Saturday, March 12, 2011

More Answers from the Treasurer

I cannot say enough about Bob Johnston’s forthrightness in addressing my questions about finances at St. Paul’s. This morning he sent me additional answers to my questions, so I hope to clear up some of the mysteries of the financial information published in the 2010 annual report.

The question numbers below refer to my January 30 post, “Questions for the Annual Meeting.” Answers from Bob to other questions can be found in my February 19 post, “Answers from the Treasurer.”

Question 5. I asked why the Episcopal Church Men Fund earned no interest. I thought I was asking why the money was not in an interest-bearing account. The answer was not quite what I expected:
ECM cash is in a collective fund at PNC with several other funds. Interest was not allocated to the fund for the following reasons:
  • It was not a material balance compared to the other funds,
  • The earnings rate was minimal due to the economy and the fact that we borrow from this collective fund frequently throughout the year for liquidity purposes, and
  • The ECM earnings would have been less than $5.
Apparently, ECM does not have its own checkbook, and its funds are mingled with those of other organizations. Apparently, its money earned interest, but that interest was “allocated” to some other fund. I think I would be uncomfortable with this if I were involved in ECM. This sort of accounting seems odd indeed.

Question 7. This is another question that elicited a completely unexpected answer. I asked where the $1,000 for salaries paid by Friends of Music went. Bob’s answer:
The $1,000 salary in the Friends of Music account represents part of Bryan Sable’s salary. You will recall that his salary is paid out of several places.
Question 8. I asked about Kris Opat’s claim that St. Paul’s ponied up $8,000 in seed money for Refuge, since I could not find $8,000 for Refuge from the parish in the financial report. Bob’s answer:
In addition to the $5,502 that I indicated in my first answer [$1,000 in donations (source not identified), $1, 502 in offerings (hardly seed money, but OK), and $3,000 from the Education Fund], Kris included money that was used for the Clavinova from the Friends of Music Fund ($1,000) and Memorial Fund ($3,000). So, the total seed money from St. Paul's was more than $8,000.
Of course, none of this money was in the 2010 budget. That isn’t a problem, per se, but money used to fund Refuge could—except for the $1,502 in Refuge “income”—have been used elsewhere.

Question 10. I asked if there was a budget for Refuge for 2011 and whether additional money is expected from the diocese. Bob’s answer:
The cost of Refuge for 2011 is between $20,000 and $25,000. The variables are how much we need to spend on supplies and how much money we will spend on advertising. As previously indicated, we have already received a 2011 grant from the diocese of $12,000 and anticipate receiving an additional grant.
In other words, no and yes. From what I have heard, I am not so sanguine about receiving more diocesan money for Refuge.

Question 11. I asked if we intended to run Refuge in the summer and fall and, if so, where the money was to come from. Bob’s answer:
We hope to continue Refuge throughout the summer. The funds for the balance of 2011 will come from the Diocesan grants and the loose offerings received at Refuge.
At the beginning of 2011, the Refuge Service Fund contained $13,374. Assuming that offerings are about $1,500/quarter—this is probably optimistic, since attendance may well fall off in the summer—we might come close to financing Refuge, even without additional diocesan funds. Of course, this is based on our guesstimate, rather than budget, for the service. Remember also, that Refuge gave us the excuse to hire 20% of Bryan’s time out of the operating fund. This is not to dismiss Bryan’s contribution to the parish, but we are, after all, having trouble paying the salaries of our increasingly large staff.

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