November 1, 2002: Program approved (CF 02-0699)
At the beginning of each fiscal year, the Mayor and Council shall appropriate money for Certified Neighborhood Councils for costs related to the functions, operations, and duties of being a Certified Neighborhood Council. Such functions, operations, and duties include, but are not limited to, meeting and office space, office equipment, computers, supplies, and communications, such as costs associated with newsletters, postage, or printing written materials. At the discretion of each neighborhood council, and as approved by the DONE, all or part of the money so appropriated may be used for neighborhood improvement projects.
Each Certified Neighborhood Council that receives funding shall be required to account for its expenditures pursuant to the Plan (Article III, Section 2(d)) detailed below: (continue here)
After certification and the installation of a Governing Board, the Neighborhood Council Treasurer and the Board member identified as the second signatory must register to attend the required Neighborhood Council Treasurer Training. At the conclusion of the training or soon thereafter, the Treasurer and the second signatory will need to provide the following documents in order to complete the process and gain access to funding:
Access to funding will be provided to Neighborhood Councils by two methods:
Updated! Treasurer Handbook – It’s your One-Stop Shop for Funding information! It contains an overview of the entire program including; Guidelines and Responsibilities, Budget, Inventory and Reconciliation requirements, Demand Warrants, Purchasing Card and Neighborhood Purposes Grants policies and procedures.
Budget Template - Budget template for Neighborhood Councils to use when submitting budgets to the Department for approval.
Demand Warrant Form (Editable) - Form to request a Demand Warrant (City Check). This form can be completed electronically then printed and submitted to the Department along with the other supporting documentation. Please review the checklist on the form to ensure that all required documentation is submitted with the Demand Warrant request. Incomplete Demand Warrants will be returned to the Neighborhood Council.
Neighborhood Council Inventory Form (Editable) - Form to be used to track qualified inventory items. Please refer to the Treasurer Handbook for detailed instructions.
Neighborhood Purposes Grant Applicant Packet - Instructions and forms for entities applying for grant funding from a Neighborhood Council.
Neighborhood Purposes Grant Application (Editable) - Grant application for Non-profit 501(c)(3) and public schools to submit to Neighborhood Councils.
Neighborhood Purposes Grant Neighborhood Council Reference Packet - Checklist, evaluation and follow-up tools for Neighborhood Councils reviewing a request for a Neighborhood Purposes Grant.
Purchasing Card Reconciliation Form (Editable) - Form used to reconcile charges on the Neighborhood Council Purchasing Card. It is submitted to the Department quarterly as part of the audit submission. See Treasurer Handbook for detailed instructions.
Purchasing Card Exemption Form (Editable) -The Department may allow, on a case-by-case basis, an increase in the P-card spending cap of $2,500 for single transactions. The circumstances must be of an unforeseen nature, as opposed to circumventing the process to request a demand warrant. The Department may also temporarily unblock a particular vendor code when the Neighborhood Council is unable to make an approved purchase elsewhere. This form is to be used to request an exemption to the single transaction cap, or to request that a particular vendor be temporarily unblocked. Please note that there is required documentation that must accompany the form.
Treasurer Packet - Contains the required forms for Treaurers and Second Signatories including; the Purchasing Card Letter of Acknowledgement, Purchasing Card Agreement of Responsibilities and the US Bank Purchasing Card Application.
W-9 Form – Form to be used for first-time vendor to be entered into the Controller’s system.
An acknowledgement letter is a letter addressed to the Neighborhood Council that confirms a board action to participate or fund a request presented to them by an organization. It must be included when submitting certain requests for payment to the Department. Please refer to the Demand Warrant Checklist for details.
City policy is to pay for goods and services after they have been rendered on the basis of an invoice. Advance payments should be avoided whenever possible. The Department will handle requests for advance payments on a case-by-case basis.
How much funding can the Neighborhood Council receive annually?
Currently the annual appropriation for each Neighborhood Council is $37,000.
If NCs are unable to pay their bills on time a request can be made of the vendor to forward the bills in the NC’s name to the Funding Section at the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment’s mailing address, 200 North Spring Street, 20th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90012. The Department will then send the NC an automatic deduction notice. This action can help to avoid late charges. Please remember that these are public funds and it would be a waste to have taxpayer dollars paying late fees when they can be used for your community.
