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Formulating the City's annual budget is a year-round process that ends each January with the final formal adoption of the budget. Two key milestones of the process are the submission of the state mandated tax budget each July and adoption of an annual appropriations ordinance on or about January 1st.
State statute requires the City to adopt an annual cash basis tax budget. The tax budget is adopted by City Council, after a public engagement process, by July 15 of each year. This budget is submitted to the Franklin County Budget Commission which utilizes this budget to substantiate the need to levy the full amount of authorized property tax rates and reviews the City’s revenue estimates. The Budget Commission certifies the rates to the City and City Council is required to pass a resolution adopting the property tax rates prior to October 1.
As a part of its certification, the County issues an official certificate of estimated resources to the city, which states the projected revenue of each fund for the upcoming year. On or about January 1, the certificate of estimated resources is amended to include unencumbered fund balance at December 31 and updated revenue estimates. The purpose of the certificate of estimated resources is to identify a limit for the City’s appropriations, so that total expenditures from any fund during the year do not exceed the amount stated in the certificate of estimated resources.
The City of Gahanna is required by Ohio Rev. Code 5705 to adopt an appropriation ordinance on or about the first day of each fiscal year. This appropriation ordinance controls expenditures at the fund and department level (the legal level of control). The appropriations may be amended or supplemented by Council during the year as required, by action of Council. The appropriation ordinance sets spending limitations within each fund and department by category: salaries & benefits, operating expenditures, and capital outlay. City Council, in the appropriations ordinance, gives the Finance Director the authority to make transfers up to $3,000 between appropriation line items within any department and fund. Any requests in excess of $3,000 must be approved by Council.
Unencumbered appropriations lapse at year-end and are returned to fund balance. Encumbrances outstanding at year-end are carried forward in the following year. The prior year appropriations corresponding to these encumbrances are also carried forward in order to provide budgetary authority for these expenses.
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