Annual Budgets & Capital Improvement Plan
Roles & ResponsibilitiesOne of the most important functions of the Finance Department is the preparation of the budget for the next fiscal year. The local government budget and fiscal control act requires counties to operate under an annual balanced budget ordinance.
The Budget Officer is the official responsible for seeing that the budget is completed and presented to the Board of Commissioners on a timely basis, while the Finance Officer is responsible for determining that all expenditures made are authorized by the budget.
Budget ProcessThe budget process begins with the receipt of the budget requests and revenue estimates from the department heads. All requests for expenditures must be justified in detail. We call this “zero-based budgeting.” With zero-based budgeting every function within the County is analyzed for its needs and costs.
First PhaseThe Finance Department, the County Manager and a budget team comprised of department managers and employees work together to assemble the budget. It is a 3-phase process, beginning with requests from the departments being submitted to the budget team to review for accuracy.
During the second phase, the County Manager studies the requests and makes his recommendations to the County Commissioners.
The third and final phase involves the County Commissioners reviewing the County Manager’s recommended budget, and making whatever changes they feel is necessary before passing the budget ordinance on or before June 30th.
Policies & OrdinancesThe budget that is passed by the Commissioners provides a basis for all fiscal policy decisions during the following year. The budget ordinance is the legal document that is adopted by the governing board, and is the legal means by which taxes are levied, revenues estimated, and appropriations made. Wayne County’s budget ordinance is in effect from July 1st - June 30th. County budget talks begin in the spring, but the evaluation of the Wayne County budget is a daily process for the Wayne County Finance Department.
When making financial decisions, the County asks the following questions:
Questions Asked By the County
- Does it help the county in its ability to insulate itself from fiscal crisis?
- Does it enhance short-term and long-term financial credit ability by helping to achieve the highest credit and bond ratings possible?
- Does it promote long-term financial stability by establishing clear and consistent guidelines?
- Does it direct attention to the total financial picture of the County, rather than single-issue areas?
- Does it promote the view of linking long-term financial planning with day to day operations?
- Does it provide the county staff, the Board of Commissioners and the county citizens a framework for measuring the fiscal impact of government services against established fiscal parameters and guidelines?