Agendas and Minutes

Citizens' Budget Committee (View All)

Budget Committee Meeting

Monday, May 03, 2010

Budget Committee Meeting
May 3, 2010 6:00pm
Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 East Main Street
The Budget Committee meeting was called to order at 6:05 PM on Monday, May 3, 2010 in Council Chambers at 1175 East Main Street, Ashland Oregon.
Mayor Stromberg was present.  Committee members Everson, Jackson, Lemhouse, Navickas, Runkel, Silbiger, Slattery, Thompson, Stebbins and Voisin were present.  Committee members Baldwin, Chapman, and Douma were absent.
CITY RECORDER                    
City Recorder Barbara Christensen presented the City Recorder budget for FY 2010-11.  She spoke to City recorders duties.  The City Recorders office takes care of the Council business, City Records, election of Council officers, and is a member of the Audit Committee.  Ms. Christensen discussed the Budget Over Time (see slide).  The City Recorders office has had little increase in the budget over the years.  In 2008-09 there was an increase due to the purchase of a scanner. The Banking service and merchant service fees have also increased. The City Recorder budget is made of salaries benefits materials and services and has reduced budget materials and services as well as supplies in education. 
Ms. Christensen discussed the work for 2011.  There will be continued work with records management as well as banking and merchant fees.  It is a challenge to find ways to become more efficient with banking and fees.  The Committee questioned how long banking contracts are.  Ms. Christensen answered that currently there is a three year contract with the option of two one year extensions.  The one year extensions are not automatic there is opportunity for both sides to end the contract. 
Ms. Christensen went over the performance drivers (see slide).  The City Recorders office is driven by City Charter and Municipal Code, Federal and State mandates, accessing information and providing quality citizen service.   The significant budget changes from FY 2010 include the increase cost of banking services and merchant fees this is due to FDIC insurance was raised by the Federal Government, more customers are using merchant services to complete transactions and still in the process of completing RFP for banking services.
City Administrator Martha Bennett presented the Administration Budget.  The Administration Department is in both the General Fund and the Central Service Fund.  Ms. Bennett discussed the bar chart (see slide).  Since 2007 the Administration Department the major changes in the budget have come from the programs that have been added such as the Library Program and the Economic Development Program.  The budget has been pretty flat for the last four years.  The proposed budget for this year is about $28,000 less then last yearís budget largely because professional services have been dropped in both Legal and Human Resources (HR).  The vast majority of each budget are people (see slides). 
Ms. Bennett discussed the work see coming (see slide).  Most work is driven by the implementation of City Council goals.  There will be orientation of new council members in January 2011.  The Administration department will be working on three bargain union contracts.  Administration will continue to manage health care costs issues.  The Committee questioned the changes in contractual services.  Ms. Bennett answered that it fluctuates because there was a change in how the City pays for television.  The City used to spend about $100,000 a year televising meetings; the amount of meetings being televised has been cut.  There was also a court ruling that changed the amount of money to be allocated. 
Ms. Bennett went over performance drivers (see slide).  There are many program level responsibilities.  One is employment related claims.  The City is going to try and target policies of the types of claims that the City expects to have.  Administrationís goal is to try and be timely in response to Council direction and goals. 
Ms. Bennett discussed performance to budget (see slide).  Both performance measures and budget reflect wide variety of activities of this department.  Performance measures require the department to anticipate and plan.  Staffing has been reduced over the last three fiscal years has made the department more reactive. 
Ms. Bennett spoke to the significant budget changes (see slide).  Staffing levels have remained the same since last year in all divisions.  Professional services budgets have been reduced particularly in Human Resources and in Municipal Court.  The funding for outreach remains minimal and the library contract will increase by 3%. 
Mayor Stromberg proposed an increase in the budget for televising services in the amount of $12,575.  Mayor Stromberg would like to make the government more responsible and comprehensive to citizens.  In this year there is going to be four major projects underway.  The projects are developing the economic strategy for the Community, the second is AFR watershed, third is city wide transportation and land use plan and the fourth is a comprehensive water security plan.  In all of these projects the City tries to involve the public but is a struggle.  Mayor Stromberg stated the proposed amount of money could be used for interaction between the Community and the four major projects by using twelve sessions of televised services within the year.  The Committee suggested that the City get the RVTV demographics to help in this decision process.   
The Committee discussed the Reserve Fund.  In order to build a Reserve Fund the City should save rather then spend otherwise there will be no Reserve Fund.  The rules and regulations of the Reserve Fund will have to go to Council.  Ms. Bennett stated that reason to create a Reserve Fund is to set money aside for some anticipated situation that the City cannot provide other resources for.    
Administrative Services/Finance Director Lee Tuneberg presented the Administrative Services Budget
FY 2010-11.  Mr. Tuneberg stated that the Administrative Services Department is one that has been pretty
steady.  In the department itself there is an operating side and a non-operating side which has transitioned
over time (see slide). 
Mr. Tuneberg discussed the proposed operating and non-operating budget (see slides).  Over half of the operating budget is salaries and benefits; the other is materials and services.  On the non-operating side there is a little diversity. 
Mr. Tuneberg spoke to the work coming for FY 2011(see slide).  The Administration Service Department will continue working on fiscal stability, city goal and outcomes as well as budgeting and auditing.  The Department will be updating written polices both finance management and operating accounting.  The Finance Department identifies working on reserves, risk management and bond covenants.  Continued work with Departments will be done to ensure they understand their budgets and costing services.  The Department itself does all the customer service for utility billing and also provides internal accounting support to all different departments.
Mr. Tuneberg went over the Administration Service Departments performance drivers (see slides).  Much of the Departments performance drivers are led by legal compliance.  A department goal is to meet the accounting budgeting and customer service needs of the City.  The Department will practice good government through legal compliance, meet all targets and provide good customer service. 
The significant budget changes from FY 2010 include reducing vacant managerial position pay in order to fund higher operating expenses to keep within target.  The Department is currently in the process of reorganizing.  It is important to try and keep all outside costs such as training and professional services to a minimum (see slide).
In preparing for 2012 Mr. Tuneberg stated that the Department is always looking for better ways to do things.  At times the Department struggles with workloads.  There is a considerable amount of work that is on going for example accounts payable, budget, financial reports, requests from management and public.  Mr. Tuneberg explained that dramatic changes in the budget may affect the ability for City Hall to stay open for a certain amount of hours. 
Mr. Tuneberg spoke to three corrections in the 2010-11 Proposed Budget document.
The Committee questioned how the City can gage when too much has been cut out of the Budget.  Mr. Tuneberg answered that as of now there is not a good gage.  As the Department goes through the reorganization it will be easier to identify if there are any shortfalls and how to do things better.      
The Committee discussed the Reserve Fund and how to build it.  One way to build a reserve is if you have excess in one fund transfer it.  The Committee questioned whether or not it was a Council decision to take excess funds and put them into the Reserve Fund.  Mr. Tuneberg stated that current GASB requirements are for Council to identify revenue streams are committed or obligated and if it is a Reserve Fund what revenues are going to go in and how it will be used.  The Reserve Fund does require a policy decision. 
The meeting was adjourned at 7:35 pm
Respectfully Submitted,
Melissa Huhtala
Administrative Secretary

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