POA board halts lunch at Yacht Club

Juan Castro, executive chef at the Yacht Club, prepares a meal.

The Tellico Village Property Owners Association Board of Directors voted June 19 to stop Tuesday-Saturday lunch at the Yacht Club.

Steve Schneider motioned to end lunch services Tuesday-Saturday, with Mike Colacone seconding. The vote passed 6-1, with Carla Johnson the lone dissenter.

“In the first month in April we lost $5,000,” Schneider said. “Decided to leave it open in May; we reviewed the numbers this morning. Through the middle of June we’ve lost approximately $10,000.”

Board members Cap Purvis and Pat White were initially conflicted.

Purvis worried removing lunch hours could be a negative for potential residents visiting during Discovery Tours.

“We’ve got a Toqua clubhouse that’s closed down for the summer,” White said. “We’ve got Kahite clubhouse that is 18 miles away. We’ve got Tanasi clubhouse that is open for lunch but is packed to the gills, including almost out into (Highway) 444 on the parking lot. ... Such a nice venue, such a short opportunity, but I understand that’s $10,000, folks, that’s $10,000.”

Andy Fox, AWE president, noted on average the Yacht Club is losing about $100 per day to stay open for lunch. Staffing and overtime has been an issue.

“We do 200 people a day for lunch at Tanasi. We’re doing 40 people here,” Fox said.

Rick Blough, board member, worried if “you straight line doubled” the month it would be nearly $20,000 in losses.

“I think when we started this trial ... we made the assumption that with Toqua closed we would open this to lessen the crowd that would be at Tanasi and we don’t seem to have achieved that objective,” Bruce Johnson, board president, said. “The same people are going there, and Toqua people are maybe coming here, who knows, or they’re going elsewhere. So our logic behind keeping this open has not panned out.”

The discussion among the board and Villagers attending the meeting included if enough time was given for customers to form a habit, whether the food was what Villagers wanted and if the perception of the Yacht Club played a role.

“For me it’s a little bit frustrating, and I get it, I don’t want to burn cash, I don’t want to light cash on fire,” Carla Johnson said after the vote. “However, one of the things that was discussed today was that it’s a matter of habit and in 2 1/2 months I’m not sure that we allowed the impact to create a habit. Again, how much are we willing to invest and to see whether that habit forms or not?”

Extension approved

Board members voted unanimously to extend a contract with Santek for garbage and recycling pickup for five years with a 2 percent increase each year.

“Santek, our solid waste recycling contractor, is up in September,” Jeff Gagley, POA public works director, said. “I took this before the public service committee in June. Santek had reached out and made a proposal to us to change up the service some. They were going to give us a larger recycle container and change that to every two weeks. The problem with that, the committee felt and the visitors in there, that the large 95-gallon recycling container is just another footprint at some of these small garages and it was going to be hard for them to do. Along with that, I think it was going to be a 13 percent increase to start with because they’re providing a new service and things like that.”

Gagley then asked the company to keeping services unchanged and extend the contract.

Purvis and Blough motioned and seconded, respectively, with the vote passing 7-0. Although the contract begins in September, the increase from $13.32 to $13.59 montly won’t go into effect until November.

“Same service, nothing changes, same recycle container,” Gagley said. “If you have more recyclables, put them in a bag and set them on top of the container (or) ask for another container.”

Trustees named

Board members passed unanimously the inaugural trustees to serve on the Timeless Tellico Foundation board, which will allow tax-deductible donations for enhancement and maintenance of amenities.

Schneider and Blough motioned and seconded, respectively.

Trustees include Bill Butera, Dan Catalidi, Glennie Brown, Lisa Lower, Teena Risser, Gary Mulliner, Peter Kilmartin, Walt Cook and POA Recreation Director Simon Bradbury. Alternates are Claire Frazer, Ginny Ranck and Marty Hewlett.

“We have a group with skill sets that are bar none and some brand new to the Village,” Cook said. “We have one individual we asked her how long you been here, she said two months. She hasn’t even been to the New Villagers yet and she’s ready to jump into this. ... We are talking about generating revenue and I think it’s fantastic. I personally want to thank you, the board, Winston (Blazer, POA general manager) and especially Simon for having the foresight because in this day and age trying to scrape up funds for different things.”

Cook believes “the sky’s the limit” for the group.

“We put our heads on correctly and walk the walk and talk the talk and I think this is something that everybody’s going to be proud of,” Cook said.

Bradbury said he hopes to start slow with a $25,000-$30,000 project before setting loftier goals as big as $250,000-$500,000.

“I want to have a strategic way about how we do this,” he said. “I’ve had people wanting to name trails, wanting to name some signs so far. If we start doing that right now, I mean I could, it’d be a hodge podge. How much do we charge for this? … We want to have it done in a strategic manner — this is how much this costs and that costs. Once we have that in place we’ll go after our first project.”