Robert Burns #243 Trestleboard
From the East
At the June 7th stated meeting, we will be voting on two potential by-laws changes, one to raise the dues and initiation fees, and one to move the Lodge to Edmonds. Please see my letter on the upcoming vote for the specific changes.
I proposed the change in dues. I primarily did so because your Lodge is bleeding cash, and I felt we need to take action to stop the losses. Our current budget includes a $3000 loss over the course of 2011. At that rate, the Lodge will be broke (excepting the building fund) in just over 5 years. The increase in dues (from $55 to $80 per year) to be voted on will not make up the entire loss. In fact, only about $1000 will be made up with this increase, as the majority of our members (myself included) are life members, and therefore will not be affected by the increase. We hope to hold another fundraiser this year to make up more of the loss.
Life membership is a wonderful thing for the Lodge. The problem is that the Lodge sees the vast majority of the benefit of the fee for the life membership after that Brother is dead. For instance, my life membership cost me $475 in 2004. Currently the Lodge sees about a 1.5% return from our life membership funds held by Grand Lodge. Thus, the Lodge receives less than $8 each year from my life membership. Grand Lodge assesses its member Lodges $15 per Master Mason as a per capita to cover its costs. Thus, I currently cost the Lodge more than $7 per year net. This means that those Brothers paying annual dues (and our other income) must pay for about half of my per capita as long as I live. This is aside from the costs to actually keep up a Lodge, such as rent, the cost of maintaining the website, replacing worn-out items, etc. After I die, my $475 will continue to provide a stream of income to the Lodge, and then I will subsidize other Brothers' activities and the Lodge as a whole. Until then, however, I end up costing the Lodge money every year. It is worth noting that there are proposals for this year's Grand Lodge communication to increase the per capita by $12. If they all pass, I would end up costing the Lodge nearly $20 each year. The per capita will not go down anytime soon.
There are three possible fixes for this. One long term solution is to increase the cost of life memberships, which is part of my proposal on which we will vote at our next meeting. Thus, future life members will not end up costing the Lodge as much. The problem is this will not affect our current predicament. A short term solution is to make contributions to the Lodge outside of the minimum requirements. I know several life members donate an extra sum to the Lodge each year, usually about $20. We budgeted this year for about $400 in these contributions. I hope more of our life member Brothers will provide these donations to the Lodge in order to keep us solvent into the future.
A third solution is to assess every member of the Lodge, yes life members and "regular" dues-payers alike, a fee each year based on the per capita. This type of assessment is provided for in the Grand Lodge by-laws, and I know there are other Lodges that have gone this route. I understand that this was tried a dozen or so years ago, and that the outcry was so great that it was dropped. I would be interested in hearing from the Brothers on their opinion on this sort of assessment. Please contact me at a meeting or at the above e-mail if you have an opinion.
Finally, my Brothers, I have arranged for the Lodge to hear from the Temple Boards from Everett and Edmonds, in an effort to make an informed decision on the upcoming move vote. We will meet the Everett Temple Board at the 24 May officer meeting (to which any Brother may come, perhaps instead I should call it a planning meeting) at 7PM in the EMC. We will meet the Edmonds Temple Board at the Edmonds Temple (515 Dayton St., Edmonds, WA 98020) at 7PM on 31 May to tour their facility. Please, Brothers come to these opportunities so we can make an informed decision. Then come to the meeting on the 7th and let your vote be an educated one. Again, please feel free to contact me if you have questions or an opinion you would like voiced at the above e-mail, or at my home phone.
From the West
It has been a wonderful year so far with lots to do. I am looking for some help to put together a casino night that Robert Burns will sponsor. I need people who can help me out with several things. I would like to have a meeting on May 29th or on June 5th in the late afternoon around 2:00pm. Let me know which best works for you so I can plan accordingly. The place is not set where but it is something we are very excited about and hope that in time will be a great fellowship night and help raise some funds for the lodge. Please let me know if you are interested. Any contribution will be greatly appreciated in whatever manner you are able to make them.
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