Lake Mohawk Country Club hires new manager

| 15 Feb 2012 | 09:35

    Replaces Fran Smith, who held the position for 27 years SPARTA — Lake Mohawk resident Ernie Hofer has been a volunteer member of the Lake Mohawk Country Club Board of Trustees since 2004, with role as president for the past seven years. He has spent countless hours helping make Lake Mohawk a state-of-the-art community in terms of lake management and water quality, along with a leading infrastructure. On Oct. 1 he began his newest roll as the club’s general manager. Hofer is replacing Fran Smith, who was at the helm since 1984. She stepped down in May of this year. Hofer was thrilled to be hired for this position. “At least 45 applications were thoroughly evaluated,” said Hofer, and he agrees with the search committee that he is qualified for the job. Hofer holds three formal degrees - two in engineering and one in management. He continues to run his own engineering consulting practice rather than retire. He is a Watershed Specialist for the Wallkill River Watershed Management Group. According to Hofer, this is part of the Sussex County Municipal Utility Authority (SCMUA) who manages lake water quality, aquifers, and the general protection of natural resources. Hofer has lived in Lake Mohawk for 15 years. He said he has a passion to continue improving and enhancing the lake. “Based on my experience and willingness, along with my availability and vision, I want to apply all of this to serve the best interest of my neighbors and Lake Mohawk,” said Hofer enthusiastically. As general manager his main task is to protect and preserve Lake Mohawk and its quality of life. He said, “I also plan to continue as a leader in guiding the club, focusing on assets and infrastructure protection.” Hofer believes budget management and control is another important responsibility of the general manager. According to an article in the September issue of The Papoose, the Lake Mohawk magazine, Smith had tight control of the club’s finances. Year-to-date expenses are 15 percent below 2010, but the club’s capital replacement fund has a $600,000 deficit due to a decrease in catering revenue and initiation fees of homes sold. Membership is being asked to support a Close the Gap assessment at a cost of $140/property for a total of $377,000. Hofer said this is a necessary request. “It can provide sufficient funds to prudently manage the needs of club, but the $140 was an initial budget number, we are now looking at $180.” Hofer said catering net income has been on the decline for the past three years. “It is really a reflection of the economy and we have been taking the right steps to achieve more revenue.” Prior to the busy summer season, updates were made to the Lake Mohawk Web site to focus on catering and special events. A new menu was introduced at the restaurant along with better training of staff. Hofer denied the rumor that Catering Manager Larry Patton will be out of a job since numbers are down. Hofer also dispelled the myth that the entire lake will be dredged in the near future. “There are two lakes - main and upper, plus Alpine pool. There is no discussion of the major lake. Upper lake will have a dam rebuild in 2013.” He said the board is looking into whether that presents an opportunity to do extremely limited dredging in certain areas, but no decision has been made yet. Hofer said he will continue to meet with the Board of Trustees and plans to improve the lines of communication with residents. The Board is holding an informational meeting for members on Saturday, Oct. 8 at 9:30 a.m. On Saturday, Oct. 22 members can vote on the budgetary issues. Board elections will also be held. Hofer paid homage to the current members. “I’ve accomplished a great deal here, but also through the aid of great people, a very talented Board of Trustees.” Overall, this new manager is excited about the future. “I feel I have a lot of skills and talents and I want to take that one step further to protect the lake and enhance it for the community.”