Budget Critique

Topics: California Society of Municipal Finance Officers, Budget, City Pages: 3 (821 words) Published: August 7, 2012
Budget Critique

The budget for the city of San Clemente, California, fiscal year 2011 can be found at the following link: http://ci.san-clemente.ca.us/sc/org/Finance/Downloads/Budget/Download/00_2011_Budget_Adopted.pdf

The budget for the city of San Clemente has received the Distinguished Budget Presentation Awards from the Government Finance Officers Association for the past 17 years. Not surprisingly, considering those honors, the city's budget is organized in a manner largely consistent with the guidelines we have learned in this course.

The budget begins with a thorough table of contents, allowing for easy access to the specific information a reader is looking for. This is crucial for a document featuring an intimidating 322 pages. It continues with an organizational chart showing the structure of the government and providing the names of each office holder. Interestingly, the citizens of San Clemente are listed at the pinnacle.

To further assist citizens who may not be familiar with the intricacies of budgeting, the document has a "Reader's Guide" on page 13. The guide provides a summary of each chapter in the budget and defines some key terms.

It is essential for a good budget to explain the process that went into its creation. Beginning on page 42, San Clemente does this admirably. There is a concise description of the timeframe in which the budget was developed, reviewed and adopted. There is also an explanation of how the budget can be reviewed and the possible reasons for doing so. The section concludes with a graphical representation of the steps of the budget process in chronological order.

The nature of budgeting for a future period of time means the city must estimate the revenues it will generate. It is easy to control what one spends, but the amount of revenue collected is somewhat out of the city's hands. On page 47, San Clemente's budget provides an explanation for why the city projects a...
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