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There are Budgets and there are Budgets

I was included on an email inquiry and I thought I would share the author's request as well as my response:

"I attended the meeting last night and JVargo said at the end the reports were at library, online etc, the only thing on line are estimated for 2013, 2014 and the one from 2013 refers back to the 2012.  I respectfully request that you direct to the actual expenditure reports for 2013."

Thank you for your interest and exploration.  If you are looking for Budgets and Reports you will find what would be adequate for most citizens at:
Specifically you should examine the 2013 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) which linked to as the top item in the list on that page and can also be found
looking at the documents found there you will be able to see why the finance department continuously receives awards.
It is important to note that these are not the items which I have been requesting when I mention the need for budgets or financing projections and outlooks.  One example of a finance projection I believe needs to be documented in writing concerns the financing of the Music Center.  Though never stated definitively in any committee meeting, almost everyone "knows" that there is not enough TIF property today to pay for the Music Center and some undefined amount of new development will be needed to make the debt payments.  I believe we should have a report that details the current TIF revenues in terms of an expected debt payment schedule and the amount and when new revenues are needed.  Some sort of range of financing costs and interest rates etc would also be appropriate.  Without the issue being understood by all and a plan so that in the future we can compare actual performance with projections, serious mistakes could be made.  For instance we know that the city needs a lot of new development.  I've heard estimates from $40 to $60 million dollars.  Yet when the proposal for the Music Center VIP and Concession stand was made city staff mistakenly referred to the increase in TIF funds we expect to get because of TJ Chumps  building a new $2 million facility as unexpected and extra TIF money not needed for any other project in the City.
If you read some of my blog posts you will see that I also question the supplements we give to the builders at Carriage Trails.  I mention that we have managed to turn an $8 million of debt into $20 million of debt.  But that debt number should not be the only focus.  That is because each house will generate some additional revenue for the city.  One answer the city should already have shown is if that extra amount of TIF dollars generated because of the new house is enough to pay for the extra debt.  I believe that it probably does, which is why I wonder why this hasn't ever been documented.
But there are other questions to ask and examine.  For instance if the property tax that would normally be collected from that house, that normally would go to pay for police and fire services, is now going to pay for the construction cost of the house is that house a drag on city services.  Please back up my thought process; a $200,000 house would normally pay about $300 a year that could be used for police and fire services.  In Carriage Trails all that money goes toward paying the construction cost of the house.  Also note that the occupants of that house would have to make $120,000 a year in order for the .25% increase in income tax to cover this $300 in lost income to the city's police and fire fund.  Also keep in mind that even if the occupants make $120,000 a year they may not be paying their income tax to the city.  For instance if the occupants work in Dayton they would pay their city income tax to Dayton.  If they were active duty military they would not pay any at all.  Keep in mind I'm not saying that the city isn't getting ahead by helping pay for the construction costs of the houses.  I'm saying that we may not be getting ahead and we should do some calculations and make sure.  Actually, I would go even further and say if growth under these circumstances is beneficial then lets also look at the other developments going on in the city.  Maybe we could do even better by helping somewhere else. (instead?)
Do I have to mention the Music Center Operating budget?  Excuse me if I don't go on.  Know for certain that I could.
I appreciate your thoughts and feedback.


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