So, to avoid this derailing the vacuum former thread, I wanted to bring this up here.
First, it appears we’ve had a discussion of a budget among leadership, not having been involved, I’m not sure what’s gone on before. I’m not opposed to a budget, seems like a decent idea as we move forward as a more professional organization.
However, at present we’ve been hovering around $25-30K since September of 2014 w/o any such restrain, so it doesn’t appear that we’re living outside our means. A budget could be a good thing, by imposing some discipline to make sure we’re not being spend thrifts. However, any spending must go through a regular vote, which already acts as a regulator. It forces anybody making a proposal to defend it, and gives transparency to the rational to any buying decisions. It also reduces frivolous requests, since any such request is exposed to public condemnation.
A budget potentially imposes artificial constrains on any spending without an increase in preventing spend thrifty habits. For example, if we split the monthly income exactly among the various departments it’s going to easier for some areas to work under that, while others are going to struggle. The requirements of the various areas are never going to be equal due to the nature of the tools and equipment they require. As a general rule of thumb, woodworking tools are less expensive than their metal equivalents, because they do different things. (Compare a $600 wood lathe to a $4000 metal lathe) Moving outside of wood v metal it becomes even harder to draw comparisons.
It’s also difficult because a majority of the purchase that require a vote are capital improvements, not ongoing expenses. Once you have a metal lathe, table saw, or other tools you’re not going to be making a similar purchase for years if not decades. Attempting to determine what the budget should be based on past purchases is only really possible with consistent, ongoing expenses. It makes a lot of sense for the sorts of things that are already covered by the Warden budget.
The only real advantage I see to a budget would be that it would prevent all of the existing money from being spent in one or two areas. However, even in that case, the areas that are getting a lion’s share of the money appear to be those areas that people have interest in, and are willing to do the leg work of buying the equipment or making the necessary improvements. While there’s an argument to be made for having a well balanced environment to draw in new members, there’s little preventing new members from joining and improving things to the point that the meet their needs.
Anyway, that’s my thoughts.