Monday, August 15, 2011

Richardson Budget: So Close to Black

The City of Richardson's 2011-2012 Proposed Budget is available for review on the city's website.

The most important item on my own wish list does not appear to have been granted. I said, make sure the budget is "balanced." By that, I meant the line labeled "Net Budgeted Revenues" ($186,906,381) should be greater than the line labeled "Net Budgeted Expenditures" ($188,561,154). You do the math.

After the jump, a rant and a question.

The budget deficit is less than 1%, so it's more a talking point than a serious problem, but come on. In this era of hyper-vigilant budget-cutting, are you telling me we couldn't produce a budget that showed expenditures being less than revenues? The City is just opening itself to criticism, for no good reason that I can tell.

One of the things talked about in last month's budget retreat was the late-breaking news that property valuations were going to come in higher than expected. That would mean property tax revenues would be higher than expected, too. Mayor Bob Townsend indicated he wanted city employees to get a raise. Council member Scott Dunn indicated that he'd like fire fighters to get something. I'm not begrudging this decision, but shouldn't someone have said something like, "Good idea, but let's keep the additional expenditures low enough that the budget as a whole stays in the black."

Now, a question for the accountants out there. Each year's budget provides side-by-side comparisons with last year's budget. Why, in the new budget document, don't the figures under the label "Budget FY 2010-11" match the figures under the label "Budget FY 2010-11" in last year's budget document? They are close, but not exactly the same. Fifty points to whomever provides a convincing explanation for that.

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