muehlbach m
Mary Muehlbach, Treasurer
  • From the Treasurer, March 2017

    The year of the Red Fire Rooster begins with a deluge. I have been watching over and over and over Sister Rosetta Tharpe on YouTube, “Didn’t It Rain,” while waiting for the rain to let up.

    It was raining cash late last year with a few wonderful donations to our endowment and building fund. Thanks to all who sent funds & I apologize for not being more proactive about sending out individual thank yous. Know that your donations have been welcome “rain” to our coffers!

    With budget season in full gear, I have been wearing several Treasurer’s hats trying to keep up with all the changes. Thanks to all who provided program budgets for the information collection period.

    The February Treasurer’s report is now available online with a hard copy available in the kiosk in the atrium. The bad news here is that we are delaying our Community Rentals marketing campaign until we have an end date for major repairs to the rafters’ dry rot.  This increases our expected FY1617 deficit from $10,000 to $68,000. The deficit includes estimated total $50,000 in repairs to the Safir room.

    We have known for some time we have a deferred maintenance cost that has been accruing. The good news here is that my monthly reporting of this cost has been greatly inflated. Our facility and grounds committee provided the CT with a report dated January 17, which tallies on the high end $120,000 in imminent repairs needed.

    We will need to make some rain to make these repairs.


    Mary M Muehlbach

  • Treasurer’s Notes, February 2017

    Happy Lunar New Year!

    The year of the Red Fire Monkey ends with the new moon January 28 – and the year of the Red Fire Rooster begins.

    Having met with the CT twice in January, and receiving working orders, our preliminary budget draft for next year is in process.

    Our budget priorities this cycle are still taking shape, and it will be a challenge to match resources to the actions set forth by the CT.  Planning the schedule this year, the CT hopes to provide the congregation with an informational session in March, TBD, in advance of finalizing the FY1718 budget.

    Please consider submitting your FY1718 pledge in March this year!


    Mary M Muehlbach

  • Treasurer’s Report, January 2017

    Happy New Year!

    The UUCB budget cycle: how is the sausage made?

    Our Fiscal year 2017-2018 budget cycle has begun. Budget request forms have been distributed to programs (lay leaders) and departments (staff). These are due back to me by January 23.

    Prior to receiving these forms, I will meet with the Coordinating Team to review opportunities and risks for the coming fiscal year.

    Once I have received the program and department budget requests, I will update the budget template.

    February: The draft budget is submitted to the Coordinating Team. Draft budget numbers are given to Stewardship.

    March: Commitment Sunday. This year Stewardship expects pledges to be received on time! (Good luck with that.) I am here to encourage you to consider turning in this paperwork sooner rather than later.

    Why does getting the paperwork in for pledges on Commitment Sunday matter?

    Without timely receipt of pledges, it makes the next steps more difficult:

    April: Finalize budget. We prefer to take the guesswork out of will the late pledges materialize? Or should we start cutting line items? This is always a difficult choice and the one most crucial to moving forward with presenting the budget to the board of trustees, and then … drum roll please:

    May: Presentation of the Budget to Congregation at our Annual Meeting.

    That’s our recipe. Start the New Year with planning your budget to be ready to turn in your pledge on Commitment Sunday in March. Thanking you all for joining our annual budget ritual.


    Mary M Muehlbach

  • Treasurer’s Report, November 2016

    Time is the mirror into which you stare.

    – Robert Penn Warren

    Our new Co-Ministers are settling in. Our shared leadership has come together to begin as the work of this new ministry unfolds. And time moves ever blessedly forward with or without our consent.

    We have much to be thankful for. We begin our fiscal year with a surplus as of August 31, $22,278. Cash is essential for breathing room. Our surplus so far this year has allowed us breathing room, which I expect will be short lived.

    We depleted our cash last fiscal year with underperforming revenues outside of pledges. Also, we used cash for capital items not included in the umbrella of our capital campaign (new fencing, sound system in the sanctuary, new heater for the caretaker’s cottage, etc). All small items that added up.

    I expect to spend time over the next month sharing the particulars of our cash position with folks who can translate this for you: the Fiscal Advisory Council, the CT and the members of the Board of Trustees.

    Staring into the future, how will this fiscal year unfold with limited cash in our working capital accounts? I am ever watchful. As we wind our way through this fiscal year, I expect we will want to look for ways to build in a surplus for next fiscal year’s budget.


    Mary M Muehlbach

  • Treasurer’s Report, Oct. 2016

    FY15-16 the dust is still settling. At June 30, our unrestricted deficit ended at $67,682.

    Reading the tea leaves on Financial Statements is challenging, even for professionals. I was in a meeting where a CPA took a quick glance at their year-end audit, impressed by a robust balance sheet. Not wanting to call him out about what I saw as not so robust indicators: the huge dollar value of total assets as a result of six figure receivables and payables that each offset the other. But that bottom number: total assets, was six figures!

    It’s a balancing act, the etiquette of what to say and when, and how much deep background must be laid out for a layperson before driving the point home.

