Use of budget funds

Discuss questions around local unit policies for budgeting, reconciling, etc. This forum should not contain specific financial or membership information.
xmdcpa
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Use of budget funds

Postby xmdcpa » Sun Dec 22, 2013 9:09 am

Last year our ward had a large budget carryover. This was used almost totally for a 4 day (1000 mile) commercial bus trip for the youth to go to conference. We also had more than one fundraising project during the year for camp. The youth went on a trek and to camp as well.

The cost of the trip was close to 50% of our budget allocation for the year. It seems to me that we are not following the spirit or the letter of the directions given about these matters. What should I do as the ward finance clerk?

We again will have a significant carryover .....

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gregwanderson
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Re: Use of budget funds

Postby gregwanderson » Sun Dec 22, 2013 10:38 am

xmdcpa wrote:What should I do as the ward finance clerk?

I would start by speaking to the Bishop in private. Tell him that your ward's use of budget funds and having more than one fundraiser are against church policy. Invite him to review the handbook. Next, don't hesitate to admit this to an auditor at your next audit (in February). Also, when you have you private conversation with the Bishop, let him know that you are required to tell this information to the auditor. (You don't want the Bishop to be "blindsided" when the stake starts asking him about this stuff.)

If this doesn't cause things to change, talk to the Stake Finance clerk about it.

russellhltn
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Re: Use of budget funds

Postby russellhltn » Sun Dec 22, 2013 10:56 am

Having more then one fundraiser is an issue, but I'm not sure as I see a problem with how the funds were spent. I don't think there's a limit for youth events, only for the fundraising (which tends to limit the large events). I'd be more concerned about what is being neglected. Perhaps someone is funding something out of pocket and not applying for reimbursement?

However, once the fundraising issue is taken care of, everything else may straighten out by itself.
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Gary_Miller
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Re: Use of budget funds

Postby Gary_Miller » Wed Dec 25, 2013 5:20 pm

russellhltn wrote:........... but I'm not sure as I see a problem with how the funds were spent. I don't think there's a limit for youth events, only for the fundraising (which tends to limit the large events).
I see a big problem. The guidelines are very specific. All activities are to be funded from the budget allowance with the exception of one annual extended camp or similar activity, which can be funded my participant fees or by a fundraiser if there is not enough budget to cover the camps. Fund raising for both a trek and extended camp would be out of the guidelines for a couple of reasons. Mostly because its two camps but also because a trek is usually held as a Youth Conference with is to be totally paid for out of budget funds.

The other problem I see is the travel expense for the youth conference. The handbook states, "In no case should the expenses or travel for an annual camp or similar activity be excessive." (Handbook 2:13.2.8) A 1000 mile Commercial bus ride just seems to be excessive to me. Just Saying.

All this could could also fall under the category of supplementing the Budget Allowance with is not allowed.

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Re: Use of budget funds

Postby russellhltn » Wed Dec 25, 2013 5:41 pm

Gary_Miller wrote:
russellhltn wrote:........... but I'm not sure as I see a problem with how the funds were spent. I don't think there's a limit for youth events, only for the fundraising (which tends to limit the large events).
I see a big problem. The guidelines are very specific. All activities are to be funded from the budget allowance with the exception of one annual extended camp or similar activity, which can be funded my participant fees or by a fundraiser if there is not enough budget to cover the camps. Fund raising for both a trek and extended camp would be out of the guidelines for a couple of reasons. Mostly because its two camps but also because a trek is usually held as a Youth Conference with is to be totally paid for out of budget funds.


I think you missed my point. I don't see anything prohibiting spending on multiple events per year - it's the fundraising that is restricted. From a practical standpoint, that does tend to limit things.

But you missed one that is more applicable to this situation: Handbook 2: 13.6.24
Long-distance travel for activities is discouraged. [...] Nor should significant portions of the stake or ward budget allowance be retained from one year to the next to cover travel expenses.


It does say 'should', so it's not mandatory. But still....
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Gary_Miller
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Re: Use of budget funds

Postby Gary_Miller » Wed Dec 25, 2013 6:05 pm

russellhltn wrote:I think you missed my point. I don't see anything prohibiting spending on multiple events per year - it's the fundraising that is restricted.
And participants cost.

russellhltn wrote:From a practical standpoint, that does tend to limit things.

As long as the budget Allowance is used to cover all the costs there are no limits on what can be done.

russellhltn wrote:It does say 'should', so it's not mandatory. But still....

