B is for Budget

October 10th, 2007

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The public aspects of cities include not only services (i.e., police and fire protection, education, and protection of the public health) but also things (i.e., capital goods) that require labor, materials, and finance to bring them into being. Acquisition of these capital goods requires careful budgeting.

A budget balances income sources against outgo items in the fulfillment of needs and aspirations. A municipal operating budget does this annually for the costs associated with the provision of on-going city services. A municipal capital budget does the same for facilities to be constructed on land owned by the community or to be acquired to fulfill the community’s needs.

Responsible expenditure of public funds requires foresight into the emerging character of the community and its needs. Responsible encumbrance of public funds and credit (future income) calls for a plan for public construction prepared, in most cases, well ahead of actual needs.

One of the principal purposes of the comprehensive plan (see C is for Comprehensive Plan) is to serve as a guide to the preparation of a capital budget to assure rationality and efficiency in the expenditure of public funds on capital projects.

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