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Houston Police Burial Fund

Phone: 832-969-9099 (Please leave a detailed voice message)
Text:   832-969-9099
Email: info@houstonpoliceburialfund.org

 Jay Gause

 Where we started

 Since 1921, Houston police officers have donated money to the Houston Police Burial Fund to contribute towards their brother and sister officers’ funerals. It originally started out as a collection in a shoebox whenever an officer died. Then it changed to donating 25¢ each time an officer picked up his paycheck at the police headquarters. Eventually it took its current form, once a month payroll deductions.

 The burial fund grew dramatically through 1998 as the size of the Houston Police Department greatly increased. It was a young department with many active members paying in and few deaths of retired officers. Also helping the burial fund was the fact that it received large donations from philanthropic organizations. This allowed the fund to keep increasing the burial benefit while keeping the membership dues very low.

 However, as we now know, the department would become smaller and older from 1998 onward. This has resulted in most of the burial fund members being nonpaying lifetime members. The dues paying active members currently number less than 3,000. The nondues paying lifetime members number about 5,000.

 Two other factors have aggravated this situation. In the 1980s the IRS change the tax code so that although charitable benevolent associations like the burial fund are exempt from paying taxes, those making charitable gifts to such associations can no longer claim them as tax deductions. This dried up most of the burial fund’s charitable income.

 And finally, the death rate of the burial fund’s membership is at record high levels.

 Where we are now

 If the burial fund was an insurance company, it would be in financial straits. However, by law, the burial fund is not an insurance company. It is a benevolent association. That is why it does not pay income tax. A life insurance policy tells you how much you will contribute over the life of the policy and how much you can expect your beneficiaries to collect.

 The burial fund does not set permanent contribution or benefit amounts. The Houston Police Burial Fund is merely a collection from all regular members that will be disbursed in the name of Houston police officers towards the funeral of a deceased officer. This is something that life insurance cannot do. The burial fund shows families and the community at large our care and compassion for our deceased brother and sister officers. It does not cover the cost of a complete funeral, replace the deceased’s income, or serve as an investment vehicle. The burial fund is a benevolent charity. Nothing more and nothing less.

 The current contribution rate is $8.50 per month. The amount the burial fund is currently contributing towards a member’s funeral is $4,250. These amounts will change over time based upon factors such as the number of active members contributing to the fund, the amount of charitable donations received, and the number of deaths occurring. The member contribution amount and burial benefit are set by the Houston Police Burial Fund Board of Trustees.

Where we are going

 The active members have informed the Board of Trustees that at present they believe any dues amount over $8.50 would be more than their fair share in meeting the budget needs of the fund. The Board has agreed with them and therefore will continue floating the burial benefit down rather than contemplating dues increases in the near future. It is this flexibility in setting benefits and dues that help a benevolent association avoid the insolvency issues of life insurance companies.

 The Board of Trustees’ goal is to make the burial fund’s contribution to a member’s funeral significant without making it too burdensome on the younger active members who pay into the fund. With this in mind, the Houston Police Burial Fund is beginning several new fundraising programs to augment the income received from membership dues.

 The burial fund is encouraging all members to consider telling their families to post in the department death notices and newspaper obituaries that in lieu of flowers, donations may be made in honor of the deceased to the:

 The Board of Trustees will then send a letter to the deceased’s family letting them know that donations were received in honor of their family member and will be used towards burying other officers.

 The burial fund will be encouraging retired officers who are well off financially to list the Houston Police Burial Fund as their beneficiary, thus donating to other members the benefit amount that they would have otherwise been entitled.

 The burial fund will be encouraging retired officers to list the fund as their beneficiary in life insurance policies and to remember the fund in their wills.

 The burial fund will also be soliciting ideas from members, the Houston Police Federal Credit Union, the Houston Police Officers Union, and the Houston Police Retired Officers Association.

