by Conor Ganly @firstname.lastname@example.org @laoisnews
A income drop of more than €40,000 was softened in Portlaoise Parish by a €132,00 inheritance gift from a local parishioner, according to newly published annual parish accounts.
Summary accounts published at the weekend reveal that income dropped from €656,333 in 2015 to just over €610,000 last year.
The Offertory basket collection in Portlaoise Parish church raised more than €143,300. However, this was down €9,000 on 2015. Basket donations increased at masses in Knockmay, The Heath and Ratheniska.
Money raised from the Offertory goes towards day to day running costs.
The Development (blue bag) fund collection income fell by about €2,000 to €166,679. Money raised in the past has gone to buy school sites, build the parish centre and renovate SS Peter & Paul's Church.
Donations to Shrines rose by more than €11,000 over €81,200.
When collections and Shrine income are combined, Portlaoise Parishioners gave more than €400,000 toward their parish directly in 2016.
Parish lotto earnings “a very significant contributor” fell substanially - by €35,000 to almost €135,000. The income from charity Christmas cards rose by more than €2,500 to over €14,500. Sundry income also showed a substantial drop to €500, down from over €9,160 in 2015.
Rental income rose slightly to almost €50,500. There was no tax refund rebate in 2016 compared with a €7,500 return the previous year.
Msgr John Byrne's acccounts show that income still is well ahead of spending. Total expenditure rose in 2016 to more than €324,708 - a €23,000 rise.
However, the surplus fell substantially. In 2015 the parish recorded an income over expenditure balance of €355,298. In 2016 the accounts were in the black by just over €285,300.
Msgr Byrne extended his “sincere gratitude” to John Campion for leaving €132,000 to Portlaoise parish in 2016.
The biggest cost on the parish last year was for repairs and maintenace. It was the area of expenditure that also rose most on 2015.
In 2016 more than €70,360 was spent on repairs, compared with €46,490 the previous year.
A levy of almost €48,000 was paid to the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin - up slightly on the previous year.
Light and heat costs the parish more than €46,300 while the insurance bill rose slightly to €17,993. Altar shrine costs rose to nearly €44,000.
Wages and salaries dropped by some €1,600 to almost €52,300.
In a note to parishioners, Msgr Byrne said priests do not receive any payment from the offertory or development fund collections.
He said salaries come from collections to priests at Christmas, Easter, Lenten Stations and October.
Thanking parishioners, he said salaries are equalised at diocese level with any surplus going to the retired priests fund. Across the diocese the amount collected in priest collections and salaries is down by 12%. Currently, Parish Priests receive €1,900 a month while CCs are paid €1,750.
Msgr Byrne says that the Parish Centre continues to be a very important part of the social infrastructure of Portlaoise and is busier than ever. “It continues to operate without being a drain on other Parish income,” said the PP.
“The healthy state of our Parish finances is down to the generosity of so many,” concluded Msgr Byrne.
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