The Budget Process
Preparation of the annual budget is a two-step process consisting of the five-year Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) and the Annual Operating Budget. Funding for the first year of the five-year CIP budget is incorporated into the Annual Operating Budget which is approved by the Board of Supervisors in May.
The New Kent County annual budget process begins in September with the preparation of the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP). The County defines a capital expenditure as facilities, equipment or services that are valued at $25,000 or greater with an expected lifespan of at least five years. The plan also provides for the scheduled replacement of vehicles and computers, which do not necessarily satisfy the $25,000 threshold. This process ensures that vehicle and computer replacements are based on established policies and that the County considers current and future needs on an annual basis.
The CIP is a five-year planning tool that identifies: capital requirements, estimated costs, available sources of funding, and the likely future fiscal impact on County tax rates, debt capacity and financial policies. Departmental CIP request forms are submitted to Financial Services in October. The County Administrator meets with department heads to discuss individual requests, goals and objectives, service requirements and implementation strategies. The proposed CIP is submitted to the Planning Commission in November to assess compliance with the County's Comprehensive Plan. Upon review and approval by the Planning Commission, the plan is referred to the Board of Supervisors for adoption or modification, at the Board's discretion. Expenditure authority for the first year of the plan (FY13 in this case) is established by the Board of Supervisors, with the adoption of the fiscal year operating budget.
The County Administrator conducts an annual budget kick-off meeting in November. Budget submission packages are e-mailed to County departments and outside agencies, and are due to the Department of Financial Services in January. The Budget Team meets with Department Heads to discuss individual requests, goals and objectives, and service requirements. The Budget Team consists of the County Administrator, the Director of Financial Services, Assistant Director of Financial Services, and a County Department Head. Before submission of a draft budget to the Board of Supervisors, the County Administrator convenes a meeting of the County Finance Committee to discuss funding challenges, service requirements and to solicit feedback.
In early March, the County Administrator submits a draft budget to the Board of Supervisors for consideration. This is a working document intended to facilitate Board work sessions to establish a blueprint for a funding and expenditure plan. The draft budget is simply a print out of departmental line-item budget totals and does not include the wide array of information reflected in the proposed and adopted budgets. A proposed budget is issued in April, and a public hearing is held in May to inform residents of the proposed budget and to obtain citizen input. Budgets for all funds are adopted on a basis consistent with generally accepted accounting principles applicable to the particular fund. The proposed and adopted budgets also include funding for the first year of the five-year Capital Improvements Plan.