To ensure that the Department appropriately budgets for planned expenses, the City should continue to monitor its new policy on budget development that it adopted in January 2016. Specifically, the chief should monitor the budgeted and actual expenses of the Department each month, paying close attention to any areas where those expenses vary significantly from the amount budgeted, and discuss this analysis with the city manager each quarter to identify any weaknesses in its budget process.
Accounts and monthly reports have been modified to more accurately track and display ongoing expenses for each account. A mid-year review is conducted in January. At that time, each account is reviewed to determine any accounts where expenses exceed 50% of budgeted funds. For those that do, the City Manager and/or Finance Director review the expense activity with the appropriate department to determine whether the cause is a unique circumstance and can be addressed the adjusting any operational activities. Where necessary, budget adjustments are recommended in February to the City Council. A similar review is conducted in March as part of the budget preparation process, which is used in developing the budget recommendations for the upcoming year.
The City Manager and Finance Director have been working with all lead staff to provide training on monthly monitoring of accounts and expenditures.
Although the City claims to have fully implemented our recommendation to monitor actual expenses as part of its budget development process, it could not substantiate its claims of this implementation. We anticipate that the City will be in a better position to provide supporting evidence in its six-month response, given the additional time for these procedures to be integrated within its activities.
Agency responses received are posted verbatim.