Browsing Fr. Poggemeyer's Weekly Letter

September 12, 2021


Dear Parishioners,

On August 26, we had another finance council meeting. Here are the highlights:

- We welcomed Amy Boes to the council. Current council members are: Al Liebengood, Greg Cassidy, Jeff Clagg, Tim Meyers and Amy Boes. I am looking for another woman to join the council, given that two women just ended their terms. Annie Cassidy graciously takes notes for us. Deb Brickner is part of the council as finance manager.

- We reviewed the normal financial reports: The balance sheet, the income and expense report, the accounts payable. For the first time, a finance council member also reported on the internal audit he did covering the last couple of months. I'm very happy to have this in place for us. It's just one more check on our operations. We follow a diocesan form for that internal audit.

- As of my writing of this letter, we are 85.66% towards making our parish goal for the Bishop's Annual Catholic Appeal. The goal is $47,528 and we have collected so far $40,713. Thank you so much to everybody who has contributed. If you have not contributed, please consider a gift. No gift is too small. The ACA money goes towards pastoral initiatives of the Diocese.

- Deb Brickner has been working since her arrival to organize the basement storage room finance records. We recently shredded 2300 pounds of old finance files that were no longer needed.

- Given the removal of the pink house and the high school building, our diocesan liability insurance was cut in half from $2,600 to $1,300 per month.

- We spent $2,800 (materials only) to upgrade our server hardware in the offices and add a back-up unit. The server had not been upgraded for many years.

- We paid $5,625 to Kuns Northcoast Security for repairing the electronic controls on the handicap entrances of the gathering space.

- We paid $1,118 to One Call for our annual subscription for electronic communications from the office to parishioners.

- We paid $1,702 for rectory real estate taxes (covering 6 months), and $916 for pink house real estate taxes.

- TK Elevator repaired the elevator problems, except the lighting. The elevator is resting level now at each floor, and the shimmying has ceased. Cost was $14,910.

- We met with Findlay Plumbing & Heating to check on the status of various projects. I think everybody feels how the church a/c system is not able to keep up with the hot weather we have had. That is because one of the two large a/c coils is not functioning; and there is also a compressor that has to be installed for one cooling unit; and there is one ice bin coil that has to be pulled and analyzed for how to repair it. We have $26,000 available from donations towards repairing/redesigning/installing new coils for the a/c of the church (housed in the utilities room beside the kitchen). The new coils still have to be designed and created. We have no estimated cost yet. Needless to say, Findlay Plumbing & Heating has been swamped with work, as are so many companies; and this is why projects have been delayed.

- The mausoleum roof repair is complete. We paid Technique Roofing Systems $41,736. The work looks good!

- We are installing windows in the third-floor classrooms that do not have them; also in the deacons' office. This is for child-protection protocol.

- A contractor looked at the rectory roof (from the Ground) and noted that the rust on the metal in the valleys and on the peaks is pretty bad. He estimated that we will have to replace the roof within five years, because holes will form. The slate tiles are all turning color, which also indicates wear and eventual cracking is likely. A very, very rough, ballpark cost? $50,000–$75,000.

- There was some water leakage into the rectory basement, especially in the northwest corner nearest where the elementary school sat. Water ponds-up there. We will be filling the space with some dirt, hoping to reduce any future leaking. The leaking was bad near the beginning of July, the night we had five inches of rain. Otherwise it's moisture that seeps through the bricks, and the effervescence deteriorates the bricks. The same contractor recommended trenching along the north and south sides of the rectory, to put in a vapor barrier and some stones drainage. Again, a very, very rough, ballpark cost? $50,000-$75,000. Is this also something we would look at doing within a five year time span?

- With those two big eventual repairs in mind, I remember that ever since my arrival at the parish, I've heard mention about the possibility of taking the rectory down, because it is so big, and we have only one priest. I am very, very reticent to think along these lines, however, because the utility costs for the rectory really are not too bad; and I think that we should only take a building down when it is no longer sustainable. The building is part of our parish patrimony, and I hope to use it plenty for hospitality. Yes, there will be basic upkeep, such as a new roof, and stopping basement water damage (common in many old houses). The plumbing and electrical are old, but it all seems to be working. This is an ongoing conversation. Eventually we can do a study on rectory costs.

- The parish pickup truck has finally come to the end of its life. The truck was graciously donated to us years ago. It has about 105,000 miles on it, but the miles are very rough miles – given all the snow plowing over the years. A timing chain broke, and we repaired that at a cost of $1,876. Then we discovered that one of the piston rods is bent, and perhaps some other parts. The truck runs very, very roughly, because one of the pistons is not shooting. We can use the truck for chores around campus, but we certainly will not be able to use it for winter snow-ploughing. Instead of trying to repair everything in the engine, we should just replace the whole engine, at a cost of about $6,256. But, given the overall condition of the truck, including a bed that is quite rusty, everybody seems to agree that it's not worth putting more money into the truck. This truck has served us very well, but it's time to look for a replacement. Unfortunately, I've been told that the market for used pickup trucks is horrible right now. So, we are studying our options, looking for a different truck.

- We discussed at length the possible upgrading of the lights in the church. This was discussed years ago, at the time when all of the lights in the offices and hall were replaced. We still have $85,000 set aside from donations for lighting. As I reported after our last finance meeting, there's discussion about whether the upgrade is needed now. The foreseen money-savings that I presented to the council did not seem clear or convincing enough to move forward. We will study the project more fully, with a more detailed graph of expected savings. Savings would come from the significantly lower wattage of so many lights, as well as the significantly reduced heat from the lights – affecting the a/c bills.

- We discussed the upcoming Diocesan Capital Campaign, entitled “Living Christ”. After a pilot of 9 parishes begins the campaign this October, we will be in the second of three more waves to come. Our wave schedule is August 2022-October 2022. Our parish portion of the overall $65 million campaign is $1,060,000. There will be much more to come in this, especially explaining the purpose of the campaign. The Diocese will lead us in putting together a local team, including a campaign director for the parish. 35% of the money collected will come back to the parish. We have initially discussed using this money to build our parish endowment with the Endowment Trust of the Diocese. This account can support future upkeep of the parish. I'll explain the parish endowment in a future letter.

So there are some highlights. Have a blessed week!

In cordibus Iesu, Mariae et Josephus,

Father Poggemeyer


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