Good afternoon and Happy New Year!
Thank you Dr. Lafontaine for the opportunity to address this year's Veterinary Leadership Conference.
A year ago I reported to you that the 2010 budget was revisited by the Executive Board in December of 2009, because the budget projections for 2010 clearly showed the budget in a deficit. It was projected at that time that the lingering effects of the global recession would reduce the anticipated revenue streams even lower than originally expected. After an extraordinary effort by the AVMA staff and the Executive Board, a revised budget plan was approved in January of last year that further reduced expenditures, enhanced revenues wherever possible and even projected a surplus at the end of 2010. The surplus was a whopping $876 out of a $28M budget! Although the actual year-end figures have not been finalized, the year is projected to end with a surplus over $1M because of significant reductions in expenditures, a successful convention in Atlanta, and returns on our investment portfolio of nearly 15%. Fiscal year 2010 clearly illustrated the determination and resolve of the AVMA to do right by their members and persevere through the most challenging economic period experienced in decades.
This year's budget, which began just a week ago, projects revenues of $30.5M and expenditures of $29.5M. The dues adjustment approved by the House of Delegates last January become effective with the 2011 dues notices, and the response has been very encouraging. Membership renewals have been received at a record pace. We are energized by the continuing support the membership provides to the AVMA; a membership that now exceeds 81,500 veterinarians.
The AVMA staff has already been very busy forecasting for the 2012 budget. But there is one very significant difference to the development of this budget as compared to the last five. Dr. Barb Schmidt was selected by the Executive Board from a crowded field of highly-qualified candidates to serve as your next AVMA Treasurer. Dr. Schmidt will assume the role of Treasurer at the conclusion of the Annual Convention in St. Louis this summer. In the meantime, Dr. Schmidt and I will work together with the AVMA staff and the Budget and Finance Committee to develop the 2012 budget. We plan to present that budget to the Executive Board at their April meeting and provide it to the House of Delegates during the Annual Convention in St. Louis. I am confident you will bestow upon Dr. Schmidt the same patience and support that you have shown me. Congratulations Dr. Schmidt.
During this meeting the House of Delegates will consider one specific item of great significance to the long-term fiscal health of the AVMA. Resolution #1 calls upon the House to consider a modest dues increase of $10 per year for the 2013 through 2015 fiscal years. In 2015 the House could determine if the planned increases should continue, and if so, at what level. This Resolution has been carefully reviewed by the Executive Board and the House Advisory Committee and both recommend that the House of Delegates approve the Resolution. It is a Resolution whose time has come. Rather than continue to approve large dues increases on a sporadic basis, this resolution would establish a planned approach to dues revenue. Tied roughly to the Consumer Price Index, this method of dues assessment more nearly mirrors the approach used by many of you in your practices as you establish fees. An approach of this type to dues adjustments has been discussed literally for decades, and now is the time to vote for change. The sunsetting provision in this resolution provides the House of Delegates with the opportunity to revisit this issue in three years to determine at that point the best course of action. I encourage the House to approve this new approach and move the AVMA to a new paradigm in the assessment of dues.
The AVMA is constantly being called upon to do more, to be more and to care more. No amount of money in any particular fiscal year will fund all of the wants and needs of AVMA's members, but through careful strategic planning, keeping the interests of the members first and maintaining a solid fiscal foundation, the AVMA will continue to be the envy of the professional association world. With a member to staff ratio of 560:1 (80,116 members to 143 staff positions), the AVMA ranks number one in this category among the professional associations in the nation. AVMA uniquely provides unprecedented service to its members. Our members contribute 60% of AVMA's annual revenues through their payment of dues. This percentage has been used as a benchmark to make certain the members have full and complete ownership of their Association.
And yet, money is only part of the equation. Take a moment and look around this room. Again this year, hundreds of you, (state officers, state executives, emerging leaders, members of the AVMA staff, House of Delegates and Executive Board), have come to this Conference from all corners of our country to learn how to make this profession better by giving of your time and talents to the AVMA. And that, I think you will agree is priceless.
Thank you and have a Great Conference.