Hi Everyone,

This marks the beginning of the fifth year that I've been handling the Treasurer's job -- I began in January of 2012, apparently, and, I think, have been mostly pretty good about updating the monthly Financial Report within a reasonable amount of time.


If you take a look at the current report (http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/CZ:Financial_report) you'll see that when I took over the job the cash balance at the end of January was about $2,317. In the four years since, the high mark has been $2,570 and the low mark $812. For the last two years the monthly figure has always been in the 800s and 900s.

Thanks the great efforts of a number of people, the monthly outflow has now been stabilized at a much lower $111.95. Hopefully we can reduce the amount we pay for the Server even more, but that effort is out of my own hands.

A number of Citizens have questioned me about the $12.00 monthly service charge that we pay our bank. This is, in fact, a pretty high PERCENTAGE of our monthly expenses -- about 10%. Many of you live in countries (NOT the United States) in which it is apparently fairly easy to have modest bank accounts with very low or even non-existent monthly service charges. Here in the States, however, this is definitely not the case. When I took over the Treasurer's job, the first thing I tried to do was to open a PayPal account that would serve CZ exclusively and that would use a new bank account I had established at my own bank, Wells Fargo. I do enough business with Wells Fargo that the CZ account would be linked to my personal ones and in consequent there would be NO service charges at all. PayPal, unfortunately, had other ideas about this.

Apparently because I ALREADY had a personal PayPal account of mine, using Wells Fargo as the base, PayPal WOULD NOT PERMIT me to open a CZ account based on Wells Fargo. This seems hard to believe, but, as far as I can tell, it is the ONLY reason that I was unable to go ahead with my initial plans. I spent many hours online trying to open a Wells Fargo PayPal account for CZ and, no matter WHAT I did, I was never able to.

I have four major banks on the same intersection not far from my house, Wells Fargo being one of them. I contacted the three others, and the best plan I could obtain was from JP Morgan Chase. I opened a bank account there and, without undue difficulty, linked it to the CZ PayPal method of payment. Initially our monthly balance was sufficient that the monthly service charge never came into play. But, as time passed, the balance dwindled, and the $12 service charge is now a standard item.

I recently met with an officer of the bank and obtained the following information: there would be NO service charge PROVIDED that the amount of money in the account NEVER goes below a $1,500 threshold. We could have an AVERAGE daily balance of $4,000, say, and if there were ONE day in which the balance dipped to $1,499.99, then the service charge would be incurred. (With a $5,000 average monthly balance, there would be no service charge.)

If we are paying the Server $99.95 monthly, that means we would need to have an account that NEVER dips below $1,599.95 in order to avoid the service charge. Let's say $1,625.00 to be on the safe side.

Right now, thanks to the generosity of a single donor last month, we have raised our account's ending balance from $960 to $1,435 -- within striking distance of the goal of $1,625. There are several of us who make regular monthly donations, and several more who make donations every three or four months. Based on the track record of the last couple of years, I think we can now count on keeping our monthly balance at least in the $1,435 range. But this is NOT enough to eliminate that pernicious service charge!

I hope that you will have noticed that during my four years as Treasurer I have not ONCE sent out a single one of those dreaded messages we all receive far too often in our internet lives: "PLEASE DONATE!!!!" I hope that you appreciate that small blessing....

Now, however, I AM asking you: PLEASE donate something, even the most modest amount (we recently had a $5 donation from Italy and a $5 donation from India, BOTH of them from people who are NOT Citizens!), and let's see if we can get ourselves up to $1,635! If we can: no more monthly $12 service charge -- and an extra $144 per year in the coffers of Citizendium!

To make a donation, simply go here:

http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/CZ:Donate

Many thanks for doing so!

(And incidentally, if any of YOU would like to take over the Treasurer's post AND to find a cheaper way of running the bank account, I would LOVE for you to step forward! In the meantime, a Happy New Year to you all!)

Hayford Peirce, Treasurer

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