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A Little Business to Attend To

By The Rev. Dr. Stuart Baskin, Pastor
May 2017, Steeple Times Article

I’m going to depart from my usual article to talk about an important issue before us as a congregation. 

Most of you know that we have leftover debt from the capital improvement project we undertook a few years ago. We have been steadily whittling away at the debt, bringing it down from the neighborhood of $750,000 to a current $357,000. Most of that has come from donations, while a portion of it came from redirecting an unused fund—with the donors’ permission. The remaining indebtedness has been amortized in a 15-year loan, but we are continuing to work to pay down the debt. No one wants to keep paying monthly payments on the loan for the next 12 or 13 years. We plan to eliminate the debt long before that.

One of the ways we hope to pay down a significant chunk of the debt came to us by way of an offer from a neighboring business to purchase a portion of our property so they can expand their parking lot. The business, Medicine Chest Pharmacy, has its headquarters in the Fitzgerald House that backs up to our parking lot. They have offered a tidy sum to purchase about a 25-foot section of the empty lot we own behind the Scout Hut. 

The potion they have offered to purchase is about 0.188 acres and it is the northern section of the lot. By way of scale, the entire lot is 1.37 acres. They have offered to purchase a portion of the lot for $75,000, which is well above the going rate for commercial property in the area. 

Here’s where you come in. In the Presbyterian system, a church cannot buy, sell, lease, or mortgage property without the congregation’s permission. In other words, this is an issue that the officers can recommend, but cannot authorize on their own. You have to give your approval—or not.

The Session has called a congregational meeting for Sunday, May 7, at 10:30 a.m. in the Sanctuary. At that time you will be asked to approve this sale. If you do, this portion of property will be sold and the proceeds used to pay down our debt.

Between now and the meeting, please feel free to contact Bob Skorkowsky or me for details. We will also place markers on the property so you can see clearly the portion to be purchased. I encourage you to take a look over the next few weeks to help you decide whether or not this is a good deal for us.