Hard budget decisions were taken by Diocesan Council at its March meeting after the Diocesan Administration and Finance Committee recommended diocesan staff be reduced in size in the face of declining investment income.

Diocesan Council approved several cuts in the current and next year’s diocesan budget, but still ended up with deficits.
Diocesan Council members at the March 10 meeting.

Despite objections from some youth groups, Diocesan Council agreed that the new position of diocesan youth coordinator will have to go at the end of the year, unless investment revenues turn up.

Also cut at the end of 2009 will be the coordinator for societal ministry, a position established in 2002. Both coordinator positions are part-time, currently filled by Phil Colvin in the youth coordinator position, and David Dranchuk in societal ministry.

With several diocesan funds reduced by the recent world-wide drop in securities values to their capital, and reserves used up in 2007 and 2008, the diocese faces a $260,000 shortfall, Business Administrator Rob Dickson said.

The budget proposed by the Diocesan Administration and Finance Committee included a deficit. But there is a limit as to how large a deficit the diocese can handle, Dickson said, certainly not as much as the shortfall. Several measures had been taken already to cut costs, he told Diocesan Council.

·        The time of the Coordinator for Societal Ministry has been reduced from three days a week to half-time.

·        One of the two Ministry Assessment Program Resource Associates, who was working two days a week, has resigned. Her position will not be continued. (The other M.A.P. Resource Associate, Tasha Carrothers, continues at three days per week. )

·        The assistant to the Director of Planned Giving was laid off. Barbara Struthers had been serving as the Planned Giving Administrative Assistant and concurrently working at reception Mondays and Tuesdays.

·        The annual Diocesan Synod May 22 and 23 will be scaled down and held in at Christ Church Cathedral and St. Mary's Kerrisdale rather than at Capilano College (see separate story).

Other line items have also been pared down, Dickson said.

The drop has come in diocesan investment income, not in assessments paid by parishes, Dickson said. Giving to parishes remains strong, and most parishes continue to be able to send in their monthly assessment payments, Dickson said. In a few parishes parish income is rising. Diocesan assessments are based on a percentage of parish operating income.

The 2009 budget proposed by the Administration and Finance and adopted by Diocesan Council shows a 3.9 per cent increase in parish assessment revenue (a percentage of parish operating income), but a 65 per cent decrease in diocesan investment income.

Expenses for 2009 are increasing by 6.6 per cent, despite several cost-saving measures. However, in 2010, with four less positions and other cost saving measures expenses will be reduced by 4.3 per cent.

The budget anticipates that a deficit of $12,475 in 2008 will grow to about $171,000 in 2009. Of that, a reserve fund created from prior years’ surpluses totaling about $155,000 will be applied, for a year end carry forward of minus $16,000. The deficit in 2009 is anticipated at $61,932.