A Benefit Statement is the Neighborhood Council’s statement explaining how the approved expenditure/project will benefit the community. The Neighborhood Council is required to state on the demand warrant form how they believe this expenditure will benefit their community. This helps make the transaction transparent to stakeholders, the Department and the City Controller.
The budget process is an opportunity for the NC to learn what the community wants to see happen and/or improved in the fiscal year ahead. A good budget outlines in reasonable detail; (1) operating expenses; (2) outreach activities; (3) neighborhood improvements and/or beautification projects; and, (4) Neighborhood Purposes Grants. It is used as a roadmap to achieve the NCs mission and goals.
Neighborhood Councils are required to submit a board approved budget at the beginning of each fiscal year (July 1). The budget must be submitted to the Department on the standardized template by the established deadline in order for a Neighborhood Council to continue to have access to funding.
Each Neighborhood Council is eligible to receive a US Bank Purchasing Card to assist in the conduct of official Neighborhood Council business. The board must identify who the cardholder will be (usually the Treasurer) and that person must attend the Department’s Treasurer Training. Upon completion of all the required documentation a US Bank purchasing card will be issued. The designee will receive the card within 10 business days after their information is entered into the system.
Can an NC request an additional charge card?
No. Currently the Department only allows one board member to have a purchasing card.
Should the card be given to other people to use?
No. This practice is strongly discouraged, as the card is encoded with personal information provided by the cardholder. In addition, the cardholder bares the responsibility for all transactions incurred on the card and may choose to safeguard it by not allowing others to borrow it.
What if the NC wishes to split a payment for an item priced more than the $2,500 card limit?
City policy does not allow split payments (purchase in excess of the $2,500.00 limit being made with more than one transaction) with the purchasing card. Therefore the treasurer must submit a Demand Warrant for any expenditure exceeding $2,500.00.
What happens when the Credit Card is lost?
First: Immediately notify US Bank at (800) 344-5696, 24 hours a day, to report a lost or stolen card. Second: Notify the Department by phone at (213) 485-1360.
Questions? Who to contact:
Should there be any questions regarding the Neighborhood Council Funding Program, please contact the NC Support Helpline at (213) 978-1551 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If Neighborhood Councils wish to collaborate on a project, what is the procedure?
Prepare a demand warrant including all of the required supporting documentation. Indicate on the demand warrant that it is a joint project and list the additional entities that are financially supporting the project if they are City Departments or Neighborhood Councils. Please note, the invoice submitted to the Department must only contain the amount for the individual NC requesting the payment.
The quarterly purchasing credit limit is $4,625 with a $2,500.00 per transaction limit. Any deviation from normal credit limits requires pre-approval from the Department and is handled on a case by case basis. Demand warrants do not have limits. However, certain dollar amounts may require additional Department approvals and/or contracts.
A demand warrant is a request for a City of Los Angeles paper check.
How long does it take to process a Demand Warrant?
Processing a demand warrant normally requires 15-30 business days from the time the Funding Program staff receives all necessary supporting documentation until the time City Controller issues and mails the check.
What can delay the processing of a Demand Warrant?
There are several common situations that can result in processing delays. The following are the most common situations that occur:
No original invoice submitted for services or goods received or the invoice is not billed directly to the NC and does not include an invoice number. An invoice must accompany the demand warrant.
Missing documentation such as a W-9 form and/or Business Tax Registration Certificate (BTRC) which are all required per City expenditure policies.
Missing artwork for outreach items, print samples of newsletters or tear sheets for advertising.
Submitting a Demand Warrant with only one signature.
Please refer to the Demand Warrant Guidelines Checklist for a complete listing of all required supporting documentation.
The Donations Ordinance has been approved by the Mayor and City Council; however, implementation is pending the outcome of a logistical plan of receiving, banking and dispersing donations that may be received by Neighborhood Councils.
How can Neighborhood Councils best obtain photocopiers?
Neighborhood Councils may contact the Department of General Services to take advantage of the City’s contract for lower-priced copiers. The explanation and related contact information is available on the General Services website athttp://lacity.org/GSD/pubcopier.htm The advantage of the City Wide Copier Program is cost efficiency and it saves the Neighborhood Council maintenance and repairs costs.
When does the Neighborhood Council’s fiscal year begin?
