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City Finance Committee – January Meeting Highlights

Published on January 18, 2017

The Finance Committee of the City of Huntsville met Jan. 17 to hear a quarterly report on the Fiscal Year 17 budget with Finance Director Peggy Sargent. Topics at a glance:

How the City’s Budget Gets Approved

The Finance Director reviewed the budget approval process, which generally starts in July and concludes with Council approval in October. While the budget is prepared by the Mayor and administration, citizens and Council have opportunities for input in the months leading up to Council approval.

The City’s Biggest Revenue Generator

Sales and use tax accounts for 57 percent of City revenues.

What about the City’s Biggest Cost?

Sargent detailed the City’s biggest costs, its employees, and noted the value and importance of being able to recruit and maintain talent.

“This is one of the major reasons why changes in insurance costs are looked at so closely,” Sargent said. “They make a big financial impact for us.”

General Fund vs. Capital Fund vs. WPC Fund

At Council meetings, the majority of budgetary discussion references the General Fund as opposed to the Capital Fund. While the Capital Fund is dedicated to large developments, the General Fund includes City day-to-day operation costs, funds for road repair, employee costs, etc.

“A lot of folks don’t realize that Water Pollution Control also has a separate budget,” Sargent said. “Due to City ordinance and state laws, these funds cannot cross over in any way with the General and Capital Funds.”

City-funded Non Profits to Produce New Quarterly Report on Spending

Non profits receiving City funding must now provide quarterly updates on spending to the Finance office. This new reporting allows the City to better monitor how taxpayer dollars are spent and their impact on the community.

Finance Committee members include: Chair Bill Kling, District 4 Council Member, Co-chair Devyn Keith, District 1 Council Member, James Butler David Driscoll, Mica Gurley, Cooper Green, and Glenn Watson.