I’ve made this comment before, but our Association is really fortunate to have a great Board of Directors. Our board has eleven members plus our new Chairman of the Manasota/Tampa Bay Region. On December 18th, the Board met for its annual planning session. This is the one time each year that an extended meeting is held to review the past year, approve a budget, and set goals and priorities. In many organizations, these kinds of meetings can be cumbersome at best. In our case, however, meetings are always productive and stress free. Every member of our board is a real asset to us. Everyone contributes and everyone has the association’s best interest in mind.

Of course it helps that we are financially strong. 2013 was a good year for your association. Each year, we set a budget that is based fairly closely on actual numbers from the previous year. A balanced, zero based, budget. While we are cautious in how we spend your money, we also believe that money the association earns should be used to promote boating and our membership. We carry substantial reserves to protect us against the proverbial rainy day so why not make use of our annual revenues.

This year, the board committed to re-launching our association website. They approved funds for our political and legislative efforts. That includes continuing support of the industry’s efforts in Tallahassee through the Marine Industries Association of Florida, a retainer for our local Government Affairs Consultant Joe Mazurkiewicz, and contingency funds for whatever comes along. They approved another year’s budget for our Welcome to the Water television commercials.

Representatives from our state association and our Tallahassee Lobbyist Missy Timmins were in hand with an update on MIAF and what to expect in the next year in Tallahassee. Missy does a great job representing boating and it was really nice of her to make the trip to Ft. Myers to give the board a personal update.

I want to thank all of our board members, Jopie Helsen, Missy Timmins, and Frank Donahue and John Sprague of MIAF, for taking pretty much an entire day to work through a long agenda.

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