Overall, I am very pleased with the budget that the congregation passed for our current 2012-2013 fiscal year. I want to commend Rev. Nate, business director Norman Fouhy, Mike Tomalin from the Finance Working Group and the congregational input from the budget meetings in helping to create a very conservative budget. However, I did want to make sure that the congregational members and friends are aware that we are not complying with our Governance and Ministry Policy Manual on one item: our fair share dues to the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) and the Joseph Priestly District (JPD).
Under section IV.C.5.b Financial Planning and Budgeting of our Policy Manual, we state that:
The Minister may not allow budgeting that:
iv. Accounts for less than 100% of the Fair Share contributions to the Unitarian Universalist Association and the Joseph Priestly District.
By voting on and passing the proposed budget at the May congregational meeting which had a line item of $0 for our UUA/JPD dues, we the congregation are excusing the minister from meeting these requirements for the current fiscal year. While this church does take our Fair Share Dues very seriously, we were unable to find the resources to cover our dues of $17,510. (JPD dues are $27/member and UUA are $58/member. According to the Annual Report from May, we have 206 members.)
This June, representatives from the Joseph Priestley District have voiced criticisms of the First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia for passing a budget that is in non-compliance with our own policy manual. I responded in a rather lengthy email explaining that while we are still struggling financially to raise enough funds to cover our operating costs, I strongly believe that this year’s budget is more safe and attainable than the previous years. I am hopeful that we will continue to see improvements in future budgets. So while I am saddened we were unable to budget to pay our fair share dues to the JPD and UUA, I am encouraged that we are moving in a positive direction. Please continue to support the church so that we can continue to make forward progress together