What is a Budget?
The City’s annual budget document is a substantial strategy and managerial tool that is used to shape policy, define resources, and prioritize services for the coming fiscal year. Preparation of the annual budget is a challenging process that takes several months to complete. It involves extensive research aimed at establishing appropriate service levels, initiate policy directions, and separating “wants” from “needs.” The overarching goal of this process is to have a budget that builds and maintains an ideal community to Live, Work, and Play. The end product is a budget based in sound principles of budgeting policies, strategic planning, operational and capital needs, public engagement and input, and ultimately City Council prioritization and approval.
Budget Development & Review Process
The development of the City budget begins just as a new fiscal year starts. Earlier in a new calendar year, and as we close out prior year expenses City staff begins to put together “actuals” versus “budgeted.” In other words, a review of what was actually spent versus what was budgeted. This effort coincides with a third party audit of the City’s financial activities. City department heads are responsible for preparing their departmental budget requests. The City Manager and the Finance Director meet with each department head in the spring to discuss general operating costs, review budget requests, payroll projections, and review Capital Improvement Planning (CIP) requests.
After internal review, the City Manager begins the development of a budget for the Governing Body to consider. Additionally, Capital Improvements and Equipment plans are presented annually, as changes due to prioritization, supply chain, or other variables impact when items are needed within the 5 year plan.
All budget work sessions, meetings, and hearings are open to the public.
Monitoring the Budget
Once adopted and the new fiscal year begins, the budget is entered into the City’s accounting system to provide current information for monitoring and future planning purposes. When approved by the governing body, the expenditures incorporated within the budget become legally binding and the actual expenditures at the fund level cannot exceed the budgeted amounts unless amended through a supplemental budget hearing and adoption. Reports are available on a monthly basis and distributed to all Department heads to serve as the work program for the fiscal year.
All appropriations shall lapse at the close of the fiscal year if the total amount has not been used.
Amending the Budget
If it is determined during the year that sufficient amounts have not been budgeted to meet the necessary functions of the City and/or unbudgeted expenses are added throughout the year, the City Council may make budget increases. Kansas State Law (K.S.A. 79-2929) permits the budgets to be increased for previously unbudgeted increases through revenue other than the ad valorem property tax. To do this, a notice of public hearing to amend the budget must be published in the official newspaper. At least ten days after publication the hearing may be held and the City Council may amend the budget at that time.
BUDGET CALENDAR FOR 2024 BUDGET
_______ Individual meetings with Budget Manager, Finance Director, and City Manager
_______ Deadline for County Clerk to notify City of Valuations & Revenue Neutral Rate
_______ Recommended Budget Work Session – All Tax Levy Funds - General Fund, Library, & Debt Service (prior to Council Meeting)
_______ Approve Notice of Revenue Neutral Rate Hearing and Schedule Public Hearing to Exceed the Revenue Neutral Rate. (Sets maximum Proposed Tax Rate)
______ Deadline to notify County Clerk of Intent to Levy taxes above the Revenue Neutral Rate.
______ Recommended Budget Work Session – Special Revenue Funds, Enterprise Funds, Multi-Year Capital and Equipment Plans (prior to Council Meeting)
______ Recommended Budget Work Session - General Fund (prior to Council Meeting)
______ Conduct Revenue Neutral Hearing and Pass a Resolution to Exceed the Revenue Neutral Rate. Vote must be held at the hearing with Governing Body present.
______ Approve Notice of Budget Hearing and Schedule Public Hearing for Adoption of 2024 Budget. State Law requires ten days from date of publication of hearing notice to the public hearing.
______ Conduct Budget Hearing and Approve the 2023 Budget Amendments and 2024 Budget.
______ Approve the 2023 Budget Amendments and 2024 Budget – if needed
______ Deadline for City Clerk to Certify Budget to County Clerk