YMCA loan withheld

Published 10:11 am Thursday, September 10, 2015

On a 4-4 vote Tuesday night, a motion to allocate a second $50,000 loan to the Southside Virginia Family YMCA died during a Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors meeting.

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The failed action, which drew support from Supervisors Howard Simpson, Charles McKay, Robert “Bobby” Jones and Calvin Gray, would have resulted in payment of the second of three installments agreed to in February 2014 by the board. Supervisors Jim Wilck, C.R. “Bob” Timmons, Pattie Cooper-Jones and Jerry Townsend opposed the measure.

Proponents of the action cited the board’s keeping its word on the loans, while opponents cited financial problems at the facility regarding recent repairs to the HVAC system.

In a statement to The Herald, Jane Schirmer, the YMCA’s CEO and executive director, said that while the Y was disappointed in the position taken by the board, it will “continue to serve our community as a strong nonprofit organization.”

Supervisors approved three $50,000 loans in the winter of 2014 to be disbursed annually with the contingency that the county would have biannual reviews. The first loan was allocated about 18 months ago, according

to County Administrator Wade Bartlett. The loans came with criteria, including the Y resolving cash-flow issues and making certain financial improvements.

In August, the board’s YMCA committee, made up of supervisors and county staff, reported that the Y had “made enough progress to justify the release of the second installment of the loan agreement between the county and the YMCA, which is $50,000. After discussion, the board [of supervisors] voted to delay providing the second installment until the amount of reimbursement from the insurance company is known,” stated a staff report from Bartlett.

“It [has] already been voted on to give the Y $50,000 per year for three years,” McKay said. “I think we should honor that and give the Y $50,000 that we promised.”

According to Bartlett, the board agreed to the three loan installments because the YMCA has “had some issues with [financial] stability … mainly due to pledges not being honored. So they had to borrow more money than was ever envisioned in their business model,” which put great stress on the YMCA, Bartlett said. “They’ve struggled with that. They have a very high interest rate [on their private loan],” he said. “They’ve never missed a payment on the loan.”

“I don’t see anything in here that changed my mind regarding what we voted for last time,” Timmons said during the discussion.

“There was criteria they did have to meet,” Wilck said, adding that during a meeting with the YMCA, he questioned if they were “current on all payables. The answer to that was yes. We just found out that that was not so.”

Timmons said that the first $50,000 loan wasn’t showing on the YMCA’s balance sheet. “How do they intend to pay back the money? They’re currently operating at a deficit,” he said. “It’s not a gift.”

“We don’t have to pay it back for five years,” said McKay, who is a member of the YMCA board.

“Is it not our position, when we look at every organization that comes to us, to do the very best we can to support them?” asked Gray, who also serves on the YMCA board. “Is it not our position to consider their request and based on our ability and our budgetary overview to either decline or accept those positions?” He said it would undermine the integrity of the board if the money wasn’t allocated.

“The situation has changed,” said Townsend.

Bartlett said that the YMCA has made progress in achieving financial stability. The YMCA still has issues, he said, “but they’re working through those.”

Timmons said that the YMCA hasn’t lived up to the criteria that was agreed to. He said that once the YMCA worked with the insurance company on reimbursements for the HVAC work, the board could reconsider the request.

According to Bartlett’s report, he, along with Schirmer and Thomas V. Warren, the chairman of the YMCA’s board, met “to develop a better understanding of the situation surrounding the HVAC system.”

Bartlett’s report detailed that from February 2014 to October 2014, the YMCA paid Southern Air over $4,000 for work on the HVAC system.

“After it was determined the system was not being properly maintained, the YMCA contracted with Putney Mechanical and paid them $5,749 from October 2014-May 2015. Finally, the YMCA contracted with Moore’s Electrical & Mechanical Service and has paid them $43,137 to purchase a new boiler and perform maintenance on the HVAC,” stated Bartlett’s report.

He said the total cost of the work is over $53,000, which has “resulted in the HVAC being able to operate.”

Moore’s Electrical & Mechanical Service, according to Bartlett, told the YMCA that the repairs were temporary and “an additional expenditure of $20,627 is needed,” which would bring the total cost to $73,880.

The YMCA has received $13,000 from its insurance company for the boiler, Bartlett said. He said subtracting that amount meant that the net cost to the YMCA would be over $60,000, “almost $11,000 more than the one $50,000 payment the YMCA has received from the county.”

While the insurance company is reviewing Moore’s proposal for additional repairs, “presently, there is a little more than $24,000 of bills that are in dispute,” Bartlett’s report said.

He said the YMCA would like to receive the second $50,000 “to allow Moore to complete the repairs to the HVAC system and to provide a reserve of approximately $39,000. Without the reserve, if an unforeseen expense occurs, the YMCA does not have the wherewithal to quickly address the repair. …”