Letter to the Editor: Some answers from city offials

Article Highlights

  • To their credit, and my sincere appreciation, Chairman Rob Popoff, with Finance Director Patricia Bliss, responded the very next day.
  • How does the City define the distinction between “Operating Budget” and “Capital Improvement Budget”?
  • What is the total figure of the recently adopted FY 10 budget?

All the fancy words, maneuverings and Baloney Sandwiches, (BS), exchanged at City Council meetings can leave many observers, and even councilors themselves, a bit confused. On behalf of a small group of my fellow Marco residents, last week I asked the Council for simple, straightforward answers to three simple, straightforward financial questions. To their credit, and my sincere appreciation, Chairman Rob Popoff, with Finance Director Patricia Bliss, responded the very next day.

Because other readers may also have some similar misconceptions, I’d like to share the information we received:

Q: How does the City define the distinction between “Operating Budget” and “Capital Improvement Budget”?

A: 1. Operating Budget — The operating budget has a focus of one year and is usually funded through revenue received within the same year. It includes the day to day needs of running the general government.

2. Capital Budget — The capital budget represents very large financial obligations that may span two or more fiscal years. It is used for infrastructure, facilities, large equipment purchases and construction projects.

3. The two are separated for accounting purposes to avoid the distortions in trend information that can occur when major capital acquisitions and construction activities are added to the ongoing operations of the general government. The use of a capital projects fund is also common for major capital acquisitions financed through debt or outside contributions.

Q: What is the total figure of the recently adopted FY 10 budget?

A: Total FY10 Adopted Budget — all funds and departmentsis $77,152,605 ($26,150,172 of this is for Capital Projects).

Q: What is the total debt that the City is owing at this time?

A: Total Indebtedness including obligations of assessment districts is $165,409,336 as of audited financial statements dated 09/30/08.

I consider the above data concise enough to provide interesting and accurate discussions at the dinner table. However, the obviously missing ingredient is the total revenue (all sources), that the city can reasonably expect to receive in fiscal year 2010. I didn’t ask this question because it was unreasonable to expect an accurate number at that time. However, that number might be available now, it being October. If so, I respectfully ask City Council to consider the question and to please provide a simple, direct public answer.

Again, my thanks to Chairman Popoff and Finance Director Bliss for their timely responses to all the above.

Russ Colombo

Marco Island, FL 34145

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