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How much money in the Troop Treasury?


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#41 The Blancmange

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 11:19 AM

if that troop owns a trailer, then 8-10k is a drop in the bucket to purchase a new one. If it needs an emergency fix, that money would go pretty fast.

 

 

 

Equipment of that sort of value should be insured. (There are other threads discussing this, and whose name it should be in). 


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#42 Col. Flagg

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 11:56 AM

Equipment of that sort of value should be insured. (There are other threads discussing this, and whose name it should be in). 

 

Troops might have high deductibles in order to lower their rates, so insurance may only cover so much. If they have lower deductibles then they need to keep money in the bank to pay the higher rate. In either case, savings is needed to pay x amount. And if one needs a new trailer insurance does not enter in to the equation.


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#43 blw2

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Posted 10 July 2017 - 08:27 AM

or one could argue that for the relatively small amount of property that a troop has (even including a trailer), that they could self insure.


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#44 frankpalazzi

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 10:01 PM

But it is of value in emergencies where taking advantage of a discreet amount of savings allows the unit to purchase that new gear that just went unexpectedly on sale, that Philmont slot that opened up at the last minute or that unexpected expense of replacement (of gear or such) due to an act of God.

Let's not throw the baby out with the bath water. Personal Mgmt even teaches us to save and invest wisely, keep good records and audit to maintain credibility. It does NOT teach us to live paycheck to paycheck.

Personal Management is not the same as Troop Management.  In your annual budget planning, the oldest/most worn equipment should be replaced.  Have enough in reserve for the September post-summer Camp COH.  Camping, Awards, equipment, etc.  Every fundraiser has a definite purpose.  "We are raising money in order to ___________."  If you can't fill in that blank, don't do the fundraiser.  Don't have an "emergency fund"?  There's the purpose for a fundraiser, but the money is ONLY used for that purpose--it's kept "aside" on paper and declared as Emergency Funds in the Treasurer's report. In Personal Management, investing and saving is encouraged.  Why a scout troop would invest/risk their hard-earned money is beyond my understanding.  Scouts have no "skin in the game" if their money is sitting in a CD or an investment portfolio.  Saving is fine, but it should have a purpose. For example, purchasing a trailer.   In Troop Management, "thrifty" means "spend wisely".  There is no retirement fund in Troop Management.

 

So, your fundraiser(s) went much better than expected and you have quite the surplus?  Spend it off by subsidizing some high-adventure trips, or summer camp! How about some custom Troop hats or T-shirts for the boys?  But SPEND it!!!!  Like Stosh said, money in the bank does the boys no good.  A five-figure bank account in a scout troop or Cub Pack is nothing more than an ego-boost for the treasurer.  Raise what you need, and put the money to work for your boys.

 

BSAs Unit Budget Plan is the way to go.  Go by the book, and no one can call you out. (Miss you Tom!)


Edited by frankpalazzi, 11 July 2017 - 10:09 PM.

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#45 Back Pack

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 05:46 AM

Nice post. Still does not refute the wisdom of troops having savings.
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#46 Stosh

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 06:48 AM

 I have a brand new troop, less than 4 years old now.  We just paid off our fees for summer camp.  Each boy is expected to pay $50 so he has skin in the game for the event.  Camp costs about $260 for the week.  We now have about $300 in the unit's bank account.  When we get back from camp, we have fundraisers planned to cover the cost of the fall camporee.  Popcorn sales promotion starts next month as well.

 

Yes, one can run a unit on "just enough to get by".  If something disastrous happens to our equipment, we'll scrounge around for more hand-me-downs or do a fundraiser.  Right now we have tents, sleeping bags, and backpacks for every boy in the troop, 4 propane stoves, too.  They are all hand-me-downs from other troops that upgraded their equipment.  

 

When the boys realize that duct tape patching of tents doesn't always hold out water, either they are going to be excited about fundraising new tents or bring one from home.  Either way works. 

 

When they are boy led, they are all in the know about the financial situation we face with no extra funds to fall back on.  They take very good care of the equipment they have and are the ones to initiate the discussion on equipment and program needs.  Last year one of my boys won a big screen TV from the council for being the top salesman for the popcorn sales.  He basically paid enough out of those funds to insure all the boys in the patrol made it to summer camp this year.  He's the PL and he takes care of his boys. 

