Monday, August 12, 2013

Sticking to the Budget in Richardson

Last week, when I looked at the 2013-2014 budget for the City of Richardson, I pronounced it balanced. Revenues exceeded expenditures, without relying on that sneaky asterisk "plus reserved fund balance, and other funding sources." That made two years in a row where Richardson put forward a truly balanced budget. I pronounced that good.

But of course, a budget is only as good as one's ability to stick to it. So, today, let's take a look at how the City of Richardson is living up to its 2012-2013 budget that it adopted a year ago this month. The fiscal year isn't quite over, so we have look at estimates. Luckily for us, page 22 of the 2013-2014 budget presentation contains the estimates for 2012-2013. Putting that side by side with last year's budget, we get what we're looking for... after the jump.

2012-2013 Budget     2012-2013 Estimated
Beginning Fund Balances
Ending Fund Balances

Even though revenues exceeded what was planned for in the budget, the growth in expenditures was bigger still, leading to deficit spending overall. The ending fund balances are only a teensy bit under what the budget called for, but that's because the actual starting fund balances were almost $3 million larger than the budget thought they would be. That $3 million in change found in the couch cushions turned out to be what kept those fund balances as close to being in the black as they were. It's also why the city itself might dispute my description of the estimate as a deficit -- remember that sneaky asterisk.

In short, even though it's good that the city has produced two balanced budgets in a row, the city just might have a problem sticking to its budget. Give the budget a smiley face. Give the actuals a frowny face.

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