To better guide its budget preparation and improve transparency, the city should develop budget policies, particularly for long-term planning, that incorporate the elements that the GFOA recommends and make these policies available to the public on its Web site.
On February 4, 2014, the City Council adopted the Budget Policies and Procedures Manual, which incorporates best practices recommended by GFOA and contains sections specifically governing budget preparation and long-term planning. These guidelines were implemented as part of the fiscal year 2014-2015 budget preparation process. The Budget Policies and Procedures Manual is posted on the Finance Department page of the Citys website. (See pages 9-13 of Budget Policies and Procedures Manual.)
Although the city's procedures are high-level, they do provide structure for the city's budget process.
The Finance Director provides quarterly budget updates to the City Council at its regular, public meetings. The updates include current status, year-end forecasts, and recommended budget amendments where appropriate. City Department Heads receive budget reports in advance of the briefings to City Council and are asked to provide explanations for deviations of 10% or greater. Longer term financial modeling will be undertaken with existing staff or outsourced and will be incorporated as part of the budget planning process.
The city's response does not address our recommendation. Specifically, the city does not indicate that it has developed budget policies, particularly for long-term planning, that incorporate the elements that the GFOA recommends.
The city did not address its actions regarding this recommendation.
The city did not address this recommendation in its August 2012 response. (See 2013-406, p. 196)
Agency responses received after June 2013 are posted verbatim.