    When I want to know how well an organization is doing, I first zero in on NET ASSETS, a non-profit world term which means EQUITY. This is the thing my CPA board member was not paying attention to when he suggested that their organization had a robust year. Of course he knew better. But on first glance, sometimes the most important numbers fall into the background—so much noise on a page filled with numbers.

    After we ended our fiscal year with a $68k deficit, I took a closer look at our net assets.

    The formula is simple: total assets, less liabilities, equals net assets. What you own, less what you owe. What remains is our equity.

    I have been watching our cash position, and prepared a draft analysis this month which illustrates how we need to focus on this to remain operationally sound. With co-mingled funds for some of our temporarily restricted funds, we need to take better care of our cash available for operations. I will make a copy of this report available in the kiosk in the atrium.

    In the meantime, as we move forward, we opened the fiscal year in July with an operating surplus.



  • Treasurer’s Report, July 2016

    We will finish the year with a deficit of about $40,000. Among other reasons, facilities expenses were higher than expected, and fundraising will be below budget nearly $12,000. Thanks to all who made an effort to work toward this goal, which we indicated going in to this year as “possible” for a congregation our size, but ambitious given the retirement of our long time fundraising guru. Special thanks to the Music Committee and event participants for raising more than $12,000, exceeding their $5K goal by 147%!

  • Treasurer’s Report, June 2016

    “…by the time we understand the pattern we are in, the definition we are making for ourselves, it’s too late to break out of the box. We can only live in terms of the definition…. Yet the definition we have made of ourselves is ourselves. To break out of it, we must make a new self. But how can the self make a new self when the selfness which it is, is the only substance from which the new self can be made?”

    ~ Robert Penn Warren, All the King’s Men

    Working through the coming year’s budget was a meditation: responsibly managing a dream of what might be with the practicalities of what can be.

    I thank you all for being brave enough to dream. And practical enough to ask difficult questions. And trusting enough to continue the journey together to an unknown land.



  • Treasurer’s Report, May 2016


    I go about

    in pity for myself

    and all the while

    a great wind

    is bearing me across the sky

    ~Ojibwa saying

    Working with numbers would be an isolating experience if it were not for the purpose of putting numbers together. The aim of these numbers is bringing a community together.

    We are very blessed. With each other. With our fantastic stewardship team. With the legacy of our grounds and facilities. With our world-class organ. With our sweeping San Francisco Bay view. With a very special team of people who support our worship: from custodians to musicians, from religious education staff and volunteers to program council. If you have not opened the pdf already, I encourage you to peruse the first 7 pages of our latest electronic UUCB Directory.

    We are blessed with having Unitarian Universalism as our religious safe harbor.

    We are blessed with our challenge of moving forward.

    We will soon bid farewell to our interim minister, Greg. I have been blessed to work as worship associate and witness close up his genius, wit, shortfalls, and perseverance.

    The Coordinating Team made it through the final round of the draft FY16-17 budget, submitted to the Board of Trustees for a final final round before sending out to our community for approval. By the time the Beacon is published, the details will already be known.

    Up until a December storm two years ago, I had two trees in my back yard. One, I carefully selected, planted and nurtured. The other came in on the wind – an apple tree, planted from where I know not. I gave it no nurture, no great care except that I allowed it the freedom to grow.

    The carefully nurtured tree lost its leader in heavy winds and was irretrievably lost.

    The other is thriving, bursting with bountiful apple blossoms this spring, a joy to behold.

    The April Treasurer’s report is available on our website. The draft FY16-17 Budget is also now available. If you have any questions, seek out any member of the CT or BOT or our Financial Advisory Council, or myself.

    Trust in the wind which has brought us here.



  • Treasurer’s Report, February 2016

    El Niño brings gifts and challenges, wrapped in the same package.

    Our November year to date unrestricted deficit gave me pause. A $20,000 deficit is where I expect we will end this year, as in the budget approved this past December (thank you all for your careful consideration). Our front end surplus this year was weighted with several pledges generously paid at the beginning of the year which greatly helped our financial picture.

    Having reviewed the details, I am more or less cautiously optimistic our ($20,631) year to date deficit in November will stabilize with December rental income. On the expense side, our year to date spending includes $4,000 for a new sound system along with $7,000 prepaid insurance.

    We live in interesting times. Our Interim Minister will be gone in five months. Our new settled Minister(s) not yet in sight. We are challenged to keep each other warm as we look to the future.



  • Treasurer’s Report, January 2016

    Santa came early this year—and gifted a congregation-approved revised FY15-16 budget for us all.

    As expected, our October financial statements begin to show a year to date unrestricted deficit ($6,057). Our endowment posted a $47,833 unrealized gain in October as the markets took back some of the unrealized losses experienced in August and September.

    The UUA has finalized a corporate restructure to create a holding company for endowment funds under their management. Effective January 1, 2016, all endowment accounts will roll over into UUA LLC, a new corporate entity with 501(c)3 status. We have completed the paperwork subject to a Board of Trustees resolution at our December 17 meeting.

    With capital campaign funds almost completely expended, alas, no more six-figure checks to sign. Thank you, Dave and Larry, for shepherding these projects. We are all very grateful for your talents and dedication.

    Wishing you the very best this holiday season with all your personal challenges and joys. On to 2016…