The Finance Department is responsible for working with the City Manager to prepare the City's annual operating budget. The City Manager's proposed budget must be given to the City Council by its regularly scheduled June meeting, and the Council must enact the budget ordinance by July 1. The Local Government Budget and Fiscal Control Act establishes the dates by which each stage of the annual budget process is to be completed.
The City of Morganton's capital budget (CIP) process begins in the fall. The CIP is a six-year forecasting tool which presents capital costs divided among the years of the forecast period. The CIP consists of all expenditures for equipment and vehicles, and repair or construction for all funds. The expenditures are usually $5,000 or higher before they are included in the CIP. City Council reviews the CIP at its winter workshop and gives informal approval. The final plan is adopted as part of the annual budget ordinance that is enacted by July 1 annually.
The City of Morganton's operating budget process begins in February with the dissemination of budget packets to all city departments. Department directors submit operating budget requests, while salaries and benefits for all employees are calculated exclusively in Finance. The final date for submitting requests is mid-March. The first review of the budget requests is by the City Manager and Finance Director with input from the department directors. The proposed budget is then reviewed with the Finance Committee of the City Council.
The budget is presented at the June City Council Meeting, and the Council then calls a public hearing, usually during a special meeting in mid-June. During the mid-June meeting, the Council takes comments from the public and then adopts the budget ordinance.
The Finance Department monitors and oversees budgetary compliance throughout the year. It also prepares budget transfers and budget amendments when requested to do so.
The Local Government Commission expects municipalities to have fund balance available for appropriation equal to a minimum of 8% of the annual expenditure appropriation of the fund. The City of Morganton's expectation, set by the Council, is 15%. Currently the City's ratio is approximately 15%.