The President's Message: December 2009

We have a lot of work to do!

With the Community Papers of Florida (CPF) classified network sales going south in 2010, the board of directors did not approve the 2010 budget at its October meeting.

It turned the budget over to the finance committee, headed by Justo Rey, to wait until the end of the year to set the budget. This action was taken to see if the revenue picture changed - which it didn't. Revenue for the year ended down 42% from the previous year.

That is the bad news.

The good news is that in the past few years this association was able to invest funds for a rainy day. We concluded the year with over $1.2 million invested. With the funds in savings and its accounts receivable, CPF has a net worth of over $1.8 million.

For 2010, the finance committee lowered its expectations for revenue and agreed to dip into savings to keep the member benefits intact.

Rey said, "If we don't turn sales around in 2010, then we are going to have to make some difficult decisions in the way we do business in the 2011 budget."

CPF is not the only free paper association losing classified network sales. All of the associations are looking at reduced income and exploring others ways to gain revenue. But the reality of the current economic trend tells us we have a lot of work to do.

Congratulations are in order for Charlie Delatorre and his team members at Tower Publications in Gainesville, Pam Slaven and Ann Waite, for winning the top prizes in "The Best of The Best" CPF classified network contest. Hats off to the Hometown News team members of Pat Snyder, Christine Iannotti and Anna Vasquez. Each put some serious money in their pockets for the Christmas season.

As we head into the new year it's time to start thinking about our annual conference, which will again be held in a familiar place in Orlando, the Renaissance Airport Hotel. This is the eighth time in the past 10 years the conference will be held at this facility.

Attractive rates and the great service experienced in the past led to the board to this decision.

The Renaissance was completely remodeled in 2007.

Highlights of the conference will include the Awards for Excellence banquet and CPF's traditional Kentucky Derby Reception. The registration form is included on page 11 of this newsletter.

The 2010 conference will end my term as president of this association. The gavel will be turned over to Charlie Delatorre.

A special thanks to the board of directors for working with me, and thank you for letting me serve as the CPF president. It has been an honor.

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