In every town of our valley, city employee cubicles are bursting with white board numbers and excel sheet scenarios. Staff are vigilantly creating figures and values to accompany ideas and information for their department heads.
Once received, department heads are developing test budget frameworks to present to the city manager and city council. The budget building timetable runs from August well into December, at which time every council must approve its financial plan before the New Year begins.
Budget creation is a five-month herculean effort to consider and balance the needs and wishes of every citizen, every employee, every year. No small task.
Budgets contain every facet of a city’s character, from cleanliness of parks and streets, to officers on the street, fair salaries for all, new and old equipment, active recreational programs, collaboration with other entities to share costs, an expansion or contraction of quality of life projects such as a short or lengthy pool schedule.
Budgets are everything.
Budgets are highly complex documents which look forward and backward at the same time and must always reconcile expenses with expenditures.
Budgets are good for city employees seeking to raise their low blood pressure and for special interest groups watching for their concern to be properly funded, included at the least, or how about a mention for next year.
Budgets have a way of creating new friends and alienating old ones. The inanimate but all-powerful budget document is a portal to every city’s birth, youth, middle age and maturity.
Sometimes city budgets need winter jackets, the freeze is so deep. Other times, budgets are the new Tesla at the red light, so sleek and finely tuned.
Cities with budgets creating the most snooze and stability, can thank long term council members whose election platforms have varied some, but in thoughtful increments.
Easiest to manage city budgets are written by community managers who have tended to the city’s money and planning needs for many years in a row. Budgets which could place for money in the Yakima County Fair and Rodeo bucking bronc division are the documents stirred and shaken by years of chronic turnover in key staffing areas.
Budgets are sensitive creature, subject to volatility or a reassuring presence, depending on their handling. Budgets always stand long after those who have created them have moved on. Budgets, though plain and cumbersome, are equal parts beast and beauty. Budgets are mathematical, not magic at all yet show attentive citizens all, while telling even more.