May 21, 2015
The City Finance Department prepares a biennial budget for Council adoption every two years. The budget, simply put, is a policy document. The budget must reflect and support Council policies and is the primary tool for the Council to accomplish their goals. The biennial budget has been developed with a primary focus to accomplish City Council goals established in January 2015. Departments reviewed their past accomplishments and developed objectives focusing on achieving these overarching Council goals:
- Economic and Community Development
- Public Safety
- Community Engagement and Community Relations
- Financial Solvency
As projected revenues are finite, the policy decisions are how to best utilize those finite resources to meet the needs of the community. The budget must be built from attainable revenue projections, while at the same time identifying fair and accurate expenditures. In developing a budget, the primary component is to determine the costs associated with operating the City. Since we are a service organization (and we don’t make widgets), the primary expense is our labor (the people serving the residents and businesses of Cathedral City). In addition, there are operating components (such as materials, supplies, electricity, water) necessary to get the job done. The City has five primary operating departments, in addition to Elected Officials, as follows: City Management, Administrative Services, Community Development, Police and Fire.
In January 2015, the six-month budget preparation cycle began for the FY 2015/2016 and FY 2016/2017 Biennial Budget. In February, the department narratives, consisting of department goals, objectives (in meeting department and Council goals) and accomplishments were submitted to the departments for their update and feedback. In addition, a draft Capital Improvement Program (CIP) 5 Year Plan was prepared. In refining the CIP, existing and new projects were identified, along with their scope, funding/expense needs, and associated timelines. In the March through May timeframe, City Management and City Council reviewed and coordinated on the balanced budget. Specifically during the month of April, there were two public Study Session discussions to review the budget workbooks and the questions received from the City Council. The April 8th session was dedicated to the General Fund and the April 22nd session was devoted to the Capital Improvement Plan and the budgeted Special Revenue and Internal Service Funds. In the month of June, the proposed balanced budget will be presented to City Council for their final review and adoption prior to the start of the FY 2015/2016 on July 1st.
Principals of budgeting and financial statements of the City are governed by the Government Accounting Standards Board and Industry requirements set forth by the Government Finance Officers Association (“GFOA”). The City of Cathedral City participates in GFOA’s Distinguished Budget Presentation Award program for the City’s Biennial Budget. The City has received this prestigious award for four (4) budget cycles covering the past seven (7) years. The FY 2015/2016 and FY 2016/2017 Biennial Budget will be the City’s 5th submission to GFOA for this award.
We would like to thank the City Council and City Manager for their leadership and overall direction of this budget. We would also like to thank the many residents and business owners that provide feedback to City staff throughout the year, which also is a valuable resource that we tap into during the budget process. All are to be commended for taking the time for being involved in this very important process.
Finally, we would like to take this opportunity to thank all the City staff who participated in developing the budget document. Preparing the budget is a demanding and time consuming effort for all staff members. This is especially true considering the continued workloads of staff in other areas of responsibility and the budgetary challenges facing the City. ”Teamwork” among individuals and departments resulted in this budget document. This same “teamwork” will continue Moving Cathedral City Forward into the future.