Tom McGreal | Stratford Court
The City of Del Mar operates on a two-year budget cycle, which sets the Revenue targets, the Expenditure levels, identifies the Special Projects to be undertaken, and creates a new ten-year Capital Improvement budget as part of a comprehensive budget review.
The process of evaluating and adopting a new budget for fiscal years ending June 30, 2020 and June 30, 2021 began with a preliminary review of the proposed budget at the Finance Committee meeting on April 30, 2019.
The City has scheduled a Budget Workshop for the mornings of Saturday, May 4th (9AM to 1PM) and Monday, May 6th (9AM to 2:30PM) at Town Hall. The Budget Workshop is organized to provide a department-by-department line item review of staffing, salary & benefit costs and operating costs, as well as a year-to-year cost comparison, which will be presented by the department heads. This is a great opportunity for the Council to discuss the departmental plans in detail.
There will also be a review of Special Projects and Capital Improvement projects that the City proposes to fund over the next two years.
The overall Budget will be summarized in Reserve, Revenue and Expenditures reports and a Long-Range Forecast that will project trends given a set of assumptions covering a long-term outlook. Finally, the Council will have a chance to assess the proposed budget against the City’s goals and priorities.
There are a number of areas that the Finance Committee will be watching carefully:
• Will Revenues continue to remain flat or will there be a pickup in the growth rate?
• Will spending on Operating Expenses meet the Finnell Plan (policy requires that the rate of Revenue growth must exceed rate of Expenditure growth by 1.4%)?
• Will there be improved transparency and budget details for Special Projects?
• Will Contingency Reserve levels provide a sufficient cushion (policy is to maintain 10% to 20% of Expenditures as a Contingency Reserve)?
• Will there be sufficient funding for Capital Improvement Projects?
This is a good review process that should lead to a prudent budget that can be adopted by City Council in June.