Key Financial Documents
The budget document is the annual financial plan for City operations for the period covering one fiscal year. The City of Gulf Breeze’s fiscal year begins on October 1 and ends on September 30. This plan describes the sources of revenues and how the funds will be spent during the year. The annual operating budget is the key document which describes the projects to be accomplished and the City’s financial status each year.
Organizational Structure of the Budget
The operations of the City are grouped into different funds. Within each fund are one or more departments. A department is an organizational unit which provides a major type of public service, such as the Police Department or Community Services Department.
At the most detailed level of the budget are account codes, also known as line items. These are the most basic units in the budget and make it possible to determine, for example, how much is spent on chemicals for the operation of the water plant.
General Statute Requirements
In accordance with the Florida Statutes, the City is required to budget and account for its funds on the modified accrual basis of accounting. Under this method, revenues are recognized in the accounting period in which they become available. Expenditures are recognized in the accounting period in which the goods and services are received (except for unmatured interest on general long-term debt, which is recognized when due).
The State of Florida requires each local government to operate with a balanced budget.
The Budget Process
In May and June, City departments prepare their operating budget proposals for the next fiscal year. Departments are encouraged to conduct a thorough review and evaluation of their organizational structure and current and proposed programs. Departmental operating budgets are submitted by the middle of June.
Once the department budget review is finalized, the individual department budgets are forwarded to the City Manager for review. From mid-June until the City Council workshops, the City Manager reviews the departmental requests. The City Manager then prepares a comprehensive proposed budget, including operations and capital improvements and a summary budget statement for City Council consideration.
Beginning mid-July, the City Manager presents the proposed budget to the City Council during a number of City Council workshops. The City Council meets to review and discuss the budget with the City Manager and each Department Director.
In accordance with the Truth In Millage Act, the City Council holds a public hearing on the Millage Rate and Proposed Budget prior to the adoption of a tentative millage and budget ordinance, generally by early September. By mid to late September, the City Council adopts by resolution of the final Millage Rate and Budget that serves as a financial planning and work plan for the next fiscal period.
During the month of October, the City Manager provides information to departments setting time schedules and priorities for the purchase of equipment and the implementation of new programs or initiatives.