Episcopal Diocese of Rochester
Joy in Christ, a way of life

2016 Diocesan Budget

2016 Budget (Revised 11/10/15, passed at Convention)

Passed at Convention

Budget Documents:

2016 Budget - 2nd Draft

Budget Documents:

To: Wardens, Treasurers and Convention Delegates
From: Diocesan Council
CC: Trustees, Standing Committee, Commission on Ministry, District Deans, HR Committee & Diocesan Staff

RE: 2nd DRAFT of the 2016 Diocesan Budget

On May 26th we communicated the 1st Draft 2016 Diocesan Budget that included an operating deficit of $109,000.  This month, Council worked with the recommendations from the Health Insurance Policy Task Force (HIPTF), the Bishop and Staff to determine how best to incorporate these important recommendations into the 2nd Draft of the 2016 Diocesan Budget (EXHIBIT # 5).  This draft includes a $70,000 reduction in the expenses related to the Diocesan Dental Program & Retiree Medical Insurance (included in the expense category labeled “Health Benefits” EXHIBIT # 8), which is the only change from the 1st Draft budget.

Diocesan Council is extremely grateful to the Health Insurance Policy Task Force for the tremendous job they have done with a most difficult task.  Over the past two years the Task Force has made exhaustive efforts to research and review our existing health benefits plans.  They have evaluated the health and dental options available, solicited and listened carefully to feedback, and they've prayerfully weighed the impacts that any changes may have. Through their strong efforts we now have the opportunity to expand benefits in a more equitable and sustainable manner, while continuing to be faithful stewards of our resources.

The Charter of the Task Force was to:

Review current Diocesan health insurance policies and develop recommendations that would:

  • Maintain a high level of care for our employees and retirees
  • Improve equity between active, retired, clergy and lay benefits
  • Provide financially & administratively sustainable benefits policy for the next 3-5 years

Report its findings to the Bishop, HR Committee and Council, such that recommendations may be incorporated into the proposed 2016 Diocesan Budget.

Council discussed several options for how best to balance the findings of the Task Force with the challenge of addressing our projected operating deficit for 2016. In summary, below are the primary recommendations of the Task Force, along with the corresponding budget decisions approved by Council.

DENTAL INSURANCE PROGRAM: The Diocese should move our Dental coverage to the Church Pension Group (CPG) to offer eligible employees and retirees a choice of three dental plans for 2016.  All eligible employees (clergy & lay), scheduled to work at least 1,500 hours annually, will be offered dental coverage with a minimum employer subsidy equal to 50% of the lowest cost plan offered.  All eligible retirees (clergy & lay) may elect coverage on any of CPG’s Retiree Dental Plans, at their own cost (as is our current policy). All participants will enroll in dental coverage through CPG, just like we do for medical coverage today. 

There are several benefits we expect from this change: 

  • Potential to reduce total costs for participants, as a wider choice of plans allows individuals to tailor coverage to their specific needs (only pay for what you use).
  • Greater equity:  All eligible employees (clergy & lay) receive the same benefit.
  • Streamline enrollment & billing:  By utilizing CPG medical benefits process for employees & retirees.
  • Eliminate the risks of managing a self-insured plan.  Annual deficits have averaged $12,000.
  • Reduce administrative costs: Enrollment, billing, collection, accounting, audit, banking & plan changes.

Of course, no change is without some issues, the most visible of which is that Dental Premiums will increase for participants that select more comprehensive coverage.  However, in many cases the benefits paid are also higher – so the key is to for participants to carefully consider their own needs before selecting coverage.

Council also considered the issue of how a “minimum employer subsidy” should be funded for 2016. In 2015, the Diocese funded this subsidy (for parochial clergy only).  The Task Force did not study, and therefore did not recommend that the employer subsidies be funded by parish employers.  Council reviewed the estimated $11,000 impact on parishes (detailed in EXHIBIT #13), and decided to maintain the Diocesan dental subsidy in this 2nd DRAFT budget – pending any changes required to balance the final proposed budget in September.

