Each year the City Administrator and Mayor present a balanced budget for the City Council's consideration, discussion and adoption. The annual Budget serves a number of essential functions. In addition to being more than a "checkbook," where revenues and expenditures are posted, the Budget serves as the City's implementing document for its financial plan.
Clyde Hill's budget process is developed as part of an overall "Business Plan." The Business Plan document depicts the elements of the City's plan: Target Issues are reflected in a one year Operating Budget; a six year Capital Improvements Budget is developed to address the City's major equipment and infrastructure needs as well as other special projects; Future Projections of the City's finances are developed to help define a range of future expectations that can assist in the development of both short and longer-term Financial Strategies and Financial Policies.
Although the City has made great strides in developing a total business plan, continued work is always necessary to keep items current and to plan based on the ever-changing conditions of the external and internal environment. In August the City Council is presented with a set of economic, financial and demographic indicators that help to describe various financial trends impacting the City. The Council annually reviews and has revised a set of Financial Policy Statements to help guide the staff in areas pertaining to fund balances, how to classify interest income and how to keep the City's finances healthy. These policy statements are reviewed every year to make sure they represent the current thinking of the Mayor and the Council.
Click here to download a copy of the City's Budget Book that includes a wealth of financial information about the City. Clyde Hill is one of the smallest cities in the nation to receive the Distinguished Budget Presentation award from the Governmental Finance Officers Association for this budget book. The City has achieved this award since 2005. The City's Budget Calendar describes the elements of the budget development, the meetings and the dates for meetings and information.
BUDGET ADVISORY COMMITTEE
Based on previous discussions regarding the impacts of state initiatives on the City's finances and operations, the Council considered the establishment of a Budget Advisory Committee of community members to help review the City's financial challenges and participate in the budget development process. Starting in 2000, and so far every year thereafter, the Budget Advisory Committee accomplished these goals through the efforts of 4 to 12 community members who participated in the meetings and the development of the budget.
Through their participation in the meetings and understanding of the information prepared, the Budget Advisory Committee provided input into some of the difficult choices of the process, challenged some of the assumptions and kept all on their toes. The observations, comments, questions and ideas of the Committee greatly add to the development of the budget, modification to fee schedules and an understanding of the City's overall financial situation.
A set of Financial Policy Statements establishes the guiding principles for the longer-term fiscal stability of the City. The Financial Strategy is the City's action plan that acts as a confirmation of the shorter-term policies and considerations. These strategies guide the budget process and include other activities to help the City's longer-term financial health. The combined documents make up the City's annual Financial Plan.
Previously reviewed by the Council and the Budget Advisory Committee are the City's Financial Policy Statements. The City's overriding financial guidelines can be found within these Policies. These policies were first developed in the early 1990's and have been slightly modified over the years to reflect changing longer-term sentiment. The financial policy statements are designed to establish guiding principles for the long-term fiscal stability of the City.
The City's Financial Strategy works to confirm the shorter-term policies and considerations that make up the current budget year and also includes other financial activities that help the City's longer-term financial health. In the fall the Council and Budget Advisory Committee reviews a draft and a preliminary budget, along with other financial information in order to decide on a Final Budget. The philosophies adopted at these meetings helped to comprise the short-term element of the City's financial plan.