October 17 2017
The SCCA has tracked questions asked publicly in the Marketer and on Tideline, following are answers to the community’s questions.
The Charity’s financial operations can be more easily understood by breaking down the income and expenses into 3 categories:
- Programs are self-supporting, with cost recovery through user fees, and grants/donations.
- Capital improvements have been funded through grants and donations. Some grants require “matching funds”, which have been met through fundraising, savings, eligible grants, and “in-kind” donations.
-Overhead and general operating expenses are funded through donations, memberships and rentals. Funds raised through grants may only be used for the specific application of the grant, and not repurposed for overhead. We have reduced energy costs in recent years, but other expenses have increased and will continue to do so..1) Why did the SCCA not allow non-members to speak at its AGM August 4th when the ad announcing the meeting stated “there will be a full public discussion of the Hall Tax issue. Please bring your concerns and questions”
The SCCA Board apologizes those in attendance at the Society’s AGM for the unfortunate mistake in the AGM notice.
The Southern Cortes Community Association Annual General Meeting (AGM) date had to be changed due to a lack of SCCA Board Member availability to meet the Board Quorum on the originally published date. An SCCA Board decision was made to not have an open public meeting at the time of the reposted AGM due to the limited number of Board members being able to attend and lack of volunteer time to organize a double meeting for that evening.
The notice was published again, with the new AGM date but inadvertently we did not remove the "public meeting" portion of the announcement.
The Chair of the meeting Myrna Kerr announced at the beginning of the meeting that the AGM was the purpose of that evening meeting and that a public meeting on the issue of the Hall Tax would be held at another time.
There were three non-members attending the AGM, all are residents from the Whaletown area who declined to be SCCA Members.
The non-SCCA members were allowed to stay for the meeting but they could not participate in the AGM business and vote. According to our Constitution, only members in good standing may vote. 2) Do you have a 2018 budget to back your request for tax dollars?
Yes, in recent weeks the SCAA Board has been preparing full disclosure of the Community Center’s financial documentation, including 7 years of financial information, plus 2017-18, and 2018-19 budgets.
The documents are now posted in a new Tideline Special Section
for all to see.3) Why do you not increase the cost of memberships so users pay for the hall?
Our community support is strong, this fiscal year we have a total of 235 members, bringing in revenue of 1665.00 to the Charity. We will consider raising membership rates at next years AGM, with the consent of our current members. If we double our membership rates, we would bring in an equivalent amount, however, this places a disproportionate additional burden on the 235 members who support the Charity through membership, and the amount raised will represent barely 6.11% of our operating deficit.
4) Why do you not increase the rentals for the hall to cover the shortfall in your budget?
The rent is about $1 per square foot in most cases. Rentals are based on what the market can bear. We are a low income island, and to be of benefit to the community, we have kept prices reasonable. If we put the rents up we would have empty rooms and reduced income.
Rental income from tenants depends on whether the facilities continue to meet their needs and on their ability to sustain their operations and pay their rent. There have been many changes in tenancy at Manson’s Hall in recent years, as services including a medical clinic, credit union and regional library needed more space and developed their own facilities. Keeping tenants often requires renovations to existing spaces, recently for the post office, Cortes Radio and the Reel Youth video studio. The SCCA negotiates long-term leases with tenants in an effort to have predictable rental income. Rent cannot suddenly be raised to compensate for increased or unexpected expenses. Vacancies even for a period of months can seriously impact meeting the costs of operating the hall.5) Who are 6 employees that received $55,000 in 2014 and how much were they each paid? What was that number for 2016?
SCCA Payroll costs are broken down by category and fiscal year.
Core Payroll is directly related to Hall Management
– does not include programs, ie Playschool, CRP, SYRP or PlaycourtSCCA Payroll CostsSee Graph 1 at the bottom of the post
The amounts paid to each individual employee is protected under Privacy Regulations.
-Playschool Staff payroll is covered by grants, donations and user fees. The Playschool produces a small annual cash surplus that is used to maintain and improve the facility.
