Sharing Library costs

Discuss questions around local unit policies for budgeting, reconciling, etc. This forum should not contain specific financial or membership information.
funaddict-p40
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Sharing Library costs

Postby funaddict-p40 » Tue Mar 31, 2009 7:07 pm

What a great forum. Every clerk in the church should be made aware of this! I've read most of every thread in this finance section, and have learned more in a few days than I've learned in the last couple years as ward Finance Clerk. I've been wondering about a few things, and I'll try to post different threads as they are different topics.

How do other wards that share their buildings with another ward(s) pay for library materials and printer supplies? I assume that the librarians confer with each other about the library's needs and then split the cost between wards? Or does each ward order and pay for their own materials, which then goes into the common library? My bigger question concerns paying for the printer/copier supplies. In my situation, one ward buys the paper and the other ward buys the toner and ink and then they each bill the other ward for half. But the costs for these machines seems (to me) to be alot greater than what each ward actually uses for ward business. Talking with the librarians, I come to the conclusion that the Early Morning Seminary classes use quite a bit of printer/copier resources. There are students from 5 different wards that attend seminary in our building but these other wards don't contribute to the cost of these resources. Are we supposed to just absorb this extra cost, or is the stake or CES supposed to help offset costs? Talking to the bishop of another ward that meets in the stake center, he says they used to have the same problem of covering all the copier supplies used by the stake presidency and all the stake auxilliaries, but for the last year (or two) he hasn't gotten billed for any copier costs at all, as if they were being paid by another entity. IMHO, the printer/copier costs should be handled outside of ward budgets, like the telephone and utility and landscape maintenance bills are. Just curious how they do it in other places.
Thanks for all the great info, which will help me magnify my calling.
Alan

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Tue Mar 31, 2009 7:46 pm

funaddict wrote:How do other wards that share their buildings with another ward(s) pay for library materials and printer supplies? I assume that the librarians confer with each other about the library's needs and then split the cost between wards? Or does each ward order and pay for their own materials, which then goes into the common library?


The way our stake handles it (which I've seen it done in other stakes) is as follows:
  1. One ward in the building is designated as the agent ward. This assignment rotates each year.
  2. The agent ward pays for all shared expenses related to the building (except, of course, those that are handled by the FM Group). This would include library expenses.
  3. The agent ward then divides those costs by the number of wards sharing the building and periodically (quarterly is fairly typical) sends an invoice to the other wards, who then pay the agent ward for their share.
Using the agent ward approach tends to keep all the expenses tidy, and there is no finger pointing where one ward assumed the other ward was going to purchase one supply or another -- it's very clear who is responsible to keep the libary stocked properly.

funaddict wrote:My bigger question concerns paying for the printer/copier supplies. In my situation, one ward buys the paper and the other ward buys the toner and ink and then they each bill the other ward for half. But the costs for these machines seems (to me) to be alot greater than what each ward actually uses for ward business. Talking with the librarians, I come to the conclusion that the Early Morning Seminary classes use quite a bit of printer/copier resources. There are students from 5 different wards that attend seminary in our building but these other wards don't contribute to the cost of these resources. Are we supposed to just absorb this extra cost, or is the stake or CES supposed to help offset costs?


The way you described cost sharing for library expenses is different from the agent ward model I described above, but it could work fine.

If there are other entities beyond the wards in the building that use your resources, then it can certainly be appropriate to devise some system of tracking and billing the cost of those copies to those who use the copier. Or you can tell them to make their copies elsewhere, but that might seem a bit harsh. It's certainly plausible that the stake might choose to cover those costs. But any of those approaches (short of the wards in the building absorbing the costs) will involve some sort of tracking and billing system.

funaddict wrote:Talking to the bishop of another ward that meets in the stake center, he says they used to have the same problem of covering all the copier supplies used by the stake presidency and all the stake auxilliaries, but for the last year (or two) he hasn't gotten billed for any copier costs at all, as if they were being paid by another entity. IMHO, the printer/copier costs should be handled outside of ward budgets, like the telephone and utility and landscape maintenance bills are. Just curious how they do it in other places.


It is very clear that all costs for printer/copier consumables are to be borne by the local units. See Who pays for consumable supplies? for some details (and other threads in that forum, as well). I imagine the Church doesn't want to just cover the costs, since that would give local units little incentive to be frugal.

It could be that your stake president has chosen to pay for all the copier supplies used in the stake center. That's certainly something he could do, but in my experience that is rare.

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What we do in our stake

Postby faireskind » Wed Apr 01, 2009 3:21 pm

Our stake pays for the acquisition/replacement of hymn books, artwork, and copier paper & supplies. We also have a designated Agent Ward in each building that is given a yearly allowance from the stake to pay for the other shared costs of items not covered by the FM Group. This is basically sacrament cups and library supplies such as tape, scissors, pictures, etc. The Agent Ward stays the same until the bishop is released.

