La Plata Town Council requests budget updates
The budget process can be long and strenuous when it comes to running a town. Therefore, the La Plata Town Council has requested that the town’s finance department give them a quarterly budget re- port to better track financial items in this year’s budget.
At the La Plata Town Council work session on Nov. 15, the council dis- cussed plans to begin receiving the quarterly budget report with Town Treasurer Robert Oliphant.
“When we do put the budget together every year, we as a council would like to know how we are tracking with that informa- tion throughout the year,” said Mayor Roy G. Hale.
“The council had ex- pressed interest in having some more discussion about the budget in re- gards to a quarterly budget report,” said Town Man- ager Daniel Mears. “We mention it each year as we go through the budget that the finance system that Bob [Oliphant] has put into place and the data that we’ve now gotten after having many years of hav- ing these purchases and having to allocate costs, we are able to see very well where the dollars are going. Things are running very smoothly in the fi- nance realm.”
Oliphant said with this being the first time that he’s discussing the coun- cil’s interest of having a quarterly budget report, he wanted to give the coun- cil an overview and update of the town’s current bud- get. He explained that the budget has remained the same, also inquiring about any other information the council would like in detail in regards to the new quar- terly budget report.
“When we get into the yearly budget discussion we really are at seven months of data for the most part,” Oliphant said. “We give you all a report every month, a relatively high level of information, but it doesn’t give you a whole lot of detailed explanation. It doesn’t tell you much of where we are relative to other time periods or other segments. It’s just a snapshot with no comparative.”
Councilman Keith Back agreed.
“The monthly report does not go down every line item but if there is less money this year as opposed to last year, it would be nice to know that before we go to see it at the end of the year for the budget meeting,” Back said. “Tell us what the plans are so we can track that. We don’t need to go through all of them, but just anything that is major. If that alleviates some of the questions and discussions, it might make the budget process go a lot smoother.”
Councilman Lynn Gilroy said he would like to know specifically about changes in the deficit, the status of expenditures and funds that are requested, and how appropriating funds will change the budget.
Oliphant explained to the council that much of the budget report information they requested does not come in until certain times throughout the year, with several to be determined in the coming months. He also discussed the town’s loans, town accounts, retirement fund, etc., and said if there are ever any issues, the financial department will make sure the council is made aware sooner.
“We have an estimated $15,500,000 in the bank and we had that in the bank last year, and I think that’s pretty good considering that we’ve paid off the $1.2 million owed to the state last year,” Oliphant said. “We’ve kept the cash balances up. Cash flow is good. This year we bought three police vehicles, we have a major investment going into Wills Memorial Park, and the southwest quadrant so there are some large dollar expense there. I have done the analysis and the expenses and expenditures were very consistent.”
The La Plata Town Council will hold its monthly business meeting next week Nov. 22. All residents may attend.