FLEXIBLE SPENDING ACCOUNTS (FSA) PROGRAM: The Diocese should survey and educate parish employees regarding the potential benefits of an FSA program, as well as the compliance requirements, to help determine if there is adequate interest to make this a viable offering in 2016.

To be compliant, parishes that wish to participate in the FSA benefit for 2016 must:

  • Use a bi-monthly payroll cycle (24 pay periods/year)
  • Utilize an established payroll services firm (ADP, Paychex, etc.)
  • Set up for electronic transfer for FSA funds
  • Provide updated employee information through the CPG Employee Roster

The Council agreed with these recommendations and a survey to all parishes was sent on Monday, June 22nd, with responses needed by July 15th, 2015.  The results of the survey will then be used to determine the appropriate budget funding by September.

RETIREE MEDICAL PROGRAMS: The Diocese should discontinue the medical insurance subsidy for clergy who retire early (pre-65), for any NEW retirees after 12/31/15.  All early retiree participants (including spouses) receiving these benefits as of 12/31/15, will continue to receive Diocesan subsidies for 2016, or until they reach age 65. The Church Pension Fund already provides medical insurance subsidies for eligible clergy who elect to retire before age 65, or who retire early due to disability.  As we continue to seek new clergy to fill current openings in our parishes, there is little reason to provide additional incentives for clergy to retire early. 

For retirees age 65 or older (Medicare eligible), the Diocese would discontinue the subsidy to upgrade eligible clergy retirees to the CPG Plus - Medicare Supplemental Plan and instead, establish a Diocesan funded Health Reimbursement Account (HRA) for all eligible clergy and lay retirees, widows & spouses. The Diocese would fund a Health Reimbursement Account (HRA) for each retiree to help cover out of pocket cost of medical, dental or vision care. Current participants on CPG’s Plus or Premium Plans would move to the Comprehensive Plan, using their HRA funds to help offset the higher co-pays, or use the HRA funds to off-set some of the premiums for upgraded coverage. 

Diocesan funded HRA’s allow us to better use our resources, allowing us to expand benefits to not only include lay retirees, but also to increase the average benefit to our current clergy retirees.  With an “employer funded” HRA, over 90% of our expenditures go directly to benefit retirees, as compared to only about 33% of the premiums paid to upgrade Medicare Supplemental coverage.  For example: in 2010 the Diocese spent $64,000 for insurance premiums that provided about $20,000 in benefits to retirees – so only 31 cents of every dollar we spent on premiums was helping retirees.  Although, premiums have increased about 35% since then, the out of pocket co-pays have not changed.  With an HRA program, about 93 cents of every dollar directly benefits retirees. In addition, participants can roll-over any unused benefits into the next year.  The HRA provides greater flexibility for retirees to apply these funds towards medical, dental or vision care co-pays, deductibles and/or premiums.

While on average an HRA program may provide more benefits to retirees, in any given year a minority of participants could see an increase in co-pays that exceeds the amount contributed into their HRA for that year.  The funding question for the Diocese is then:  What is the level funding that we should provide for 2016?

Council considered three different levels of HRA funding for 2016:  $900, $600 or $450 per person.  After carefully weighing these options, Council proposes an annual Diocesan HRA contribution of $600 per eligible retiree in 2016.  Based on the audit provided by the Medical Trust (2010), we expect this level of funding will cover the increase in medical co-pays for the majority of participants (75-85%).  While we strongly considered higher levels of funding to ease the transition to a new program, Council is mindful of both our projected deficits and the negative impact of reducing funding at a later date.

The Budget Committee has also been working with the Human Resource Committee, our Deans and the Bishop over the past 15 months to assess how we best staff the Diocese to support congregational growth.  The resulting feedback and options for future staffing are now being considered by our Bishop for inclusion in the final proposed budget to Convention in September. While there is still additional work needed to close the remaining $39,000 operating deficit, we want to keep you informed of our progress to date.  

