News Column

Mid-year report paints rosy budget picture for Broomfield

July 2, 2014

By Megan Quinn, Broomfield Enterprise, Colo.



July 02--A growing economy and conservative budgeting has helped Broomfield's budget remain stable, according to a mid-year financial report.

At a City Council study session on Tuesday, the finance department presented a report on the Broomfield's 2013 budget and trends for its 2014 budget. The analysis showed that the economy is growing , with revenues and savings ending up better than planned, said Finance Director Pat Soderberg.

That means the 2014 budget is on track to save about 2 percent more than planned, and is bringing in revenues that are about 1 percent more than planned, according to the report.

The higher-than-expected revenues and increased savings are important to note as Broomfield prepares to create its 2015 budget this fall, Soderberg said.

Broomfield's overall 2014 budget is $216 million.

"The economy continues to recover, and our (second quarter) numbers are looking strong. We are conservatively optimistic" about Broomfield's finances in 2014 and beyond, she said.

The optimistic signs mirror Colorado's optimistic trends, Soderberg said. Colorado's unemployment rate is at 5.8 percent, and is expected to decline even more, she said.

Broomfield's sales also are increasing slightly, which is another indicator the economy is improving, she said. As of April, sales in Broomfield had increased by 2.95 percent over last year, Soderberg said.

So far in 2014, there have been encouraging monetary trends in Broomfield, she said.

Sales tax revenues collected through April are 2 percent more than budgeted levels, which comes out to $132,640 more than projected, she said.

That amount is also 2.3 percent, or $148,129 higher, than the sales tax collected by April 2013.

Not all revenues have increased, however. Some revenues are lower than expected for 2014, such as utility fund revenues, she said.

Total utility fund operating revenues as of April are 7.3 percent less than budgeted, and 4.5 percent lower than 2013.

That is because "strong spring moisture" helped people use less water, according to a memo from Broomfield staff.

Other numbers, however, indicate Broomfield is on track to have a good year in 2014.

For example, general operating funds in 2013 were $4.6 million higher than projected, because of a mix of higher revenues and savings on typical expenditures, according to the report.

Utilities operating funds also came out higher than expected for 2013.

The utilities operating fund 2013 ending balances came out $6.9 million higher than expected, mostly because Broomfield budgeted for, but did not spend money on, several capital projects, according to the memo.

Capital funds overall were $26.2 million higher than budgeted.

The amount might seem high, but Soderberg said it reflects unspent money that will go toward projects that continue into 2014 and beyond.

Capital projects, such as Broomfield's plans to build a new, 45,000-square-foot Health and Human Services building, take several years to plan and build, but must be budgeted for in advance, even if the money is not spent right away, she said.

"Most of these projects take a multi year approach," she said.

Contact Enterprise Staff Writer Megan Quinn at 303-410-2649 or quinnm@broomfieldenterprise.com

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(c)2014 the Broomfield Enterprise (Broomfield, Colo.)

Visit the Broomfield Enterprise (Broomfield, Colo.) at www.broomfieldenterprise.com

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Source: Broomfield Enterprise (CO)


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