I do not buy in to the belief that the use of the word should was used in order to allow options. Instead I believe the use of the word was "used in auxiliary function to express a request in a polite manner or to soften direct statement". Websters collegiate Dictionary 11th edition.

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Re: Use of budget funds

Postby russellhltn » Thu Dec 26, 2013 1:45 am

Gary_Miller wrote:
russellhltn wrote:It does say 'should', so it's not mandatory. But still....

I do not buy in to the belief that the use of the word should was used in order to allow options. Instead I believe the use of the word was "used in auxiliary function to express a request in a polite manner or to soften direct statement". Websters collegiate Dictionary 11th edition.


Well, to quote later on in the same section: "When a Church activity for youth involves travel outside the local vicinity or staying overnight, parents should give written permission for their children to participate (see 13.6.13). Responsible adult supervision must be provided (see 13.6.2)."

Here we have a mix of "should" and "must". I do see a significant distinction between the two words. "Should" allows for some leeway while "must" does not. I would agree that the exception for "should" needs to be a unique situation and not simply "because we want to". A possible example might be to visit the dedication of a temple. Those are fairly rare events. What might seem to be excessive travel in Utah might be routine in the mid-west where temple areas cover multiple states.
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Re: Use of budget funds

Postby TinMan » Thu Dec 26, 2013 4:24 am

russellhltn wrote:
Well, to quote later on in the same section: "When a Church activity for youth involves travel outside the local vicinity or staying overnight, parents should give written permission for their children to participate (see 13.6.13). Responsible adult supervision must be provided (see 13.6.2)."

Here we have a mix of "should" and "must". I do see a significant distinction between the two words. "Should" allows for some leeway while "must" does not. I would agree that the exception for "should" needs to be a unique situation and not simply "because we want to". A possible example might be to visit the dedication of a temple. Those are fairly rare events. What might seem to be excessive travel in Utah might be routine in the mid-west where temple areas cover multiple states.


Wait. Are you saying it is "okay" to take the youth on an overnight activity or out of the area without parental permission? If not, what is this "leeway" you speak of?

13.6.13 referenced in your quote above says this: "Parental Permission Parents or guardians should be informed and give consent when youth participate in a Church activity. Written consent is necessary if an activity involves travel outside the local area (as determined by local leaders) or staying overnight. Leaders may also request written consent for other activities when they feel it is appropriate.

Parents and guardians give this consent by signing the Parental or Guardian Permission and Medical Release form. The person who leads the activity should have a signed form for each participant for each activity that requires written consent."

I think this is a better example of mixing "must do" and "should do" where should do means you must do.

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Re: Use of budget funds

Postby russellhltn » Thu Dec 26, 2013 10:28 am

TinMan wrote:Wait. Are you saying it is "okay" to take the youth on an overnight activity or out of the area without parental permission? If not, what is this "leeway" you speak of?

In the case I cited, it might be the "written" part. What do you do if a youth shows up for the activity but forgot the paper? Can you call the parent and get a verbal or do you leave them behind as the bus pulls away? (Let's assume there's a reason beyond the child's control that the paper is being collected so late.)

As for "Parents or guardians should be informed and give consent when youth participate in a Church activity.", does that mean you must collect consent for every single activity, including the weekly events at the chapel?

But my point is that I see a distinction between "should" and "must". I see it as allowing exceptions in unusual circumstances where enforcing the letter of the law will cause a negative consequence. It's up to the local leaders to decide on exactly what that means.
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Re: Use of budget funds

Postby Gary_Miller » Thu Dec 26, 2013 2:16 pm

russellhltn wrote:
TinMan wrote:Wait. Are you saying it is "okay" to take the youth on an overnight activity or out of the area without parental permission? If not, what is this "leeway" you speak of?

In the case I cited, it might be the "written" part. What do you do if a youth shows up for the activity but forgot the paper? Can you call the parent and get a verbal or do you leave them behind as the bus pulls away? (Let's assume there's a reason beyond the child's control that the paper is being collected so late.)

Yes the youth does not go if written consent cannot me obtained. Of course it would have been better for leaders to have obtained the written consent long before the time to depart had arrived.

russellhltn wrote:As for "Parents or guardians should be informed and give consent when youth participate in a Church activity.", does that mean you must collect consent for every single activity, including the weekly events at the chapel?

Yes you must have consent. However, it just does not have to be in the written form unless " an activity involves travel outside the local area (as determined by local leaders) or staying overnight."

I would submit that if the parent sent or dropped their child off at the chapel for weekly youth meeting that the parents are informed and consent to participate is given.


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