 

The unit is located in a depressed area of town and there's not much when it comes to having money in the families to pay for scouting, but the neighborhood is very good about understanding this and our fundraisers tend to be very successful. 

 

Right now, how many scouts in your unit know exactly how much money is in the unit's bank account?  In my troop they all do.  They also know how many boys are in the troop.  How many are going to summer camp and how much money they will need to raise to make it happen.  Just this last meeting, we were discussing the last minute details for summer camp.  One of the boys asked how many vehicles we will need and whether the adults were expecting to get paid for gas money.  Both the ASM and I said we were planning on donating the fuel costs to the trip because the camp provides for 2 adults to come at no cost for the week.  I was impressed with the question the boy asked because it showed the sensitivity they all possess on the financial issues in the troop and it wasn't restricted to just the boys.

 

:)  It was funny at the spring camporee, one of the tent's zipper wasn't working and the boys couldn't get it zipped shut.  They were worried about bugs. It was a Civil War theme for the event and I was sleeping on the ground in a pup tent with no ends and no screening.  They brought this issue to my attention while I was sitting in front of my tent.  I looked back over my shoulder at my tent, then at them, smiled and said, "Figure it out or suck it up, cupcake."  They both laughed and that was the last I heard about the tent with the broken zipper.

 

NEVER underestimate what a scout can handle once they realize they need to be as responsible for everyone in the patrol/troop as the adults are.  It what makes them adults as well.  If something happens to all the scout gear, they will be the ones that are going to deal with it, it's their troop and they know it.


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#47 Stosh

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 07:06 AM

Nice post. Still does not refute the wisdom of troops having savings.

 

Back Pack, as mentioned in my previous post the boys run the program and that includes the issue of finances.  At their age, "There ain't no wisdom."  They generally have the attention span of a gnat.  But when it becomes apparent there is a need for something that needs to be bought, they step up and get it done.  They all know that scouting costs money and either they are going to get the neighborhood to help out or they're going to need to dig deeper into their pockets to make it happen.  Fall back savings can sometimes promote the idea that there's some free money out there.  It's not a good precept to promote.  This is their money, they raised it and they need to be spending it on a program that they benefit from.  Generating savings for the troop means money they won't have when the adults tell them it's no longer theirs, it's the bank's. 

 

It always amuses me when a scouter says, "We have money in the bank for that sort of thing."  No, WE, do not! It's not the adult's money, it belongs to the boys who raised it.  That's what thrifty is.  Maybe next time I'm around, give me a heads up on the fact that one is going to trigger a reaction. "THE BOYS have money in the bank for that sort of thing.  They can figure it out what needs to be done with it."  I have yet to run into a scout that says, "Let's do a big fundraiser so we have money in the bank for a rainy day!!"  Nope, we find that many of our outings are rainy days.  :)


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#48 Col. Flagg

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 09:02 AM

Back Pack, as mentioned in my previous post the boys run the program and that includes the issue of finances.  At their age, "There ain't no wisdom."  They generally have the attention span of a gnat.  But when it becomes apparent there is a need for something that needs to be bought, they step up and get it done.  They all know that scouting costs money and either they are going to get the neighborhood to help out or they're going to need to dig deeper into their pockets to make it happen.  Fall back savings can sometimes promote the idea that there's some free money out there.  

 

Sorry to but in @Stosh, but the notion that having savings (large, small or medium) equates to promoting a mindset of ambivalence toward financial frugality and a concept of "free money" is ludicrous.

 

The FED and financial managers all over push the concept of savings all over. The ability to pay for things with cash reserves, as opposed to credit, is a GOOD thing. Having money in the bank for a rainy day is a GOOD thing. If you have a large troop that has decent cash reserves (and the audit controls in place) you are being responsible in having reserves to pay for that emergency expense AND giving your Scouts the latitude to take advantage of opportunities that arise.

 

Case in point:

  • Our unit was offered a complete crew slot at a high adventure base late one spring, BUT to take advantage of the deal we had to pay IN FULL, within the week. With our cash reserves we were able to pay the amount, THEN set up the fundraising on how the guys going would pay for it.
     
  • Our trailer's breaking system needed a complete overhaul (switched to electric breaking system with load leveler). Without the reserve funds we would have had to cancel 2-3 months of camp outs in order to raise the money to repair the trailer. As it was we got the repairs done that week AND the PLC approved a fundraiser to repay the reserve fund.
     
