Greetings, Neighborhood Council Treasurers, Signers, Board Members, and stakeholders.
NC Event Approvals
In the past, we have requested that your NCs give us as much advanced notice as possible for Event Approvals, at least 30 days whenever possible. We have a turnaround time of 3-5 days to get you an approval code to spend funds, when the event approval request package is complete (Fully completed Event Approval Request Form, Funding Request Form, and Detailed Event Budget), but this turnaround time is becoming more and more difficult to hit for various reasons. Please understand that your events are important to us and we want to help you succeed in your community, but we have, for the most part, been getting event approval requests just days before a planned event. This puts tremendous pressure on our already limited part-time staff, who are also charged with several other responsibilities. It creates a stressful situation for staff and for your NC event coordinators who are scrambling for access to the funds. In addition, it is also unfair to NCs that are submitting their requests well in advance, since sometimes, to prevent an event from being cancelled, we will set aside other requests and process those with that came in late but have a sooner event date.
Before the Department has to take a hard stand of “first-come, first-served” in processing these requests, we are pleading with you to work with us and plan ahead for your events. We know that this is not always possible, which is why we try to accommodate your requests, but if the vast majority of you submit your requests in advance, as requested, we will be able to handle the occasional urgent request. Please, let’s all work together to make a vibrant NC system that isn’t governed by excessive regulations and deadlines.
NC Funding Trained Temp Staff
Getting used to a new way of doing things can be tough. Despite recent improvements to the forms and regional trainings to get the word out on the new process, we understand that many of you could use some additional help. The Department has trained several temporary staffing assistants that can perform the following accounting and bookkeeping services for your NC:
Completing and submitting Monthly Expenditure Reports
Paying your bills
Completing and submitting Funding Request Forms
Completing and submitting Event Approval Requests
Other bookkeeping services
Completing budget packages and amendments
*NC Funding Training at your next Board Meeting
Any services requested will be billed to your NC through our contracted temp staff providers. To request any of these services, please email EmpowerLA.Funding@lacity.org
*This training is in compliance with Department requirements, and your full board would be credited for the training mandate set by our policies.
Budget Package for Fiscal Year 2015-16
It is time for your boards to begin discussion on your budgets for next fiscal year. To aid you in this process, the Department has prepared the necessary documents, instructions, and templates you will need and has posted them on our website at EmpowerLA.org. Please be mindful of the due dates for the online submission of this budget package which are listed here for your convenience:
Wednesday, July 1, 2015 – Strategic Plan, Outreach Survey, Adopted Budget, Board Vote Form
Wednesday, September 1, 2015 – Self-Assessment for Fiscal Year 2014-15
Fiscal Year End Deadlines
One of the major selling points and reasons for the changeover to the NC Checking Account system has always been to give your NCs the ability to spend down your funds in accordance with your budget up to the last possible day in the fiscal year. This would reduce the amount of funds that were swept by the City and increase your ability to leverage these funds to reach out to your communities and bring about a positive impact. In fulfillment of that expectation, the funding team has developed some guidelines on final dates to access your funds for this fiscal year before they are swept. First, the good news. The last day to swipe your bank card for a transaction, or issue an online bill payment will be Tuesday, June 30, 2015. We will work with Union Bank, Treasurers, and Signers, to determine the your NC’s final checking account balance on that day (including any payments issued that have not yet posted to the account). Any amount above that will be considered swept.
As many of you familiar with the funding process already know, there are certain categories of expenses that require the Department’s pre-authorization before payment can be issued. This includes Neighborhood Purpose Grants, Community Improvement Projects, Outreach events, and any expenses greater than $2,500. In our normal pre-authorization process, we ask for 3-5 business days to review your request before authorizing an expense, so with that in mind, and given the traditional deluge of requests that come in at the end of the fiscal year, we are requesting that you submit any pre-authorization requests to us by Monday, June 22, 2015. If your requests are submitted by that date, and include all of the necessary documentation, we will process your request by the June 30th deadline. If your requests come in after June 22, although we will not reject it, we cannot guarantee that you will get an authorization in time to issue payment and meet the June 30th deadline. Nonetheless, depending on the workload, we will always strive to assist you if at all possible and process your requests expeditiously.