Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Richardson's Budget - Black or Red?

If you've been a regular reader of this blog for more than a couple of years (I'm deeply sorry) then you know of my quest for a "balanced budget." Each year, Richardson claims to have a "balanced budget," yet often expenditures exceed revenues. What gives?

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
Revenues $208,374,634
Expenditures $207,421,545
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.


Sassy Texan said...

Now, your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to compare that last budget with the actual transactions to really say whether that is really true!

Cheri Duncan-Hubert

Mark Steger said...

Good point, Cheri. The budget is the projected revenues/expenses. The actual revenues/expenses won't be known until a year from now. Comparing last year's budget vs last year's actuals is a worthwhile exercise.

Sassy Texan said...

It is that budget ratification process that is rather irreconcilable. I will love to see how you analyze that one!

Cheri Duncan-Hubert