  • The USS Lexington had an opening due to cancellation. The cost for travel and overnight was $5k and payment needed within the week. Savings paid the cost and the PLC developed a fundraiser which repaid the money plus interest.

Under your philosophy, my unit would have missed out on these great adventures. Sorry, but I just don't buy the argument. The troop lives within its means, we just pay for it differently AND the boys learn the value of saving AND repaying the "loans" from their cash reserves.

 

That's called good financial management. If I wanted to ding your approach (and I am not, I am just offering the Devil's Advocate approach), your approach teaches them to live paycheck to paycheck...which it not ideal.


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#49 Stosh

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 01:59 PM

:)  My approach is the same one I use personally with the exception of saving for retirement.  Yes, I have a huge retirement reserve to last me the rest of my life.  

 

On the other hand, I own two houses, one that I live in, one that my daughter lives in and pays rent.

 

I have 5 cars.

 

I have 5 kayaks and lots of "toys" to play with.

 

.... and yet I have not taken out a loan on any of them except the first house I bought 40 years ago ($61,500), student loans ($1500) and the first car I needed for work ($1500).  I saved up specifically for everything else.  That is not the same thing as saving up for a "rainy day" which is undesignated savings, usually under the disguise of CD investments that can't be touched for a year or two at times.  This is not the same thing as having a HA account, or a trailer account, or special activity accounts that may come up.  Those accounts are not emergency accounts, those are designated for specific activities the boys may come up with.  Nothing wrong with that.  Having money in an "emergency fund" for the sake of having an "emergency fund" is nothing more than money set aside for the boys not to use for activities and programs.  In real life, sometimes instant gratification isn't always an option.

 

And by the way, the money ain't the unit's anyway.  :)  Does the CO know about the money that's not being spent on the boys?

 

By the way (I'll play the Devil's Advocate here, too)  For these last minute "emergencies" one could also ask the parents to pay for the trips or the CO for the trailer repair.  After all, it's their trailer.  

 

Yes, the boys have "borrowed" funds from me in a true emergency (happened twice in 40 years) and they paid me back without a problem.  If they didn't I'd have taken it as a donation on my taxes.  No big deal.

 

And no, it does not teach them to live paycheck to paycheck, it teaches them to quit hoarding money that may never be needed at the expense of programs and activities.


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#50 Col. Flagg

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 02:15 PM

 

And no, it does not teach them to live paycheck to paycheck, it teaches them to quit hoarding money that may never be needed at the expense of programs and activities.

 

@Stosh, since when is saving = hoarding?

 

Let's get a few things straight:

  • Cash reserves should be based on need. Larger troops may need more than smaller troops. Yes, at some point even larger troops should cap cash reserves.
     
  • There's nothing wrong with the Scouts using cash reserves for opportunities that arise. They (the boys) have even set up guidelines for when they can/can't apply for reserve use.
     
  • All payments from the reserve has to 1) be paid in full within 6 months, and 2) must include a fundraising project and not be parents paying the bill.
     
  • While we love our CO and have been here since our founding, the do not see us as an extension of their ministry. They see us as a tenant, so the trailer is seen as "our problem", not theirs.
     
  • Having cash on hand (in the bank and not stored in some booth at the county fair, or under someone's mattress) is helpful and useful.
     
  • ANY amount of cash reserves, as well as any fundraising programs, should have a complete audit trail. If not you are just setting yourself up for failure.

It is beginning to sound like you have an ax to grind against units that either have cash reserves or that are large and financially prosperous. I cannot believe any Scouter would have a problem with a group of boys that have learned at 14 to manage, not only their own finances, but those of the their organization.

 

I mean, we ARE supposed to be teaching these guys responsibility, right? What better way than to plan and manage not only the program, but the finances as well? You are the big "boy led" advocate. I'd expect more support from you on this...unless you have something against rich troops.  ;)


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#51 pchadbo

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 02:15 PM

My Rule of thumb when I handled the finances (days thankfully left behind) was at the end of the year, I wanted $0 + the MINIMUM cost to operate for one year, ranks, awards, books and other predictable expenses. This allowed for a year to recover if a fundraiser fell flat on its face without having to stop program due to lack of funding, but it also made sure that when we had a great fundraiser, the great fundraisers benefited from the work they put in.The boys that earn it should reap the benefit.

Long term capital investments, trailers etc, are separate issues handles outside of the "normal" budget.


