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Statement for threshing session from South Santa Fe Quaker Worship Group

STATEMENT FOR THRESHING SESSION FROM SOUTH SANTA FE QUAKER WORSHIP GROUP

South Santa Fe Friends were cautious in setting up the scope of work and budgeting for those expenses knowing that there are typically surprise costs with a  remodel.

 We limited our remodel to an ADA bathroom and entrance, a required upgrade to commercial grade copper wiring, four affordable windows and removing non load bearing walls to make a larger meeting room.

We were gifted with a talented, efficient contractor (referred by a Friend) whose estimates always came in under bid the costs of his bids.

When we were red-tagged in early July for our windows we were told by a Senior Staff member in the City Permitting Department that we should submit a request for building permit as a residential owner builder because we were in a residential neighborhood. However the architectural plans could be done to commercial standards so that later if we received approval from the Board of Adjustments, a site visit could be made to review the work and give commercial approval once our zoning status changed.

This was great because Nichoe could submit the plans as owner builder at no cost and we could continue to use our great contractor.

Two weeks after submitting the plans we were then told by the Department head that the City could not grant us a residential building permit because of our pending application before the Board of Adjustments. This was a problem of one Department being unaware of the impact of another Department.

They told us we needed to submit a commercial building permit application using a GB 98 contractor.  They also said they might be able to give us provisional occupancy until / if the Board of Adjustments approved our request for a Special Use Permit.

We also had to change our architectural plans  to meet more stringent criteria for a commercial development plan.

After interviewing several GB98 contractors Nichoe learned it would cost us an additional $5,000-$10,000 to use a GB 98 contractor. The GB98 contractor we chose is Sergio Nunez. He has some experience with this kind of situation with the City as his own church was red-tagged. He is very kind and motivated to help us. His bid is the most affordable at 33%  on all the work that has been done (even though he was not there when it was done) and all the work that will be done. We may also be charged an additional 28% on all the work that has been done and that will be done if Sergio feels he has to provide our contractor with 1099’s. He knows our contractor well and that is a good thing. How this all gets worked out is yet to settled. It may be we’ll need to use his workers to save money.

On September 9th Sergio and Nichoe finally managed to submit our application to the City of Santa Fe Permitting Department and so far we’ve cleared one of eleven categories of review. A commercial building permit is more expensive but the City is giving us credit for the fee we paid toward our residential building application. Currently we are dealing with more unexpected financial challenges due to differing requirements between Planning and Permitting.

We might have done less had we been advised by the City in June ( when we met with them) of the requirement to use a GB98 contractor.  As well, we would also have had more time to come up with a plan for how to come up with the extra funds.  Their process is not geared very well for little projects like our own. There is always something unplanned in a remodel.

Hopefully, this history provides answers to those who doubt the sincerity of our efforts.

Turning to the question of how help should be provided, we believe that considerations involving money should be carefully considered and spiritually lead. Transfers of money between individuals or institutions are actually gifts because they are usually intended to increase the capacity of the recipient to act for the benefit of the greater community. Gifts carry their own obligations: that the gift be used wisely, and that, having been used, the "gift" - that is, the spirit of the gift - be passed on to others. The passing on could very well include a return of the gift to the donor. In that sense, the gift could be considered a loan of indefinite duration.

We do not believe it wise or spiritually lead or even Biblically acceptable that "loans" between Friends bear interest. As can be readily seen in the day-to-day world, interest on loans places an extra burden or obligation on the recipient over and above the basic obligation of the gift. That burden can, given the circumstances, be heavy enough to cause the defeat of the good sought to be gained by the transfer, resulting in ill will between the parties. In addition, interest frequently becomes to sole purpose or aim of the transaction changing the focus away from the original intended good.

We also believe that it is good and proper to document the transaction so that there is a record between the parties for future reference should the need arise.

Therefore, we urge the Monthly Meeting at large to consider a gift with the understanding that we take the obligations of a gift seriously and that the gift will be returned as we are able. If the Monthly Meeting prefers a loan, we urge that it bear no interest, bear a term of 10 years and be secured by the integrity of the Members and Attenders of Monthly Meeting who worship at SSFQWG's Quaker House. If and when the property is sold, the gift could be returned.

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