ALTA® has concluded another successful financial year in 1997. As befits current times, success is defined as doing more with less. Although 1997 plans called for a balanced budget, the Association incurred a pre-audit deficit of $137,000, collecting $3,243,130 in revenue and expending $3,380,130. This deficit is directly attributable to significant legal expenses incurred as a result of ALTA®'s three-year involvement with affiliated title associations in our combined industry effort to establish that Norwest's TOP program is title insurance. Technological changes also are reflected in the deficit since certain expenditures in excess of budget were required for both hardware and software in the computer/communications field for improved services to our membership. An annual audit performed by an outside audit firm will be conducted early this year on the 1997 financial records to ensure that your dues dollars are being spent within ALTA® Board guidelines. Turning to 1998, the Board last September approved a budget for the new year that captures projected increases in costs to support the goals of the ALTA® Strategic Plan, including technological, educational and legislative activities. The 1998 balanced operating budget is shown in Exhibit 1 and calls for total receipts and expenditures of $3,545,800. This represents a 10 percent increase over the prior year and will require the Association to draw $831,500 from its Reserve Asset Fund to achieve a balanced budget. This transfer is in line with the Board's goal of reducing the Reserve to a $4 million level on a graduated basis over three years. The ratio of membership dues to total receipts has dropped steadily the past two years to currently represent only slightly over 53 percent of our annual revenue as shown in Exhibit 2. We have continued to maintain an equity position between the abstracter/agent and underwriter member segments, with both groups paying an equal amount in dues. The 1998 membership renewal notices were mailed in late November 1997. As noted on the dues invoice, your membership payment is fully deductible as a business expense because ALTA® pays the lobbying (proxy) tax.
As we move forward over the next few years, technology and education will continue as ALTA® priorities under the Strategic Plan, and the ALTA® budget will reflect our commitment to providing services in these areas. One important example of such efforts is the first ALTA® Technology Forum and Expo to be held February 1-3 in Orlando, FL.
If you have questions about the Association, finances or resource allocation, please contact either Executive Vice President Jim Maher or me at ALTA®. We can be reached at 1-800-787-ALTA or by e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com).
The Association continues to be financially sound and ready to serve you!
As noted on the dues invoice, your membership payment is fully deductible as a business expense because ALTA® pays the lobbying (proxy) tax.