Grange Notes by Tim Swartz, January 31, 2016
Fun for all ages at the Family Fun Day!
Join us for our meeting and plan for March 1st Town Meeting
Many thanks to everyone who came and had fun with us, and to all the volunteers! Among the many people who chipped in, here’s a list of our great helpers:
Cooking by Alison, Ann and Gail, Hat-making crafts by Janet Cathey, balloon animals by Jerry, face-painting by Nancy Turner’s crew, music by the VT Fiddle Orchestra, led by dance caller David Kaynor, front door welcoming by Elizabeth Templeton, clean-up during and after the dinner by Liz Benjamin, Rob Fish & Samantha. Lots of folks helped out with serving food, busing tables. Patty Giavara, Merry Shernock, Joanne Garton and Nancy Turner kept things moving along in ways too numerous to describe!
Stage 2 in our tax relief strategy
Come to our next Grange Meeting, on Saturday, Feb. 6th to discuss the specifics with Merry, our team leader for this effort, and the rest of the interested Grange members.
Why is the tax relief so important? Well, I’m putting this section in red ink for a reason!
Over the last 10 years that I have been Grange Master, we have been having trouble keeping up with our bills–even with generous donations by the Contra Dance Umbrella, and more recently with fundraisers run by the Friends of the Capital City Grange Hall, we have been losing at least some money every year. Our savings have been exhausted–we have only a small reserve fund in a CD right now, about $10,000 that we need to maintain in case of emergencies. We’re not in good shape, financially speaking, even as we see more and more people using our Hall.
We’ve made huge improvements in our physical plant (our new bathrooms are the latest chapter), and have cut our expenses with improvements in insulation and energy efficiency. We’ve remodeled our facility, to draw more renters–and all of these changes have paid off as much as they can. We’re all volunteers, so we can’t cut payroll! We pay for snow-plowing and sanding, for some cleaning services, for heating oil, electricity, propane, phone, internet access for our WiFi–all essential.
Our single biggest expense is our property tax bill, currently about $7,200 per year. This is more than a quarter of our yearly budget! Eliminating that annual burden will give us financial stability, and the ability to plan for even more improvements with some certainty that we can afford them.
We feel that as a community service organization that draws people to the central VT region, and provides multiple organizations–almost all non-profit ones–with an attractive, inexpensive venue for their events, we are entitled to ask for help from our “host town” of Berlin. We are eager to provide more services to the town–so we have also offered to allow free use of the Hall to Berlin organizations and citizens, at least 2 times per month, in return for this tax relief. These opportunities, available when they will not displace paying rentals and events will provide Berlin with a “Community Center” that it currently lacks. It will do so with the least expenditure possible–no planning, no construction costs, no upkeep and maintenance costs for the Town. For the Grange, this will extend our community service mission to support local people doing events for local causes–including things like family celebrations, memorial services, meetings, and more. We’ll be excited to see the possibilities explored by this “new” set of users.
So all of this is why it is vital to get this tax exemption. We need your help to make the case–especially if you live in Berlin, or can recruit friends, family and acquaintances who are registered voters there. At our Grange meeting, we’ll be talking about ways to make sure our supporters are registered, and how to make sure they get to the meeting. We’ll discuss how to get influential Berlin residents on our side before and at the meeting. And we can use YOUR help!
If you can’t make it to the meeting, please contact Merry: email@example.com or me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Charles Martin, Secretary
639 Minister Brook Rd.
Worcester VT 05682Of course, we’re happy to accept donations as well–see just about any page on our website, to make a tax-deductible donation to the Friends of the Capital City Grange Hall, or go directly to this one: http://capitalcitygrange.org/
And as much as we need your financial help, your energy is even more vital. We have lots of ways we can use your help, get in touch to learn more!