Each year, the City of Durham publishes a Citizens' Financial Report, akin to an annual report for a company or non-profit. The report highlights some of the accolades and successes from the year and outlines the city's financial health.
In this first part, we will provide an overview of the Financial Report related to budget expenditures.
Recipe for Success: Strategic Plan
Durham has a strategic plan which the city council updates every 2 years for a 3 year rolling cycle. The most recent updates were adopted in April 2013 with the next update coming this fall to be accepted in February 2015. The plan outlines five goals: (1) A strong and diverse economy; (2) A safe and secure community; (3) Thriving, livable neighborhoods; (4) A well-managed city; and (5) To be effective stewards of the City's physical assets. You can find more about the strategic plan here.
The City's budget is comprised of two major parts. The General Fund collects revenues through property and sales tax and supports core services such as public safety. The Enterprise Funds includes those funds which originate as part of a business enterprise such as the Water and Sewer Fund. The FY2013-2014 budget is $376.5 million dollars, an increase of 0.9% over the FY 2012-2013 budget. The General Fund accounted for $169.9 million. These dollars were budgeted as follows: Public Safety - $82.3 million, Public Services - $50.7 million, Community Building - $15.3 million, Administrative & Support - $14.7 million, Governance - $6.2 million, and Non-Assigned $0.4 million.
These major budget categories include the following items:
Public Safety - Emergency Communications, Emergency Management, Fire, and Police
Public Services (funded by the General Fund) - Fleet Management, General Services, Parks and Recreation, and Public Works
Community Building - City/County Inspections, City/County Planning, Community Development, Economic Development, and Neighborhood Improvement Services
Administrative and Support - Audit Services, Budget and Management Services, Equal Opportunity and Equity Assurance, Finance, Human Resources, and Technology Solutions
Governance - City Council, City Attorney, City Clerk and City Manager
North Carolina law requires local governments to approve a balanced budget each year.
The City Council has approved a policy that the City maintain appropriate reserves which amount to at or above 12 percent of the General Fund's current year expenditures. In 2013, the 12 percent reserve was equal to approximately $19.2 million.
By law, all public employee pensions are managed by the state government through the North Carolina Retirement System within the Department of State Treasurer.
The top priority service in the most recent resident survey is the maintenance of city streets. The Public Works Department goal is to repair street potholes within three days of receiving residents' requests.