Unused ward budget

Discuss questions around local unit policies for budgeting, reconciling, etc. This forum should not contain specific financial or membership information.
drepouille
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Unused ward budget

Postby drepouille » Wed Dec 05, 2018 6:59 pm

My bishop just informed me that our stake wants each unit to transfer unused budget funds (over $1000) to the stake by the end of December. Apparently, this request is backed up by the Handbook, and I am not questioning that. Our stake has existed since 1999, and I have never seen our stake make this request before now. I don't know if this will be a one-time request, or if this will be a recurring annual request.

Do any clerks or other leaders here have experience with this in your stake? I think this may cause our 2019 budget to be a little tight.
Dana Repouille, Plattsmouth, Nebraska

davesudweeks
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Re: Unused ward budget

Postby davesudweeks » Wed Dec 05, 2018 7:04 pm

Our stake only allows the ward to carry over a certain maximum percentage each year (I cannot recall what it was from last year). The SP instructs the wards to transfer back any unused budget funds above that amount. It is the stake's budget - they determine how much the ward gets and have the prerogative to move it around as needed.

drepouille
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Re: Unused ward budget

Postby drepouille » Wed Dec 05, 2018 7:12 pm

Got it. Handbook 1 Section 14.7.2.

When I was stake clerk, I regularly asked the local units to transfer excess missionary funds to the stake, but we never asked them to transfer "unneeded budget allowance funds" to the stake. It is quite possible that stake presidents are now being asked to return excess budget funds to the general operating budget.
Dana Repouille, Plattsmouth, Nebraska

drepouille
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Re: Unused ward budget

Postby drepouille » Wed Dec 05, 2018 7:25 pm

Under the category of "unintended consequences" I believe this will encourage local leaders to "spend it all" before the end of the year, rather than "lose" that money to the stake. Yes, I know that Handbook 1 specifically tells local leaders NOT to do that, but our leaders are human. They have an incentive to spend it rather than lose it.
Dana Repouille, Plattsmouth, Nebraska

davesudweeks
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Re: Unused ward budget

Postby davesudweeks » Wed Dec 05, 2018 8:22 pm

The opposite is also true. I served under a bishop who encouraged avoidance of spending ward budget funds, as if it was his responsibility to save as much budget as possible. The unintended consequence of his push-back was many members absorbed the costs of the ward activities rather then turn in reimbursement requests and face his gentle lecture about why they should not have requested reimbursement. I have also seen leaders who "bank up" excess funds over time and then want to plan some extravagant activity because they can now "afford it." This may be the reason our Stake requests excess funds back - to keep the units on an even keel in following the funding plans of the church. We are allowed to carry over some each year, just not a huge excess.

My advice to our ward council as the clerk is to remember they are the Lord's sacred funds so they should not be wasted, but they are there to be used to fund the church programs in the ward, not necessarily saved.

daveywest
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Re: Unused ward budget

Postby daveywest » Sun Dec 16, 2018 1:39 pm

Unlike your personal budget, there is no reason to bank excess budget funds.

I have spent over a decade serving as either a ward or stake financial clerk. In bishopric training, after our bishops were not spending their allotted funds, I felt inspired to share the parable of the talents and testify that the Lord has clearly expressed his feelings on how we should use the funds provided to bless and strengthen the members.

Brothers, keep complete and accurate records of church expenditures and encourage your Bishops to spend the funds in ways that bless and strengthen the church.

mcroadracer
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Re: Unused ward budget

Postby mcroadracer » Wed Jan 02, 2019 5:56 pm

it used to be in our stake that "if you don't use it, you lose it"...for the last few years our policy was to carry it over into the next year.
sounds like the stake makes the policy. if they take our ward money, we would be starting out with about $600 for the entire 1st qtr
and that won't go very far.

lajackson
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Re: Unused ward budget

Postby lajackson » Wed Jan 02, 2019 8:11 pm

mcroadracer wrote:if they take our ward money,

It is all stake allowance. And while it is intended that the stake allow wards to use most of the money, you are correct that the stake makes the policy.

And unless you have overspent your allowance, you should have about one-fourth of your annual allowance to work with in January for the first quarter.

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falcon771
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Re: Unused ward budget

Postby falcon771 » Wed Jan 23, 2019 10:16 am

drepouille wrote:Under the category of "unintended consequences" I believe this will encourage local leaders to "spend it all" before the end of the year, rather than "lose" that money to the stake. Yes, I know that Handbook 1 specifically tells local leaders NOT to do that, but our leaders are human. They have an incentive to spend it rather than lose it.


In our stake we really encourage wards to budget correctly. Meaning, don't give a lump budget amount to auxiliaries and let them spend it any way they want. Auxiliaries come to the bishop (or stake president) with a plan of activities and estimated costs. The budgets are approved based on those specific activities and amounts. Auxiliary leaders are responsible to make sure that the individual activity expenses are within the budget the bishop has approved for that specific activity. Anything over the approved amount needs further approval.

Church software is not very helpful for this, so in our stake (and wards are encouraged to do the same) we keep a spreadsheet of the budgeted activities and amounts. We update the spreadsheet whenever we write a check. I am sure there are easier ways to manage this, but this is the best system we have come up with and has been working for the past five years.

When you budget and spend correctly within that budget, it is no longer a "spend it all" attitude. It is truly being a wise steward of these sacred funds.

Also, just my opinion, but when we look at budget allotments as money to "lose" I think we have lost sight of the true meaning of why we pay tithing.


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