Dear Parishioners, +JMJ
Last week we had our first finance council meeting of the new academic year. Below are the highlights:
-We welcomed two new members, Beth Coughlin and Jon Knepper. Then we reviewed the purpose of the finance council, i.e., to give advice to the pastor in his management of all of the “temporal goods” of the parish.
-We reviewed the balance sheet, profit and loss statement, and accounts payable reports. One council member shared the results of her internal audit, which we do bi-monthly, following a procedure set out by the Diocese.
We handled old business:
-The fact that we established a cemetery board to give us advice on policies and procedures for our two parish cemeteries. We are establishing common “plot” language between the two cemeteries, and we are updating pricing and policies, using the current Diocesan cemetery examples as a guideline.
-And the fact that we completed the Payne parking lot project, which cost $80,757. To date we have raised $55,154 to cover that expense. We are so grateful for those who have already donated to recuperate these funds; and we are hoping for more donations to cover this major expense fully. That is what I told the Bishop I was sure we could do.
We handled items of new business:
-The vocation endowment committee met this summer to look at the endowment financial reports, since the initial $100,000 for vocation promotion had been invested a year ago. In one year the fund made $5,255 of interest. The committee agreed to use $2,000 of that interest to cover various costs for this year, including the girls retreat this past summer and the boys vocation luncheon with Fr. Phil Smith, the new Vocations Director of the diocese.
-We reviewed the final report for the beer and wine tasting social, the proceeds of which will go to the Payne parking lot project. The social raised a net profit of $5,790. And it was a very enjoyable event that involved all three of our campuses quite fully!
-We made the finance council members aware of the diocesan training meetings that are available for parish finance council members.
-For the first time since my arrival, we raised the question of the parish subsidy of our school. Although we greatly reduced the parish subsidy since my arrival from about $199,000 per year to the current $121,032 for this past fiscal year, the amount by which the parish subsidizes the school is still too high. The current subsidy is 39% of our annual income. A healthy ratio should be between 20-25%. So we really should find a way to lower the subsidy for the school. Right now, the only way I can see this happening is by holding a major fundraising evening, such as a celebrity waiter event, or an event where a significant entertainer could draw people in to give donations at a very ritzy dinner evening, or various events with reverse raffles or silent auctions, etc. Although school has many fundraisers, there is nothing in place right now actually to reduce the subsidy for basic operating costs by the parish. So we are quite open to ideas for some annual event to help us out in this area. We will continue to discuss this as a finance council, and with the school council. We want to put the school on the best financial foundation possible. The current subsidy level is not considered healthy.
Next we discussed project updates:
-We are still dealing with some moisture problems around the Antwerp belltower. We think we’ve narrowed down the remaining difficulty. In the next few weeks some more actions will be taken to provide a vapor barrier of insulation, and a fan in the dead space above the man-crawl right above the stairway going up to the choir loft. We are hoping this puts finishing touches on all the work that has been done thus far. It is, frankly, frustrating that a problem still remains. (Although Riley-Martin did all they promised to do, and genuinely improved the plant.)
-We are still looking at the possibility of speakers for under the choir loft in Antwerp. I have not forgotten the complaints of people who told me it feels a bit dead “sound wise” underneath the loft during Mass.
-We will continue to change our old lighting into LED lighting at Paulding’s campus. We are estimating still $350 worth of work. To a large extent, this has already happened at our other two campuses. In the long run, this should save us significant money.
-At the Payne campus, we had to repair an active roof leak into the storage room off the choir loft. This cost us an unexpected $3,750. Also, I’m still wondering if we could build some shelves in the sacristy at Payne, customizing them to fit very nicely everything that has to be stored for our liturgies.
-We reviewed Paulding rectory repairs. The bathroom tub/shower replacement and mold repair has been fixed, costing $9,313. The in-wall air conditioner in the dining room has finally been removed, and the exterior brick, and the interior drywall and insulation have been replaced, to prepare the dining room for painting. This cost was $1,600. There are some rooms in the rectory that have needed painting for a while now. We estimate $2,650 for this. We’ve begun the process of burying external tiles, which extend the downspouts that used to drain right next to the foundation of the rectory. Much to the credit of Dick Reinhart and Kevin Hanenkratt, we experimented by running drainage tiles out into the yard, to extend the rectory downspouts. This took all of the roof drainage far from the foundation of the rectory. We also removed a mound of dirt and mulch that had built up around one of the basement windows, draining water against the foundation. Taking these many small measures, we actually totally eliminated the water problem in the basement. What a relief! These measures saved us, I think, $25,000-$30,000. (We were considering having to dig around the rectory and put in drainage tiles.) Now it remains to bury those downspout extension tiles, which are extended into the yard, and which are a nuisance to mow around. This project costs $1,900. (Without trying to pamper the pastor too much, I am trying to be as responsible as possible keeping up the parish rectory!) A parishioner familiar with the current furniture in the rectory donated $3,330 for a new mattress and box spring, as well as some new living room furniture. So we purchased the living room furniture, as well as the new mattress and box spring. (Your pastor will probably be less grumpy, now that he is sleeping better!)
-We discussed updates with the school: After much study, and a generous grant from Walmart, we finally were able to purchase and install a playground border that seems perfect, to keep the stones from the playground equipment area from spilling out onto the asphalt. The stones-on-asphalt could make children slip and slide too much! Many thanks to Joe Linder and Ed Stuart for all their work on this project! Then, given the fact that new chrome books were purchased for the whole school with ASP funding, we were able to sell the old desktop computers and iPads for a total of $4,375. This money can now be used to spruce up the reception area and main hallway of the school, which now is pretty dumpy, for years employing cheap paper posters to cover over holes in the brick where shelves and other items had been anchored in. The new design will be much more inviting.
So, there are the highlights of our most recent finance council meeting. I’m very grateful to all of our finance council members for their service on the committee to maintain transparency on behalf of the parish and the diocese, and give their advice!
Have a blessed week!
In cordibus Iesu et Mariae,