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New District Dues Structure Proposal

MACD DISTRICT OPERATIONS COMMITTEE

DUES PROPOSAL

August 2019

View the spreadsheet of the proposed changes here: MACD Dues Structure Proposal Spreadsheet – sort by cd

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The issue of dues paid to MACD has been a bone of contention for quite a few years with a significant number of Districts. The District Operations Committee was tasked with examining the issue in detail, taking into account background, history, ease of complying, simplicity, fairness, timing, and consistency. Taking all factors into account, we developed the following recommendations:

  1. The current dues are 5%, 6%, and 7%, creating the perception of unfairness. A 6.5% flat rate would be set for all 58 Districts, keeping in mind the minimum. See the attached spreadsheet for details and let us know if the information we included is correct for your district or at least very close.
  2. The ceiling of $17,000 will remain in place. 
  3. A floor or minimum dues would be set at $750. This amount was recommended based on the district’s budget. This encourages a minimum commitment from the district to be part of the organization, and allows the individual districts to invest in the success of their association and achieve statewide goals. 
  4. Dues would be set for three years without any changes.
  5. If a District has a significant drop in tax collections, the District may request a dues review.
  6. The three-year dues package would be based on the latest year we have solid information for (2018 or 2019). 
  7. Monthly budget statements would be sent to the Districts detailing expenditures, including a check ledger and credit card expenditures. 
  8. At the end of the three years, MACD would provide a three-year summary of how the dues were spent (income and expenses), final balances, and recommendations for the next three years, including a list of accomplishments. 

The details of how the Committee addressed this issue and came to the above recommendations may be seen below.

BACKGROUND

The MACD District Operations Committee was recently charged with reviewing the dues structure. Every year dues are assessed each District to provide funding that allows your statewide association to operate. Dues were last examined in detail in the late 1990’s, several decades ago. MACD has been trying to address this issue for several years, but has not gained traction nor made much progress, until now.  

Dues are a very complex issue and this committee has tried to look at all sides of the issue. Some of the complexities we found included confusion over the amounts due, difficulty finding correct numbers from the Department of Revenue, difficulty for the Districts when planning their budgets, the unfairness of the current 5%, 6%, and 7% dues structure, timing cash flow for both the Districts and MACD, tax appeals, etc. The committee tried to take these into consideration in making the proposed changes seen below. 

The proposal we would like to discuss at the Area Meetings has a number of components, but some background has to be considered first. 

2019 STATUS

36 out of 58 Districts paid their dues in full this year to date, with 12 Districts paying partial dues, and 10 Districts paying no dues. Reasons for not paying dues include changing priorities for individual Districts, disagreements with certain policies or procedures MACD follows, low cash flow, complaints about the services MACD provides, etc. If every District paid their dues this year, income to MACD would be $169,819. Dues income this year is currently $122,040.  

MACD OPERATIONS UNDER THE CURRENT DUES STRUCTURE

Because the dues paid are less than the potential if each District paid in full, MACD has had to make cutbacks and be creative in day to day operations. These include:

  1. Not able to compensate Supervisors for participating in Standing Committee meetings.
  2. Not able to fully compensate Supervisors and their staff for participating in Legislative hearings where their testimony is critical to funding and policy issues under consideration.
  3. MACD no longer has a full-time administrative staff in the office; office duties are currently contracted. 
  4. Not able to compensate Supervisors and their staff, and MACD Board Members, for travel to Helena for routine Association meetings where decisions are being made and input and direction is needed. 
  5. Reports of some Supervisors being hesitant to be a MACD Board member because they do not want to pay out of pocket expenses for MACD activities.
  6. Limited funds or not able to fund NACD Delegate costs and Alternative Delegate costs to attend NACD meetings.
  7. Limited funds or not able to fund MACD President and Vice President and Treasurer trips to Helena for certain tasks that need a physical presence in Helena.  Hotel and meals costs are often picked up by these officers. 
  8. MACD Board expressing caution when examining the needs to have a functioning Strategic Plan, knowing that funds are limited to implement the plan. There are additional services identified in the Strategic Plan that could be provided if funding is available.   
  9. Staff sharing rides with DNRC and NRCS, even when it is inconvenient and sometimes out of the way for each or both parties.
  10. Using MACD savings, as well as loans from Districts to buy an office building so MACD did not have to pay rent. 
  11. Renting out office space in the MACD office building to other related entities.
  12. Renting out an apartment in the MACD office to help pay off the mortgage.  
  13. Not able to a competitive salary for executive level staff. 
  14. Implementing Operation Reach Out without funds for Area Directors to attend individual District meetings in their Areas will be difficult without paying the Area Directors travel costs.  
  15. With an increase in dues received by MACD, a focus on the additional income will be the compensation of board members, committee members and other supervisors for the work that they do for the statewide association.

NEXT STEPS

  1. August: Proposal sent to Districts for review. Some Districts will be able to take the proposal to their Board meetings for review before the Area Meetings, others will have to wait until September or October.
  2. September: 
    1. Some Local Boards will have the opportunity to put the proposal on their agenda for their Board meeting in September prior to the Area Meetings. 
    2. Proposal presented* to attendees at the Area Meetings, input sought.
  3. October: 
    1. Local Boards will have the opportunity to put the proposal on their agenda for their Board meeting in October. 
    2. Districts should contact their Area Directors to state their positions.
    3. District Operation Committee meets to consider comments and suggestions received at the Area Meetings and from other venues.  
  4. November: District Operations Committee presents their updated proposal at the convention and to the MACD Board of Directors meeting on Tuesday, November 19th. According to the bylaws, the MACD Board of Directors sets the dues. However, they want all the input possible to make the best decision.  

*Members of the District Operation Committee will attend the Area Meetings to present these ideas, answer questions, and seek additional ideas or tweaks from attendees. We are sending this to you now so that you have time to look at it before those meetings.

  1. Area I – Dean to present the proposal
  2. Area II – Dean to present the proposal (to be confirmed)
  3. Area III – Pat, Steve, and Dean to co-present
  4. Area IV – Judy and Dean to co-present
  5. Area V – Steve to present the proposal 
  6. Area VI – Steve to present the proposal

The members of the District Operations Committee include Chair Pat Anderson, Judy Knapp, Steve Hertel, Dean Rogge, Pete Woll and with the assistance of Jeff Tiberi, Laurie Zeller and Mary Hendrix. They ask that you contact the committee members with any questions or concerns. NOTE: Due to prior commitments, Pete Woll was not able to be in on all the discussions concerning the dues proposal. Other members attended each meeting and will be able to respond to questions with details. 

Thank you for your consideration.  

 

Kate Arpin

Kate is the Communications and Technology Manager for Soil & Water Conservation Districts of Montana. She manages the website, puts out The Montana Conservationist every other week, and assists conservation districts with technology, websites, and communications.

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