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5/5/2014

Input welcome in CIP process

Input welcome in CIP process

The Garden City Commission will spend the next several months working on the budget for 2015. The budget is the most important item considered by the commission each year, and as such, we like to hear input from Garden City residents. I'd like to take a minute to explain how our budget process works.

Garden City continues to grow steadily. Therefore, the need to provide for appropriate growth must be balanced with the need to maintain existing facilities and infrastructure. To find this balance, we use a long-term capital improvement planning process that looks at both immediate needs and at needs for the next five years. This process results in the Capital Improvement Plan. It is an inventory of recommended and current projects and major capital purchases for the city. It serves as a guide for the commissioners and city management in budget decisions addressing strategic planning.

The budget process actually begins in November when CIP projects are reviewed by a citizen committee. After months of review, residents share their comments and suggestions regarding the CIP with the city manager. Those results are then used each February during the commission's goal setting retreat. The CIP and the goals document, called the Strategic Objective Plan, help guide the commission's budget decisions.

For city staff, the budget process picks up steam in February with a staff work session, during which the finance director and the city manger meet with all departments to discuss financial trends, needs and the city's goals. During this meeting, the budget calendar is prepared. Departments are then responsible for preparing requests for programs, projects and initiatives that they would like to have considered for the upcoming budget year. The CIP and Strategic Objective Plan help guide these requests. During this time, the Service & Finance Department prepares revenue estimates for the current and upcoming fiscal years. Next, each department meets individually with the city manager and finance director to review expenditure requests. Following these meetings, a draft budget is prepared for submission to the commission.

The city commission holds formal budget workshops at its meetings in May, June and July to review the draft budget. We want to invite the public to comment on the budget at any of these meetings. A public hearing for formal adoption of a balanced budget will take place before Aug. 25.

After the budget is adopted, it is published in The Garden City Telegram and on the city's website. City staff also prepares a document for residents called the Financial Profile that breaks the budget down and is intended to help tell the story behind the numbers.

I hope that you will follow along with us and share your input during this process.

Sincerely,

ROY CESSNA,

Garden City

Cessna is the mayor of Garden City.

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