The Budget Process
The Town’s Budget, its annual spending plan, is perhaps the most influential single document used by policy makers and Department Managers in determining what Town Government can accomplish during the year. The Town’s fiscal year follows the calendar year (January – December).
The budgeting process is never-ending, with Town Board, Department Managers, constituents, community organizations, and neighborhood groups all lobbying for projects and services throughout the year. Formal budget development begins in July and concludes with adoption of a budget by the Town Board in November.
The ‘first draft’ or Requested Budget is compiled by the Queensbury Budget Officer from requests submitted by Department Managers and community organizations. Although many expenses are ‘fixed’, recurring, and thereby incremental, we like to approach the budget as a ‘zero based’ process whereby individual expenses are detailed to the fullest extent practicable, and then justified.
Although our ‘chart of accounts’ numbers several hundred, the NYS Uniform System of Accounts breaks expenses into the following broad categories:
- Employee Benefits
- Debt Service
- Contractual (all other; typically supplies, repairs, contracted services, etc)
- And separate accounting for Capital Projects
In August the Queensbury Budget Officer submits the ‘requested budget’ to the Town Supervisor who then molds this budget into a Tentative Budget, which is presented to the Town Board in early October. During the next four weeks the Town Board further molds the budget into a Preliminary Budget which is presented at a Public Hearing in early November.
After last minute revisions by the Town Board, a budget is adopted. This then becomes the spending plan for the following year and Department Managers begin planning to accomplish the mission and goals set forth in the budget.
Of course, unforeseen circumstances, emergencies, changes in priorities, etc. occur during the year which results in budget adjustments, subject to Town Board Approval.
Town of Queensbury taxpayers benefit from a robust retail and tourist economy that generates sales tax revenue adequate to cover most general Town operations.
Property taxes and user fees, are the primary source of revenue for Special Districts.
Construction and major upkeep of water and sewer lines are absorbed by each special district. Major infrastructure costs are generally spread across their useful lives by incurring debt, which is then amortized via special district tax assessments.
The Town Budget
Printed copies of the Town Budget are available from the Town Clerk.