>> A message from GMCMI President Stan Edwards

2017 Dues Increase Discussion

At the General  Membership Meeting at the 2016 Fall Convention in Mansfield, Ohio, the Board of Directors placed a proposal for the members to discuss and vote on. That proposal was that for 2017 and future years annual dues be increased from $30 to $40. The reasons given for the increase were that there had not been an increase in dues for over ten years and that during that time almost everything has increased significantly in price, that the membership has been shrinking for approximately 20 years, that in recent years the Club has operated at a small loss per year, which has eroded away some of our reserve funds, and that if this trend continued in the future, in not too many years we would not be able to continue operating as we have been. Possibly, the Club, as we know it, would be forced to go out of business. By increasing the dues, we could increase the annual income, reduce the deficits and extend the life of the Club quite a few more years. After a little discussion, the membership voted overwhelmingly to approve the proposed dues increase.

A quick “litmus test” for reasonableness of the dues increase is to look at the expenses for Club operation on a per member basis, and compare that to the $40 per year dues. First let me clarify one point about how GMCMI operates. For years, it has been the philosophy that member dues would support the day to day cost of operation of the Club, and that the Convention fees would support the costs of the Conventions. It was felt that it would be unfair if some portion of the dues was used to support the costs of the Conventions, as that would have folks who did not get to go to the Conventions bearing some of the cost. Conversely, if Conventions were purposely priced such that they made a profit, and that profit were used to support the normal operation of the Club, then those who attended Conventions would be carrying an unfair load. So our annual budgeting process and our financial statements have for many years separated the income and expenses for the two activities – normal operation of the Club, and Conventions. (Admittedly, it can be a bit of a challenge determining in some cases how much of a given item should be accounted for in which category.)

Back to the litmus test. In 2005 we had 1,821 members (down from our peak of 2380 in 1996) and the annual cost of normal operation was $30.20 per member. The dues at $30 were appropriate to the costs. In 2015 we had 1,064 members and the annual cost of normal operation was $39.20 per member. This lends credibility to the new for 2017 dues of $40. This agrees with the gut feel of “it’s been ten years, everything costs more, and we are dividing that cost among fewer members.”

Be assured that the Board is looking closely at the budget and trying to keep a close rein on costs. Also, there is a bright spot in that some of the initiatives that have been taken are showing some beneficial effects. Membership for 2016 is up slightly over 2015, instead of being down. We will do what we can to ensure that this is the beginning of a trend, not just a speed bump. Also, the Fall Convention in Mansfield had 161 registrations and 32 first timers – great numbers in both cases. You have to go back to spring of 2008 in Santa Rosa, California to find a greater number of participants at 201, although fall of 2010 in Duquoin, Illinois at 160 and fall of 2011 at Goshen, Indiana at 155 were close.

GMCMI looks forward to the future and the opportunity to serve you, our members, and the GMC Community.