Zion finished 2019 strong financially. Income was $53K greater than expenses. Total expenses for 2019 was $1,032K while total income was $1,085K. Also, at the end of December, Zion had a total of $223K in our General Fund account and the Building Fund account. So…. you can see we are in a good position financially, but we still need to manage our money carefully in 2020 and beyond.
The 2019 budget was $1,096K so our 2019 income was $11K below our budget. Of course, the budget included a full time third pastor which, as you all know, did not occur in 2019. Pastor Dave is our interim pastor working at about 50% time currently.
Recently, Pastor Dave asked if Zion would pay for his family health insurance. All pastors, including part time interim pastors, are authorized health insurance through the ELCA synod. However, up until now, Pastor Dave did not need family health insurance because he was being carried under his wife’s employer. She is no longer eligible for health insurance and so, Pastor Dave asked that the church take on this additional expense. The Executive Committee agreed to take on this additional expense in 2020 which will increase the Personnel line item about $25K per year. In exchange, Pastor Dave has agreed to increase his work hours from 20-25 hours per week to 25-30 hours per week. Pastor Dave will spend this additional time working on the Social Ministry Committee and the Fellowship Committee.
Additionally, Zion is exploring some significant expenses in the near future. As you may know, a task force is looking at the duties and responsibility of a youth director to help Pastor Suzi in this ministry. Although the task force has not determined specifics at this time, it could be assumed that this would be an additional personnel expense of between $30 – $50K per year. Another group has been looking at re-carpeting and re-upholstering the Sanctuary. This would be another large expense probably around $50K to $60K. Finally, the Property Committee would like to chip seal and stripe both parking lots this coming summer and this could be an expense of $30K to $40K. Currently, the memorial account has about $15K designated towards the Sanctuary project and the special accounts has $20K set aside for long-term maintenance. This money could be used for either of these projects. So… there are some big projects and expenses in the near future. And I hope that you will provide your thoughts and feedback to council members on these possible expenses.
At the January meeting, the council elected officers for 2020. All the 2019 officers agreed to serve another term and so the council elected the same people to all four positions for another year. They are: Dirk Foster, President; Ian MacCallum, Vice President; Jason Halvorson, Treasurer; and Diane Paulu, Secretary. The council also started looking at changes to the staff handbook and will probably vote on these changes at their next meeting. Some of the bigger changes being proposed are changing December 31 from a half-day holiday to a full day holiday, changing the number of days a pastor has to take as paid time off when taking a full week off from 6 days to 5 days, allowing some personal use of the internet while at work, and some paid paternal leave for the birth or adoption of a child. Currently, the Personnel Committee is evaluating allowing three weeks of paid leave following three years of employment.
Another issue discussed at the meeting was the balance in the Building Fund of about $57K. This was also talked about at the most recent Finance Committee meeting. It has long been felt that at least three mortgage payments should be kept in the account. With a monthly mortgage of about $14K that would equal $42K which means there is $15K “extra” in the account that could be used for something. Should this be an extra mortgage payment? Or could it be used for something else related to the building or the perhaps improvements to the land recently purchased to the south of the church? Could it be used towards the re-carpeting of the Sanctuary or chip sealing the parking lot? This is a good problem to have and will be decided by the Finance Committee and the council in the near future. I hope you will provide your input to a member of one of these committees.
Finally, I would like to welcome three new members to the council. Wanda Weber, Jameson Wakefield, and Kris Harlan. The church is blessed to have dedicated and devoted volunteers to serve and we look forward to your time on council.