Assessment Appeals

2021 Assessment Appeals Process and Guidelines
(Revised May 18, 2021)

Given the continued impact of the current COVID-19 pandemic on congregational life and finances, Bishop Marc Andrus and the Executive Council approved that assessment appeals for relief will be granted in 2020 and 2021, in two rounds each.  Consequently, sixteen congregations were granted assessment relief in 2020.  

In 2021, Round 1 will have an application deadline of May 31 and Round 2 will have an application deadline of September 30.

For both Rounds, the Assessment Appeals Committee anticipates many more congregations than usual may be considering a request for assessment relief.  To ensure a consistent and transparent process in this unusual year, and to manage the workload of the Committee as it seeks to apportion fairly the finite resources of the Diocese available for relief, the Committee reminds all congregations of the appeal process steps laid out below. These steps are in accordance with the applicable sections in the Diocesan Constitution and Canons and in the Executive Council Bylaws (see the important links below).

Please note that both parishes and missions will be considered equally during 2021 for assessment relief appeals.  Also, no congregation that has received assessment relief in the past three years will be eligible to apply in Round 1 in 2021, regardless of what the 2017 Assessment Appeals Guidelines stipulate, because of the unusual situation of the pandemic.  

In Round 2, assessment relief applications must be only from those congregations that have experienced financial difficulties because of the pandemic.  Those applying for relief for the first time will receive priority over those who also applied last year.  

If you wish to appeal for assessment relief, please carefully review the Guidelines to determine if your congregation qualifies and meets all requirements and criteria of the Guidelines, especially if the only reason for the relief request is the extraordinary circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and shutdown. If the congregation meets the Guidelines, follow the steps below, and submit all required materials to the Assessment Appeals Committee by the Round 1 deadline of May 31or by the Round 2 deadline of September 30.  No extensions in the application deadline will be given, so that the Committee can complete its work by September 2021 for Round 1 and by November 2021 for Round 2. 

Steps to appeal your assessment:

  1. If your congregation plans to appeal your assessment, you must file a written notice of appeal, including the amount for which you seek relief, with the Diocesan Chief Financial Officer (CFO), The Rev. Michelle Racusin, by May 31 for Round 1 or by September 30 for Round 2. E-mailing the written notice is sufficient and satisfactory. Rev. Michelle’s email address is micheler@diocal.org. Also email/cc your written notice to Assessment Appeals Committee Chair Bruce Morrow at email address bvmorrow6801@sbcglobal.net and to Canon to the Ordinary Pro Tempore, the Rev. Debra Low-Skinner, at dskinner@diocal.org by the May 31 deadline for Round 1 or by the September 30 deadline for Round 2.
  2. Submit your complete appeals application package for Round 1 by May 31 or for Round 2 by September 30.
  3. Items to be included the application package in support of your appeal are:

·       The completed 2021 Application for Assessment Relief (found in the important link below)

·       A written statement/cover letter explaining the reasons for your appeal and providing the dollar amount of relief you are requesting. The statement must demonstrate how the assessment appeals guidelines are met and give detailed responses to items 1-5 of the “Criteria” section of the Guidelines. The letter should also describe how the relief funds will be spent and whether or not the congregation has received any Diocesan financial support within the past two years.

·       A written statement in the cover letter as to what is planned with the assessment relief (e.g., expand outreach, perform deferred maintenance, increase visibility in neighborhood, etc.).

·       A written statement in the cover letter as to whether the congregation applied for and received a Payroll Protection Plan loan in 2020 and/or 2021 and, if so, for how much.

·       A written statement in the cover letter of how the congregation has been offering worship during the pandemic.  Also whether “attendance” (virtual or otherwise) and pledge income have increased or decreased during the pandemic.

·       Parochial reports for 2019 and 2020.

·       Parish Annual Reports for 2019 and 2020. (Note: The Parish Annual Report is what is presented by the Rector (or Vicar or Priest in Charge) and Wardens as descriptions of the state of the parish/mission presented typically at the Parish Annual Meeting.  It is not the same as the Parochial Report.)

·       Complete 2020 year-end financial statements, including statements of all fund/account balances.

·       Approved 2021 budget and actuals to date as of April 30, 2021 for Round 1 or as of August 31, 2021 for Round 2.

·       Vestry-approved Application for Assessment Relief. 

The deadline for completed applications for Round 1 is May 31, 2021 and for Round 2 is September 30, 2021.  The Assessment Appeals Committee will not consider requests for deadline extensions.

Once materials from all appealing congregations have been received, the Assessment Appeals Committee may set a date to meet in-person or via teleconference with congregational representatives. The Committee will then make recommendations by late summer to the Executive Council, which has the authority to make decisions on assessment relief.

(NOTE: The assessment relief, if granted, will be in the form of a credit on the congregation’s assessment payment statement.)

Please contact the Assessment Relief Committee Chair Bruce Morrow at bvmorrow6801@sbcglobal.net with any questions about the assessment appeals process or guidelines. If you want to apply for assessment relief, but don’t think your congregation meets the guidelines, the Assessment Appeals Committee encourages you to contact the Canon to the Ordinary Pro Tempore, the Rev. Debra Low-Skinner at dskinner@diocal.org, to assist you in determining if an application is appropriate. The process is open to all parishes and missions, regardless of size. The guidelines are firm and will be applied equally to all congregations.

 

This information, including Assessment Appeals Guidelines as approved by Executive Council and Application for Assessment Relief, can be found on the DioCal website, diocal.org, under “Resources” then “Finance and Operations” then “Assessment Appeals". These are also found in the important links below. In addition, there is an important link for the applicable Diocesan Constitution & Canons sections which describe the Assessment Appeals process (Section 18.03) and the Assessment Appeals Committee required actions (Section 18.04).
 

Important Links

Contact Information

The Rev. Michele Racusin
Chief Financial Officer
Diocese of California
Email: micheler@diocal.org

The Rev. Debra Low-Skinner
Canon to the Ordinary Pro Tempore
Diocese of California
Email: dskinner@diocal.org

Bruce Morrow
Assessment Appeals Committee Chair
Email: bvmorrow6801@sbcglobal.net