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#52 Stosh

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 02:30 PM

Cub packs with $10,000+ in CD's is what I am talking about.  And why would a Cub program need a trailer.

 

Yes, I've a small troop, but somehow, the boys seem to do well with the finances.  They are eager to do fundraisers because they know how important the money is to the things they want to do.  When, or if, they ever decide that the back of my pickup isn't big enough and want a trailer, then they can address setting aside money for it or finding another parent who has a pickup to help out.  They also have the opportunity to rent a trailer as needed and incorporate the cost into the budget of the activity.  Saving up money is but one option, there's others out there that can widen the boy's understanding of finances as part of their scouting career (A Scout is Thrifty).

 

One of the most important life lessons my boys get is paying one's own way.  Mom and Dad aren't going to be there forever to get you your latest wish.  Sometimes one has to roll up their sleeves and work for it up front.

 

My parents bought my Scout Uniform.  I paid for everything else from my own money I worked for and yes, I worked before it was legal.  I have tax records from 1962 when my parents taught me how to file my taxes.  :)


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#53 Col. Flagg

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 02:49 PM

One of the most important life lessons my boys get is paying one's own way.  Mom and Dad aren't going to be there forever to get you your latest wish.  Sometimes one has to roll up their sleeves and work for it up front.

 

My parents bought my Scout Uniform.  I paid for everything else from my own money I worked for and yes, I worked before it was legal.  I have tax records from 1962 when my parents taught me how to file my taxes.   :)

 

We pay our own way as well. Nearly 85% or more of what we do is funded by fundraising in advance of events. This is especially true for Philmont and other such trips.

 

For that 15%, these are opportunities that present themselves with immediate payment required to secure locations. This is where the cash reserves come in. Other parts of the reserve are ear-marked for trailer maintenance, gear replacement/refurbishment, troop operational budget and other things.


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#54 Stosh

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 03:16 PM

As long as none of the funds are earmarked for 3-year CD's at .25% interest, I think you are good to go.  :)


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#55 blw2

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Posted 13 July 2017 - 12:20 PM

.....  And why would a Cub program need a trailer......

side track,

but I would argue that troops don't really "need" a trailer either.... and in fact I'd rather it be a small one if they do one at all

but they can prove useful.

Our pack had a trailer, bought long before my time..... but we used it generally several times each year, not so different than how a troop does.  Ours was a small enclosed trailer, maybe 4x8 or 4x10... don't remember for sure

The pack had some equipment for our camping outings...cook stoves, coolers, ez up canopies, first aid kit, etc...and would stock consumables such as utensils, trash bags, etc....


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#56 Col. Flagg

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Posted 13 July 2017 - 12:37 PM

but I would argue that troops don't really "need" a trailer either.... and in fact I'd rather it be a small one if they do one at all

 

 

I would argue that the need for a trailer depends on the size of your troop. For my unit we average 40-50 guys per camp out. Even if we are backpacking we need space to haul those packs. Not everyone has an SUV or luggage rack like I do. I can take 6 guys and packs in my set up, but many guys still have sedans.

 

So unless we require Scouters to have large SUVs -- or we do like my troop did when I was a kid and buy a school bus, rennovate it and get all the Scouters to get their Class C license -- the trailer is the next best thing to support our outdoor program.


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#57 Stosh

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Posted 13 July 2017 - 01:29 PM

side track,

but I would argue that troops don't really "need" a trailer either.... and in fact I'd rather it be a small one if they do one at all

but they can prove useful.

Our pack had a trailer, bought long before my time..... but we used it generally several times each year, not so different than how a troop does.  Ours was a small enclosed trailer, maybe 4x8 or 4x10... don't remember for sure

The pack had some equipment for our camping outings...cook stoves, coolers, ez up canopies, first aid kit, etc...and would stock consumables such as utensils, trash bags, etc....

 

A 4' x 8' trailer is but a wee bi smaller than the standard sized pickup bed.  Hook that to a 4' x 10' rented trailer, and one can now haul more than 2 pickup trucks and still stay within the weight and standard tow capacity for the average pickup truck.

 

Yeah, but....  Yeah, but.... Yeah, but.... ya gotta load the equipment every time and haul it from storage.  Well, I guess that's what the QuarterMaster has to figure out.  After all he has to do something to earn his POR.  Maybe an hour to load and another hour to unload to go to an event and again 2 hours on the return.  6 month POR requirement  WOW that's 24 hours of work over 6 months and all the boys in the troop to help?  That's a very generous estimate. 

