First, I think it is important to outline the operating structure of this organization. The organization (North Georgia GMRS) is a registered non-profit organization. It collects dues for the sole purpose of operating and maintaining the North Georgia GMRS network. The actual repeaters are NOT owned by the group but are personally owned by Gary M. Beckstedt Sr. (The founder of NGGMRS). Gary allows NGGMRS to use the repeaters at NO COST to the group. All dues collected go directly to support the maintenance and upkeep of the repeater network.
I think it is important to answer some obvious questions that some may have. No one (including Gary) makes any money from this organization. We pay nothing for the use of the repeaters, no salaries, no fees, and no dollars go OUT that are not directly related to upkeep of the network. As part of the leadership team I see the financials of the organization annually and we sometimes get pretty close but, we have never collected enough money to fully support the network. Gary has always made up the short falls personally. Those IOU's from the group to Gary have always just disappeared and somehow never get reconciled.
So, where does the money go? My local HAM club gets by only charging $25 per member and they seem to have enough money. The local HAM clubs typically have 1 or 2 repeaters to maintain and the NGGMRS maintains almost 30. The required budget to run the NGGMRS network is in excess of $10,000.00 annually. If we have 200 paying members at $50 per member we can get pretty close to even. We have insurance, tower rental, and of course repeater maintenance. Once the hard costs of insurance, tower rental, and other fixed costs are deducted we average less than $250 per repeater in reserve for maintenance and repair annually.
As many of you know we used to be a voluntary donation club. But, when almost 1,000 NGGMRS members donated less than $5,000.00 in 2015 we had only 2 options which were to charge mandatory dues or dismantle the network. Gary was retiring from public work and was unwilling to fund the $5,000.00+ to offset the NGGMRS short falls. His words were "I don't mind letting the group use the repeaters and donating hundreds of hours each year to help it but, I will be damned if I am going to pay $5,000 for the privilege.". ...Hopefully a position that every member can understand.
So, going into 2021 we are in pretty good shape. Like most groups at the end of a budget cycle, we are about broke but will be moving into dues collection period in the next few weeks. 2020 was pretty good both in terms of our financial situation and things that were accomplished for the group. We look forward to an exciting 2021 and have some great new stuff that we hope to roll out in the near future!!
-Moreland 20 (Scott)