Centre Congregational Church Budget Meeting – June 22, 2008

Call to Order – After determining that a quorum was present, Moderator, Chris Parker called the budget meeting to order at 11:10 am.

Budget – Treasurer, Dwight Decker explained that the budget is being presented now, before the 2008/2009 Church year begins on July 1, rather than after the start of the fiscal year as we did last year.

Dwight distributed a handout detailing the 2007-2008 budget with actual income and expense numbers through the end of May, 2008. The handout also detailed the budget projections for the 2008-2009 fiscal year.

Dwight began the budget discussion by reviewing the status of the current year’s budget (2007-2008). He noted that expenses are slightly under budget, but income is less than projected – leaving an anticipated deficit of $15,310. Our building use donations are down approximately $4,000, and Tower Day income is about $10,000 less than projected. Dwight explained that though Tower Day had a good year, the sagging economy forced some parents to choose less expensive class options and/or withdraw their children from the extended day program. Therefore, Tower Day income is expected to be $85,000, not the $95,000 that was projected.

Dwight then detailed the projected budget for fiscal year 2008-2009. Total expenses are expected to increase 2%, similar to the increases we have experienced in the past few years. Pledge income is shown at $244,000. Also included in the budget are a supplemental pledge drive to raise $15,000 and a fundraiser line item of $10,000.

In response to a question about the adequacy of the amount budgeted for heating costs, Dwight noted that he based the estimate on normal weather. He increased the line item $3,500 over last year’s budget to reflect higher prices. Dwight stated that heating costs, like snow removal costs, can be very volatile, depending on the severity of the winter.

Dwight pointed out a new budget line item-Medical Other Staff, and Chris Parker provided the explanation for the new line item. In order to comply with the Massachusetts Health Care Law, Centre Church must offer health insurance to all full-time employees, including Tower Day staff. Phil Johnson, with the invaluable assistance of Sue Tomich, researched health insurance options. Parish Council voted to adopt a plan to offer to Tower Day Staff. The church’s cost for the plan this year is $4,300 per employee. It is projected that one employee may enroll in the plan this year.

Chris Parker recognized the efforts of Parish Council. He asked the congregation to applaud Dwight Decker for his hard work as Treasurer, Phil Johnson for his work on the health insurance issue and his many years as moderator, and Debbie Cotting for her leadership of stewardship ministries.

New Fundraiser: Debbie Cotting reported on a Shopping Card fundraiser that she and Sandi Watson will spearhead. The program offers people an opportunity to raise money for the church simply by doing their usual shopping. People can buy prepaid shopping cards at face value. Great Lakes Scrip Center, the organization that administers the program, buys these cards in bulk. Because of their volume buying, merchants offer the cards to Great Lakes Scrip Center at a discount. The difference between the card’s face value and the discounted price goes to the church. Debbie and Sandi will provide more information to the congregation when they launch the program in the fall. Debbie noted that the fundraiser shouldn’t be counted on to take care of the entire $10,000 needed from fundraisers. But, with the support of the congregation, the fundraiser should be successful.

Budget Motion and Vote: It was moved and seconded that the congregation accept the 2008-2009 budget as presented. The motion passed unanimously.

Other Business: The moderator asked Rev. Bailey to discuss a proposal to honor Rev. Mark Strickland, long-time pastor of Centre Church, with the title of Pastor Emeritus. Rev. Bailey explained that this title is used by local churches to honor a person who is retired from active ministry. The title recognizes lengthy ministry and distinguished service. Rev. Bailey distributed a document explaining this honorary title. He noted that Parish Council enthusiastically supported the idea, when he proposed it to them at their last meeting. The congregation will receive more information on the proposal in the coming months, and the congregation will have an opportunity to vote on the proposal at annual meeting in the fall. If approved, the Pastor Emeritus title would be conferred upon Rev. Strickland at a special service with our Area Minister present.

Extension of the Terms of All Officers and Commissions - Jeff Law discussed that our By Laws in Article 7 Section 1 call for the officers to serve during the Church year – July 1 to June 30. This extension would allow the officers to serve and make decisions until Annual meeting. George Hayden suggested that Council should consider revising the By Laws for similar situations.

Extension Motion and vote: It was moved and seconded that the congregation extend the terms of Officers and Commissions through Annual Meeting. The Motion passed unanimously.

There being no other business to come before the congregation, a motion to adjourn was made and seconded. The motion passed unanimously, and the meeting was adjourned at 11:50am.

Respectfully submitted,
Chuck Cotting, Clerk Pro-tem