 

So when one gets home, pickups drive home with the scouters and the rented trailer is returned.  So, what's left?  No trailer to store, no security break-in issues to worry about, and someone has to drive by the lot everyday to make sure the whole thing didn't get stolen.

 

So, tell me again, if a Scout is Thrifty, why do they need a $3,000-$5,000 trailer instead of putting it into programming?  :)


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#58 Col. Flagg

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Posted 13 July 2017 - 01:36 PM

So, tell me again, if a Scout is Thrifty, why do they need a $3,000-$5,000 trailer instead of putting it into programming?  :)

 

Because that 24 hours a month is actually another 48 hours for the two (deep) adults that have to help the kid haul gear in and out of storage. Then add a few more hours (and gas, plus lost time) for the adults to go back and forth to the rental center each time to rent the trailers. Then the admin time to complete the paperwork, etc. Then the receipts and auditing required to track and report those expenses, plus gas.

 

There's are costs not being accounted for in your model, @Stosh. I won't argue it's not cheaper, but I will argue not all those costs are accounted for. A true CBA would need all costs for both models to be compared, then the benefit can be realized by looking at the delta and determining if the convenience is worth that difference.


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#59 Stosh

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Posted 13 July 2017 - 02:01 PM

Because that 24 hours a month is actually another 48 hours for the two (deep) adults that have to help the kid haul gear in and out of storage.

 

OR.... the adults can get out of the way of the boy led process, get a cup of coffee and with 40-50 boys, they can form a bucket brigade line that will empty the storage unit faster than it can be loaded.  Of course a functional QuaterMaster is going to need to earn his pay to work out the logistics of this process.  But then, that's HIS job.

 

Then add a few more hours (and gas, plus lost time) for the adults to go back and forth to the rental center each time to rent the trailers.

 

Hours?  The scouters should be able to pick up the trailers along the way to and from the activity.  Unless one lives in the boonies.  Then I'll concede the point.

 

Then the admin time to complete the paperwork, etc. Then the receipts and auditing required to track and report those expenses, plus gas.

 

Again, the boy led unit would have a functional Scribe responsible for the paperwork.  Maybe the SM's signature is needed on some form, but that shouldn't take that long.

 

There's are costs not being accounted for in your model, @Stosh. I won't argue it's not cheaper, but I will argue not all those costs are accounted for. A true CBA would need all costs for both models to be compared, then the benefit can be realized by looking at the delta and determining if the convenience is worth that difference.

 

As a SM/Scouter, I am donating lots of hours to the boys.  An hour or two here and there is negligible.  I find my ASM's feel the same way.

 

In planning for the event the Scribe can do a quick Google map to find the distance to the event, check the local gas station or have an app that tells the price of local gas, calculate the # of vehicles and average mpg. and add it to the cost of the event along with registration fees, food and other expenses.  Of course this implies the Scribe is functional in the planning of the event.

 

Convenience?  For whom?  The adults or the boys?  Did the boys show up just to be entertained, or is there some sort of work that goes into the transportation issue?  Mom's not there to cook the meals, why should Dad be there to load the equipment?  Everyone right up to the PL are responsible for taking care of their boys and a working roster that doesn't include trip preparation is a classic example of a PL not taking care of his boys.  An older scout might be expected to carry an 80# canoe on a 3 mile portage in the BWCA, but he can't help out with loading a trailer because it's inconvenient?  Yes, BWCA has 3 mile portages  Yeah, try that on a hot summer afternoon with all the mosquitoes dining on you.  :(

 

Yes, from an adult perspective this can be a daunting and inconvenient process, but many of the lessons learned by the boys doing it will allow the boys to save a lot of money by putting money in their pockets in return for some sweat equity. 

 

My second troop I was associated with had a trailer..... we never used it not even for storage.  For convenience sake, we as adults, often rob the boys of some good life lessns/experiences that will make them better as they get older.


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#60 Col. Flagg

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Posted 13 July 2017 - 02:20 PM

@Stosh, I challenge you to execute your plan in the greater DFW area. ;)

 

It looks good on paper. Reality sets in and you realize time, space and dimension would need to be warped in order to make your model work here. Just sayin' location will dictate logistics. 


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