Present: 53 Members of the Amuta. (This number is sufficient for an official meeting to take place.)
Marc Render gave a presentation describing the building and its cost until now; and the following possible stages of completion and their estimated costs.
Stage 1: Moving in with a minimum level of comfort, with the following completed:
Aron kodesh, mechitza, readers table, flooring, acoustic plastering, acoustic ceiling, bimah, painting, covering of benches and fixtures, partition wall in women's torah reading room, bookshelves.
Estimated additional funds required: $35,000 (some of the above have already been completed)
At this stage the following would remain outstanding: additional light fixtures, children's amphitheater benches sukkah pergola, downstairs air conditioning.
Stage 2: Completion of all outstanding work listed above.
Estimated additional funds required: $125,000 (includes the 35,000 in stage 1)
At this stage the following would remain outstanding: Internal furnishings i.e. chairs and tables, kitchen units, equipment for children's activity area, etc.
Stage 3: Completion of all internal furnishings. Estimated additional funds required: $200,000 (includes the 125,000 in stage 2)
Completion of any one of the above stages would allow occupation (at different levels of completion) by around the time of Purim.
Laurie Heller gave her opinion that large sums of money cannot be raised from overseas at this point, and that Ira Rennert could not be expected to contribute additional sums. This assessment, if correct, meant that the above sums would have to be raised within the kehilla. Although up until now fundraising within the community had been on a voluntary basis, the capital campaign committee recommended that the required sums be raised by adding an additional building levy to membership dues. In particular, this would give future members a share in the costs of the new building and their own personal stake in the community. The policy of discounting the costs of membership to anyone requesting it for reasons of financial hardship would continue, and hence the calculations below are made on the basis of less than 100% of the present membership.
Assuming a base of 100 units of membership (at present there are approximately 130) over a 10 year period and further assuming that during this period no additional funds were to be raised from other sources (a highly unlikely worst case scenario), the additional levy required to raise the sums mentioned above was estimated as follows:
To raise $35,000 for stage 1 only - approximately 20 shekels per month, over a 10 year period
To raise $125,000 for stages 1 and 2 only- approximately 60 shekels per month, over a 10 year period
It was envisaged that the additional funds required for stage 3 - furniture and furnishings - would be raised from outside of the community and possibly by incomes generated through hiring out the building for communal use (see 4.5 below).
During a wide ranging discussion the following viewpoints were expressed:-
4.1 It is incorrect to present the above as the only options. Indeed, another would be to raise no further funds and move in "as is"
4.2 Although the building will be usable, even if no additional funds are raised, it will not be comfortable. It would be important for the kehilla to "feel good" in the new building.
4.3 The new building would cost a considerable sum to maintain, and therefore there will need to be an inevitable increase in annual dues, irrespective of the proposed building levy.
Whilst it was not clear what the exact increase in dues to
cover maintenance will be, a sum of around 600 shekels a year was believed to
be a reasonable estimate. For members increasing their donations as above, this
could mean a further 1200
4.4 Membership costs at the level mentioned above may exclude certain people from joining Yedidya, especially young families, of which there are not that many at present. Although the possibility of applying for a discount may be available, some families would feel uncomfortable in doing so. Consideration should therefore be given to raising the sums by voluntary donation.
4.5 Whilst the above increase in membership costs is possible, the hope has always been that we will be able to hire out the building for communal use and that incomes generated will offset these potential costs. Work has already begun to explore uses of the building on these 2 bases, i.e. service to the community and income generation.
4.5 The extent to which the decision of this general meeting mandates the whole community on the issue mentioned in 4.4 above has to be clarified.
Options were put to a vote, the results of which were as follows:
For targeting a $125,000 loan- 34 votes
For targeting a $35,000 loan- 2 votes
For not taking any loans and moving in 'as is'- 2 votes
It was decided to target an additional loan of $125,000, and a moving in date of Purim.
Pamela and Neil Pearlman were unanimously elected to continue co-chairing the amuta for a further two-year period.