The South Georgia Conference’s Council on Finance and Administration (CFA) made some difficult decisions at their recent meeting, held May 9 in Macon. According to CFA chairman Rev. Jimmy Cason, the Council will recommend to the South Georgia Annual Conference an amended 2011 budget as well as a severely reduced 2012 proposed budget.
At the 2011 Annual Conference Session in Tifton, they will recommend that the 2011 budget be reduced by $323,782, from $12,595,881 to $12,272,099. They will also recommend a significantly slimmer budget for 2012, after slashing budget requests by $1,078,542. The proposed 2012 budget will be $11,742,085, down from the requested $12,820,627.
Several factors influenced these decisions.
“Last year we spent 87 percent of our 2010 budget but only collected 80 percent,” Rev. Cason said. “This required us to spend $907,330 out of reserves. With almost $3.2 million in reserves, it would only take us three or four years to use up all of these reserves unless we take some action to control spending and increase stewardship.
“Our churches are also telling us that, due to decreased revenues in local congregations, they have had to reduce budgets and either not hire additional staff or even reduce staff,” he said. “The question we hear repeatedly is, ‘If we have had to tighten our financial belts, why can’t the Annual Conference do the same?’”
Among the proposed reductions are:
“We are aware that most of the cuts proposed involved important ministries of our Annual Conference, but we felt that we had to deal with present-day realities,” Rev. Cason said. “Our current funding patterns are not sustainable, but we must also discover ways to increase a deeper awareness of our stewardship responsibilities.”
Members of the Annual Conference received a mailing with a copy of the report from the Council on Finance and Administration prior to the conference session. The report can be found by clicking here.