Since the merger of Aurora Minor Baseball Association and King Township Baseball Association, and prior to the pandemic, Aurora King Baseball Association [AKBA] has been in a strong financial position. Give or take a few percentage points, AKBA has maintained it operating reserves so that they are equivalent to approximately 40% of the Association’s annual operating budget. For example, at the end of the 2019 baseball season [October 31st, 2019] AKBA’s bank balance was $102,995.
At the 2019 Annual Meeting, the Board was faced with questions around the size of the operating reserve fund and asked for details around what the plans were in place to reduce the said reserves. Historically there has always been concern from pockets of the membership about the size of the Association’s operational reserve.
At the time of those questions, the organization was going through a governance change. The response to the question was “The new Board will review the financial situation of the Association and will develop a strategy regarding the financial reserve.”.
Five months after the October AKBA AGM, the global pandemic hit, shutting down sport in this province among everything else. Not having known what was forthcoming, through the fall and winter of 2019/20 the Board continued with their planning for the 2020 season including committing to purchases for equipment and uniforms for the expected season, which totalled $108,000.
Luckily having a healthy cash balance and having started collecting registration fees for the 2020 season, AKBA was able to pay all creditors. It was not long afterwards that decisions were made to cancel the 2020 house league season and significantly reduce the competitive season due to very strict COVID regulations from Baseball Ontario, the Government of Ontario, and York Public Health. This resulted in issuing refunds and more importantly, not being able to recoup the money spent on the equipment and uniforms through normal registration fees.
Exactly one year later after having $102,995 in the bank, AKBA was down to $34,724 because of the above and by January 2021, the bank account hit an all-time low of $28,044.
Anticipating another rough year in 2021 but feeling confident there was going to be some sort of a season, for both house league and competitive teams, the Board, conservatively, continued planning over the fall/winter of 2020/21, which meant making necessary financial commitments. By May 2021, the AKBA bank account dropped to $8,662, and AKBA did not have enough money in the bank to pay vendors to ensure uniform pieces would arrive on time for an anticipated season start of June 2021. For the first time AKBA was in a potential crippling financial position.
Thankfully to a generous gesture, one of the AKBA Board members financed one of the $15,000 purchases while AKBA collected revenue to pay the bill. Since then, all bills have been paid and the Board member was paid back quickly once registration fees started to role in.
As with many other aspects of life, it will take time for AKBA to recover fully from the effects of COVID. The Association, because of previous and continued strong management, was fortunate to have a healthy cash balance that enabled the Association to continue to offer programming through and after the pandemic. Even with such a significant balance, the Association almost was unable to get to year two of the pandemic.
The AKBA Board of Directors continues to be committed to ensuring that there are opportunities for youth in Aurora and King Township to play baseball. There is a strong appreciation that the healing process from this pandemic will take a few years, and the Board will continue to manage the Association to ensure its financially healthy during and after the pandemic so that there continues to be opportunities for the youth in your community to play the best game in the world.