-Maintenance costs fluctuate greatly from year to year. We formerly had a staff maintenance position, which was subsequently terminated to save money. Now we manage each repair item on an individual basis, utilizing paid tradesmen and volunteers where possible.
-Summer Youth Program payroll is covered by grants and user fees.
-Playcourt payroll is covered by SRD Parks funding.6) Why was $7000 donated to FOCI?
We accepted a grant on behalf of the CRTZ Radio as their donor required a tax receipt. We put an agency agreement in place with all appropriate documentation. The CRA subsequently informed us we could not administer a grant for the radio, so we transferred the money to FOCI who were able to do so under their mandate. The money was never ours.
7) Why do you always do a totally fiscally irresponsible projects just before you ask us for tax dollars (the Hall doors last time and the ugly roof this time)?
Our beautiful yellow cedar and fir front doors were funded by grants and donations specifically for the purpose of replacing the old, drafty doors that were falling apart. The Grants also provided employment for local builders and artisans.
The rain-roof over the Post Office was funded by another Grant, that included the at-grade patio and replacement sidewalk. We regret that not everyone finds the roof aesthetically pleasing, however the roof fulfills an important function in wet weather, is translucent, and provides covered bike parking.
8) When you apply for grants do you discuss whether you can afford the ongoing maintenance costs added to your budget?
The Capital Improvement Grants are generally to improve and repair our facilities, thereby reducing our maintenance and overhead costs.9) Did you do a financial plan before you installed the kitchen and if you did could you make it public?
Our kitchen was closed by the Health Dept. in 2013 with a long list of requirements in order to make it a VIHA certified facility. We fundraised for 3 years, followed by 2 years of construction.
The new kitchen facility, and catering supplies to serve up to 175 people, was fully funded by Grants and donations, and is now a valuable asset for our community. It is not feasible to project how much income the kitchen will provide our Charity. The intention is to rent and utilize the kitchen on a cost-recovery basis, with a small additional income as “profit” to help support overhead expenses.COMMUNITY KITCHEN OVERVIEWSummary:
To provide a community kitchen to benefit Cortes Islanders and to provide the SCCA with income to benefit Manson's Hall.-Seniors:
Weekly CISS low-cost lunch program, and social events.-Meals on Wheels:
for Seniors, as well as persons with disabilities, illness or injury.-Playschool Hot Lunch Program:
Nutritious, healthy hot lunches for children and parents.-SCCA Fundraising:
Operate a retail cafe 1-2 days per week.-Community Organization Fundraising:
facility rental to local groups for fundraising lunches and dinners.-Special Event catering facility:
Community meals (ie Xmas dinner), and rental for weddings, celebrations etc.-Youth
-Provide job experience, education credits and skills training.-Education:
through local learning institutions, food preparation, canning and cooking classes.-Market Vendors and local food producers:
rental of certified kitchen for preparation of food for retail sale and private label food products.
10) I’ve been told that a table at the Friday Market used to be charged $15. Now it is a minimum of $5. Did the hall costs go down?No, if anything they have gone up, so where is the business-like cost/benefit effort to pay for the hall?
Table rates were $15 for a few years, but after the downturn in the economy following 2008 it was deemed to be too much for vendors as they were not making as much, thus the market started to fail. Less customers were coming, less money was being spent. We still charge $15 in the summer, with a sliding scale. It is the winter months that have the $5 rate in order to keep the market going.
11) Many people attending the SCCA’s AGM have worked for many years to create a Community Forest. One of the backbones of this was to create a profit, which could be spent on community projects for the benefit of all islanders. Why not use funds generated to pay for Manson’s Hall?
This is best referred to the folks running the Community Forest for a response.12) We all need to see a complete breakdown of the Hall finances. How much does it cost to insure the underused skatepark? How much electricity is used for the kitchen and the kiln in the pottery studio?
The Skatepark is fully funded by SRD Parks, liability insurance included, as part of their long-term lease of the area. The SCCA is contracted to manage the skatepark.
