Dear Parishioners, +JMJ
With this letter I would like to give you a quick synopsis of the most recent Financial Council meeting we had – almost 2 weeks ago now:
-We reviewed our initial responses to each of the findings from the diocesan audit. Our responses were due by the end of October. I already noted the major findings of the audit in any previous bulletin letter, but one more item is worth noting regarding the option that parishioners have to offer a weekly donation to the parish by means of automatic electronic giving. This came up because in one instance of the spot-checking the auditors did, they discovered that we were withdrawing five dollars more each month than what a certain parishioner’s request seems to have been when he set up electronic giving for himself a couple years ago. There was no documentation to explain why we were withdrawing about five dollars more per month. We are pretty sure that this must have been authorized verbally, because no complaint was lodged; but good record-keeping would require some type of written explanation for the increase–preferably something signed by the donor. This finding led to a whole discussion of our need to refresh the paperwork for those who give electronically. Perhaps there are other cases where we were told to take out a different amount, but nothing was put into writing. We also discussed how useful electronic giving is for the winter and summer weeks when people are either going South to avoid winter, or going to the lake; and so attend a Mass elsewhere. The parish, of course, still has to pay bills, even if some of our constituency is out of town. Electronic giving is a great way to make sure that your support of the parish remains consistent. Dianne Jones, our Finance Manager, will be contacting everybody who currently gives electronically to make sure our records are correct for these people. If there is anybody reading this who would like to begin to give electronically, please call Dianne Jones at the parish office, and she can answer any questions and help you with necessary paperwork.
-Next we looked at the financial reports (balance sheet, profit and loss statement, payables) for the month of September and the fiscal year leading up to September.
-We announced that sometime in the near future we will have a former diocesan auditor, currently the chair of the Finance Committee for St. Joseph’s Downtown Toledo, come to train our Finance Committee to do a monthly internal audit – checking the weekly collections tally sheets, matching them to bank deposit slips, and matching these to end-of-month bank statements; checking all bank statements; examining a detail of the profit-and-loss statement; etc. Two people working together from the Finance Committee should be able to get the job done in one hour each month.
-We reiterated that the maintenance fund for which we do a second collection a few times each month can cover anything that is a genuine maintenance expense. It need not be a project that is huge in order to dip into these funds. This collection for restricted maintenance funds is very useful for the parish.
-we noted that the mission fund is much higher than it ought to be. We should regularly be sending out money from this fund, rather than allowing it to build up. So we decided to donate the following from this fund on behalf of the parish: $1000 to the Monastery of the Visitation, the cloistered sisters in downtown Toledo who provide so much prayer power for the Diocese; $1000 to the Little Sisters of the Poor; $1000 to Cross Catholic International, a very reliable charity that provides education and other basic needs to the poorest of third world countries; $1000 to Hands of Hope; $1000 to Right to Life Pilgrims who travel to Washington, D.C. on our behalf and undertake other pro-life efforts; $5000 to Northwestern Ohio Community Action, a local office that is equipped to help the needy in Paulding County.
-We looked at an Excel spreadsheet that lists which projects have been accomplished using restricted funds (two $100,000 gifts in the last couple of years). These have been noted in the bulletin already.
-We met with four companies to give us quotes for a new air-conditioning system at our Paulding campus. We are looking at a Mitsubishi “city-multi” system with some headers around the nave, the choir loft and the sanctuary. Initially it seems the new system will cost us about $53,000, but we have yet to get a third quote, and then to decide. We hope to decide by the end of November. The whole project will have to be submitted to the Diocese for approval, including some proof that we can pay for this. We will be able to remove the huge air handlers from the choir loft, giving the choir more space, and finally giving us a bit more peace and quiet for our liturgies.
-We looked at a list of projects that were included on the “Five Year Plan”, and we noted which ones were completed, and which ones were not.
-We noted that we just purchased a new snow blower ($899) for use on sidewalks around the Ed Center at Paulding. We will still be able to use the old snow blower in the rectory garage as well.
-At a recent meeting of Business Directors Of Toledo (an updating and training session the Diocese provides for anybody handling the business side of parishes) it was recommended that parishes consider moving to an out-of-house payroll service, so that we would not be responsible for keeping up with all of the tax laws and other laws regarding payroll. We have decided to use a company called Paycor, which is one of the companies recommended by the Diocese. It is also a company Fr. Poggemeyer knows to have worked quite well with his previous parishes. The cost of $38 per pay period (every 15 days) is well worth the effort it saves us, including saving us from reading up on the various payroll legalities.
So there is the Finance Committee meeting summary.
On another note, we celebrate the Commemoration of All Souls this weekend. We are praying for the souls in purgatory. Purgatory is a great gift the Lord has provided to perfect us on our way to heaven. Thank the Lord for his wisdom in so designing our passage to heaven!
Have a blessed week!
In cordibus Iesu et Mariae,