Philmont Beautification, the grassroots organization responsible to date for some $2.25 million in public/private investment in the Village, has released the following statement to its supporters regarding a recent article (and a subsequent letter) in The Register-Star questioning its finances.
As many of you already know through email and phone calls this week, PB Inc. received bad press last Friday in the Register Star. It has taken us most of the week to unravel the misleading information and innuendoes implied in the reporting.
We are very grateful to be able to say that due to a close handful of supporters PB Inc. has managed to rally to this assault launched from an unknown source. When the reporter called our office last week he referred to the unknown source as a “tipster.”
We wanted you, as our true supporters, to have the opportunity to read the PB Inc. response before it is published in the Register Star on the Opinion Page in the weekend edition.
As many of you know, the time involved for PB Inc. to address this challenge is way beyond our small capacity, putting incredible strain on the organization, when our time would be best put to use in pro-active activities of grant writing, and raising funds to support the organization’s programs and projects committed to the revitalization of Philmont.
Before printing the PB Inc response to the Register Star below, we would like to thank all of you for your incredible support experienced this week. Thank you.
Here’s the PB Inc response to be printed on the Opinion Page / Register Star / weekend edition:
Philmont Beautification, Inc. is issuing this statement to clarify the facts relating to a front page article published by the Register Star on 6/15/12.
The article reports that PB Inc. is late in paying property taxes for 113 Main St. in the amount of $3,000. We have taken pro-active fiscal management measures to address this issue and will meet these obligations to the County and the Village of Philmont as soon as possible. We apologize to the community for the delay.
Why is our organization late in paying the property taxes for 113 Main St.? One of the reasons is that the organization has experienced significant cash flow problems in relation to the development of the 116 Main St project to house a food co-op. This project has experienced delays beyond our control over a period of 18 months while at the same time incurring expenses. This, in turn, has created temporary cash flow problems affecting our ability to pay the taxes on 113 Main St. We have regularly addressed this delay with both the Philmont Village Board and County Tax Office, and both are aware the payments will be complete by the end of summer, 2012.
The article goes on to suggest that PB Inc. received $36,000 in donations which were used to pay expenses associated with development of the 116 Main St. property to house the co-op. This is completely incorrect. We have at no time in our 11-year history received this level of financial support in the form of donations from individuals.
The total amount of cash donations to Philmont Beautification, Inc. within the past 18 months is $998. The donations, generously made by individuals in support of four program areas dedicated to revitalization in the Village of Philmont, ranged in amount from $20 to a maximum of $200. The reporting of donations is contained in the annual 990 tax filing required of all non-profit organizations by the Internal Revenue Service.
The confused reporting by the Register Star leads directly back to a community presentation of March 6, 2012, attended by the same reporter who misrepresented the facts in the Register Star on March 8. Notes taken at that meeting can be viewed on the PB Inc. Web site posted on March 11, fully documenting the costs incurred for the 116 Main St project. $21,000 of expenses were incurred, combined with $15,000 attributed to the administrative time provided by PB Inc. To cover these costs PB Inc.’s co-founder and Executive Director, Sally Baker, took a reduction in compensation dating back to 2010. The reduction of Ms. Baker’s compensation will continue until the organization has covered every expense, including the property taxes owed on 113 Main St. which houses the PB Inc. Resource Center.
PB Inc.’s programs and revitalization projects have been, and continue to be, supported primarily through grants from funding organizations and New York State government grant programs awarded through a competitive grant application process.
The portion of grant money allotted for program expenses and administrative fees is the primary source of PB Inc.’s operating income. Contrary to what was reported in the Register Star, donations represent less than 1% of PB Inc.’s annual income. Over 90% of grant funds are applied directly to programs and projects, with the balance of 7.5% to 10% applied to operational expenses, according to specific grant guidelines.
As with donations, all grants and their sources are reported in the organization’s annual 990 tax filings. Copies are available for public inspection through the Charities Bureau at the NYS State Attorney General’s Office.
All grant-funded projects are listed on our web site at www.pbinc.org. Twenty major public-private revitalization projects have been successfully completed within the past five years. Among these projects are six storefront restorations, a Village public park, assistance for five new businesses, renovation of 7 affordable housing units, a farmers’ market, now in its 4th season, streetscape improvements, educational workshops, arts and trades exhibitions, newsletters and a community garden. These projects are considered by most people to be significant accomplishments for a grass roots organization operating on a shoestring budget.
On behalf of the Philmont
Beautification, Inc. Board of Directors