The Neighborhood Council’s fiscal year is aligned with the City’s fiscal year (July 1 through June 30) and is divided into four quarters:
1st Quarter July 1 – September 30;
2nd Quarter October 1 – December 31;
3rd Quarter January 1 – March 31; and
4t Quarter April 1 – June 30.
Can the Neighborhood Council make a grant?
Yes. The Neighborhood Purposes Grants (NPG) program allows NCs to issue grants to 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations and to public schools.
Grants are issued in the form of City checks, (demand warrants), not charge card transactions. Any grant issued by an NC must be for a public purpose.
Grants issued by Neighborhood Councils will be posted on the Department website so that stakeholders can monitor the progress of the program. Click here for Neighborhood Purposes Grant guidelines and application.
Can the Neighborhood Council join a chamber of commerce or other such organization?
No. Under the City Charter an NC is an advisory body and cannot join private organizations such as chambers of commerce. However, Neighborhood Councils can interact with private organizations in activities, such as implementing neighborhood improvement projects. NCs are encouraged to participate with other organizations as much as possible.
An individual stakeholder or board member of the Neighborhood Council is free to join any private organization.
Can Neighborhood Councils establish nonprofit entities?
No. Neighborhood Councils are City entities and therefore cannot establish independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations.
A Neighborhood Council board member is an elected, selected or appointed voting member of the NC governing board.
Office Depot offers Neighborhood Councils a variety of discounts, and NCs are encouraged to take advantage of this program.
How does an NC qualify for discounted pricing at Office Depot?
The best way is to be set up online by contacting Ken Meyer, Account Manager (Office Depot Business Services Division) at (818) 557-1724 or email him atKen.meyer@OfficeDepot.com and he and his staff can assist with accessing the website.
Does this discount program work at any local Office Depot?
Although Office Depot has informed store district managers and most of the store managers, the retail clerks may not be fully aware of this program. The pricing and discounting is done through the purchasing card link and thus all purchases must be completed via the purchasing card in order to receive the discount.
Will Office Depot deliver to the Neighborhood Council designated location?
Yes. Free delivery is available. The NC cardholder must first have the NCs address entered into the Office Depot Computer system, and then an order can be made online with free next day delivery.
What if the NC wants to purchase items, e.g., furniture or computer equipment costing more than the $2,500.00 purchasing card limit?
Office Depot can invoice the NC on an open account basis through the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment. However, prior authorization is required from the Funding Program before the order can be processed.
Neighborhood Councils may purchase outreach items such as t-shirts, pens, pencils, etc. The NC must have its name and/or logo affixed to these items so that the item becomes outreach in nature rather than a gift of public funds or donation. Outreach items can be an effective tool for advertising your Neighborhood Council. If the NC decides to pay for toys for an event (i.e. holiday gift drive), have the vendor affix a tag or sticker to the item identifying your Neighborhood Council.
There are three options for you in making your purchases:
Option 1: Use the purchasing card, which can be used like a VISA card for transactions of up to $2,500 at a time;
Option 2: Use the demand warrant check process
Option 3: Use auto-deductions; in which a contract vendor sends an invoice directly to the Department for payment
Can NCs use city funding to enter into personal service contracts?
No. Neighborhood Councils cannot unilaterally enter into contracts. Contracts are processed through the Department in accordance with City of Los Angeles legal requirements and with the approval of the General Manager and/or the Board of Neighborhood Commissioners.
Services can be purchased on a fee-for-service basis. Once the services have been provided, the vendor/service provider will present the Neighborhood Council with an invoice for payment. The Neighborhood Council should follow the regular guidelines for processing a demand warrant to secure payment for the vendor/service provider.
Can purchases of food be made with the card?
Yes. Food may be purchased when it clearly supports the goal for the Neighborhood Council to encourage public participation in its activities, e.g., board or committee meetings, training, community forums, neighborhood fairs, etc. Please keep in mind that these are public funds and should be used judiciously.
Also, please remember to include a flyer which shows your Neighborhood Council’s participation if providing food for an event or a sign-in sheet and agenda if for a board meeting.
What if the NC board meets in a restaurant?