It’s not possible to break out the kitchen electrical bill, as it is not separately metered. However, the lights are all LED, the stoves/ovens are propane, and the refrigeration is all brand-new, and Energy-Star rated.
Energy costs have declined over the past 7 years.
The Pottery Guild pays per firing of the kiln.13) Why did the SCCA lose the Gaming Grant in 2011?
A successful Gaming Grant application is partly based on the organizations cash resources. In 2009/10 the Gaming application showed our savings account with an amount that exceeded the allowable limit of “unrestricted funds”. The saved monies were primarily Grant funds that were held for work to be completed in the following fiscal year. This important detail was missed in our financial statements, leading to the rejection of our application with no recourse. We have been in good standing ever since.
Anyone who has ever applied for Agency or Foundation Grants understands the rigorous, detailed process that is required. Estimates, receipts, cancelled cheques and 100% perfect reporting is required before Grant monies are reimbursed.
It has been commonly reported that the SCCA Gaming Grant was rejected due to financial mis-management. Our financial management is impeccable, as evidenced by our statements, and continuing success meeting the stringent financial reporting requirements to qualify not only for Grants, but also for our Federal status as a tax-deductible charity.
14) It has been said that if a tax referendum is passed, then the SRD will impose guidelines and restrictions on how the money will be spent. This makes common sense, BUT why has the Executive and Board of the SCCA not done this themselves? By creating guidelines and controls over programs, and their financial viability, they could have eliminated their need for a tax.
The Charity’s statements clearly show the Boards tight financial discipline and careful spending of funds that are a community resource. This is our “Fiduciary Responsibility” to our members and the wider community.
Programs are supported and funded through Grants, donations and user fees on a break-even basis.
We will be asking that funds raised through the proposed Service Tax will be used for Core Funding, as follows:
Expenses for electricity, heating, garbage collection, telephone, fax, internet, property taxes, insurance, management payroll, janitorial payroll, maintenance and improvements to the building and facilities, including labour costs and materials.15) What has changed so much, that out of 350 members, the SCCA cannot find new community minded people to carry on the history of a volunteer organization and run the hall successfully without taxing property owners from across the whole island? Is there really a NEED, or just a WANT, to have a community hall?
The SCCA welcomes volunteers to sit on the Board, or contribute volunteer hours to improve the facilities and services offered by the Charity.
Volunteers donate time and energy, but do not contribute money to cover the overhead.
The Charity has created a small number of local jobs, it would not be fair to replace paid staff with volunteers, and very unlikely any volunteers would come forward to take existing jobs. If the Referendum proposal is accepted by the SRD, the citizens of Cortes Island will have the opportunity to vote if they “need or want” the Community Center. 16) When asked at the AGM if anyone could tell us “how much it costs to even open the doors to the hall,” nobody could tell us. How can they run the business of the SCCA and Manson’s Hall when they don’t know how much to charge just to break even, let alone make a small profit to build a contingency fund for emergencies?
Based on the 2016-17 Financial Statements, the total cost of operating Mansons Community Center was $118,625.00. The average daily cost to “open the doors” calculates at 325.00 per day, based on 7 days per week usage.
Through fundraising and careful financial management, over the past 7 years the value of the Society’s buildings and assets have nearly doubled, to over a million dollars. This represents the cumulative efforts of many volunteers, the generosity of donors, our success at finding grant funds, and community goodwill. There has been no cost to the community through taxes, and we would like to thank those of you who have generously stepped up and donated to help us keep the doors open.
Now we are asking the community to provide stable, secure long term funding to continue our programs and services, to maintain and to improve the facility for current and future generations of Islanders.
If you have further questions or would like clarification regarding any of the above answers, please email fundingourhallgmail.com and we will reply.
With thanks from the SCCA Board of Directors:
Julian Ayers President
Myrna Kerr Vice President
Calli Waddell Secretary
Christina MacWilliam Playschool Liason