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GAMC lowers 2010 mission budget by 6 percent

Spend-down of Katrina recovery funds accounts for most of cuts

September 25, 2009

Louisville

The General Assembly Mission Council (GAMC) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) voted Sept. 24 to revise its 2010 budget downward by $5.76 million, or about 6 percent. The revised budget totals $101,141,077.

The largest area of reduction — $6.8 million — falls in Compassion, Peace and Justice (CP&J) ministries, due to a planned spend-down of $5.6 million in Hurricane Katrina funds. Another $1 million is a reduction in Self Development of People (SDOP), which is funded from the One Great Hour of Sharing offering.

The revised budget includes no national staff reductions.

“The most significant change in the budget is that we are dropping from almost $20 million to $12 million in what we can take out of prior year receipts and reserves,” said Joey Bailey, the GAMC’s chief financial officer.

On the income side, $86,614,716 is expected from current receipts, and $14,526,361 from prior-year receipts and reserves. “We need to get closer to a time when we spend what we receive,” Bailey said.

The original 2010 budget was approved by the General Assembly in 2008. “It’s unfortunate that we have to budget so far in advance, but with biennial assemblies, that is a fact,” said Joey Bailey, chief financial officer of the GAMC.

Approximately $24 million was given in response to Katrina, and CP&J — which is committed to long-term recovery as a strategy — spread the spending of these funds over five years.

This year, recovery operations in Mississippi were completed and shut down and operations shifted west to New Orleans.

By 2011 the funds allocated for Katrina will all be spent through planned reductions, and the long term Katrina recovery efforts will be wrapped up, according to Sara Lisherness, director of CP&J.

By contrast, only about $300,000 was given in response to Hurricane Ike that hit the Galveston, Texas, area a year ago, causing about as much damage as Katrina.

The reduction continues the gradual trend of lower income for the GAMC. Bailey said he expects that reduction to continue year by year.

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