Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Diocese of New York Special Committee on the Diocesan Budget Process and Assessment Report September

From The Diocese of New York-

The Special Committee on the Diocesan Budget Process and Assessment was
appointed by Bishop Sisk in January 2009 to examine the entire Diocesan budget and
assessment process to determine what changes of a fundamental nature might be required in
view of the present financial situation.

Based on questionnaires we received from parishes and visits with the leadership of
parishes, we found that the Diocesan leadership is highly regarded, but we found a lack of
understanding of what the Diocese does and how it spends money.

Many parishes are affected by significant declines in the market value of their
endowments, and there is concern about future plate and pledge income. Some parishes
have been forced to make significant reductions in staff, eliminate valued programs and
reduce pay (either on a percentage basis or by mandated unpaid furloughs). There is
concern that 2010 may be worse than 2009. We would describe the attitude of most
parishes as “Positive, but concerned.”

We found a general feeling that the assessment formula imposes too large a burden
on parishes and that the top bracket rate of 25% is too high, penalizing growth.
The Adjustment Board is authorized by the Canons to adjust a parish’s assessment.
It operates under guidelines approved by the Trustees, which allow it to act on a year’s
assessment only after the year has ended.

We also reviewed the Diocesan financial reports. In response to the economic crisis,
the Diocese has significantly reduced its expenses. However, as of June 30, 2009, there were
$2.5 million of unpaid assessments relating to years prior to 2007, $662,000 relating to 2007
and $1.8 million relating to 2008, and parishes had paid only 67% of what was owed for the
first two quarters of 2009. As of June 30, 2009, out of 148 parishes with assessments, 71
parishes (48%) have paid their full assessment installments through June 30, while another
34 (23%) have paid reduced amounts. All but one of the 51 CSP parishes are paying their
contributions. This leaves 43 parishes that had not yet made any contribution to the 2009
Diocesan budget.

The 35 page report can be found here-

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