State of the Club
In light of recent events, I think it's important for the officers of MPB to summarize where we are with the conditions of the club as a whole. As of October 15, 2016............
Our current membership stands at 130, a 17% increase over the membership from October of 2015 when it was 111.
Based on our fixed costs to operate the club, we have reached the breakeven point whereby the dues almost offset what it takes to "keep the lights on". Our current membership and dues structure won't quite cover our costs for next year because of a marked increase in the number of Senior memberships and the consequent decrease in Open memberships. Hence the modest increase in the 2017 dues. We've managed to rebuild the cash reserve (from donations alone) for those emergency expenditures that none of us can anticipate. This year, we've had to fix the sprinkler system, back flow preventer, repair the storage shed roof, build new run-up tables, fix the safety fences, and we still have to replace all the fire extinguishers, and the year isn't over yet. We're still trying to figure out how to economically drain the "mosquito swamp" that accumulates behind the pilot shelters every time it rains without spending a jillion dollars to re-grade the parking lot so it will drain towards Inglewood Dr.
We've changed the membership year to 4/1-3/31 to relieve the burden of renewal on the membership during the holidays and extended the renewal period from 1 month to 3 starting January 1, 2017.
The club finances are reviewed at every club meeting and are available to every member in attendance.
Facilities and Runway:
Thanks to generous donations from more than 60% of our members, we built a new pilot pavilion, replaced half of the run-up tables, fixed the safety fences, bought an aerator, repaired the storage shed roof, fixed the sprinkler system and the back flow preventer, added awnings to the north and south side of the pavilion, replaced the grill, and provided a good portion of the propane to heat the pavilion. The pavilion ceiling fans and lights were also donated.
We changed our mowing/turf management contactor in an effort to uniformly cut the runway lower to accommodate smaller and lighter aircraft, and we combined the mowing and chemical treatments to make it more economical. We aerated the runway using donated equipment, fuel and personnel. We're investigating the purchase of a 5 gang reel mower, dedicated for exclusive use on our runway, to be stored and maintained by our mowing contractor, and again funded by donations alone.
We no longer buy door/raffle prizes for our Fun Fly's. The food and beverages for the Spring Fire-Fly were donated to say thank you to those members that supported the capital improvements to the club this year. Prizes and food for this year's Porter Leath Fly In have all been donated by our members and local businesses. We can't thank you enough.
Safety, By-laws, the FAA, and Communication:
For the most part, we've enjoyed a safe flying year, with only two injuries, only one of which required a trip to the emergency room. Your diligence is appreciated.
We've also seen a noticeable increase in the courtesy and respect shown to fellow pilots, with but one or two exceptions. You all should be proud of that.
We resolved two "drone" incidents without repercussion. The FAA was most helpful in getting to the truth behind an alleged drone sighting at an altitude of 6500 feet, near our field. The other incident involved the AMA/FAA/MPB line-of-sight rule and was handled amicably .
Several changes to the 2016 by-laws were voted on and passed by the membership in December 2015 as required by those same by-laws. All members had the opportunity to vote on those changes.
The entire membership is kept informed on a regular basis about any and all issues that may affect the club. That is their right, and as officers, it is our duty and responsibility. We depend on your feedback to make any decision regarding club business and operation and to do our utmost to act in the best interest of the club. We will continue to communicate with you on a regular basis.
Our landowner, Mr. Howard Bragg, took the position that firearms will be permitted on his property provided they are secured in the owner's vehicle. His decision is based his unwillingness to assume any risk of liability . We must abide by his decision. Whether or not the club adopts a formal policy by way of amending the by-laws is still to be decided. As for now, it will be up to each member to decide if he or she will honor Mr. Bragg's position. Should we ignore his decision, we run the risk of losing our flying privileges.