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Special Committees - Managing money

As the committee is acting for and on behalf of Council, ownership of any profit or cash holdings lies with Council.

As stated in the instrument of delegation, the committee must “apply all funds received firstly to the maintenance and operation of the facility and any other expenses which may be incurred by the committee in its management of the facility.”

Committees should only hold excessive funds, i.e. more than $20,000, if there is a planned purpose or project. Council contact officers will work with the committee to develop a capital works plan to ensure it aligns with Council’s priorities and the needs of the wider community.

The committee should refer to the instrument of delegation for restrictions on how the committee is required to raise and spend funds.

Council contact officers can provide assistance if required.

Expenses

The committee will generally be invoiced by the provider for any water, sewerage or electricity services for its facility, including service and usage charges. The committee may also pass these costs on to regular users of the facility, for example, a football club can be asked to cover electricity costs for training at night. These arrangements should be documented in the hire agreement.

The instrument of delegation (Exceptions, Conditions and Limitations) details the limits the committee is allowed to spend without written approval from Council. Committees may spend above this limit, without written approval, for emergency repairs as defined in the instrument of delegation (Schedule 3 – Definitions).

Managing bank accounts

The committee is allowed to set up bank accounts to manage committee funds. Accounts should be held in the name of the committee, with the office bearers as signatories. When these office bearers change, the bank must be notified.

Committees must notify Council of all committee bank accounts as part of the Annual Return.

To ensure transparency and to reduce the risk of fraud:
• The two office bearers signing off on financial or banking matters should not be related to one another;
• Office bearers cannot reimburse or pay themselves, or a family member, for expenses.

Most banks will require a letter from Council, signed by two account signatories from Council, authorising the committee to open a bank account under Council’s ABN. They may also require:

• Photo identification
• The full legal name and address of the committee
• The names of the chairperson, secretary and treasurer
• The legal name, address and date of birth for all account signatories
• A copy of the instrument of delegation
• Signing instructions (As per the instrument of delegation, money can only be drawn from the account with the signature of two office bearers)
• Where statements are to be sent, and how often (monthly, quarterly etc)
• Contact person and phone number
• Minutes of the AGM, including:
- Date of appointment
- Who signatories are to be
- Which accounts signatories are to operate on
- What type of access the signatories are to have (phone banking, internet banking etc)
- Signatures of at least two committee members.

Committees may use internet banking, but payments must still be authorised by two account signatories.

Auditing of accounts

Unless specified in the instrument of delegation, a full audit is not required, but because the committee holds public money, the return should be checked by an independent person such as a bank manager or accountant.

Petty Cash

Committees are allowed to run a petty cash float of up to $200, provided that all receipts are kept and all payments are included In the GST and Annual Returns. A petty cash book is an easy way to track this.

Petty cash can be used to pay expenses and services.

All petty cash transactions should be recorded in the treasurer’s report tabled at each meeting.

Entering into contracts

Committees are not permitted to employ staff, however they can enter into contracts that are directly related to the day to day operation of the facility. If the value of the contract is greater than $500 permission from Council is required. Committees can enter into a contract to buy services (such as mowing), buy goods (such as plants and garden supplies) or to undertake a minor works (such as repainting of a hall).

The committee should use contractors from Council’s Panel of Contractors. These contractors are approved to complete works on Council facilities and have been through a process to ensure they have all the appropriate insurances and qualifications, and provide a reasonable service at a reasonable rate. The Council contact officer can provide an up-to-date list of current panel contractors.

If the committee elects not to use a Council approved contractor, a public tender process must be undertaken by the committee.

Borrowing money

Committees are not permitted to borrow money. If the committee is struggling to cover day-to-day operating costs, or is seeking additional funds to put towards a project or activity, they should discuss these issues with the Council contact officer.

Applying for grants

Committees must have approval from Council before they can apply for a grant. Council will need to lodge the application on the committees behalf, as the committee has no legal capacity to enter into an agreement with the funder.

Third parties are not permitted to apply for funds on behalf of the committee.

The availability of funding is not necessarily a factor in Council deciding whether or not to support a funding proposal. Requests for changes or improvements to facilities will be considered against the current work priorities for all Council owned and managed buildings. In prioritising works, Council will also consider the needs of the community, use of the asset, and whether there are alternative facilities that meet the same need.

Fundraising

If the committee is unable to cover costs through hire fees, the committee may fundraise to meet the cost of upgrades to the facility:

Permits may be required for some fundraising activities. For further information, please refer to:
Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation website
Mount Alexander Shire Council Local Law 6

Giving and receiving donations

The committee can accept donations; however funds must be used to maintain the facility or to support committee in running community events.

The committee cannot donate funds or provide sponsorship to any group or individual.

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