Kobe Club - Message from the Board of Trustees - General Committee - Spotlight Online
General Committee : Message from the Board of Trustees
Posted by Chandru Mahtani on 2017/9/6 21:30:00 (835 reads)

Dear Kobe Club Members,

Having been a Member of our prestigious Club for a quarter century, it is my honor to serve as treasurer. This is my fourth year as a trustee, prior to which I had served on the Balloting Committee overseeing membership applications.

  I was asked by the president to write about the Club from the viewpoint of the treasurer. Last year there was a signi cant change in Club nances, and having now crossed the half-year point of 2017, it is a good time to examine how we have done since the spring of
2016 and what we can expect going forward.
  First let me review the recent history of the Club’s nances.
The 1990’s were generally a challenging time for our Club. A decade of changing demographics forced us to take extreme measures. In 2001 we sold a part of our property, the former lower parking area, to retire debt and create reserve funds. Operating the Club in the face of a declining expatriate population and the economy of the times had been a very dif cult task.
  As time passes, laws, rules and regulations change.  
  In 2014 we obtained “Ippan Shadan Hōjin” status and did away with nationality quotas. All people of all nationalities are now equal in all ways. This has enabled us to gain a good number of prominent Members of the local community who once had thought the domestic quota was full. New membership since 2014 has had a signi cant impact on the wellbeing of the Club. This trend continues as I write. 
  In recent years it became evident that measures taken since the selling of land in 2001 did not fully meet our nancial goals. The reserve fund was being depleted, and time was running out. We had to consider new approaches to sustain our cherished Club’s nancial health and preserve it at its unique and exclusive location. We had already spent down a large part of the assets inherited from our forefathers, and we could not afford to continue down this path. 
  In 2016 we proposed a subscription increase that incorporated a monthly per family contribution of ¥3,300 for infrastructure maintenance and a minimum spend of ¥6,000 (with single Members charged half the said sums). A resolution proposing these increases was passed at the 2016 Annual General Assembly, and the positive effect has been felt ever since. 
  2016 marked the rst time in many years that we did not have to rely on our reserve funds. 
  The closing figures for 2016 were remarkable by recent standards. If asked whether the positive cash ow was due to the additional contribution, the answer would be “no” since the entire additional income was spent in the fall of 2016 to upgrade the bar and dining room. Furthermore, this new source of income enabled us to carry out major renovations in early 2017. We now have a brand new roof, state-of-the-art air conditioning system and new boiler. 
   Another major contributor to our Club’s nances is third party sales. Our dedicated staff has been working extremely hard in this area to support the Club’s nancial wellbeing. We have seen an increase in high value-added 3rd party events. In addition to our attractive facilities, our status as Kobe’s premier Club seems to offer an added incentive for holding weddings and other gatherings. It reminds us that as Members we should be proud of our Club’s status and heritage.
   Meanwhile, membership growth has been gradual. We are an organization where membership is by invitation and introduction, consequently, a gradual approach is consistent with our values. That said, it would be nice to see 3 or 4 more families join by the end of this year.
   In spite of the positive trends described above, I still have to ask our Members a favor.   We truly have come a long way, but there is still room for improvement. The Club’s needs with regard to renewal and replacement are still numerous. I could provide a long list but will defer on this subject to my Board colleagues. One dif culty the Board faces is prioritizing our various needs and wants.
   Every Member too has an opinion on where we should spend money rst. Although our nances are better than in the past, it is not a situation where money is rolling in and we can afford all the necessary upgrades at once.
   Looking ahead, I would like to not only see the Club carry out the upgrades it needs, but also to start building its reserves again. The past two decades were times of extreme dif culty, and we survived the years by cashing in on inherited assets. Our next responsibility is to strengthen the Club’s nances so future generations can be better prepared if dif cult times should arise again.
   I have a request to everyone reading this message. It would be nice to build on the momentum of the past year. Please try to visit the Club at least one more time a month. If you had been coming twice, kindly come a third time.
   I will go a step further and ask you to try our chef’s monthly special “La Fleur”, a wonderful course for ¥4,900. Personally, I make it a point not to miss “La Fleur” as it is a true gourmand treat. It’s a monthly adventure that keeps getting better month after month. That said, our menu is full of goodies, and sandwiches and tea are a great afternoon choice.
   Between now and the end of the year, I hope we can all contribute towards further improving our Club’s finances. I sincerely hope I can deliver a positive report on the “La Fleur Effect” at the next General Assembly in March.

- Chandru Mahtani

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