City looks at new budget process

The next budget process in Jefferson City will include far more information than in past years in an effort to keep City Council members as informed as possible.

Information Technology Director Bill Betts, who is serving as interim finance director, said the plan for this year is to give each council member a spreadsheet containing actual budget numbers from the past five years, year-to-date information for the current fiscal year, and both three-year and five-year averages for each line item in the budget. The spreadsheet also will contain a column with the city administrator’s budget recommendations and a column for the mayor’s budget recommendations.

In the past, Betts said, council members have asked for more information from previous years’ budgets, and the new plan will seek to answer those questions ahead of time.

After the most recent budget process, 2nd Ward Councilman and finance committee chair Shawn Schulte said he wanted to see more actual figures from past years for each budget line item and increased input from department directors.

Betts said, in the new budget process, the city administrator’s plan is to go line by line on both revenues and expenditures with department directors before the council sees a proposed budget, a practice that hasn’t been used in several years.

Schulte said the new plan will help the council to know exactly where the city is in terms of finances.

“This is exactly what we were looking for,” Schulte said.

Mayor Eric Struemph said the changes represent ideas from council members and staff that have been discussed for several years.

Betts said council members also will begin receiving quarterly financial reports, a practice Schulte requested begin after the last budget process. The report for the first quarter was given to members of the finance committee earlier this week and allows council members to see line by line how much of a total budget has been spent.

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