The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

January 18, 2014

Monday work session begins important process

By Brenden West Herald Assistant Editor
The Clinton Herald

---- — CLINTON -- The first of five City of Clinton budget sessions will start Monday at 3 p.m., beginning a month-long process that will result in setting Clinton's FY 2015 financial template.

So immense is the undertaking that Clinton Finance Director Anita Dalton explained city staff has broken each session into talking points, which means Monday will focus on debt and capital funds.

"Fund accounting is just different than your regular private industry," Dalton said. Having been hired in September, Monday marks her first city budget session as director. "You want to be diligent that you're spending taxpayers' money in a prudent fashion. There's been a lot of work to get us to this point and there will be a lot more work when we get done with the workshops."

Dalton summarized six agenda items:

1. Debt Service Funds

The city will review revenues and expenditures for Debt Service like judgments, general obligation bonds and lease agreements. Proceeds from this fund are used to pay out outstanding indebtedness.

"There's one main fund, we call it our debt service fund, that we pay all of our existing notes out of," Dalton said. Things that we've bonded for."

2. Current Capital Projects Fund

This discussion will outline the existing capital project funds for FY15. They include Mill Creek Parkway, U.S. 30 reconstruction and Railport Development. Regarding Mill Creek, the overview packet states that Clinton is in its seventh year out of nine in repaying the project.

3. Capital Improvement Plan Projects

This was determined by city leaders to be the most pressing projects to be scheduled in this year's budget.

"After they went through the whole list of projects, these were the ones determined by our committee to be the most urgent in nature," Dalton said. "And we were to try to get them into fiscal year 2015."

CIP plan projects include 13th Avenue North, Eagle Point Park, Main Avenue and the Ericksen Community Center renovations as well as a number of smaller capital projects.

4. Special Revenue Funds

"These are different funds that we have within our financial management system," Dalton said.

The city will review engineering, recreation, police and fire department funds.

5. Administrative Special Revenue Funds

These funds pertain to economic development throughout the city. Clinton has numerous tax increment financing districts that have to be adhered to through previous development agreements. Among those agreements are Home Depot, HyVee and the Clinton Business Park all slated for various increments.

Discussion would also pertain to the city's Gaming Fund, or funds received from Wild Rose Casino. In recent years, the city has used the Gaming Fund to help support the General Fund.

6. Tax Levy Special Revenue Funds

An overview of the various city levies: SSMID, Emergency, Tort Liability, Police and Fire Retirement, FICA and IPERS and employee benefits. To conclude the session, city leaders will have a discussion over the Tax Levy analysis. Those figures will be distributed during Monday's meeting.

Because the budget process was broken out over five sessions, Dalton said it's important to keep in mind that the entirety of the Clinton budget won't be discussed in one meeting, but it will be picked over through the next five weeks.

"We're going to be going through each of our funds and explaining how we came to each of those funds," she said. "This one is just debt and capital. We're trying to be very forthcoming with what we have now and where we would like to be for the next year. There's no big surprises."