Saturday, June 18, 2011

More Budget BS: Preserving the Munny Pot

Here's another good one from the June 16th Budget hearing:

We learn that there is $725,000 "unallocated" in the 2011-12 budget.

$350,000: School Board approved using fund balance to reduce levy
$ 75,000: School Board removed $ from the budget for the HR position.
$150,000+: School Board reduced the Building and Grounds budget.
$150,000: Savings on district’s insurance (worker’s compensation, liability,& property)
$725,000: in the budget presently unallocated

Mr. Frei Coins a New Term
What the hell is "unallocated funds" in a DRAFT budget?   I think the more common term for this is "slush fund".  Hello!  McFly!  If the money was removed from the budget, then its isn't there!  If it's not there, it certainly cannot be "unallocated"!  Unallocated is a term reserved for an existing budget, usually towards the end of the year.  You know...for example, we budgeted $100K for something and it only ended up costing $75K.  That means there is an unencumbered balance of $75K...which should wind up in fund balance, or returned to the taxpayers.   This budget is still early in the DRAFT stage.  The only things in there should be approved/obligated expenditures.
Winnie the Frei works feverishly to protect the coveted
Munny Pot from community Heffalumps & Woozles who might
actually try 
(gasp!) to lower property taxes and limit unnecessary
district spending 

From the "Calling a Spade, a Spade" Department
What this is, is $725,000 in funds that the district either wanted to have in the budget or things that were budgeted for but now will cost less than anticipated.  The board removed things from the budget, but the district left the money to be allocated for those things in.    It's a wish list of additional desired--but unapproved--expenditures.  And so what the district is now doing is lining up additional things on which the money (which, again, should no longer be in the budget) can be spent.  Finance Committee chair Jim McCourt said that the reason for keeping that $725,000 in the budget was to show the "worst case scenario" to the taxpayers.  Really, Jimbo!?  Then how come, in response to a question, we learned that the anticipated equalized value for the district will be at least negative 2% and more likely negative 3%?  That would raise the projected mill rate from a 3.5%  increase to a 6.5% increase.  We thought you wanted to present the worst case scenario to the public??

Wish Lists do not belong in a budget.  A budget MUST include only actual anticipated expenses and revenues...not someone's wish list.   The public needs you to show us a TRUE and accurate expenses vs. revenue projection, without any wish lists.