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Local Budgeting Manual, 150-504-420 - Oregon State Library - State ...

Local Budgeting Manual, 150-504-420 - Oregon State Library - State ...

Chapter 4—Proposing

Chapter 4—Proposing the Budget A local government’s budget is a public document. Anything connected with the budget is subject to public inspection. Temper the detail of the budget with common sense to make the document informative and uncomplicated. The budget is a guide to the management of the local government. It also provides information and encourages public participation in government. The type of budget selected by the local government is a policy decision to be made by the governing body. The budget must comply with all the requirements of Local Budget Law. A budget is a financial plan that includes estimates of expenditures and revenues for a single fiscal year. Each local government operates in a fiscal year that begins July 1 and ends June 30 [ORS 294.311(17)]. For biennial budgets, see Chapter 15. The budgeting process provides procedures for evaluating local government needs and identifying revenue sources to meet those needs. A completed budget provides a justification for imposing ad valorem taxes. Budget Officer The budget officer prepares the proposed budget for the coming fiscal year. As ORS 294.331 states: “The governing body of each municipal corporation shall, unless otherwise provided by county or city charter, designate one person to serve as budget officer. The budget officer, or the person or department designated by charter and acting as budget officer, shall prepare or supervise the preparation of the budget document. The budget officer shall act under the direction of the executive officer of the municipal corporation, or where no executive officer exists, under the direction of the governing body.” The budget officer does not have to live within the boundaries of the local government, unless required by the local government’s charter (OF 448-V; 12-26-63). The budget officer cannot be an appointive member of the budget committee because appointed members of the budget committee cannot be officers, agents, or employees of the local government [ORS 294.336(4)]. (See Chapter 7 for more details on the budget committee.) Budget Calendar Schedule the steps of budget preparation to allow sufficient time to complete the entire budget process before June 30 (ORS 294.396). The Department of Education provides a suggested budget calendar to guide school districts. Since budget calendars are built around mandated requirements, review and revise them when the laws change. Schedule the appointment of budget committee mem- 13 bers on the calendar. Before budget preparation begins, schedule audit review and timely financial reporting. Base the calendar on the sequence of events that influence budget-making. This allows scheduling meetings, hearings, and publication requirements. Tax elections need not fit into a sequence, but a financial plan should be considered before a ballot measure is scheduled. The success or failure of a local option tax or a bond issue can determine the direction a governing body will take in planning. Budget Message A budget message is prepared annually by the executive officer of the district. If there is no executive officer, the budget message is prepared by the presiding officer of the governing body (ORS 294.391). The budget officer may prepare the message under the direction of the executive officer or governing body presiding officer. The extent of the budget message depends upon the size and complexity of the budget, and any changes that have been made. The budget message must: 1. Explain the budget document. 2. Include a brief description of the proposed financial policies of the for the coming fiscal year. 3. Describe the important features of the budget document in connection with the financial policies of the local government. 4. Explain the reason for changes from the previous year in appropriation and revenue items. 5. Explain the major changes in financial policy. Any change in the basis of accounting must be explained in the budget message for the year in which the change is planned [ORS 294.445(2)]. The budget message is delivered to the budget committee at its first meeting to deliberate on and approve the budget. Budget Document First and Second Preceding Year’s Data Expenditure and resource estimate detail sheets are part of the budget document under ORS 294.376. These detailed estimate sheets show the actual expenditures and resources for the two preceding fiscal years for each fund (ORS 294.376). This requirement provides a twoyear record of what actually happened. It compares the earlier actual resources and expenditures with those estimated and budgeted for both the current year and the upcoming fiscal year.

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