This meeting will be my last as treasurer of CMWD. I am thankful for the opportunity to have served the district for the last six years. It has been a pleasure to work with our fine staff and to meet and see UU members from churches around our district.
The finances of the district were sound when I began and they are in respectable condition as I leave office. That does not mean we were without a few significant events. The district moved from a physical office space to a virtual one three year ago. While we can think in terms of saving around $20,000 each year today, the change required an investment in technology and a faith in the plan. The financial fall in the equities market of 2008 caused all stakeholders to review their holdings and goals. The economic condition in our local communities has caused a stress on both local church finances and the CMWD as the giving levels generally fell. There are signs that our nation has started a recovery from the recession.
Over a year ago, our district made a firm commitment to lead the UUA on a move towards regionalization by planning our merger with Prairie Star and Heartland. Plans are being formulated for the coming years. We have laid a significant base for radical changes in our structure. The transition will be an investment in our future. This change is not without financial costs. The need for new staff training, the administrative expense of meeting with leaders in the other districts, the temporary overlap of positions, and the costs to consolidate will require the investment of about half of the reserves of the CMWD. This is reflected in the deficit budget being reported during DA. The board of the district approved the finance plan during their February 2012 meeting. While money has been budgeted, it is expected that major expenses will be reviewed and we have some hopes to come in under budget when possible.
There is an atmosphere of enthusiasm by many working to build the new region. There will be new opportunities to serve the membership. With technology, it is possible to bring together people with a common interest that is without a geographic barrier. The skills and talents available from a larger regional staff will give us the resources to serve and grow our membership.