On March 21st, we had another finance council meeting, and here are the main topics we covered:
= We reviewed the financial reports: balance sheet, profit and loss statement, accounts payable. It seems that now that we’ve done this process for a couple of years, the budget has become a pretty useful and accurate tool. Next, one of the councilmembers give a quick summary of the internal audit she did for the last couple of months (using standard diocesan forms). Everything was in place; and Dianne Jones was able to answer the questions that came up with this internal audit.
= We noted that the Amazing Parish Conference cost a total of $5,361. Money did not come from an outside source to cover this (yet?), as I thought it might. But the conference was well worth the cost, giving us the opportunity to be part of this movement, with our Bishop in the lead. Sixteen parishes in our diocese attended. And our parish team came back with plenty of confirmation for what is happening in the parish now, and ideas for how to move forward.
= We’re in the process of putting together next year’s budget. The fiscal year runs July 1-June 30. The budget is due to the Diocese by May 1st. We’re collecting expense estimates from every department, and every area of parish life. Given that this year’s weekly collections are running an average $8,075, we’re going to set next year’s average in the budget at $8,100. We would love to see the income increase each year, rather than decreasing as it has over the last number of years. We have to increase salaries at least a bit each year; and maintenance expenses by definition increase each year. One way to explain the whole purpose of the Amazing Parish Movement is to say that we are seeking to move parishes from a state of managing decline to a state of vibrant growth. Demographics certainly can work against us. And we can’t control them, for the most part. But demographics don’t fully explain the phenomenon of decline in parishes, if we’re not doing our best to reach out and bring back those who have fallen away from the church, or bring to the church for the first time those who have never been here. This is where the Amazing Parish Movement so focusses us on mission to the culture around us.
= We held this finance meeting in my rectory, so that the council could take a tour. I showed them the places in the basement where water was coming through the walls, and the damage to the front porch floor and pillars. We do not have quotes yet for digging around the foundation of the basement and installing gravel and drainage tiles, and perhaps putting some type of vapor barrier on the outside walls of the basement, and replacing the porch floor and straightening the pillars. But I bet we are looking at some $30,000 at least for all of it. The digging and the porch have to happen at the same time, given that the digging has to happen under the porch. It’s a beautiful rectory, and I’ve tried to do some small things to maintain it. Most significantly, remember that a few families helped me strip all of the old, water-damaged and moldy paneling and insulation from the inside basement walls. The same for the ceiling tiles in the basement. So at least we can see everything; and we could bleach down the walls to remove any mold. We will also have to spend a few thousand dollars on repair of the shower up in my bathroom. Again, there is some water damage over the years, and there has been some mold as a result. Then there is some interior painting to be done. The exterior siding should be replaced. The estimates received for this run $25,000-$32,000. We did learn that perhaps we could do one side at a time, one portion each year. That will be easier on the budget. There are many places where parts of the siding have fallen out, and wood is exposed beneath. There was consensus in the council that we should maintain the rectory. It’s the one place we have for the priest to live; and this priest serves all three campuses – i.e., the whole parish. It has been suggested that we might consider building something smaller. But given the market for a house like this, selling and rebuilding probably doesn’t make much sense.
= Given that we have had to replace a couple air-conditioners at our Payne campus (church and school), we’ve been advised to budget for a few replacements this coming year. Last year we spent about $6,000 per air-conditioner replaced. Since all the units were put in at the same time, we expect the few remaining ones to break down soon.
= We looked at a tuition increase of $75 per student for the school. Last week’s bulletin showed the various tuition levels. With our increased use of FACTS for tuition help assessment and for tuition management; and with a much more organized approach to Ed Choice scholarships, the parish subsidy of the school was reduced some $40,000. That’s pretty amazing! Tuition payments were much more regular this year than in the past years. The tuition delinquency problem has been greatly reduced. And there are many more payment method options available for families.
= We are still talking about what type of border to get for the school playground, to keep the pea gravel from spilling out onto the asphalt, where it is slippery and dangerous. We received a quote from Playworld Midstates for a heavy rubber border for $20, 962. This quote includes some extras, such as mulch and movement of various equipment, and the excavation. Would it be possible to purchase the border, and find community members to help with the extras? All of this is being studied. The other option is to put wooden beams around the playground area. We received a grant for $2,500, with the possibility of a second equal grant towards this project.
= As a continuation of our Antwerp Belltower repair, we realized a surface immediately above the trap door leading from the top of the choir stairwell towards the belltower still does not have any vapor barrier on it. We think there is still moisture coming in – condensation happening – because of the exchange of warm air from the choir loft and cold air from the belltower. So we had Momper spray foam insulation in that space, and we hope that will prevent any further damage. The foam insulation was $440.
= We are still studying how we can fix the problem with the loudness of the speakers behind people’s heads up in the loft at Antwerp. The speakers are very heavy, so it is not easy to figure out how and where to re-hang them.
= Just outside the Ed Center at Paulding, we have to remove the downspouts from the sewer connection to drain grade. This is required by the Village of Paulding. About $1,750.
= We are getting book racks for the back of the handicap chairs at Paulding, and for the same chairs back underneath the Sacred Heart statute. For the front row chairs in each case, we are searching for some suitable side pouches. The racks for the back of the chairs were covered by a donation from a parishioner.
= At Payne we’re still looking at re-asphalting the parking lot. The project will be over $70,000, and we are seeking a third bid. Given the money that had been set aside from a gift a few years ago for that parking lot, in addition to another donation from a parishioner, we have $22,241 already set aside for the project. We are thinking of doing the project in June, so that most of the payment falls in the next fiscal year. We won’t start officially asking for any donations towards this project, until the Bishop’s ACA campaign is closed.
= I would still like to see some floor-to-ceiling cupboards built in the boys’ sacristy at Payne. The space has to be made much more efficient, so that things are not so cluttered back there as we serve the Mass and other liturgies.
= A heating unit went out in the school in the last couple of months, and Hartman Brothers gave us a deal to save almost $2,000 by replacing both that heating unit and one of the air-conditioning units that we knew would be on its last leg. The total cost was $9,000 for this repair.
So there is a lengthy review of our finance council meeting. Have a blessed week!
In cordibus Iesu et Mariae,