The first special general meeting of Greytown Trust Lands in recent memory attracted a large crowd to the WBS Room in the Greytown Town Hall on 16th  April, as Chairman Sid Kempton presented the 2019/20 annual budget.

“The Board of Trustees needed to put accurate information in front of our community to help explain and justify the factors behind key changes to the budget and to detail their impact,” explained Sid.

In a comprehensive presentation, he emphasised the Trustees’ obligation is first and foremost to run an efficient and profitable business in order to be able to give a dividend back to the community in the form of grants, and this was dependent on having a property portfolio which is both modern and fit for purpose.

There are currently a number of Trust-owned buildings which are ageing and fast approaching the end of their useful lives. Trustees had identified the need for more funds to be set aside from future annual surpluses to create financial reserves to help fund their renewal, enhancement and, if necessary, replacement. With an eye to the long-term future, these was also the need to use funds to help expand the portfolio and fund the community needs of a growing local population.

It was explained to the meeting that creating these reserves would inevitably mean a lower pay-out to the community, but Trustees had agreed a range of prudent cost reduction measures that had helped limit the impact. In 2019/20 the net effect would be an overall $48,000 (14%) reduction in the amount made available for grants.

Rather than apply a pro rata cut across all categories, Trustees had taken into account the potential impact for recipients in each grant category and had made what they considered were fair and reasonable adjustments in order to achieve the total reduction required to balance the budget.

There were a range of questions and comments from the floor, and Sid emphasised in his response that Trustees believed they had delivered an acceptable compromise solution, given the situation. He also acknowledged that future budgets might require further adjustments and said Trustees would keep the community informed if this proved necessary.

Following the meeting, Sid said the Trustees had received a good deal of positive feedback and support from those in attendance for being transparent about the Trust’s business and for providing a better understanding of what is involved in its management.  “Ultimately we serve the community and it’s all made worthwhile when the community is behind what we are doing,” said Sid.