Budgets are intended to address a number of different theoretical and practical purposes including management and control, communication to different constituencies, goals, past successes, philosophy of the public entity, and to explain the functions of the various departments, etc. Also, public administration professionals must be able to analyze the financial health of an entity by examining the budget.
In an eight to ten page paper (not including the title and reference pages), assess how well available budget documents and auxiliary information address each of these functions on the municipal budget of your choice. The assessment needs to be supported with examples and information from the documents studied.
Focus of the Final Paper
In your budget assessment, you must complete the following prompts for the municipality of your choice:
Explain whether or not the budget message presented an adequate overview of the entity and its financial position. Support your position.
Determine if there are separate capital budget and capital improvement programs. If so, assesses what the budget tells you about the entity’s immediate and long range plans for development.
Service Area (or Program):
Identify what service area (or program) accounts for the greatest percentage of the operating budget.
Discusses if the budget provides information suggesting why this service area is the largest.
Identify what category of expenditure (e.g., personnel, supplies) accounts for the greatest percentage of the service area’s budget for that service area.
Funds in Operation
Determine how many funds the entity operates.
Explain how these funds differ in terms of the sources of revenue.
Assesses the fund balance for the General Fund and the various enterprise funds.
Conclude whether the funds have been growing or contracting and whether or not the funds are adequate. Support your findings.
Describes and analyzes the indications of both financial health and financial dangers of the entity contained within the documents reviewed and what those indicators tell us.
You may use a variety of resources for this project and should cite a minimum of 3 resources. You will want to start with the most recent year’s approved budget. You may use accounting reports for information; however, you will want to base your budget figures off of the budget book, as accounting detail does not provide the line items for expenses such as personnel, ERE, supplies, and travel. You may also use department website information, other reports, laws/rules, a recommendation book if available may provide additional detail, interviews with city/department staff, or other relevant sources.
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