Since the final budget can be only an estimate, what happens when the actual spending or revenues is higher or lower than the city expected?
If city finances are healthy, the city will complete the fiscal year with expenditures lower and revenues higher than anticipated, that is, with a surplus. Many government financial experts believe that a surplus, or reserve, makes good management sense. As excess city funds are identified, they generally are either used to fund supplementary appropriations to the current year’s budget, are used to fund extraordinary or emergency projects, or unplanned capital projects as they arise.

A far more serious situation exits when revenues are over-estimated and/or not budgeted expenses are incurred, so that a potential deficit situation exists. In such instances, immediate action has to be taken to curtail spending. There is little, if any, opportunity to pursue the alternative remedy, that is, to increase revenue yields, once the budget has been approved. To date, the General Fund has never incurred a year-end deficit from this type of situation. If you have any questions, please email the Department of Budget and Evaluation.

Show All Answers

1. What is a budget?
2. Why do governments budget?
3. What is the timeline for the budget process?
4. Why does the budget begin in the middle of the calendar year?
5. How are spending decisions made?
6. What budget documents are required to be prepared?
7. What are the legal responsibilities of the City Manager and City Council regarding budget setting?
8. Once the budget is approved, can it be changed?
9. Where do city revenues come from?
10. Since the final budget can be only an estimate, what happens when the actual spending or revenues is higher or lower than the city expected?
11. How is the operating budget organized?
12. What is the Capital Improvements Plan?
13. How does the city pay for Capital Improvement Plan projects?
14. What does the Bond Authorization permit the city government to do?
15. How can the city proceed with projects if it has not sold bonds to get the cash needed to pay for them?
16. How much can be borrowed?
17. How does the budget affect property taxes?
18. How can I express my opinion to elected officials on budgetary issues?