Town Board assistance requested
By Robert Lynch, February 24, 2023
“It’s not a balanced budget, and I’d like a balanced budget,” Enfield Community Council Board member Debbie Teeter told the ECC’s Board of Directors at its annual meeting Thursday. Teeter presented—and the Board then approved unanimously—a 2023 Budget containing a nearly $20,000 shortfall between projected revenues and expenses.
Teeter indicated she intends to ask the Enfield Town Board to close the funding gap with a special, one-time appropriation. She said the funds could be drawn from money given Enfield under the federal government’s American Rescue Plan. Teeter said she may have the request ready for the Town Board’s March 8 meeting, or else present it in April.
“We need some money this year, and I will probably need some money next year,” Teeter acknowledged. She later suggested ECC might request a $10,000 special appropriation in 2024.
ECC President Cortney Bailey blamed the pandemic for revenues lagging behind costs. “We’re getting there,” Bailey claimed, “but we should have been there two years ago.”
Bailey and Teeter explained that the several years of COVID-related shutdowns and social restrictions reduced projected event bookings for ECC’s recently-purchased community center, the former Living Water Church. And COVID also substantially cut the number of participants at ECC’s summer day camp, or else suspended the camp altogether.
As adopted by the agency’s Board Thursday, the ECC Budget projects this year’s expenses at $163,930, and revenues at $144,502. Projected revenues would rise by nearly 26 per cent from moneys received in 2022. Budgeted expenses would climb by only 1.5 per cent.
The ECC Board has taken an optimistic outlook for its year-ahead event bookings. Its budget projects a more than seven-fold rise in building revenues. Rental for the community center’s “Great Room,” the former church sanctuary, would rise from $700 collected in 2022 to $7,150 projected for 2023. ECC predicates the increase, in part, on its hopes to host five weddings and five “celebrations” during the current year.
While ECC’s leadership regrets the need to seek a short-term Town Board bailout, Teeter acknowledged that the recent past has proven far worse than the near future appears to look.
Largely due to depressed revenues, ECC incurred a more than $46,000 financial shortfall for the year just ended. Teeter said the Community Council had to dip into long-held financial reserves to close last year’s gap.
Under its multi-year contract with the agency, the Town of Enfield, according to the budget, will provide the ECC $52,456 during 2023. This taxpayer subsidy constitutes ECC’s largest single revenue item. Camp fees, at a projected $41,275, would provide the second-highest revenue source.
Any supplemental Town funding would be in addition to the assistance provided under contract.
Also at its annual meeting Thursday, the ECC Board amended its bylaws to expand agency Board membership from its current nine members to a maximum of 11 directors.
“This building is a huge responsibility,” Debbie Teeter explained. “The Board is too small now for the building.”
Some on the Board, including Teeter, briefly considered an expansion to as many as 13 directors, four more than at present. But ECC President Cortney Bailey preferred a go-slow approach, observing that expanding the board too much too fast could lead to problems obtaining a quorum at meetings. Under its rules, at least half of those appointed directors would need to attend a meeting for ECC to conduct business.
“There are things (like) too many cooks in the kitchen,” Bailey remarked, the president saying she’d prefer more active volunteers participating in ECC activities rather than appointment of an exceedingly large Board. “I’d really rather go slow and get the quorum we need,” Bailey said.
As part of its annual business, the ECC Board reappointed six of its current members to new, two-year terms. No one was appointed to the two additional slots the ECC created.
And annual meeting attendees took time to bask in the success of ECC’s most recent event, the “Grown Up Gala,” a semi-formal prom for adults, the Gala held for the first time February 11. Some 40 people attended, including up to a dozen couples.
“This qualifies as a very large hit,” Bailey proclaimed.