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The Texas Association of Campground Owners (TACO) is neither “exiting ARVC” nor even “testing the waters” but instead is serving its members in the best way it can by altering its membership with the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC).
That’s how Brian Schaeffer, TACO executive director, explained why TACO’s board decided to cease being a fully affiliated member of ARVC and opted for cooperative status.
This means that TACO will stop collecting ARVC dues on behalf of all of its membership and remitting it to ARVC. Instead, its 386 members will have the option to pay their ARVC dues separately from their TACO dues.
Schaeffer notified ARVC CEO Linda Profaizer in late October of TACO’s decision.
The dues issue was brewing for more than a year, ever since ARVC announced the increase in 2007, to take effect in 2009. The $50 hike puts dues on a sliding scale between $135 and $458.
“We tried twice to discuss with ARVC the possibility of phasing in the increase over a couple of years,” said Schaeffer. “They were not warm to the idea.”
TACO, which is among the top three states in terms of number of campgrounds and campsites among all ARVC member states, surveyed its members this year, he said, and learned these priorities:
• The No. 1 concern was governmental affairs. “They wanted us to be more involved on the state level,” he said.
• No. 2, they wanted a PR campaign that focused on Texas that would benefit them.
• ARVC programs were on their list of concerns but were rated lower,” he said.
The TACO board subsequently voted on an action plan, but all of those actions, combined with the ARVC increase, “left our budget way upside down,” he said. TACO paid ARVC $56,000 in 2008 and would have paid a minimum of $76,000 in 2009, Schaeffer estimated.
The board then decided to fall back to the cooperating status with ARVC for a year and let its members decide on their own whether to pay ARVC dues, he said.
TACO’s decision was not a secret kept from its membership, he said, and neither is it correct to suggest that “we hoodwinked our members. That’s not what happened.”
Schaeffer’s letter to Profaizer at the end of October “set off a firestorm of meetings” before and during the InSites convention, Schaeffer noted.
Ultimately, TACO was granted its request to hold cooperative status with ARVC for a year, starting in 2009.