Just like balancing your monthly bills and determining your income versus expenses, the city – on a much grander scale – must balance its budget each fiscal year as its responsibility to the citizens of Sanford.
This process takes months of preliminary meetings, discussion and decision making. Finance Director Cindy Lindsay and her staff help to prepare the budget along with direction from the city manager, city commission, and input from the department heads. The budget preparation process is timely. It starts in early February and is finalized in late September. By law, the budget is presented to the city commission for final approval and becomes effective Oct. 1 through Sept. 30.
Aware of the overall weak U.S. economy and the reduction of local property taxes, it was apparent that the city was faced with a shortfall of $1.2 million dollars. Low property values hinder the city’s operating budget. In good economic times, the city received $19.2 million in property taxes; for this year’s budget it is projected the city will receive $14.3 million in property taxes. This is important to acknowledge because property taxes are a big source of revenue that helps to fund the city’s operating budget.
Addressing a challenging situation, the city began to determine what segments of the 2013 budget were able to be adjusted without decreasing services to the citizens of Sanford.
Neither luck nor magic balanced the budget. It took the experience and professionalism of City leaders to discern what decisions to make without the residents or employees bearing the brunt of it. In order to balance the 2013 budget, adjustments were thoroughly discussed, recommendations taken, and final decisions were made.
The 2013 budget is secure and stable, taking into consideration the sustainability of the decisions made this year for the preparation and success of the 2014 budget. Residents will not see a reduction in services or an increase in tax rates this 2013 budget year.
Enjoy your city, participate in events, public meetings and take advantage of city services, while city leadership and staff work to provide you and your families with the best Sanford there is!
The entire 2013 budget can be viewed on the city’s website at www.sanfordfl.gov.
If you have any questions please contact the Finance Department at 407-688-5020.
Lisa Mosca, MPA, is a Public Information Officer in the Office of the City Manager in the City of Sanford. If you would like to submit a question to Lisa regarding the subjects of the bi-weekly column she can be reached at Lisa.Mosca@sanfordfL.gov.