Frequently Asked Questions
Q1: What Is the Neighborhood Council (NC) Funding Program?
A1: In 1999, voters in the City of Los Angeles approved changes to the City Charter, which added Section 900 to create the NC System. With the creation of the NC System, the Plan for a Citywide System of NCs (Plan) was also drafted and adopted. The Plan discusses financial accountability relative to NCs and the requirements for proper spending of public funds.
Q2: What is the Office of the City Clerk’s role with the Neighborhood Council Funding Program?
A2: Per ordinance 184835, The Office of the City Clerk is tasked to administer the NC Funding Program, which includes:
1. Facilitates access by the NCs to their annual budget allocation by making the process of spending public funds simple, while maintaining accountability and transparency; and
2. Ensure public funds are spent appropriately following all City government laws, policies, rules, guidelines and expectations and that said regulations and policies are applied consistently across the NC System.
Q3: How much do a Neighborhood Council receive?
A3: During the budgeting process, the City allocates fund to the Neighborhood Council Trust Fund, and the funds are made available to the Neighborhood Council. For FY 2018-2019 each certified Neighborhood Council received a budget of $42,000.00.
Q4: What can the Neighborhood Councils purchase?
A4: The NC Funding Program Policy 2.0 states, the Neighborhood Council may expense their funds under three categories:
1. General / Operational – expenditure for the functions, operations, outreach activities, and duties of the NC
2. Neighborhood Purposes Grants (NPG)- monetary grants to nonprofits corporations (excluding religious institution and private schools ) organized under 26 United States Code Section 501c3 and to public schools pursuant to criteria set forth in Article XI of the Plan for a Citywide System of NCs. Los Angeles Administrative Code 22.817
3. Community Improvement Projects – beautification and capital improvement projects on public property
Q5: What documents do you need to process a payment?
A5: To issue payment to a vendor the NC Funding Program requires a BAC form showing the approval of the expenditure and an invoice. Other documents may be required, please review the NC Funding Policies and Guidelines
Q6: Can NCs pay for future services in advance?
A6: No, NCs are not authorized to issue payment in advance of the services being provided. However, NCs are able to place a 50% deposit not to exceed $1000 for services. Additional exceptions may be provided. It is recommended NCs contact their Funding Rep if prepayment is needed.
Neighborhood Purposes Grants
Q1: What is a Neighborhood Purposes Grant?
A1: A Neighborhood Purposes Grants is an award of public funds to a 501c3 or public school for a project that will benefit the public. NPGs are outlined in the Los Angeles Administrative Code 22.817, “an NPG is a grant an NC is provide a 501c3 (excluding non-religious institutions) or public schools for the purposes of providing a public benefit.” NC Funding Policy and Guideline 2.4
Q2: What should an NC evaluate when voting for an NPG?
A2: When an organization submits and NPG application, the NC should evaluated the grant application for the public benefit. The NC should also review NC Funding Policy 2.4 for other considerations and restrictions.
Q3: A member of the board has a relationship with requesting organization, what should we do?
A3: Prior to the meeting evaluating the NPG application, the individual is advised to contact the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment and City Attorney’s Office for guidance.
Community Improvement Projects
Q1: What is a community improvement project?
A1: Community Improvement Projects are beautification and capital improvement projects on public property. NC Funding Policy 2.5
Q2: Can a Neighborhood Council use their funds to pay for a mural?
A2: Neighborhood Council may use their funds to commission a mural; however, restrictions may apply per the administrative codes or procurement rules. For murals, NCs are advised to work with the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment.
Q3: Our NC wants to do a community cleanup, would that be considered a CIP or Outreach activity?
A3: Depending on the scope of the activity, a community cleanup may be considered a community event, which requires NCs to submit an event application. NC Funding Policy 2.2.3.
Q1: What are operational expenditures?
A1: Operational Expenditure are expenses made for the purposes of NC’s operations such as, but limited to, printing for a meeting, translations services for a meeting, leases, and utilities. A list of operational expenditures are listed under NC Funding Policy 2.1
Q1: What types of activities are considered Events vs non-event outreach activity?
A1: NC Sponsored and Co-Sponsored events are outreach activities that are hosted or co-hosted by an NC. It is considered hosted or co-hosted if the NC takes part in the planning, implementation, and/or supporting the event financially. NCs are also considered sponsors / co-sponsors if the NC is named as a sponsor of an event flyers, advertisement, banners, etc. Invitation to table at an event organized by another entity or purchasing the right for a table may not require an event application. If you required additional assistance, contact the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment or the Office of the City Clerk, NC Funding Program.
Q2: What documents are required for an event package?
A2: A completed event package must have an event application, a Board Action Certification showing the board approved the event / event application, and event budget. Additional documents may be required following the submission of the packet. It is recommended that invoices for the event are available to determine potential contract considerations. Additional information is provided here. NC Event Planning Checklist
Q3: Can an NC provide food for the public at a non-event outreach activity?
A3: NCs may provide food at non-event outreach activity if the NC secures all required permits and authorization from the vendor and/or the County. Additional information is provided here. NC Event Planning Checklist
Q4: Can we charge the public to participate in an NC event?
Q4: No, NC events sponsored / co-sponsored / supported through an NPG must be free and available to the public. There cannot be charge for the public to participate in the event. A participating agency or organization in the event may request a recommended donation; however, it cannot be compulsory.
Q1: What is a special account?
A1: Special accounts are financial accounts created through a LA City Council action. The Council File will outline how the funds may be used; in some cases, Neighborhood Councils are allocated special accounts for a specific project or activity.
Q2: How can an NC spend special account fund?
A2: NCs are able to utilize the special accounts through the NC Funding System, as determined by the NC Funding Program.
Neighborhood Council Credit Cards
Q1: My NC credit card is declined at the register. What should I do?
A1: Please call 877-593-3883.
Q2: Our board has appointed a new cardholder, what is the process to get a new card issued to the NC?
A2: Please contact the NC Funding Program at 213-978-1058.
Board Member Reimbursements
Q1: What documents are needed to request a Board Member Reimbursement?
A1: To issue a reimbursement treasurers must submit
1. BAC form approving the expenditure
2. BAC form approving the reimbursement
3. Proof of purchase (itemized receipts, invoices, additional documents requested, etc.)
Expenditures during an Emergency
Q1: What can a NC buy during the emergency?
A1: If a local, state, or federal government agency declares an emergency, the NCs are authorized to expend NC funds not exceeding $1,000.00 total for emergency services and/or supplies such as:
Water and light refreshments for first responders
Water and light refreshments for affected persons
Communication equipment/services: Walkie-talkies, Radios, Bullhorns, Flyers, Banners etc.
Additional provisions may apply, please review the NC Funding Policy 5.0 for guidance on emergency expenditures.
Q2: If the card is unavailable, how can we make emergency expenditures?
A2: In the event the NC bank card is not available for use and with authorization from the NC President as described herein, a Board member may use his/her personal funds for emergency services and/or supplies outlined in NC Funding Policy 5.0.