As with last year, there is uncertainty in making and presenting a budget for the coming year. Our building has been closed to all but essential activities, and we have had only online gatherings for worship and other events. We are just now beginning to schedule small, outside JUC activities. But there is hope in the air for an easing of the pandemic restrictions we have been under for over a year. We have built this budget with the best guesses we can make for a combination of online and in-person programming.
Staff and volunteers have worked extremely hard this year to maintain, create and reimagine JUC as a vital source of love and support to our members and friends as well as the greater community. Many of you have connected as best you can online.
As with every year, we have the responsibility of planning for the year financially, and to communicate that to the Congregation for approval.
When we decided how to budget for 2021/22, we used the following programming assumption: we will be operating mostly online through August, with some smaller gatherings through the summer and resume mostly as-usual operations in September. This is only an assumption, and we will need to evaluate that based on the pandemic as vaccinations increase over the summer.
The effort to swap church properties with Lakewood Church of the Nazarene is on hold indefinitely. Thus, this budget does not contemplate any costs due to moving. When that project is revisited or restarted, we will revisit budgeting for it.
The first thing to note about the budget is that we are projecting higher pledge income for 2021/22 than for this fiscal year. Members and pledging friends have generously supported us during this difficult year. Though pledges are increasing, we are projecting lower plate collections. Understandably, plate collections are significantly down this year because we don’t actually pass the plate! We did a very successful end-of-year fundraiser last November/December and we plan to repeat that
This budget also includes the information that our largest renter, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI), will have only online classes for their fall term. They do plan to return to in-person classes when they can, we hope in January. We are working closely with their leadership to understand their plans and how they mesh with ours. In order to balance the loss of that first term rental income, we adjusted our planned UUA Annual Program Fund (APF) payment down by $10,000. The budgeted amount is 83% of the APF amount requested by the UUA (the same as last year). As you may know, we had to make a similar choice some years ago and then worked our way back up to 100%.
Paycheck Protection Program
You may have learned about the Federal Paycheck Protection Program in the news as it received significant publicity. This is a loan/grant program for small businesses (including churches) that provides a loan with a generous forgiveness provision. The UUA recommended that all churches research and apply for this loan. JUC did so and received a loan of $140,817 on May 13, 2020. This represents 2.5 times JUC’s monthly payroll costs. The forgiveness provision requires spending the funds on payroll, utilities, mortgage interest and rent over the eight weeks following the loan, as well as maintaining staffing during that eight weeks compared to previous staffing levels. We received approval of this loan forgiveness from the Small Business Administration on April 20, 2021. Receipt of these funds has afforded us more security over the course of this pandemic. We have balanced next year’s budget with $20,000 of these funds. Remaining funds will be placed in our operating reserves.
For the 2020/21 budget we cut back fairly significantly on programming items. We have restored these areas for the proposed 2021/22 budget. We do expect some continued savings in church operations due to a transition to using our physical plant. Over last year and part of this year we have saved money in areas such as utilities, cleaning, supplies, snow removal and part-time staffing.
As mentioned above, we have cut back the requested UUA Annual Program Fund amount by $10,000 from their requested amount as we did last year.
We have included a 1% cost of living adjustment for staff. Some staff positions have been adjusted an additional amount to align with salary survey data.
This budget reflects an increase of around 2% compared to 2020/21 fiscal year. We welcome your questions. Carol Wilsey, our Business Administrator, can take your call (303-279-5282) or email (email@example.com) if you have any questions about the numbers or details in the proposed budget.