TWO IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENTS FOR 50% OF HTMC MEMBERS
1. ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP DUES AS OF 2018
As we all realise, HTMC membership dues, set for many years at an annual rate of $25, are extremely low (currently less than two glasses of reasonable wine in most restaurants), largely because we have a good number of talented and committed members who volunteer a great deal of their time and energy for our collective benefit. Needless to say, as costs have continued to rise during this time, especially for necessary clubhouse repair and replacement (such as roof and windows), we have been just about treading water in terms of meeting our obligations using General Fund income.
Which is why, just over ten years ago, the Board decided to create a separate Endowment Fund in the hope that a good deal of the income it would eventually generate would flow into the General Fund and therefore help to keep our future membership dues as low as possible.
However, it was also originally anticipated that some money from the General Fund, especially some of the Life Membership dues, would be set aside to grow the Endowment Fund. Unfortunately, this has not happened, largely because we have needed almost all of our dues money to support the General Fund, and the current balance in the Endowment Fund is a little over $10K ($25K is the minimum to be achieved before income from the fund may be withdrawn). I know that several people have included HTMC in their wills or trusts, but these members, as far as I know, are all still alive and plan on remaining so for quite some considerable time.
Then there is another area which the Board considers problematic: HTMC’s annual membership renewal process continues to be made even more time-and-effort-consuming for the Membership Committee by (usually the same) people delaying payment of their membership dues until April or (much) later. Although the current Membership Committee Chair has not officially complained (and has continued to snail-mail multiple reminders to wayward members), there needs to be some greater incentive to ensure on-time payment (or it will be extremely difficult to find future candidates for Membership Committee Chair). Please note that the HTMC Bylaws clearly state that club membership is forfeited if payment of the annual dues is not made before March 01. So far, however, this rule has had no real consequences.
The Board has considered all of the above issues and has decided to set the annual membership dues as of 2018 (as required by the Bylaws) in the following way:
- Regular Annual Membership Dues, with payment made (or postmarked) between January 1 and February 28, will be $35.
- However, if payment is made by (or postmarked) no later than December 31, “Early-Bird” Annual Membership Dues will remain at the $25 level (although we would nevertheless encourage members to donate a further $10 to the Endowment Fund).
- Life Membership will be adjusted to reflect the new $35-per-year base rate: $700 (or $350 for those who have been members for ten years). However, 50% of the increase ($100 for full or $50 for the reduced rate) will be placed directly in the Endowment Fund (in fact, we have since received a proposal from the Membership Chair that 100% of the Life Membership dues should be placed in the Endowment Fund, and that proposal will be discussed at the October 2017 Board meeting). We are also going to write (snail-mail to those who have not given us updated e-mail addresses) to all of our current life members (at the end of September) to ask them to consider making voluntary donations to the Endowment Fund.
- Family members residing at the same address will no longer receive a reduced annual membership rate. The reduced rate was introduced as compensation for the reduced costs to the club of printing and mailing just the one “household” newsletter and schedule. Now that HTMC has gone paperless, there are no reduced costs to be compensated for.
- For those who wish to freeze their membership (for whatever reason) for a maximum of three years (as per Bylaws) or for those who forfeit membership by not paying their annual dues before March 01, there will be a membership reinstatement fee of $10 (per calendar year). 100% of the income from the reinstatement fee will go directly to the Endowment Fund.
The above, as I am sure you will appreciate, is an attempt to be as fair as possible to all concerned but also to raise some extra money for the General Fund and, especially, for the Endowment Fund. If you can afford it, any donation to the Endowment Fund (no matter how small) will be most gratefully received. The sooner we get to $25K and beyond (and begin generating income), the better!
As a result of the above decisions, our current Bylaws will have to be amended slightly to accommodate some of the proposed changes, and an Ad Hoc Bylaws Committee, chaired by Past-President John Hall, has already reviewed the proposed amendments and voted unanimously (as of August 12, 2017) in favor. The membership will, as always, have the final say on the proposed Bylaw changes in an online ballot to be sent out November 8.
2. MEMBER CONTACT INFORMATION
As of the August board meeting, HTMC had 554 members, but when we emailed the membership the above announcement, only about half (266) of our members opened it (and, we presume, read it) within the first week. If you did not receive the original e-mail (or the recent online ballot), please check to see whether emails from HTMC are being automatically forwarded to your spam folder (and adjust your settings accordingly) and, if they are not in spam, please update all of your contact information (but especially your current e-mail address) as soon as possible by sending an e-mail to email@example.com (or send snail-mail to the club’s PO Box address). Some of our records are unfortunately incomplete or outdated, but it is obviously the members’ responsibility to ensure that they can be reached (preferably by e-mail) whenever necessary.
Thanks. Enjoy all of our wonderful trails and, most importantly, stay safe!
Richard Westbury Nettell (firstname.lastname@example.org)