Work on the budget begins long before it is brought to Council for consideration. Cost savings efforts are a continual effort in all departments and expenditures are reviewed monthly to ensure that spending is in line with budgeted amounts. When the budget process for the next year begins, multiple staff meetings are held to review expenses, anticipated projects, fleet and tool replacements, staffing levels, and more.
Council committees also meet throughout the year and work with staff to determine the needs for the coming year. These committees may reconvene during the budget process to review the requests before they are incorporated into the final budget request. Prior to budget legislation, the Safety Committee meet to review the fire department’s vehicle needs, the Employee Relations Committee meet to review compensation, the Golf Course Committee reviews the business plan submitted by the management firm, and the Equipment Committee meet to discuss fleet replacement practices.
Once staff makes adjustments based on the committee meetings, the budget is discussed with the Finance Committee of Council. If any changes are necessary, they are made before a draft budget document is distributed to all of Council. To finish the process, the budget is considered at a public Council meeting.
The many layers of review of the budget, coupled with the city’s long history of conservative budgeting, have kept the city on sound financial footing even in the face of declining revenues in the past few years. The decline is attributable to the nationwide economic situation, to the implementation of a full tax credit for residents who live in Mason and are taxed where they work, and to recent changes in state policies regarding distribution of Local Government Funds to municipalities.
Please click on the topics listed under “financial accountability” in the menu at left to learn more about city finances.