If the NC chooses to have a meeting or a related function in a restaurant, the Treasurer can use the NC charge card. Purchases should be limited to light refreshments, not full meals. A list of those attending, agenda for the meeting and an itemized receipt are to be submitted with the quarterly reconciliation. A general receipt that fails to list what restaurant items were specifically paid for will not meet the City policy guidelines. In addition, if any of the council board members chose to purchasealcohol, such items cannot be included on the same receipt and cannot be paid for with the NC charge card.
Can month-to-month payments be made for internet service, telephone or electricity bills, etc?
Yes. The Department encourages the use of the NC purchasing card for payment of monthly bills.
NCs must submit the Charge Card Reconciliation form along with all the required supporting documentation on a quarterly basis to the Department.
Will there be a “grace period” for submission of receipts for reconciliations?
Yes. The Department wants to provide the Neighborhood Councils with maximum flexibility in accessing their funds, so a grace period of one quarter (90-day calendar days) will be honored.
If however, a Neighborhood Council is more than two quarters in arrears, the Department reserves the right to freeze funding until the reconciliation documentation is submitted.
Can Neighborhood Councils use budgeted funds to reimburse board members for expenses related to their NCs?
Yes, and only to existing board members and alternates acting as board members. Items to be reimbursed must be for pre-approved expenditures identified in the adopted budget or by board action. Please click here for demand warrant supporting documentation guidelines.
Can Neighborhood Council board members be reimbursed on the basis of photocopied receipts?
No. City policy is that only original receipts will be accepted as a basis for reimbursement.
Are reimbursements allowed to third parties or stakeholders for payments made on behalf of the NC?
No. While we recognize individuals not on the board of the Neighborhood Council may sincerely want to help the Neighborhood Council with facilitating their purchases, the City can issue authorized reimbursements only to a Neighborhood Council board member.
Can Neighborhood Councils reimburse an organization or individual for expenses pertaining to an event or program?
No. Payments are to be issued, on the basis of an invoice, directly to vendors for the goods and/or services they’ve provided. Lump sum payments to organizations and/or individuals for items needed to procure an event or program are not permissible.
If the Neighborhood Council is interested in engaging in a joint project with a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization or a public school, a Neighborhood Purposes Grant (NPG) may be a more appropriate method of payment. (See Grants above)
Certified Neighborhood Councils shall be diverse, inclusive, and open to all Community Stakeholders. A Community Stakeholder is defined as any individual who lives, works, or owns property in the neighborhood and any individual who declares a stake in the neighborhood and affirms the factual basis for it. (Article II, 1 of the Plan)
Can NCs hire staff?
No. The Department has developed a special program for NCs with four temporary personnel services organizations; Apple One Employment Services, Lloyd Staffing Services, and Partners in Diversity, Inc., which have contracts with the City. Through the Demand Warrant or Auto Deduction process, you may use your funds to pay for temporary clerical and/or accounting services.
How do these staffing services programs work?
To acquire services through any of the four agencies, simply contact any of the following agencies below:
APPLEONE EMPLOYMENT SERVICES
Contact Person: Cora Calagna
Tel No. (213) 892-0234
Fax No. (213) 892-0682
LLOYD STAFFING SERVICES
Contact Person: Luly Santana
Tel No. (562) 860-2555, Ext. 101
PARTNERS IN DIVERSITY, INC.
Contact Person: Arlene M. Apodaca
Tel No. (626) 793-0020
What if there is a specific candidate who I want to employ?
If there is someone who meets the Neighborhood Council’s needs and can qualify for employment with one of the contract agencies, have the candidate contact AppleOne Employment Services, Lloyd Staffing Services, or Partners in Diversity, Inc., which have contracts with the City. The agency will screen the candidate for the necessary skills, and if qualified, the contracting agency can enroll and assign them to your Neighborhood Council. The agency will handle all the paperwork and billing in order to ensure compliance with City, State, and Federal requirements.
If there is a change in the treasurer position (new elections, resignations etc.), what is the procedure?
Contact the Department via e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at (213) 978-1551 of your board’s action to seat a new treasurer. Please include the name and contact information of the new treasurer and a board resolution or minutes confirming his/her appointment. The new treasurer must attend the Treasurer’s Training provided by the Funding Program staff to ensure they are fully up to date with all new policies and programs before they may obtain access to their NC funding. Once the new treasurer completes the required funding forms (Charge Card forms 1-3) and the training, a new card will be issued and they will have complete access to their NC funding.