It’s municipal budget time and the last few months we have been working on our 2019/2020 budget. The municipal budget calendar is from July 1 - June 30 so our new budget year will start in a little over 2 months.
The budget process started at the beginning of the year when department directors started collecting budget information for the coming year. The City Council has held three work sessions going over budget projections and discussing where we need to prioritize our City funds.
At our City Council meeting on April 22, 2019 we will tentatively adopt the tentative budget. It’s a convoluted title and it sounds strange, but the gist of it is that the budget is a tentative budget until there are no more changes to be made and there is a formal public hearing to adopt it. The tentative budget is only tentatively adopted because it is still subject to input and change before it is finally adopted in June. Make sense?
I really like that we are required by state law to have a balanced budget. We have to collect only what we need and we cannot spend more than we collect. Every quarter we have a budget review and hearing to amend the budget—balancing any changes that have occurred. This ensures that we stay within our budget and that any projections that seem to be off are corrected before it becomes problematic.
For example, if there is a big expense that we hadn’t planned on, such as repairing a failing storm water pipe, (something that has happened this past year) we adjust the budget to move funds from other expenses that may not be as critical. And conversely, if we have collected more money than was projected (we had stronger sales tax revenue this year than last), we allocate that money to needed budget expense items.
It is a system of constant checks and balances. It requires careful monitoring and adjustment, but the end result is better accountability for your tax dollars.