The Iowa Annual Conference voted to approve the final Budget for FY 2020 Tuesday morning in a 771 – 50 vote.

Conference Treasurer Maggie Biggs and Jon Disburg, President of Council on Finance and Administration (CFA) had reported on the proposed Budget Sunday, and there had been no changes to the working budget. The CFA Board had approved the Budget at a meeting on Monday.

Disburg offered some remarks ahead of the vote, explaining that the purpose of the witness he’d offered Sunday in discussing the Budget was to emphasize that nothing is inevitable. 

Disburg had said Sunday that despite the difficulties presented by the current budget situation, the challenges, if faced with joy, could lead to transformation.

He explained before the final vote Tuesday that the Conference’s fiscal bodies had experienced a very difficult and emotionally racking year in preparing the Budget.

The present reality doesn’t need to extend into the future, he said.

“Because didn’t I read some where that God can accomplish abundantly more than we can?” he asked. “

“The current direction of our budget is not inevitable,” stated Disburg.

“Do not fear our actions and our recommendations as a prognosis,” he continued, “rather as a chance to embrace abundant joy and transform our local churches.”

“No where in scripture do I hear we are blessed to be a blessing because we all agree,” he said.

The total figure for the projected 2020 Budget was $13,127,917, down $1,160,369 from $14,288,286, for a reduction of 8.1%. 

The projected 2020 budget for General Church Apportionments was $2,792,753, down $48,739 from $2,841,492 in 2019, for a reduction of -1.7%. General Church Apportionments represents 21.27% of the total 2020 Budget.

The projected 2020 budget for Connectional Resources was $3,527,593, down $125,245 from $3,652,838 in 2019, for a reduction of 3.4%. Connectional Resources represents 26.87% of the total 2020 Budget.

The projected 2020 budget for Clergy & Congregational Support was $4,541,493, down $302,365 from $4,843,858 in 2019, for a reduction of 6.2%. Clergy & Congregational Support represents 34.59% of the total 2020 Budget.

The projected 2020 budget for Conference Missions was $2,266,078, down $684,020 from $2,950,098 for a reduction of 23.2%. Conference Missions represents 17.26% of the total 2020 Budget.

The Budget Team was formed out of the Bishop’s Operational Team, whose mission was to find a million dollars or more in savings, but do so in line with the Conference’s Mission, Vision, and Strategic Priorities in mind. 

The Budget Team recommendation was amended somewhat after receiving feedback from the eight Listening Sessions held throughout the district.  The recommended budget was then reviewed by the Bishop’s Operational Team, and approved by the Conference Connectional Ministries Council (CCMC) and the Council on Finance and Administration (CFA).  

The Conference had 52 full time equivalents in 2013. It currently has 38 FT staff, for a reduction of 14, or a 25% reduction of staff. This does not include camp personnel or other ministries of the Conference.

The most recent restructuring efforts have affected the Episcopal Office, the Treasurer’s Office, the Office of Ministry Directors, and the District Offices. However, all staff have been affected – some with a change in and or addition to their responsibilities.

The Conference is in the process of reducing the number of district offices. Eight districts and eight district superintendents currently remain but with two DS’s partnering in one location, sharing one District Administrative Assistant (DAA), resources and equipment. 

This restructuring is taking time but should result in a savings of approximately $600,000 to $700,000.

The Board of Camps & Retreat Ministries was reduced by $70,000. The Board of Global Ministries Connectional & Institutional Ministries (CIM) was reduced by $150,000. The Board of Higher Education was reduced by $345,000.

Total reduction in these three Conference Mission programs is $565,000.

Regarding Apportionments, from 2015 to 2018, apportionment receipts dropped from $12.5 million to $10.7 million, a drop of 14%. 

The Conference’s projected income as of the end of the 1st quarter was $9.5 million.  

However, through May, the projection has dropped to $9.4 million, or a 13.8% drop of income in just one year. The most current projection shows the Conference will likely receive only 66.1% of Apportionments by year’s end. 

In 2019, 74.2% of Apportionments were paid, in 2016 81.6% were paid. Dropping this suddenly to 66% is a significant decline that will significantly decrease the Conference’s cash reserves.