority Executive Director Jones Hooks. The audience numbered about 18 persons.
Chairman Hodges presented financial figures for November. Net operating income for November was a loss of $385 thousand, 19% better than had been expected. For the fiscal year to date, net income was $262 thousand, 6.5 times better than expected, but 69% less than in the previous fiscal year at this point.
Hodges noted that the water and wastewater category of the budget for the fiscal year was 17% under the expected income, and he asked Accounting Director Marjorie Johnson to comment. Johnson explained that several hotels have had unusually low reports of water usage. The Water Department tested meters at the hotels, and found five old meters that were not registering water throughput accurately. These meters are being replaced (cost = $5 thousand). Some residences also showed low usage, but this was likely due to the wet summer experienced in the Park, and consequent low levels of irrigation. Richard Royal inquired about low revenue levels at the Park’s Fire Department. Johnson explained that ambulance income was relatively low due to a bit lower use of the emergency vehicles.
Legal Associate Chris O’Donnell discussed lease renewals for the Pier Road shops (the Island House, the Commissary Shop, and Just By Hand). The leases will now be based entirely on lot size ($8 per square foot), and not on size of revenues. O’Donnell observed that this change will not result in a decrease of lease income from these shops. The Board approved these renewals.
O’Donnell reported that Nextel, which has a lease for cell-phone-transmission equipment in the Park, has merged with Sprint, which also has equipment leases in the Park. Nextel would like to terminate its now-duplicative lease. The Board approved the termination agreement, which involves a $20 thousand payment to the Authority, and transfer of a diesel generator and an air-conditioned equipment shelter to the Park Authority.
Chief Communications Officer Eric Garvey observed that the Georgia Farm Bureau had held its 75th annual convention in the Park in December (2000 attendees). The conventioneers were very pleased with the Convention Center, although 6% of the attendees had to stay at off-island hotels.
Since it opened, the Convention Center has welcomed 70,000 event attendees. During the holiday season, and until the Bluegrass Festival starts, the Convention Center was closed as a cost-saving measure.
Since the November Board meeting, the Marketing Department has been heavily publicizing the fact that the Beach Village development projects (the Westin, the Hyatt Place, and the Retail Center) are no longer stalled, and have scheduled dates for completion. Garvey recently attended a large convention-planners meeting in Orlando, and heard several parties discussing the progress of Jekyll’s Beach Village.
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE:
Director Hooks reported that Trammell Crow (TC) has requested that its leases on the lots that once held the Buccaneer and Georgia Coast Inn hotels be modified. TC would like more time to mull over the business possibilities for their lots, so they would like to move their deadline for submission of schematic documents to November 2015, and design development documents to September, 2018 (a 3-year delay). Chairman Krueger asked for an opinion on the matter, and Director Hooks stated that Authority staff feels that the delay of three years is unjustified. Buddy DeLoach suggested that the Board delay taking any action on the proposal until sometime early in 2013; the other Board members agreed, and tabled action.
Director Hooks announced that the Jekyll Beverage Center has met the required criteria for entry into the Retail Center of the forthcoming Beach Village. Other categories of businesses (restaurants, snack shops, resortware clothing, spa or beauty shops, general merchandise) are now being considered. The Park Authority Board has final approval/rejection rights regarding the businesses to be included. (NB: The tattoo parlor application mentioned in the last meeting record [November] was only a joke – no tattoo parlor has applied.) Construction of the Retail Center is expected to begin in March, 2013, with completion in December/January 2013/2014. Closing of the financial commitment for the Hyatt Place hotel in the Beach Village is now scheduled for mid-January 2013.
Hooks observed that the Jekyll Island Foundation Board now has more geographical and age diversity than it had a few years ago.
Hooks announced that the Jekyll Convention Center has received the 2012 Award of Excellence from the Georgia Chapter of Associated Builders & Contractors. More recently, Conventions South magazine has given its Best New Convention Center Award to the Jekyll Center (many meeting planners will see this announcement in the magazine). Further, the Convention Center has now received a Silver LEEDS Certification.
Hooks announced that Jekyll Golf Pro Rob Ellis has been named one of the top Georgia golf professionals, for his work with young golfers.
John Hunter addressed the Board on progress in updating the Park’s Master Plan. He noted that the University of Georgia has reorganized the Fanning Institute and the Carl Vinson Institute of Government; these two organizations traded some duties, and as a result, the Vinson Institute will now host the same planning team working on the Park’s Master Plan. Difficulties (mapping choices, definitions with respect to national standards) in clarifying the 65/35 questions have slowed the updating process somewhat, but progress is being made.
Chairman Krueger congratulated the Authority staff and the Convention Center staff for the accolades that the Center has received.
Krueger clarified a statement that he made at the November Board meeting, regarding the Jekyll Island State Park Tourism Development Fund. The Fund will make monies available to projects in the Park that represent new investment, not necessarily only new hospitality structures.
Krueger noted that he has served four and one-half years as Chairman of the Park Authority Board, although the term of chairmen is generally for one year. He announced that Richard Royal will now be taking over as Chairman. Royal told the audience that he had been quite surprised at the invitation to become Chairman, and that he will have some big shoes to fill, in following Bob Krueger in the position. Krueger’s hard work and dedication will be impossible to duplicate. Krueger remarked that his work as Chairman was a labor of love, and he received a round of applause.
Joe Malbasa thanked Krueger on behalf of JICA for his efforts in leading the Board’s progress in supporting and encouraging tourism in the Park.
Following the Committee Meeting, the Board Meeting opened, and elections were held for Vice Chairman (Bob Krueger was confirmed) and Secretary/Treasurer (Mike Hodges was confirmed).
Chairman Royal adjourned the Board Meeting at 10:41 AM.
Steven Y. Newell, Jekyll Island Citizens Association; produced after transcribing from a digital voice recorder
[NB: This will be my last regular publishing of the proceedings of the Jekyll Island State Park Authority’s Board meetings. I have completed my seventh and last year of Board service for the Jekyll Island Citizens Association.]