CREA Treasurer’s Report

by Rod Martinez, treasurer

Rod Martinez, CREA Treasurer

Goodbye 2020 and welcome 2021. CREA, like many of your co-ops, had to work through many challenges in 2020 as the result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In March, most the staff worked from home as CREA re-worked schedules and events. But as we settled into a new way of doing things, some of the staff returned to the office at least part of the time. New protocols were in place and new virtual webinars were added as the staff rose to the challenges of finding different ways to serve your co-ops.

Budget wise, CREA’s expenses were $53,862 less than budget company-wide. Employee expenses, staff travel and director expenses were significantly under budget for 2020. Revenue was down because the board approved reducing third quarter dues 50%, for a total cumulative savings to the membership of $306,360. CREA ended the year with margins as follows:

Department Budget Actual

General Administration ($169,780) ($204,375)
Communications $19,079 $22,248
Safety & Loss Control ($182,367) ($97,079)

Total ($333,068) ($279,206)

CREA budgeted for negative margins (deficits) in 2020 because its cash on hand exceeded the policy requirement that three months operating cash be held in reserve. We started the year with $2,011,851 and ended with $1,714,851 cash on hand. Over the past 10 years there have been five years when we did not have a dues increase for the general administration department and over the past five years the safety and loss control department did not have a dues increase in three of those years.

Because of COVID-19, CREA canceled its Bolivian international project in 2020, but the board voted to donate the $50,000 budgeted for this project to a Wildfire Relief Fund set up by the Colorado Electric Educational Institute, the philanthropic arm of CREA. Tri-State G&T matched CREA’s donation and other co-ops, their employees, and Colorado Country Life readers donated additional funds, which will benefit co-op employees, first responders and others served by Colorado’s co-ops who were affected by the wildfires.

CREA is also realizing savings in the investment it made in the Retirement Security Plan in 2013. At that time, we made a pre-payment of $622,121 into the RS Plan based on a promise of lower premiums in the future. Since 2013, we have received savings on lower premiums, and in 2020 the pre-payment saved CREA $85,263, for a cumulative savings of $652.793, or $30,672 greater than our initial investment.

For Colorado Country Life subscribers, the magazine continues to be an amazing value. The cost to produce and mail the magazine has remained steady at 37 cents per issue. The subscription cost hasn’t increased in 25 years, even though production, printing, and mailing costs have risen.

Looking forward to 2021, the board adopted a budget that reflects a 1.7% increase in expenses for the general administration and a 6% increase in dues. The safety and loss control department budget increased 1.2 percent and increased dues 7%. We are holding the line at 37 cents for a subscription to Colorado Country Life.

CREA was not able to celebrate its 75th year serving Colorado’s co-ops in the manner we had hoped, but your investment in the statewide is sound, and you can be assured that CREA is on solid footing for the future.

Rod Martinez