Reserves may not be needed to balance current budget

September 11, 2013 9:29:36 AM

Nathan Gregory - [email protected]


The city's income during the last 12 months may not equal the amount officials thought it would last September. 


So far, Columbus department heads also haven't spent as much as predicted. That means it's possible that officials won't need to go to the city's reserve fund to balance the 2013 budget. 


A year ago, Columbus councilmen approved an operations budget for this fiscal year that projected $326,115 more in expenditures than revenues, preparing officials to dip into the city's $2.2 million cash balance to make up the difference.  


According to city financial data, though, expenditures through 11 months total $19,145,540.50 -- or $4,112,992.50 less than the amount expected to be spent. Per month, that's an average of $1,740,503.68 the city spends. Revenues through 11 months add up to $20,980,603.49. That's an average of $1,907,327.59 per month. At that rate, the city will not meet its initial revenue projection, collecting $22,887,931.08. 


But if the amount the city spends during the last month of this fiscal year is equal to the monthly average of the other 11, it would have spent $20,886,044.18. If the city can avoid spending more than $2 million in September, it would not need assistance from the cash balance to have a balanced 2012-2013 budget. 


That the city will end up with a balanced budget is not guaranteed. Only $272,166.82 of a budgeted $600,047 debt service has been paid as of Aug. 31.  


The possibility of a balanced budget without help from reserves is real despite sales tax collections being down $178,000 from last year's 11-month mark. The results of tax collections for September will be released next week. 


The current fiscal year ends Sept. 31. 




FY 2012-13 BUDGET 


Budgeted expenditures Expenditures through 11 months Remaining balance for year 


$23,258,533 $19,145,540.50 $4,112,992.50 




Budgeted revenues Revenues through 11 months Remaining balance for year  


$22,932,418 $20,980,603.49 $1,951.814.51

Nathan Gregory covers city and county government for The Dispatch.