Thank you for your faithful commitment and support.  Please keep us in your prayers - as you are in ours.

2016 Budget - 1st Draft


First Draft 2016 Diocesan Budget - Introduction

Similar to the first draft of the 2015 budget last year, we are working to close a significant operating deficit over the next three months. Sharing these budget plans, priorities and challenges at this stage allows the various stakeholders in our mission statement to help us direct our collective resources to “Grow and develop congregations spiritually, numerically and in missional leadership”.


Diocesan Council

Name Position Role/District Expires Email
The Rt. Rev. Prince Singh  Ex officio Bishop, Chair   prince@episcopaldioceseofrochester.org
The Rev. Paul Frolick  Member at Large Vice Chair 2015 pfrolick@gmail.com
Scott Seabridge District Elected Monroe District 2015 scott.seabridge@gmail.com
The Rev. Chris Streeter District Elected Monroe District 2015 revcstreeter@gmail.com
The Rev. Sara D'Angio White District Elected Northeast District 2016 sdangiowhite@gmail.com
Gwen Van Laeken  District Elected Northeast District 2015 gwenvanlaeken@gmail.com
Richard Laidlaw  District Elected Rochester District 2015 dlaidlaw@frontiernet.net
The Rev. Lucy Alonzo District Elected Rochester District 2016 lucya@frontiernet.net
Mary Lou Hunt-Quintal  District Elected Southeast District 2015 quintaljml@gmail.com
The Rev. Lynne Sharp District Elected Southeast District 2016 lynnesharp@yahoo.com
Nadene B. Hunter  District Elected Southwest District 2015 carfuffle@aol.com
The Rev. Carol Stewart District Elected Southwest District 2016 stewarcw@alfredstate.edu
Margy Ashley Member at Large   2016 margya13@aol.com
Dr. Carolyn Mok  Member at Large   2016 dokmok@gmail.com
The Rev. Lance Robbins Member at Large   (elected to unexpired term) 2015 lancerobbinsgs@gmail.com
The Rev. Catherine L. Tatem  Member at Large   2015 revcat08@gmail.com
Dr. Deborah VanderBilt Member at Large   2016 dvanderbilt@sjfc.edu
Philip Fileri  Esq Ex officio Chancellor   pfileri@hselaw.com
Robert Van Niel  Ex officio Treasurer   rwvanniel@aol.com
Bliss Owen  Ex officio Assistant Treasurer   bowen@kodcpas.com
Susan Woodhouse  Ex officio Secretary   sjw@frontiernet.net
The Rev. Canon Julie Cicora  Ex officio Canon for Mission & Ministry   julie@episcopaldioceseofrochester.org
Todd Rubiano  Ex officio Chief Financial Missioner   todd@episcopaldioceseofrochester.org
Matthew Townsend Ex officio Communications Missioner   matthew@episcopaldioceseofrochester.org

Budget Committee

Council Members:

Diocesan Staff: 

Congregational Development Partnership Committee

Mission Partnership Committee

Health Insurance Policy Task Force

Name Role Email
Dr. Carolyn Mok, M.D. Chair/Diocesan Council Rep.


Elizabeth Bakken Chair, Human Resource Committee


Amy Moyer H.R. Committee Rep. amoyer@butlertill.com
The Rev. John Karl H.R. Committee Rep. jkarl2024@frontiernet.net
Sherry Ralston H.R. Committee Rep. sralston@monroecc.edu
The Rev. Charles Tyo  Jr. Diocesan Council Rep. ctyo@rochester.rr.com
Todd Rubiano  Staff Support/Chief Financial Missioner todd@episcopaldioceseofrochester.org
Kristy Estey Staff Support/Missioner for Projects, Parish Administration and Benefits Management kristy@episcopaldioceseofrochester.org