Tom McGreal | Finance Committee Chair
The City budget cycle ensures that the two-year budget is updated periodically to reflect actual results and the latest outlook. On June 5th the latest budget update was presented to the Finance Committee for review.
The numbers look good with slightly higher revenues and expenses while maintaining General Fund reserves within policy levels. The Finance Committee voted unanimously to recommend the budget update and on June 18th the City Council voted to adopt the updated budget for Fiscal Years ending June 30, 2018 and 2019.
So far so good, however staff also presented a list of unfunded items not included in the newly adopted budget totaling $1.3 to $1.5 million for consideration by the City Council. The Finance Committee decided not to endorse these unfunded items, which would have the effect of increasing expenses and reducing reserves beyond an acceptable level. The challenge for the City Council is that many of these unfunded items represent projects and costs that support desirable projects and Council priorities.
The strategy recommended by the Finance committee and endorsed by the Mayor and the Council calls for greater review and scrutiny of the adopted budget to identify areas where costs can be cut to make room for some of the unfunded items. The goal is to hold the costs at the level of the newly adopted budget.
Based upon the July 2 Council direction, staff will be coming back in September with budget cuts to make room for three unfunded items approved by Council. By September City Council will also have the benefit of having final Fiscal year 2018 results to review in their determination about what budget cuts are actually needed to adhere to the approved Fiscal 2019 budget. It appears that good fiscal discipline has prevailed.