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Opinion
Palm Coast Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021 2 weeks ago

Advisory president: Correct numbers needed before Belle Terre swim club decision

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We do not understand why the school system can’t provide us with a report every six months of Belle Terre membership numbers and revenue and expenses.
by: Guest Writer

I understand there is a question of accuracy about membership numbers for the Belle Terre Swim and Racquet Club which were contained in my Feb. 4 article in the Palm Coast Observer.

(Editor's Note: A story on page 3 of the Jan. 21 edition of the Palm Coast Observer cited a Flagler Schools staff member stating that the Belle Terre Swim & Racquet Club had 1,243 full time members, down by 135 since the pandemic began. Those numbers, presented to the School Board in a Jan. 19 board workshop, were incorrect, according to School Board attorney Kristy Gavin. The latest number, taken in December 2020, was 193 regular members, down from 550 in December of 2019, Gavin said.)

For an organization that has had between 1,200 and 1,300 paid members, how can they suddenly have only 193 in December 2020? Belle Terre does not have a fixed date for all members to renew their memberships. They renew as their membership expires which means that memberships renewed after Jan. 1, 2019, were good for a year into 2020. The pool was closed in November and December 2019 because school maintenance could not expedite getting a pump motor. The swim team, vying for a championship, had to go elsewhere to train. Belle Terre was shut down for COVID for three months at the start of 2020.

We do not understand why the school system can’t provide us with a report every six months of Belle Terre membership numbers and revenue and expenses. They have arrogantly stonewalled us on our requests.

We want detail about the alleged $500,000 shortfall and detail about costs referenced in the Observer for ramp and deck, parking lot work and a new building.

A quit-claim deed dated Dec. 31, 1996, has Commonwealth Palm Coast Corp. selling the Belle Terre property to the School Board of Flagler County for the sum of $10. What goes with this type of transaction is a pledge to maintain the facility faithfully in the condition it was when transferred. As in an HOA, a reserve should have been established for maintenance.

The School Board is floating the idea of a citizen task force to study the Belle Terre issue. Without correct Belle Terre financials that would be a complete waste of everyone’s time and accomplish nothing.

David Corson is president of the Belle Terre Swim and Racquet Club Advisory Committee.

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