The Norman Transcript

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April 21, 2013

Norman’s General Fund depleted by 93 percent in just six years

(Continued)

NORMAN —

Even with those purchases, the anticipated PSST fund balance at the end of FY 2014 is over $8 million.

The Council Finance Committee began budget discussions in September, did a mid-year review in January and will be looking at the various funds now through June when the city council will consider the final budget for adoption.

“An annual budget must be adopted by the city council at least seven days before the beginning of the new fiscal year, certified by the Cleveland County Excise Board before the start of the fiscal year (July1) and transmitted to the state auditor and inspector within 30 days of the start of the fiscal year,” City Manager Steve Lewis wrote in his introductory letter to the budget. “The FYE 2014 budget has been prepared in an environment of great uncertainty in the local and national economy. We are at a point at which critical decisions have to be made...”

The total budget for all city funds last year was $204,970,419. The budget proposed for this year is higher at $225,173,779.

This year’s budget is inflated by “anticipated costs for major capital projects,” Lewis said.

Those include wastewater (sewer) and water utilities improvements, some of which are required to meet Department of Environmental Quality Standards.

The general fund includes employee wages. Several positions have been held vacant since 2011 including three positions in park maintenance.

“We’re very lean and mean,” Francisco said. “We’re very small government.”

The FY 2014 total revenues are projected at $216,466,151. Total expenditures are projected to be $225,173,779.

Francisco said the Finance Department tries to be conservative in its projections with the hope that revenue will exceed expectations. This previous year, revenue has tracked fairly closely to projections despite a disappointing sales tax increase of about 3.3 percent rather than the 4.2 percent increase predicted. Other revenue sources have helped to make up that difference, but may not have entirely closed the gap.

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