We had another finance committee meeting back on March 19. The following is a quick summary of what was discussed:
-We examined the profit and loss statement year-to-date, the balance sheet also. We noted that next year’s budget is due to the Diocese by May 1st.
-The school endowment charter is being updated to follow a diocesan template and change the name to Divine Mercy, rather than the former name, St. John the Baptist.
-We are finally at the point where we can begin our monthly internal audits, performed by finance committee members. We will begin this, using standard Diocesan forms. The chairman of the finance council from my last parish will come to do some training in a couple months. We will begin trying to use the forms before he comes, however, and he can check our work.
-We are signing a contract with the Martin-Riley Company out of Fort Wayne to do a thorough analysis and recommendation for repair of the moisture problem in the bell tower in Antwerp. The analysis will cost about $3,600. My own observation (risking my life for the cause, climbing through the crawl-hole by means of a shaky 10-foot ladder, and hanging over an even taller stairwell!) is that fixing the louvers alone will be a huge part of the solution. The louvers have gaps carved into them, such that even the lightest rain or snow would not be prevented direct entry. Then there are places on the floor were flashing has cracked away, so the moisture can easily seep down. Looking through the huge spaces in the louvers, one can also see that there is some needed repair with the tuck-pointing.
-Once the confessional at Antwerp is done, we will be able to make the boys’ sacristy once again the place for some storage and for altar servers to vest for Mass. Now everything is stuffed behind the apse wall behind the tabernacle. It is quite crowded before Mass.
-A potential buyer has contacted our organ company (Muller Organ and Pipe) and offered to remove the large organ in the loft at Antwerp, paying us $1,000 for the organ. We are not sure when this will happen, but hopefully soon. This will allow for a significant increase in loft seating at Antwerp. I had hoped this would happen by Easter Triduum services, but the buyer has not yet contacted us directly.
-The initial recommendation from Sweetwater (out of Fort Wayne), the company that analyzed our sound problems at Paulding and Payne, arrived. At both places they are actually recommending, pretty much, a complete replacement. The cost at Payne would be $13,590. The cost at Paulding would be $8,936. I contacted Sweetwater to say we are not really willing to pay that much to repair the sound. Sweetwater broke the bill into smaller portions, so that we can choose to do less than they recommend. Their lesser recommendation for Payne would still be $5,973, the same for Paulding. The finance committee discussed doing this in stages, asking Sweetwater to do the very minimum to fix the problems, knowing we can add more later. Part of my request, for example, was to acquire a Lavaliere microphone for the deacons at each Mass (just like what the priest uses). We could forego this currently, in order to reduce expenses. We will be consulting with another source soon. The discussion is ongoing.
-Eventually we will be forced to change our fluorescent lighting to a more ecologically-friendly system. Fluorescents are being phased-out. We are currently looking at switching all of our fluorescent lighting to LED. Cash outlay at Antwerp and Paulding would be about $6,000 per campus. (The project at Payne is a bit different, since a different technology was already begun with the school, and since the hall at Payne does not have fluorescent lighting). We believe we can get an AEP grant to reduce the cost greatly. More research has to happen on this entire project, before we agree to move forward. It is good we are being proactive, rather than waiting until we are forced to make the move.
-The rectory at Paulding needs some repairs. We already have money designated from the large gift over the last couple of years to replace the siding, which is in disrepair. We do not have money budgeted, however, for fixing the front porch floor and railings. The cement/brick pillars holding up the porch have shifted, so that the railings in a couple places had to be the secured by some L-brackets and screws. Floorboards on the porch should be replaced as part of an overall repair. I am recommending the new PVC boards, in order to reduce long-term maintenance costs, always maintaining the current aesthetic of the rectory.
-We still have about $6,400 designated from that same large donation to fix the parking lots at all three campuses. We resurfaced Paulding and Antwerp last summer. Payne, with more damage, has to be quoted for a more thorough replacement of asphalt. Hopefully this can be done for less than $6,400. We will see.
-We looked at some small balances that remain unused from a few of the projects specified from the large donation given us in the last couple years.
-I mentioned that the “ydisciple” program of the Augustine Institute requires the $1,500 annual subscription. I’m still struggling, however, with exactly how best to improve our high school youth program. Research is ongoing.
-I asked if it seemed the church on each campus is getting cleaned well with the volunteer system. For the most part, the answer was affirmative. I asked the question, however, because at one of the campuses it seemed not to be the case.… at least on a couple of occasions when I ran into some evidence. I am so grateful for parishioners taking ownership even of the cleaning of the parish, but I want to be realistic if we have arrived at the moment when cleaning has to be contracted out. I will ask the pastoral council for input on this as well. Overall I think we are doing ok, but on a couple of occasions I have questioned.
-Although I know that volunteers who serve in various capacities–altar servers, sacristans, choir, decorators, musicians, funeral luncheon crews, etc., etc.–don’t do the work for recognition, in past parishes I’ve always seen some type of event in place to recognize those who give so generously of their time and talent. We are organizing a Baseball game to thank altar servers. I am contemplating some type of catered dinner near Thanksgiving time to thank all of our volunteers overall. Then we have a couple ideas for the children’s choir and youth involved in music. Such events cost some money, but they build the community and genuinely express our appreciation for the great volunteerism in this parish. Council members seemed to agree with the value of such appreciation events once a year.
-the ACABishop’s campaign is going very well at our parish. I am impressed, and grateful for how we have been able to show our support of the diocesan offices that have continually supported us so strongly.
That’s it for the finance council recap. On another note, many, many thanks to all those who made our Easter Triduum liturgies beautiful: choir, cantors, musicians, decorators, sacristans, altar servers, lectors, etc. Have a Blessed Divine Mercy weekend, and a Blessed Easter!
In cordibus Iesu et Mariae,