Last year, when I last explored this subject, I came to two conclusions.
First, that Richardson considers the budget to be balanced if expenditures are less than revenues plus reserved fund balance, and other financing sources.
Second, that over a multi-year cycle that reserved fund balance sometimes has a surplus that can be drawn down, and sometimes it doesn't. So, even with the more common dictionary definition of balanced budget, one that doesn't consider reserved fund balances, Richardson's budget is cyclically balanced, even if year by year it might run slight deficits or surpluses.
Still, my hope each year is this will be a year in which Richardson doesn't rely on reserved fund balances to make up for an excess of expenditures over revenues. Whether or not it deserves as much attention as I give it, I can't help taking a sneak peek at those bottom line revenue and expenditure numbers.
After the jump, that sneak peek. Revenues vs expenditures. Black or red. Which is it?
|Budget FY 2013-14|
|Beginning Fund Balances||$38,017,599|
|Ending Fund Balances||$38,970,689|
A surplus! Ta-da! Woohoo! WE DID IT! A proposed budget that's in the black. Balanced by any measure, without use of that sneaky asterisk ("plus reserved fund balance and other financing sources"). Congratulations to the city staff and city council. I'm happy. See, was that so hard?
To be fair, last year's proposed budget was also balanced. Still, I admit to being pleasantly surprised each time it happens.