Part three on GovSense for Budgeting: Make every dollar count for your community’s essential and improvement services.
The importance of disciplined budgeting at the local government level cannot be over emphasized since the annual budget determines which projects and services will be funded to serve your communities and constituents. The budget essentially becomes the annual operating plan that each department uses to set priorities and execute approved projects. While there are a wide variety of approaches and methodologies used to produce budgets that fit the needs of each unique jurisdiction, we have identified five budgeting challenges for which utilizing technology will help all government organizations better allocate funds and manage expenditures with transparency and confidence.
Whether or not your jurisdiction has an official Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), utilizing a technology solution that keeps all involved departments constantly aware of the status of your multi-year capital projects budgets, including debt management, ensures these critical major investments are managed efficiently and transparently. The software must allow jurisdictions to easily prioritize and update their capital budgets annually and make any necessary adjustments to these long-term investment budgets, sometimes lasting five-seven years or longer.
Capital investments often utilize a separate budgeting and planning process simply because the expenses are large, and the length of the projects are long; for example, an infrastructure project involving road, sewer and water line improvements. Often, these capital projects are financed through borrowing or other specific funding sources, like SPLOSTs or grants. The software system should also be able to alleviate your fund accounting challenges with spending thresholds that support the checks and balances you need to stay on track and accountable for your multiple fund budgets.
Jurisdictions report to us that their citizens usually view capital investments as positive improvements to their community and quality of living. The improvements can attract new businesses and foster subsequent projects that keep the community moving forward. Your constituents, however, do require transparency into the expenses, so your software system must be able to accurately report on the capital expenditures and how debt is managed, confirming to your citizens that these dollars are being spent as originally earmarked.