High on the AVMA Executive Board's meeting agenda May 31-June 1 was taking a second look at the 2003 budget. Given the uncertain economy, the board accepted the treasurer's challenge and deemed this a prudent, "fiscally responsible" measure to take while the AVMA is strong.
"When we developed the 2002 budget at the beginning of 2001," said AVMA treasurer, Dr. James F. Peddie, "it was at a time so early that we didn't know about the situation that was to develop later in the year as far as investment interest rates."
The outlook has changed even since February of this year, when the board's budget and finance committee crafted a budget proposal for the full board to see in April. There had been predictions that the economy would rebound in 2002, at least in the second half, but now, analysts say it may not happen until next year.
In April, the board approved a 2003 budget of $21,640,150 in income and $21,301,500 in expenses ($338,650 income over expenses). At the May/June meeting, the treasurer asked board members to consider many issues as they fine-tuned the budget.
Line by line, issue by issue, the board diligently reviewed every budget item, looking not only at the income items but also expense items. The board approved the addition of a few line items to the 2003 budget or increased the original amount because of new circumstances, but most revisions were cuts in expenses.
The result was that the board amended the previously approved budget by adopting a number of line-item revisions. In its report to the HOD, the board will settle on a 2003 budget of $21,721,650 in income and $21,018,100 in expenses ($703,550 income over expenses). This is an increase of $364,900 in the margin between income and expenses.
In evaluating each line item, the board strove to prioritize the needs of the membership, guided in part by results of the recent membership needs assessment survey (pdf, 54Kb).
For instance, in response to the survey showing that the AVMA Directory and Resource Manual is a valued resource, the board reopened discussion of its April action, at the urging of President-Elect Joe M. Howell.
As a cost-saving measure, the board had opted in April to print the 2003 directory without the resource manual section. The 2003 directory would have included the member listings, AVMA governing documents, and contact information for organizations represented in the HOD.
After due deliberation, the board reversed its April decision and voted to publish the complete directory in 2003 as usual, even though this added $131,500 back into the budget over what the abridged version would have cost.
During the budget review, the board took a hard look at attendance at various meetings in terms of the overall travel budget. In doing so, the board recognized the need to review the AVMA meeting culture. Chair Bonnie Beaver directed each of the board's three reference committees to look at specific areas, such as the number of meetings, their structure and frequency, meeting orchestration, and the creation of subcommittees.