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City Manager's Blog

Learn about the City of Roanoke from the City Manager's point of view.

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Dec 17

‘Tis the Season

Posted on December 17, 2018 at 3:50 PM by Whitney Slightham

It’s that time of year again.  Yes, it’s the Holiday Season—Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Boxing Day. But, in this case, I am referring to budget season!

This time of year is when we report to City Council on the audited results of how we did during last year’s (FY18) budget, we begin to report on how we are doing with the current (FY19) budget, and we start working on the next (FY20) budget.

Budget of the Past

In FY18, we did well.  Revenues exceeded projections and expenditures stayed below the approved budget.  As a result, we were able to meet all of our obligations, deliver the planned services, dedicate a bit more funding for projects like streets, greenways, and facilities, and set aside even more than anticipated in our reserve funds.  

Budget of the Present

FY19 is really just underway in terms of revenues, which are generally reported months behind actual collection.  So far this year we know that sales tax revenue is performing better than projected in the budget.  However, we know the crucial month of December is yet to be finalized, so get out there and do that Holiday shopping—locally please!  Expenditures thus far are pretty well tracking as anticipated, though public safety overtime and costs associated with responding to the flooding and snow we have had so far are worth watching closely.  Updates on the budget performance will be provided monthly to Council throughout the early part of 2019.

Budget of the Future

Planning for the FY20 budget actually got underway last fall when the Council gathered for retreats to discuss development of a strategic plan and budget priorities.  The draft of the strategic plan will be delivered this week at the Council meeting and available for review on our website and in each of the library branches.  The plan will be finalized in early 2019.  The Council has maintained expenditure levels on education, community safety, and human services as its top three priorities with nearly two-thirds of the annual budget being spent on these priorities.  Other areas we would like to prioritize are employee compensation, and ensuring our facilities and equipment, which we use to deliver services, are as high quality as possible.

To All a Great Year

It may not be as festive as all the holidays we celebrate this time of the year, but budget season is the most critical time of the year for us and a vital and necessary process that enables us to keep delivering the services needed to maintain Roanoke as a great place to live, work, learn, and visit. 

I encourage you to take a look at the draft strategic plan and forward any thoughts you might have.  I also encourage you to follow development of the annual budget. After all, it’s your tax dollars that we’re spending to support and develop our community!

- Bob Cowell

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