ATTENTION MEMBERS & FRIENDS:
Put February 2 on your calendar for a special Boone UU congregational meeting after the service. The board is asking for your input and approval for two expenditures related to maintenance of our buildings and grounds, as laid out in the remainder of this email. Please bear with the length of the explanation that follows; we want to give you as much information as possible about what has precipitated this.
As many of you know, during a period of high winds just before Thanksgiving one of the large white pines that line the western edge of our property fell on the roof of the Playhouse. Fortunately, no one was hurt and Kathy Parham was able to call someone immediately to remove the fallen tree; she also secured temporary patches/tarps for the portions of the Playhouse roof that were damaged by the fall. We contacted our insurance provider, who came to check the damage and issued us a check for just over $6000 in mid December. After subtracting expenses already incurred for tree removal and repairs to one of the Playhouse porch supports, we have approximately $4500 left from insurance, and two main options for how to use it: to fund repairs to the existing roof, or to replace the existing roof completely.
After reviewing estimates for both repair and replacement of the Playhouse roof, the board has voted to recommend replacement rather than repair of the current roof. This is based on several factors: 1) the age of the current roof (it is over 20 years old) means it's likely to need replacing within the next 5-8 years regardless; 2) estimates for the cost of repairs varied widely but some were as high as $5000; and 3) we got an estimate of just $7000 for a new metal roof from a contractor (High Country Energy Solutions) that has done work at the Playhouse before and comes highly recommended. The board felt strongly that an investment in a new roof, the cost of which would be offset substantially by insurance money, was in the best long-term interest of the fellowship.
This accident has also spurred the board to consider options for removal of some or all of the white pines along our property. The Playhouse was open at the time the tree fell and it was very lucky that no one was hurt in the accident. We discovered that the tree that fell was not healthy, but this was not obvious prior to its falling, and the arborists who have come out to look at these trees and provide estimates noted many others in similar weakened condition. This is due to the trees being spaced too close together, stress from being directly adjacent to the parking lot, and long-term backfill around their roots that has encouraged rot. We've obtained estimates for removal of only some of the pines, the lowest of which was $4000, and estimates for removal of all of them, the lowest of which was $7000. The board has voted to recommend removal of all the white pines, to prevent any future accidents and damage to our buildings. We also noted that removing the trees is likely to help keep our roofs and gutters clear, as pine straw has been the main factor in clogs and backups. The Sacred Spaces/Buildings and Grounds committee would then work on plans to replace the pines with lower-growing foliage that would not pose any similar hazards to the fellowship buildings.
Both longtime and new members are likely wondering what effect these expenditures will have on Boone UU finances, and we will have a full financial report available for you approximately a week before the congregational meeting. However, one reason the board has decided to recommend both of these expenditures is that our fellowship has seen a fairly substantial budget surplus in the first half of the current fiscal year (June-December 2019), even after payment for both the building inspections and the new roof on the Founders House. We believe that making investments in the long-term maintenance of our buildings and grounds is both responsible and -thankfully- feasible given the insurance money and our much-improved budget outlook.
If you have any specific concerns or questions that you'd like addressed before the February 2nd meeting, please write to me, Catherine Fountain (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Dottie Baker (email@example.com), chair of the Sacred Spaces/Buildings and Grounds committee. We will answer them as best we can.
Finally, I'll note that if you cannot be present at the February 2nd meeting, please talk to your Boone UU friends and make plans to give one of them a proxy vote; this is often important to ensure that we have a quorum. We will continue to announce this meeting in upcoming Boonitarian Blasts to make sure it's on everyone's radar.
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