Each year, the City of Aransas Pass budget process begins with the City Council appointing one of the elected officials to the Budget Committee. The Budget Committee consist of the Budget Officer, Elected Official, and Director of Finance. The first public hearing on the budget is held to allow citizens the opportunity to offer input. There is a strategic planning session with Mayor, Council and City staff in open session to set priorities. These priorities may be short-term or long-range goals, and their sole purpose is to ensure that the City provides the best services possible for its citizens. All departments of the City submit requests for appropriations to the Finance Director so that the budget may be prepared. The Finance Director will prepare the information received from the departments. Then the Budget Committee will meet with Department Heads to review their appropriation request. The City Manager has ultimate responsibility for the budget and formulates the budget goals for the City under the direction of the Mayor and City Council.
Once the City Manager has prepared the budget, the Finance Officer files the proposed budget with the City Secretary and City Council before the 30th day prior to the date the City adopts its tax levy for the fiscal year, in compliance with the State’s uniform budget law. Once filed, the proposed budget is available for inspection by the public. The City is required to hold a public hearing on the proposed budget not less than 15 days after the budget is filed with the City Secretary and prior to the time the Council makes the tax levy. The City publishes notice of the public hearing in the official newspaper (The Progress) not more than 30 days or less than 15 days before the hearing. Once the hearing is concluded and before adopting the proposed budget, the Council may make any changes it considers warranted by law or in the best interest of the taxpayers. The annual operating budget is then adopted through passage of an annual budget ordinance. Upon approval by Council, the annual budget document becomes a matter of public record which is available for use and inspection by all interested persons and organizations. It is filed with the City Secretary and is posted on the City’s web site.
From time to time, it becomes necessary to modify the adopted budget. The procedure for amending the budget depends upon the type of change that is needed. One type of change does not affect the “bottom line” total for a department. These changes, mainly transfers from one line item to another within a department’s operating budget, may be effected by the Finance Department at the written request of the department head and the approval of the City Manager. Another type of budget amendment brings about a change in the total appropriation for a department or fund. Examples of these changes may include, but are not limited to:
- The acceptance of additional grant money which might become available;
- The appropriation of additional funding if expenditures are projected to exceed budgeted amounts;
- The adjustment to reflect increased tax receipts; or
- The re-appropriation of monies from one fund to another when deemed necessary.
These types of changes require City Council approval in the form of an ordinance. The Council is permitted by State statutes to amend the budget ordinance at any time during the fiscal year. These amendments must continue to adhere to the balanced budget statutory requirements and cannot change the property tax levy or in any manner alter a taxpayer’s liability.