The City of Tempe has begun the process of kicking off its operating and capital budgets for the 2015-16 fiscal year. These budgets will not be finalized until June 2015, but the work is starting early to ensure plenty of time to plan, solicit community input, and work with city employees. The city also is examining revenue and expense projections for the next five years. The financial forecast provides a long-term view of how current year budget discussions will impact the City’s future finances, and is consistent with the City Council’s stated priority of long-term financial sustainability.
There are two separate aspects of the budget: operating budgets like the General Fund, Transit Fund, Golf Fund and others that pay for day-to-day operations; and the Capital Improvements Program (CIP), which uses secondary property taxes to repay bonds that fund repair and construction projects. Each year, the City Council sets both of these budgets.Operating Budgets
At their Fall 2014 retreat, the City Council met and identified key strategic priorities that will provide the direction and framework for the next year’s budget. Budget staff has prepared the Fall financial forecast to identify challenges and opportunities and elicit City Council direction very early to prioritize and implement significant budget changes. Tempe is looking at ways to limit rising compensation growth as personnel costs are the greatest expense in any service oriented organization. With the City Council’s guidance, City Manager Andrew Ching will begin working with employees on this issue when the various agreements with employee groups open as scheduled for negotiation in early 2015. Residents are encouraged to provide input to their policy makers.
Capital Improvements Program (CIP)
Although capital projects are scheduled throughout a five year plan, only those projects during the first year of the plan are financed and adopted as part of the City’s annual budget. The remaining years serve as a guide for future planning and are subject to annual review and modification. The City Council will continue to implement its policy to keep the total property tax bill – also known as the property tax levy – on existing properties relatively constant from year to year. The policy mandates no increases to the annual levy on existing properties by more than the Consumer Price Index rate of inflation, which is currently 1.8 percent for 2014-15.
Discussions will begin in latter 2014 with the City Council and with community members about priorities for capital projects.
|2015-16 Budget Planning Process|