How to read the budget
The Local Government Budget and Fiscal Control Act (LGBFCA) defines the annual budget as "a proposed plan for raising and spending money for specified programs, functions, activities, or objectives during a fiscal year" [G.S. 159-7(b)(1)]. This link to the Budget Guide briefly describes the sections contained within the budget document, explains the budget process, explains how to read charts and graphs and interpret numbers, as well as how to understand the effects of inflation.
The budget process
There are three general stages of budget preparation and enactment including departmental formulation of expenditure requests and revenue estimates, preparation of a recommended budget document by the budget officer, and review and enactment of the annual budget ordinance by the respective governing body. The LGBFCA requires mandatory dates at which certain processes must be completed [G.S. 159-10-13]. Departmental requests must be submitted to the budget officer before April 30. A recommended budget must be given to the governing body no later than July 1, and the governing body must enact the budget ordinance at the start of the fiscal year, July 1.
Budget Calendar Fiscal Year (FY) 16-17 details the dates by which each stage in the annual budget process is to be completed.
How the budget is amended
The annual budget ordinance may be amended any time after its official adoption; however, the amendments cannot increase or decrease the tax levy or alter a taxpayer's liability unless the City is ordered to do so by the courts or an authorized State agency.
The Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) presented an award for Distinguished Budget Presentation to the City of Hendersonville for its annual budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2018. In order to receive this award, a governmental unit must publish a budget document that meets specific program criteria as a policy document, an operations guide, a financial plan, and a communications device.
Capital Improvement Plan
A Capital Improvement Plan (Program), or CIP, is a short-range plan, usually four to ten years, which identifies capital projects and equipment purchases, provides a planning schedule and identifies options for financing the plan. The CIP may now be found in the City's budget document.
The City of Hendersonville adopts a fee schedule each year with the annual budget. Unlike the tax levy, these fees may be amended at any formal meeting of the City Council throughout the fiscal year. Fees are listed alphabetically under their respective department.
Special Appropriations Request
A special appropriation is an allocation of funding to a specific outside agency. An agency may request for funding with the City each year during the budget process. City Council approves special appropriations based on applications submitted. The majority of special appropriations are recorded in one area of the budget however, there are some that have been placed within individual department budgets. Additionally, special appropriations span multiple funds.
Special appropriation requests are managed by the City's budget office. Applications are due by 5:00 p.m. on the last business day in February. The specific date and contact information can be found on the application. Any organizations interested in being considered for a special appropriation from the City should fill out and submit the following application.
If your organization is requesting funds from the City, please complete the application and submit as specified. The City Council will review your request during their annual budget deliberations.
The budget document and its preparation and adoption express the basic political values of the City. Budgets reflect the negotiations and compromises undergone during the continuous process of budget adoption. They define government's economic and political role in a community, guiding, sanctioning, and limiting administrative action. Budgets not only represent plans for the future, they also mold that future by the policies they contain. A good budget establishes a vision for its respective community and communicates, with utmost transparency, the vision for the future.
The City's budget dashboard provides an overview of City Council accomplishments and goals and the City's budget process and financial data. These tools pull data from the City’s financial system and promote transparency surrounding the local government budgeting process and how public dollars are spent.