Half-way there, and more — Mid-year budget review presented to the Finance Committee
The Finance Committee last week got a look at where the city stands (or should we say “stood”) at the fiscal year’s March 31 mid-point, with emphasis on the General Fund’s $40 million annual budget and the $5 million Capital Project Fund budget. Several interesting charts reproduced here show historic trends to lend some perspective.
The 85-page report calculates 50% of departmental and fund annual budgets, then notes variations in actual spending as of March 31. The 50% mark, however, is only a guide, as most property taxes are collected by March, but sales taxes come in all year and can fluctuate. On the expense side, there are emergencies that don’t follow the calendar, and a department may spend all its yearly capital budget at the beginning of the year, for instance, without ever going over its annual budget.
There were no unpleasant surprises; in fact, important tax revenues are well ahead of projections and over $1 million ahead of where the city stood last year at the same period. However, with the 5-member Finance Committee all present, the mayor made cautionary statements about entertaining any further capital fund projects. None of the year’s high-profile projects (listed at the bottom of this report) are in danger of a budgetary ax, although some seem to be idling.
As a reference point to the review, here are the six largest departments and their annual operating budgets, according to the city’s mid-year review.
2014 Annual Budgets for the City’s Six Largest Departments
General Government $10.7 million
Police $9.4 million
Fire $6.7 million
Park & Rec $3.8 million
Sanitation $2.3 million
Library $2.3 million
GENERAL FUND REPORT – The General Fund is the city’s source of operating money for staff salaries, contract work, supplies, utilities, travel, etc. Depending overwhelmingly on tax revenues for operations, the city draws three-quarters of its $40 million annual GF budget from retail sales, lodging, property and other levies. The rest comes from business and other licenses and permits, with less than 5% of city revenues coming from fines, services and other sources, according to the review document.
GF revenue summary – Overall, collected revenues from every source as of March 31 stood at $24.8 million, or ahead of the mid-year projection by over $4 million and more than $1 million over the $23.4 million recorded at the mid-point of FY2013. Property tax collections accounted for half the excess with notable boosts coming from sales tax and business and utility license fees.
GF spending summary – According to the report, only three of 16 departments tracked were spending beyond their mid-year projection–General Government, Fire, and Streets. However, actual total spending for all departments fell neatly at the half-year projection mark, or $20,146,140 out of a theoretical $20,219,639 anticipated at mid-year.
Departments whose spending exceeded the 50% mark on March 31:
GOVERNMENT – $5.9M spent/$5.4M anticipated
FIRE – $3.4M spent/ $3.3M anticipated
STREETS – $732,413 spent/$691,276 anticipated
CAPITAL PROJECTS FUND REPORT – The city council this year budgeted $5 million for capital projects across 10 departments, drawing about 40% of revenues from taxes, another 40% from “other revenue” (interest, borrowing), and the rest from grants and other sources. So far, according to the report, the city has collected just $1 million of the $2.6 million expected at mid-year. And, while some departments have exceeded the mid-year projections*, spending overall has stayed inside the 50% mark.
Detail of departmental capital project spending at mid-year
Annual Capital budget/ Spent at mid-year
General Government $2.6M/$211,288
Inspection Svs. $176,800/$9,253
Park & Rec* $210,436/$178,305
Fleet Maintenance* $54,500/$49,421
Traffic Light Maintenance* $83,530/$6,328
Finance Dept. $50,450/$3,201
TOTAL $5 M/$1.4 M
*Departments spending more than half their capital budgets at mid-year. Sanitation bought vehicles, for instance, and the library bought computers. Traffic Light maintenance has earmarked money over budget, despite low spending. P&R spent $$ on the new center, furniture, and vehicles.
Notable 2014 capital project annual budgets
Greenway II & III Design — $170,000;
Griffin Creek cleaning — $20,000
I-65 Lakeshore interchange/Engineering — $50,000
Creek Wall maintenance — $75,000
Sidewalk repairs — $81,302
Oxmoor Road Engineering/Design — $299,891
Pedestrian Bridge — $912,950
Sidewalk construction — $450,402
West Oxmoor Project Phase I — $400,000 (West Homewood “Village” public improvements)
City Traffic Plan (not budgeted) — $4,915 spent
Building Improvements — $1,500
Certain projects are federally subsidized at 80%.