Council approves dues increase
District representatives approved a US$1 a year increase in dues during the 2010 Council on Legislation on 27 April in Chicago. Rotary Images/Monika Lozinska-Lee
Representatives at the 2010 Council on Legislation approved Tuesday a US$1 a year increase in per capita dues that clubs pay to Rotary International, starting in 2011-12.
The increase is only half the amount the RI Board of Directors had initially proposed. The original amount of a $2 annual increase was based on financial forecasts projecting deficits for RI in coming years without a dues increase. But directors reduced their recommendation after a variety of recent financial indicators showed a more positive economic forecast for RI.
Markets have improved considerably since the last fiscal year when the original proposal was finalized, and Rotary's General Surplus Fund is well above the Council-mandated minimum reserves.
In addition, the Secretariat has been successful in making significant cuts in expenses, including expanded offshore operations in Pune, India. Other budget cuts have resulted in less spending for consultants, temporary help, volunteer expenses, publications, and postage. The RI Board and general secretary are committed to continued process improvements and cost reductions.
According to a five-year forecast presented to the Board last week, actual 2010 revenues are $12 million below projections made in 2007, the last time the Council set the rate for per capita dues. But expenses are $20 million below those earlier projections.
The Council action means that Rotary clubs will pay per capita dues to RI of $51 per year in 2011-12, $52 per year in 2012-13, and $53 per year in 2013-14. Per capita dues are currently slated at $50 for 2010-11.
The measure will also result in an increase in per capita dues of $0.50 per RIBI member each year beginning in 2011-12.
The dues increase will allow RI's budget to remain profitable through 2013, but experience a deficit of about $3 million by 2015.
In encouraging the Council to adopt the increase, RI Treasurer Michael Colasurdo Sr. noted that dues are the primary source of financing Rotary's operations.
"We face a formidable challenge in this area," Colasurdo said. "We need to invest in Rotary's future to ensure that we can strengthen and support our clubs, focus on increased humanitarian services, and enhance public image and awareness of Rotary."
Several representatives commended the Board for scaling back its dues increase request. "Our RI dues continue to be the smallest portion of our dues and meals cost which our members pay," said Mary Beth Growney-Selene of District 6250 (parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin, USA). "The Secretariat has been fiscally responsible, while at the same time we all have higher expectations of Rotary International."
But representatives removed wording from the measure that would have allowed the Board to increase per capita dues up to 2 percent annually beyond 2013-14. A number of representatives, including Past RI President Rajendra Saboo, argued that the provision would strip the Council of its role in establishing dues increases.
The Council on Legislation meets every three years to consider changes to the RI Constitution, RI Bylaws, and the Standard Rotary Club Constitution. This year's Council convenes 25-30 April. Representatives from Rotary's 531 districts consider more than 200 pieces of legislation submitted by Rotary clubs, districts, and the RI Board of Directors.
Read daily Council highlights for Monday and Tuesday.