As our board met last June to prepare for the upcoming new Rotary year, we had to make many tough decisions that would eventually have an impact on the future of our club. In addition to selecting projects for the coming year, we had to go through the process of balancing the budget. This process was much easier because we had three CPA's at the retreat and they were able to provide sound advice for those of us who did not possess those skills.

For those of you who have not yet served on our board, our budget is divided into two sections: Administrative and Programs.  Within our Programs budget, we raise money through our auction, parade, and any other fundraising activities in which money is generated through public support.  Every penny that is raised in this manner can only be distributed back to the community (local and global). Every penny.

So what about the Administrative budget?  We raise money from dues and initiation fees, happy dollars, raffle tickets, and lunches.  Out of that money, we have to pay dues per member to Rotary International and District 5050. We have to pay Market Street Catering for the cost of our lunches. We have to cover the cost of lunches provided to our guest speakers, and honored guests (such as District Governor Larry Stinson). We have to cover the cost of lunches for our students of the month and their entire contingency of parents, grandparents, teachers, Principal, and other guests. Out of this budget, we have to pay for our world famous coasters which we give as gifts to our speakers and our banners that are distributed to other clubs as our members travel abroad. The list goes on and on.

All that being said, it is regretful but unavoidable that we had to raise our dues and initiation fees this year. For those of you who have been in the club for awhile, this is the first time in YEARS that we have raised dues.  And even with this increase, our dues are still the lowest among nearly all of the clubs in District 5050. I am sorry that this decision had to be made, but it was necessary, and I hope that it does not have an adverse impact on our clubs membership. As a charter member of the club, I think back to the early years and even though it was a terrific group of people, the makeup of our current membership is so much more dynamic and diverse, with much more energy, creativeness and enthusiasm that we are primed to "make dreams real" in our community and throughout the world.