Minutes of the OPBA Annual Members Meeting – Saturday October 12, 2012

The Annual OBPA public meeting for was called to order at 7:00 pm at the Angler’s Club in Buxton, NC.  The directors in attendance were John Couch, Natalie Kavanagh, Anne Bowers, Pat Weston, Jeff Golding, Don Bowers, Ron Tasso and David Scarborough.  There were 14 guests present for the meeting.

President John Couch began the meeting by introducing the board by name and title; Pat Weston – Vice President, Anne Bowers – Secretary, David Scarborough – Treasurer and the directors Natalie Kavanagh, Jeff Golding, Don Bowers, and Ron Tasso.  Board member Wayne Mathis was unable to attend because he was attending the UMAPA board meeting in Maryland as a representative for the OBPA.

The Treasurer’s report was given by David Scarborough.  Fundraisers continue to be critical to OBPA’s mission as well as the amazing support from the membership through annual dues and donations.  The bank account has been growing over the last 3 years to meet the challenges ahead.  The balance was $99,547 in 2010, $204,252 in 2011 and $204,707 by September 30, 3012.  The balance reflects the $15,500 loan from the United Mobile Access Preservation Alliance.

In 2011, the OBPA raised about $125,000 through the following means:  $30,000 from membership dues, $6,500 from fundraisers, $8,000 from merchandise sales and $80,000 from contributions with recognition to a $40,000 donation from NCBBA and $5,000 from the Fishing Hole in Salvo and $5,000 from UMAPA. In early  2012, the Cape Hatteras Anglers Club donated $5,000.

Legal fees continue to be the OBPA’s largest expense.  So far in 2012, $62,000 had been paid out in legal fees alone.

An overview was given on the legislative side of our mission.  HR-4094 was introduced on February 28, 2012 and later combined with HR-2598 which passed on June 19, 2012.  S-2372 remains in committee.  There is a strong effort to move it to the floor for a vote.  Angler’s Club, NCBBA along with the OBPA continue to urge their members to call their state senators.  The window is closing due to the November 6th election but there is still an opportunity.  In January 2013, the board will reconsider how to more forward.

The legal effort was also addressed but there was no time table yet.

Anne Bowers spoke on the fundraising efforts put forth for 2012.  A new T-shirt design was introduced over the summer with a design to appeal to multiple user groups.  Just released was a new pocket tee.  They are available online or at area stores.  Sales have been strong on this new product.

Donation jars that are all over the county in several retail businesses continue to be the OBPA’s largest fundraiser.

Smaller and regular BBQs have replaced the single large ‘Stand in the Sand’ event which took place 3 summers in a row at the Fessenden Center.  The BBQs are easier to handle because it takes less people and is more profitable.

The board is always open to fresh ideas for fundraising that our small group can handle and a general call for volunteers was made.

Pat Weston gave an overview of the effects that Hurricane Irene in 2011 had on the island and the OBPA.  Storm recovery became first and foremost for our membership as well as the board members.  All fundraisers for 2011 ended with the hurricane.  The start of required beach driving permits began on Feb. 15, 2012 while the island was still in the throws of recovery.

 A report about the ORV permit was also given by Pat Weston who got some information for Darrell Echols of the NPS.  The new stickers will go attach to the inside of the windshield for 2013.  The NPS reported the permit situation was working well and the longest wait over the season was around 15 minutes.  From February 15 through October 7, 2012, 7,513 annual permits had been sold and 20,398 weekly permits sold which adds up to nearly 2 million dollars in permit sales.  Echols reported that they experienced fewer problems with beach driving since the permit system began and this was probably due to their increased education.   He also said that there were very few disruptive applicants.

Jeff Golding is in charge of the OPBA’s Facebook page.  He told the group that the page is not getting as many hits as wanted – that people are not sharing their experiences as expected.  He also addressed the Blue Ribbon Coalition (BRC) interest in Cape Hatteras’ access problems and their pledge to help us.  According to BRC executive director, Greg Mumm, if Hatteras falls, so do the rest.  Mumm visited Cape Hatteras in 2012.

 John Couch closed out the meeting by extending special thanks to our membership, to Jim Keene of the NCBBA who is very involved with the OBPA, to the Angler’s Club for their support and use of their resources, to the Island Free Press for its fair and straight forward reporting on access issues, to the Dare County Government, the ASA and to our legal team at Van Ness Feldman.  The fight for beach access is a group effort and that the OBPA is not alone in this battle.

 The annual meeting adjourned around 7:46 p.m. and the floor was opened to a question and answer session from the guests which lasted for 54 minutes.