By Greg Baker – November 2021
The Lake Anna Civic Association dues have been a modest $15 per year with multi-year discounts available since the beginning of the organization approximately thirty years ago. Many things have changed since LACA was founded way back in 1992. The Dow Jones was in the low 3000s, a first-class stamp was 29 cents, a gallon of gas was $1.13, a dozen eggs could be had for under a dollar and a gallon of milk was $2.78. In late 2021, the Dow is over 35 thousand, up tenfold, stamps are now 58 cents, a gallon of milk will set you back $3.53, gas has tripled to over $3 a gallon, and that dozen eggs will cost about two bucks. Inflation stinks!
Surprisingly, the main source of LACA’s revenue each year is not your annual dues, but rather donations made to our spectacular annual fireworks program. However, those donations are restricted and are used exclusively for their stated purpose. (Please note that none of the LACA’s budget is used to subsidize our fireworks show. It is 100% funded from these donations.)
The second largest source of income to LACA is a couple of very important grants that we have received annually from Spotsylvania County and Virginia DEQ. These grants are restricted and are solely for LACA’s water quality program.
It is worth adding, that Louisa County has not funded the LACA Water Quality program for the past several years. Our understanding is that the Louisa County Board of Supervisors felt we had too much money in reserves and have indicated that they would be open to funding us in the future once those excess funds have been reduced.
Finally, our annual dues and donations from the community make up the rest of our revenue stream. We run a very tight ship and have made changes in modernizing LACA over the past couple of years. We have cut thousands of dollars in expenses by moving our newsletter to an electronic version. Prior to this modernization, our newsletter was one of the largest expense line items.
The biggest change to our expenses has been in our Water Quality Program. We have increased the testing that LACA does both in frequency and scope. Our team has invested in equipment that can help identify Harmful Algae Booms and the Toxins they produce. The Water Quality Program is one of LACA’s most important core programs and is critical to the well-being of the lake.
For context, our annual Water Quality budget is now over $40,000 per year and we currently receive approximately $12,000 per year from our two grants. We have subsidized the program over the last several years and have significantly dipped into our reserves. We clearly must close the financial gap if we are to continue this important effort especially with the fourth year of no swim advisories on Lake Anna.
To close this gap, LACA’s board has voted to increase the annual dues for the first time in 30 years. We also intend to request an increase to our grant application to Spotsylvania County and ask Louisa County to start funding our efforts again. We plan to start a more proactive fund-raising effort with our membership base. LACA is a 501c(3) organization and donations to our water quality program are fully tax deductible. We have also initiated a “Drive to 1000” membership drive with the opportunity to win gift cards to local businesses if you refer new members. You can read about this initiative here.
Starting in 2022 after thirty years of keeping the annual dues stable, your LACA board has voted to modestly increase our dues as follows:
1 Year Membership $25, 2 Year Membership $45,3 Year Membership $60
It is not too late to lock in and extend your membership under the current rates until the end of 2021. You can extend your membership up to another three years from the current expiration date by clicking here.
We ask that our members consider making an annual voluntary charitable donation to support all of the work we do. From the water quality program to the monitoring of development around the lake to the safety maps and yellow emergency signs, and of course hosting the annual fireworks celebration, LACA does so much with so little. Please consider a donation which can easily be made by clicking here.
Finally, please consider setting up and using Amazon Smile. I continue to be amazed at how many people shop using Amazon, but are unaware of Amazon Smile. By simply going to smile.amazon.com instead of the regular Amazon site, Amazon will donate .5% of eligible purchases to you to your favorite charity. (Amazon does not charge extra for this benefit.)
We ask you to consider setting LACA as your default charity. It does not sound like much, but think of all of those Amazon deliveries helping fight HAB on Lake Anna. It adds up! And if you have a different charity in mind, by all means set them up, but please do not let this fabulous opportunity to give back go to waste. Remember, purchases through Amazon.com or through the app does not get the donation. You can always use the app and add purchased to your cart, but do NOT press the buy button. Instead, open a web browser and go to smile.amazon.com and Amazon will remember your cart.