At the beginning of the year, we changed how we charge for copies. Previously, we had Xerox copiers in our buildings and we used the auditron feature to track the number of copies made by each unit (there were actually 20 codes assigned to each unit so they could track and bill each organization for copies). We used these auditron copy counts to bill each unit for the copies they made. We felt this was fair since each unit uses the copier differently, instead of simply splitting the costs equally among the units. However, the latest copier the FM Group installed was a HP model which does not have the capability of tracking the number of copies made by a code. The copier people at Church HQ said that they had signed a long-term contract with HP and that they were going to be replacing our other copiers over the next few years with similar HP copiers.

Because our billing model is no longer viable in the long-term (because we are losing the auditron counters) and we recognized that we, as a stake, were giving our units budget just to have them turn around and give it back to us to pay for copies, we decided to just pay the all the copier expenses at the stake level. We had some misgivings about doing it this way because we agree with concept that paying for usage promotes conserving the resource. However, we felt that the pain seems to be too far removed to really have an effect. Because our stake is small in area, our stake librarian can easily visit all of the buildings to check on copier paper & supplies. He then orders all the supplies and the invoices go to the stake.

We have a unique twist to this whole shared cost thing. In the three buildings where our stake has “jurisdiction”, we have three units meeting that are from other stakes. So while our stake is not charging our own units for copies, we are charging the units from the other stakes. It happens that these units are in buildings that still have the Xerox copiers so we are still using the auditron counters to bill them for their copies. When those machines are replaced in the next few years, we are thinking about billing based on sacrament meeting attendance or some other metric like that. One of the units is a Young Single Adult ward which is relatively small and makes fewer copies than the other units in the building; it would not be fair for them to take a full share of the copier costs.

In addition, we have two units in our stake that are meeting in buildings governed by another stake. The other stake has a different policy than we do concerning who pays for what. Actually, they are doing the opposite from what we are doing; they are moving from our centralized model to a distributed model where each building has an Agent Ward which pays for everything, then splits the costs among all the units in the building similar to what Alan Brown described. In the case of these two units we have in another stake’s buildings, I have the invoices sent to me at the stake and the stake pays them.

funaddict-p40
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Re: library costs

Postby funaddict-p40 » Sat Apr 04, 2009 2:12 pm

Thanks for your informative replies. Faireskind brought up a good point about there not being enough "pain" by the users of the copier to cause them to be frugal. Maybe if there were a game show style money counter that ticked off the cost every time a copy came out of the printer, that would help. There used to be a clipboard next to the copier that people were supposed to fill out each time they printed something, but it seemed like it was a hassle and the count never matched the copier totals. For instance if you printed both sides of 20 pages, was that 20 copies (paper) or 40 copies(toner)? Anyway, it's gone now, because no one ever reconciled it.
Now sacrament cups are another story. Each ward keeps their supply locked up in the bishops office so the other ward doesn't use it all up! I guess we should get together and have one ward do the ordering and then split the costs.
Thanks again,
Alan

86Bengal-p40
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Sharing Receipts?

Postby 86Bengal-p40 » Mon Jul 12, 2010 9:02 pm

Bumping this old thread to ask how others handle receipts for agent ward purchases. If I'm the agent ward clerk, and I invoice other wards for a shared expense, do I need to attach copies of the original purchase receipts to the invoices?

On one hand, I've had clerks ask for them, perhaps to see details of the expense, or to verify that the split was even, or to complete the paper trail, or etc. This is what we've generally been doing.

Yet, I've had other clerks tell me that my invoice is receipt enough when one unit charges another. They say as long as I keep my purchase receipts on-file, the paper trail exists and can be researched, so there's no need for copies.

With the make-up of our ward/stake lately we're doing joint primary activities and combined scout groups, in addition to the library. The number of these shared expenses has grown, and we're killing lots of trees making multiple copies of receipts for everything. Justified? Is there a policy on this?

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Mikerowaved
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Postby Mikerowaved » Mon Jul 12, 2010 9:43 pm

First of all, welcome to the forum!

When I was finance clerk, I kept a running tab of shared expenses with the agent ward in a secure OpenOffice.org Calc spreadsheet, then would invoice them every quarter or so. I gave them a printout of the spreadsheet which showed each expense matched up with our reimbursement check number, with the category listed and what percentage of the expense was being billed to the agent ward. Down at the bottom I included a note stating the various receipts were in our file and available upon request. In 5 years I never received any request for copies, so I guess the single-page spreadsheet was adequate.

Anyway, this may be more or less than what is required, but it worked for me.
So we can better help you, please edit your Profile to include your general location.

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Postby lajackson » Mon Jul 12, 2010 9:48 pm

86Bengal wrote: If I'm the agent ward clerk, and I invoice other wards for a shared expense, do I need to attach copies of the original purchase receipts to the invoices?


I have done it both ways. If the ward wanted an invoice for their part, I sent them one. If the ward wanted to see the original invoice or receipt for the whole total, I would copy it, write a note showing their share, and send them that instead.

I prefer the latter method. If three wards are splitting the cost, I would write on the invoice or receipt:

Lakeshore Ward: $nn.00
Mountain Ward: $nn.00
Riverside Ward: $nn.00

And then give the other wards their copy of the invoice.


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