Finance Council Reflections :: 2016-2017
This year we are pleased to report that we are in the midst of exciting and energizing changes, and that we have reason to celebrate.
We have welcomed a number of new faces into the parish staff and are excited to experience what they can offer to bring the Kingdom of God right here to our little corner of earth. We continue to welcome new families and members into our growing parish each week. We see our parishioners continually seeking out opportunities to carry out our mission to “Go and Make Disciples.”
Also on the near horizon, we will be making exciting and challenging decisions to determine how we next expand our physical surroundings and buildings. As we continue to grow in all areas of the parish, we must first ask the Holy Spirit to guide us. We should celebrate our significant accomplishments. We have looked at how we are doing our ministry and are evaluating how we can do it better. We have tightened our belt in some areas and yet we are preparing the ground in other areas where we need to grow. All of this takes time and patience, but we will get there.
One example of how we are trying to do things differently is the way we are using a special edition of the bulletin to herald the good news of our parish through this Annual Report. Rather than printing a separate booklet, this new approach provides a significant cost savings and yet we can still share our parish highlights. Tell us what you think of the new layout – we will listen. As the months ahead unfold, we will also share more of the stories from our parish family through a variety of new communication approaches as we seek to inform and inspire concerning our efforts to deepen our discipleship.
The Parish Finance Council is happy to provide you with a snap shot of the past year’s financial activities.
A Pave the Way Update – Here is where celebration is truly in order! When we completed the construction of our new parking lot in August 2015, we had a shortfall with our desired level of contributions that unfortunately required a $280,000 loan for this project. However, as the year went on, donations continued to come in and we are happy to announce that we have completely paid off this loan through Pave the Way, Future Fund donation envelopes and the Ceili proceeds. We are now in a terrific position to move steadily forward with our plans for increasing our savings in order to accomplish the next phase of our facilities plans (Phase 3). We will need to have at least half of the project funding in our coffers in order to proceed. We are currently updating our plans for what is needed for this Phase 3 work including obtaining estimates for the replacement of our aging church HVAC system—you wanted air conditioning, and we’re listening! We will be prepared when that time comes.
We also financed, through the Archdiocesan Deposit and Loan Fund, the purchase of four-houses to make space for the new parking and future needs. One house next door to Fr. Dave’s home will one day be the Associate Pastor’s residence. The Parish Offices remain, and the other four houses were demolished. An estate gift helped us to attain and renovate the Parish Offices, and we are excited to say that we have used our Debt Reduction Envelope funds and applied them to the principal of the future Associate’s house so that it is now debt free. One by one, we will eliminate the debt on each home. Lastly, we put our quarterly Ignite the Faith distributions directly to the principal of our long-term mortgage debt.
We saw a small growth in our parish tithing last year, an increase of just under 2.0%. While that may not seem like a big change, many parishes in the state struggle to keep moving in a positive direction. We continue to expand our efforts to provide a message of stewardship to all parishioners and to spread Gospel values concerning the need to give back proportionately and sacrificially. It must be a goal for each parishioner to live a stewardship way of life.
We strive to provide the best possible resources, staff, and facilities to our students attending our 5-day school. The cost to educate each student this past year reached $4,083. Annually, we evaluate the relationship between parish tithing and the need to assess a reasonable tuition rate. The tuition increase this past year, as in other years, helps offset the increase in personnel costs and other expenses at the school. Personnel expenses will always be the biggest portion of our budget. Our talented staff are the driving force that keep our ministry activities and programs moving forward and thriving.
Last year, the parish and education administration received a modest 2% salary increase. The majority of educators in the school received increases ranging from 2% to 6% in order to maintain staff salary levels at 85% of the Papillion La Vista School scale. As needs of the parish grow, we need to be cognizant of utilizing our resources wisely to help recognize and reward the value all parish personnel bring to our faith community. With the goal of making access to a Catholic education accessible and affordable, our renewed commitment to stewardship will help make this possible.
Community Contribution consists of funds from sources such as employee matching funds from various companies, Omaha Community Foundation Funds, Omaha Gives, and Store Community rebate programs. These programs are great sources. Parishioners should continue to check with their employers to see if similar programs are available.
Our overall strategy concerning expenses is to remain vigilant in keeping costs down with careful research and utilizing costs savings wherever possible. Last fall, our parish participated in an energy audit that evaluated our plant facilities and identified areas where energy savings may be obtained. It also identified the essential need for an overall plant maintenance plan that systematically replaces and maintains aging plant equipment. This will be a focus of financial planning in the year to come.
Our Fiscal Year 2016-17 shows that our operations, excluding our capital fundraising activities, resulted in an excess of revenue over expenses of $273,181. This is largely due to a combination of revenues staying strong, some vacant staff positions during the year, and other areas were expenses were managed well such as supplies and maintenance. Thank you to each and every member of the St. Columbkille parish for your contributions of time, talent and treasure to make our faith community stronger every day. It is truly an EXCITING time to be a part of St. Columbkille!
A special thanks goes out to the members of the Parish Finance Council for the hours spent in meetings monitoring, planning, consulting and insuring that our parish resources are wisely utilized and that we are good and faithful stewards of the gifts that God has given our parish community. We appreciate their counsel.
If you have any questions concerning the financial information provided in this Annual Report,
please feel free to contact Debbie Armentrout, Parish Business Manager, at 402-592-8494
or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.