 The next meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Houston Police Burial Fund is at 11:00 a.m. Thursday May 11, 2017 at the Knights of Columbus Hall at 602 E. Whitney, Houston Texas. The next annual meeting of the Houston Police Burial Fund membership will be at the same time and location on January 11, 2018. Three of the nine trustee positions will be up for election at the annual meeting.

Phone: 832-969-9099 (Please leave a detailed voice message)
Text:   832-969-9099
Email: info@houstonpoliceburialfund.org

 Please share any ideas that you think might help the burial fund remain strong. You may email me at jay.gause@ctrcc.com.

  Posted on: Thursday, September 14, 2017
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Houston Police Burial Fund 2020 Annual Meeting

Jay Gause

 The Houston Police Burial Fund will have its annual meeting on Thursday January 9, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. at the Knights of Columbus Hall located at 607 E. Whitney in Houston, Texas. All members of the Burial Fund are invited to attend.

Board of Trustee positions 7, 8, and 9 will be elected at this meeting. To run for a trustee position, one must be a member of the Burial Fund in good standing for at least two years and be present at the annual membership meeting, except as otherwise provided by the bylaws. Nominations will be taken from the floor at the meeting.

Additionally, the following two amendments to the Burial Fund’s bylaws will also be voted on.

Amendment 1

Amendment 1 completely strikes out the entire paragraph, including the title, of Section 6 Checks under Article IV Dues, Fees, and Finances in the Association’s Bylaws and replaces it with the following title and paragraph:

Section 6.  Disbursements

Approved physical checks, drafts, or notes of the association shall be signed by the treasurer. Approved electronic fund transfer requests from association accounts shall be initiated by the treasurer. For such disbursements to be approved, a voucher with supporting details or attachments shall be created and signed by the treasurer. This voucher shall be sent to the president for approval. This voucher may be sent and approved electronically or in any other format established by the board of trustees. If the expenditure is appropriate, the president will indicate his approval by signing the voucher and returning it to the treasurer. Only upon receipt of such an approved voucher will the treasurer disburse funds from the association’s accounts.

The board of trustees may promulgate written policy necessary to establish or further enhance these internal financial controls. The board of trustees may designate other trustees who may take the place of the treasurer or president should one or both be unable to perform these duties.

Section 6.  Checks

All checks, drafts, and notes of the association shall be signed by the treasurer and countersigned by the president, provided, however, that in the event of the inability of the treasurer or president, individuals designated in writing by the board of trustees may sign checks, drafts and notes.

Amendment 3

Amendment 3 amends Item 3 under Subsection A Regular of Section 2 Classification of Article III Members in the Association’s Bylaws by adding the following paragraphs:

 Special open enrollment periods may open membership up to Houston police officers who did not join the association during the normal signup period indicated above but who are otherwise eligible. Such special open enrollment periods must be approved by the general membership at an annual membership meeting and shall expire no later than December 31 of the calendar year in which the membership approved the open enrollment.

 To enroll during a special open enrollment period, a Houston police officer must pay all the dues he would have paid had he joined the association on his sworn date. Compounded interest on these back dues, at a rate established by the board of trustees, also must be paid.

Special open enrollment is only available to Houston police officers who have been sworn members of the Police Department less than seven (7) years.

 Explanation of Amendments

Amendment 1 allows the Burial Fund to make use of modern electronic banking, communication, and filing systems.

 Amendment 3 was requested by nonmembers who wished to join the Burial Fund. It also allows recruitment of any cadet class that may have not received an invitation to join the Burial Fund.

The Board of Trustees unanimously recommends the passage of these amendments.

2020 Board of Trustee Meeting Schedule

At the present time, the Board has set trustee meetings for 2020 on the following Thursdays: March 5, May 7, and September 3 at 12:30 p.m. in the HPOU Director’s room and November 12 at 11:00 a.m. in the K of C Hall at 607 E. Whitney. Members are welcome to address the board or ask questions during these meetings.

You may submit questions or request a copy of the current bylaws by emailing jay.gause@ctrcc.com.

Retired Lieutenant Jay Gause is the president of the Houston Police Burial Fund.


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