Update $651,651 (not $1 Million) dollar deficit in City Budget
Tonight we had an administration committee meeting and further discussed the 2016 budget. Let me first say it has always been my objective to have informative discussion at committee and general council meetings. When I am successful there will be many times when we will start with preliminary numbers and facts and they will be honed as we get deeper into the discussion. So a couple weeks ago we got an initial brief on the budget and tonight we had an update. Tonight staff provided additional information that made the budget numbers much more understandable.
As far as the question of deficit spending City staff did an A+ job with the first document below. This is the last figure you see on the page $651,651. The computations leading up to this number provides appropriate details so we can see those items we plan to spend money on.
The last page is interesting. It also shows why we should discuss and be provided the information in writing. I noticed there was a difference between the last figure in the first column ($40,562,501) and the last figure in the last column ($37,498,072) but I didn't realize this was a $3 million dollar difference.
I've scanned and uploaded the draft 2016 budget presented at the Oct 6, 2015 Administration Committee meeting
Original Post ----------------------------------------------
Although we passed the income tax levy there is about a $1 million dollar deficit in next year's proposed budget. You have to listen to last week's administration committee meeting to hear a presentation that tells us we have a $1 million deficit specifically stated in a way so that the only Council members that appear to realize it are Mark Campbell and me (although I was listening to it over an intermittent internet stream).
Watch the video starting at 2:12:30.
at 2:12:30 It starts with Mr. Campbell correctly stating we have a deficit budget.
at 2:13:20 the finance director talks about a capital fund with $3 million in reserve (I expected to hear that part of the deficit would be funded by a capital fund but I never did hear that)
at 2:15:59 Subsidize Parks and Rec by $277,000
at 2:19:00 discussion of "capital items"
at 2:19:56 Capital items that need to be paid for in this budget $707,000. Followed by an explanation of "How are we going to pay for these". The best I can tell is by using the reserve funds out of the General Fund. Although this year we're not going to call them reserve funds, we're going to call them carry over funds. (this would be silly if it weren't proof that someone believes that there are idiots on council)
at 2:29:20 Councilman Lyons displays his ability to follow the discussion
at 2:31:17 The assistant City Manager states that in the years leading up to this year we have been running a $2 million deficit. He correctly tells us we no longer run a $2 million deficit but fails to mention that this year it is a $1 million deficit. For those that need reminding the General Fund had about $10 million in reserves 2008. It was down to 2 or 3 million last year. According to this discussion it will be less next year.
at 2:35:00 the discussion ends.
Disclaimer: As noted in the discussion staff did not provide the numbers to Council in written form as a read ahead or even in the next day afterward. So all I have to go by is the discussion at the meeting which does have a few contradictions (as all conversations tend to which is why I ask for things to be put in writing)
Caveat - I purposely used "about numbers" to talk about the General Fund reserve balances. See this previous article