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Budget Targets Met: Draft 2023 Diocesan Budgets Available for Review

The Diocesan Councils of the Dioceses of Northwestern Pennsylvania and Western New York have approved draft 2023 budgets, which are now available for review:

“In these budgets, we have met all of the targets for operational savings that we projected in the 2018 proposal for our diocesan partnership,” Bishop Sean said. “We have succeeded in freeing up more money for mission.”

The budgets are structured like the 2022 budgets, with several notable changes in specific line items and areas:

  • Both draft operating budgets, which reflect the costs required to run the diocese, project a decrease of more than 5 percent in 2023. Both program budgets, which reflect the money spent on mission strategy and congregational support, will increase in 2023. As in previous years, some personnel costs have been moved to the program budgets, indicating that those staff are directly supporting mission strategy and ministry in local congregations. The Western New York program budget will be further revised this summer to reflect the new staff cost-sharing arrangement with St. Paul’s Cathedral that was announced June 28.
  • In addition to the overall reduction in staff and benefits costs for both dioceses since 2018, Bishop Sean and the senior staff have not taken salary or pension increases since 2019. This salary freeze for core management staff has saved the dioceses an additional $147,945 from 2020 to 2023.
  • Administration and Buildings and Grounds costs have increased by $70,674 from 2018 to 2023. Nearly all of that increase—$58,634—is due to inflation. (From December 2018 to May 2022, the Consumer Price Index increased 12.9 percent.)
  • Both diocese’s budgets show a significant decrease in the Churchwide Relations category, since neither General Convention nor the Lambeth Conference will take place in 2023.
  • Apportionments to the Episcopal Church for 2023 represent 15 percent of each diocese’s operating expenses in 2021, less what was previously a standard $140,000 exemption. However, the 80th General Convention, which concluded on July 11, increased the standard exemption to $200,000, and the final budgets presented to diocesan convention in October will reflect that additional savings. The apportionment budget for Western New York has increased since 2018 because the diocese did not previously pay its full 15 percent apportionment, but began doing so in 2020.
  • Legal expenses in Western New York have increased in recent years due in part to changes in New York State’s law about the period during which abuse claims can be brought*. These expenses are expected to hold steady in 2023, but unexpected claims may arise during the year.

Final versions of the budgets will be published in advance of the dioceses’ conventions, which will take place on October 28 and 29 in Niagara Falls, New York. Email Canon Cindy Dougan with questions and comments by September 6.

* A portion of Western New York’s budget for legal fees, which began increasing in 2020, was due to a case in which the Diocese of Western New York and the Diocese of Chicago reached a settlement in a case based on events that transpired in the 1950s. The settlement was paid from non-operating trustees funds.