By Myrna Trauntvein
For Nephi, the budget process for the fiscal year 2013 is now complete.
Nephi City Council adopted the revised budget for fiscal year ending June
30, 2012, at a special meeting held on Thursday, and, as well, approved the new budget for fiscal year ending June 30, 2013.
Randy McKnight, city administrator, said the budget, now that it was adopted, would be used to govern city expenditures through the next fiscal year.
Council members not only approved the budget for the coming year but approved the final revised budget for the fiscal year just ended.
In most Utah Municipalities, according to the ULCT (Utah League of Cities and Towns) sales tax is the largest contributor to a city's revenue, total property tax is next and then is followed, in order of percentage, Class C Road Revenue, licenses, fees and permits, court fines, energy sales, and all other intergovernmental revenue.
"Our sales tax has been way down the past few years, since the financial crises,"said Blair Painter, city recorder. "The city has seen a 4 percent increase in sales tax revenue (in fiscal year 2012) but sales tax revenue is still way down from what it was (prior to the crisis)."
State budget estimates for the 50 states for the upcoming fiscal year continue to show that states face a long recovery period. Estimates indicate that states are not over the recovery hump.
In Utah, for fiscal year 2013, the fiscal year that begins July 1, 2012, sales tax collections are still expected to remain low though collections are showing recovery.
The Great Recession that started in 2007 caused the largest collapse in state revenues on record. Since bottoming out in 2010, revenues have begun to grow again, but are still far from fully recovered. As of the fourth quarter of 2011, nationwide state revenues remained below pre-recession levels and are not growing fast enough to recover fully soon.
"Utah continues to lead the nation into prosperity with projected economic expansion reflected in 6 percent discretionary revenue growth," stated information released by the state legislature on their website.
Totals listed in the Nephi general fund final expenditure fiscal 2013 budget are: administrative, $646,598; justice court, $55,857; non-departmental, $203,750; general government buildings, $48,201; planning and zoning, $86,971; police department, $940,525; building inspections, $21,200; streets department, $363,140; airport, $13,300; city engineer, $2,200; parks department, $184,000; golf course, $254,970; organized recreation, $137,782; library, $73,606; cemeteries, $109,566; and contributions to the capital fund, $215,750.
"In Utah budgets are 'fund' based," said McKnight.
The capital projects fund is $2,385,206; the water and sewer fund is $684,834; the electric fund is $6,560,438; the solid waste fund is $388,259; the natural gas fund is $2,484,998; and the Nephi Industrial Development Agency is $169,069.
The total appropriations budget for all funds, with the general fund added in, is $16,030,220 for the fiscal year 2012-2013.
A major responsibility of local elected officials, especially town or city council members, is to "appropriate funds." In other words, they are responsible to adopt and maintain a budget. (Utah Code 10-3-1210)
Every city maintains a general fund. All revenue belongs to the general
fund unless specifically earmarked for another fund.
The Enterprise Fund is used for services which charge a fee and the fund is handled like a business organization. Items like golf courses, city airports, sewer, natural gas and water utilities.
The Capital Project Fund consists of temporary funds that should be eliminated once the capital project is completed.
A city may also have special revenue funds. These are funds used to account for special or specific revenue sources, for example grant funds or revenue legally restricted for specific purposes.
"Expenses must equal revenue," said McKnight, "except in enterprise funds where a city can have a profit and/or a loss."
All unexpended funds, except capital improvement funds, lapse to their respective fund balances on June 30.
Every city has a budget officer, in the case of Nephi, that is Painter. For cities of the first and second class the budget officer is always the city auditor.
Municipal expenses are made in the categories of personnel which includes salaries, benefits and wages; government administration, which includes courts, planning, and economic development; public safety which includes police, fire and jail; environment and housing which includes parks, cultural events, cemeteries, recycling programs, and etc.; transportation which includes roads, sidewalks, curbs, and street lighting; and all other categories, such as interest on debts.
What influences revenue in addition to sales and property tax collections? The economy, weather, utility rate changes, county reappraisals, and legislation all can influence revenue.
"A municipal budget is a legal document that serves as a city's financial operating plan and provides a reflection of policy priorities, acts as a tool for communicating with constituents how tax money is spent and, through the public hearing process, allows citizens an opportunity to be heard by the city council," said McKnight.