The 1999 ALTA® Annual Convention in Colorado Springs, Colorado marked the end of a successful year for your Association and the beginning of another with the Board of Governors approval of the 2000 ALTA® operating budget as shown in Exhibit 1. The Association anticipates revenue receipts and expenditures totalling $3,626,920 leaving us with a break-even budget.
Year In Review
Looking back to 1999, we should conclude the year with expenses approximately $99,000 less than we originally budgeted. This favorable year-end position was primarily due to the reduction in our Personnel Salaries expense account, as the general counsel position remained vacant, but whose responsibilities were effectively assumed by ALTA® staff’s executive vice president and legislative counsel. This translates into 1999 projected expenditures of $3,604,500 out of an approved budget of $3,703,300. Most revenue accounts were over budget, as increased member Dues receipts were the result of favorable industry business conditions. Title News and the Membership Directory receipts were elevated through increased advertising and extra copy sales. The teleconference seminars, another new source of revenue, have provided members with reasonably-priced presentations on timely topics such as 1099 reporting and other IRS and tax related issues. On the expense side, all accounts were very close to budget with the exception of the Personnel Salaries account, which was considerably under budget, and the Bulletins account, which was over budget due to increased member alert faxes to keep you updated on legislative activity.
All in all, it was a very successful year for the Association, financially and otherwise. The 1999 financial records will be audited by the audit firm of PriceWaterhouseCoopers in February 2000.
A Look Ahead
Moving ahead to 2000, the pie charts shown in Exhibit 2 illustrate the percentage of income sources and expense accounts as they relate to ALTA® total budgeted funds. The annual revenue and expense budget figure of $3,626,920 is almost identical to the projected actual 1999 income/expense totals, however, certain accounts have different allocated amounts from their prior year counterparts as a result of current year budgetary/program approvals.
Your Dues Dollar Hard at Work
I believe that it is important that you have a greater understanding of what your dues dollar and other revenue received is spent on, in addition to seeing the expense line item breakdown as shown in Exhibit 1. (Remember, ALTA® has opted to pay the lobbying (proxy) tax, making annual membership dues payments fully deductible as a business expense.)
The Board of Governors has approved the following changes and programs for this year that have budget implications:
(1) Membership dues will remain the same with the exception of the cap on abstracter/agent dues which has increased from $3,500 to $4,000;
(2) The Government Affairs grassroots program will be increased to help more states fly delegations of members to Washington, D.C. for Capitol Hill meetings;
(3) A new annual Federal Conference is planned for this spring (March 14-15) to allow ALTA® to develop and nurture key congressional and agency relationships; and
(4) A new conference is planned this Spring for abstracters and agents to network and discuss industry issues: the Title Agents’ Community Conference.
More informative and exceptional educational programs will be presented this year and with technology on the forefront, the third annual technology conference (Tech Forum 2000) leads off the slate on February 13-15, in Las Vegas, Nevada. Next, the Land Title Institute will host its second, and award-winning, Management Development Program for title managers at Houston Baptist University in Houston, Texas from February 27-March 3. The ALTA® Annual Convention will round out the year of major meetings in Kamuela, Hawaii on October 18-21. Additional teleconferencing seminars will be available to you as hot topics arise during the year. ALTA® Committees will be working to complete their assigned projects for the betterment of the title industry.
As always, the ALTA® staff are here to assist you in the challenges facing the title industry and we strive to do this in a cost-efficient manner using today’s technological information systems and communication services to keep you instantaneously informed. Only in this way, can we properly serve you as we step into the 21st century.
David McLaughlin can be reached at 202-296-3671 ext. 222 or by e-mail at email@example.com.