Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

The IPPG Finance Report

September 1st, 2009, Promulgated by Dr. K

Above is the April 22nd, 2009 facilities repair and operating costs summary, finally posted online by the Irondequoit Pastoral Planning Group (IPPG). Click on the image above to see the full size version. As the chart appears to suggest, St. Thomas the Apostle has by far the greatest costs coming to a whopping total of $997,600 (incl. $862,500 for allegedly necessary capital projects, and $135,100 for operating costs). This is a number which gets higher every time I hear it. Though it is likely true that St. Thomas will have some repairs to make, is the cost of these repairs really as high as this chart indicates, and is there any money available to cover these repairs that is not being taken into account?

Let’s take a look at these St. Thomas costs item by item…

1. Church costs: $397,400 (only $47,900 of it being necessary operating costs)

This report says that $185,000 is needed for roof/gutter repairs. From eyeballing the roof, it does not appear to be in any sort of dire condition. The roof appears to be entirely comprised of cement (see image above), which one would imagine would hold up pretty well for a number of years. Walking inside the church building, I also did not notice any structural issues with the roof from the inside. Was this figure the estimate of just one company, or were many estimates taken? Were other opinions considered? Are the roof or gutters really in need of any immediate repair?

I’m not going to comment on the costs for “building envelope” as I do not know what that is exactly referring to. If it is the building exterior, it looks fine.

2. School costs: $397,500 ($55,300 of this amount being for operating costs)

First and foremost, it should be known that St. Thomas no longer occupies the school, but rather rents the building out to the Stepping Stones Learning Center. These costs, to a building that St. Thomas no longer uses itself, are rather large. There is an estimated cost of $87,000 for roofing and gutters (what is this, has the roof of every building, constructed at different times, suddenly gone bad at the same time?). Rochester Catholic reports that the breakdown for school capital expenses are as follows: $120,000 for “energy efficient” windows, $70,000 for “energy efficient” lighting, and $100,000 for asbestos removal. Are energy efficient windows and lighting really necessary? Never mind the sudden obsession with “going green”, is there an immediate need for these rather expensive modifications to the school building?

Back in 2005, Stepping Stones set out on an expensive renovation project of the St. Thomas school building that was to be funded by donations and grants. Here is an excerpt from an August 5th, 2005 D&C; article: “The center?s success is why Stepping Stones, which occupies almost all of the former St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic school, is planning a multimillion dollar renovation for the building with such updates as new electrical systems, plumbing, air conditioning, windows and an elevator.” Hold the phone and drop the hot dog, this excerpt says that windows was a part of the Stepping Stones renovation project. So why then does there remain a $120,000 capital expense for energy efficient windows that the people of St. Thomas must cover if the Stepping Stones project was to cover this? Also, $100,000 for removing asbestos? If this is truly necessary, wouldn’t it have been a part of the project begun in 2005, and not still something yet to be done? All of the remaining costs for the Stepping Stone project, according to the 2005 D&C; article, were going to be covered by donations: “Don Sinton, Stepping Stones? in-house specialist and grant writer, said the school plans to reach out to area businesses, community groups and foundations to seek funding for the remainder of the project, which would ultimately make the school fully compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.” Again, if this is the case, why should the people of St. Thomas be responsible for a single dime of the school renovations? Sounds like $397,500 of unnecessary costs that can be trimmed from the St. Thomas capital projections.

3. Rectory: $75,500 non-operating capital expenses

Yet again, another building on the St. Thomas campus allegedly needs roof repairs. This accounts for $9,000 of the total rectory repair costs. Here’s a question: If the Irondequoit parishes are going to be consolidated into a single parish, is this rectory building even necessary? The scenario plans for the future of the Irondequoit Catholic churches has the area priests living together in a single rectory, possibly at St. Cecilia church. Scenario #1 (page 5/25) says the following: “St. Cecilia’s also has a convent which currently houses only 4 nuns and which can be remodeled into a very adequate rectory for all of the priests… As an alternative, since the convent is on a double lot, a new rectory could be built on the existing empty lot.” Thus, costs associated with this building do not appear to be necessary since it likely would not be used anyways as the unified parish rectory.

4. Other facilities/garage: $43,900

These costs are not as significant, but again, are they necessary?

The Msgr. Burns fund is said to contain $500,000 to be used to bail out the parish in a time of need. Wouldn’t this threat against St. Thomas’ existence constitute a worthy need to dig into these available funds? If the repair costs can be cut down to roughly $500,000, which appears quite possible, then this money should be used to make the needed repairs, and keep St. Thomas going until the parish is no longer viable. Will the IPPG give St. Thomas the chance to survive?

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7 Responses to “The IPPG Finance Report”

  1. Mary Kay says:

    Good questions.

  2. Laura says:

    I just sent a letter to the IPPG leader and St. Thomas representative. We'll see if they have anything to say about these numbers.

  3. Anonymous says:

    There are no explanations about the origin of these figures, and what exactly needs to be repaired. The IPPG is governed by politics. The big two, Christ the King and St. Cecilia, are running the show. St. Salome and St. Thomas are looked down upon. The people of Margaret Mary shouldn't feel too comfortable, because if it comes down to keeping two parishes open, something that has received much talk by the IPPG, you're going to be shut down right after us. We're in this together, and we need to fight together to keep our churches open.

  4. St. Thomas parishioner says:

    The IPPG and their plan reeks of corruption of the haves (Christ the King, St. Salome, St. Margaret Mary) over the have-nots (St. Salome, St. Thomas). The bigger churches seem to be running the show. The people representing the smaller parishes are yes-men and yes-women hand picked by Fr. Tanck to go with the flow, possibly in hopes of attaining power in the combined parish. Mark my words, if St. Thomas closes, Margie Ochs will have power in the new combined parish. Notice how Fr. Tanck refuses to remove these yes-men in the bulletin article a couple weeks ago. This is SICK! The St. Joseph Foundation needs to step in and help us with a Canonical fight.

    Corruption. Lies. Cover-ups. Greed. The IPPG represents it all.

  5. St. Thomas parishioner says:

    Typo: the other have is St. Cecilia

  6. Anonymous says:

    I don't say this enough, but Bishop Clark should retire.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Does anyone else notice that the expected capital costs at Christ the King ($498,471) is interestingly close to the size of the Msgr. Burns Trust Fund ($500,000)? Could the people of CTK be eying this money reserve to use for projects at their own parish?

    Greed indeed.

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