Greetings from St. Thomas! As many of you have already noticed, the resort is looking better than ever. We made it through another hurricane season without a problem. The rains that we did receive have made the island very green as well as all the landscaping at the resort. The various island fruit trees that we planted near the lower pool are thriving. Lucy, our Activities Director will be more than happy to give you a tour and answer any questions concerning island flora and fauna.
The old St. Thomas Dairy next door was sold a few years back and now the buyer is now developing it. As part of an agreement we have with the developer, we will be relocating our generators and he has agreed to build a side walk up to our beach gate from the entrance of his property. To say the least, it will greatly improve access to the Udder Delight and the Magens Beach road.
Currently, we are in the process of overhauling our generators and, at the same time, constructing the new generator enclosure. The generator enclosure has been designed and will be constructed to minimize generator noise. We have discussed the possibility of working together with the developer next door to encourage the VI Government to install a sidewalk from the entrance of his property and our beach gate to Magens Beach. We will keep you posted.
Our new restaurant, Three Sheets Bar and Kitchen, is doing very well. As of November 1, 2016, they opened up the main dining room and bar and have added Sunday brunch to their offerings. The food they are serving has been exceptionally good and has received accolades from island residents and visitors.
For those of you who play tennis, please note that in the Daily News survey, our tennis courts received the best on the island award. In addition to the tennis courts, we have been working steadily on improving all of the recreational facilities at the resort. As we mentioned in our last newsletter, we have installed two private bathrooms and showers for members only. Members who have late flights and want to spend a few hours at the beach or pool can use them as a place to shower and change. We would like to further improve all the facilities at the resort for our members and guests however, if the money is not available, it will have to remain on our wish list.
On a sad note, our official greeter, Bradley Cat is dead. Apparently, someone who did not like cats kicked our beloved Bradley and he died of his injuries several days later. A reward of $1000 has been put up by Bradley’s friends and the resort for information leading to the identification and prosecution of that person or persons. Bradley was affectionate to everyone and did not deserve to be kicked to death by someone to whom he offered his affection.
After more than 20 years, SPS International will no longer be handling our member billing. Oombaga R.S., LLC out of Sarasota, Florida has taken over that function. In addition, they have set up and now manage the new web sites for both Tropic Leisure and Magens Bay Villas Clubs. Our primary goal in making this change was to reduce costs while upgrading the services and communications for our members. Oombaga has made great efforts to expand and improve the services provided to our members and will continue to do so in the future. Please feel free to contact Oombaga R.S. or your club with your observations. One of the services that has received a lot of support from our members is their ability to review their accounts and pay their fees online. To benefit fully from this and other new member services that Oombaga R.S is offering, contact Oombaga at 941-941-1617 or email info@MagensBayVillasClub.com and register.
On the brighter side, Zika infections in the Virgin Islands are down. Everyone that lives or works in the Virgin Islands has been educated as to what needs to be done to reduce the mosquito population to lessen the risk of Zika and it seems to be working. My wife and I and a number of our staff had Zika infections and, other than the discomfort, everyone got over it with no lasting problems. It is one of the prices one has to pay when you live in a tropical paradise.
On the bad news front, the VI Government just passed the “sin tax” bill. The result will be an increase on many taxes in the Virgin Islands. Besides new taxes on liquor, cigarettes, perfume and many other items they also are planning on taxing Vacation Clubs and Timeshares. The VI Government wants to charge vacation club and timeshare members an occupancy tax of $30.00 per night and 12.5%. The VI Hotel Association, Vacation Club and Timeshare Resorts, food and beverage wholesalers and retailers have come out against the new taxes however, to no avail. We have placed links on the club websites for additional information on the “sin tax” bill.
The passage of the new “sin tax” bill will increase our operating overhead significantly. In the past two years, we have accelerated our efforts to collect our delinquent member accounts. The passage of the new “sin tax” bill will force us to double our efforts to collect these accounts. As you can see from the budget, we have had some success however, a number of delinquent members have complained to the VI Government that we were being unfair even though we had received judgements through the VI Small Claims Court. The added layer of having to provide information to other VI agencies has increased the costs in both time and money in collecting these accounts. The clubs need to collect this money in order to pay taxes and other operating expenses. The delinquent accounts at one point were approaching $3,000,000. The cost of collecting these accounts is high and we will be lucky to see 50% of what is outstanding, which is better than nothing but is still painful since the money has already been committed. It makes for a very difficult situation when bills need to be paid.
The end result with this situation is that we will have to increase the maintenance/operations fees for both clubs 15%. As you can see from the attached budget, our revenues are not enough to cover the operating overhead of the clubs and resort. In the past, we have utilized special assessments to adjust imbalances in the budget and we regret to inform you that if our delinquent account collection efforts continue to be delayed or obstructed, we will be forced to assess our membership this year to balance the budget.
We urge members who have fallen behind contact us so we can see what can be worked out. We are well aware of the legal costs to collect the money and it is always possible to come to a mutually agreeable settlement to put things back on track. If you are unhappy with your membership and want to cancel it, you have the option of paying the cancellation fee and terminating your contract. The cancellation fee up to April 15, 2017 is $3800.00. If it is paid on or before that date you will have the option of applying the full amount to a Mini Club membership.
If you are considering opting out of your membership, now is the time to do it. As of April 16, 2017, the cancellation fee will be increased to $4500.00. We believe in being flexible and are willing to work with you to solve any and all membership problems. Please give Viola Morton a call at 340-777-6000 ext. 508 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.