Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Budget Basics: Fees, fines and unicorns

The financial statements for the City of West Buechel show income from several sources in addition to the revenue streams from the five basic forms of City taxation. (Look here)

In the City's most recent independent audit, these additional income sources are named "Charges for Services" and "Operating Grants and Contributions;" and they are aggregated as "Program Revenues." It's hard to imagine names that could have been any worse or more confusing.

If you dig deep enough, it is possible to discover that the first line item, "Charges for Services" matchs up exactly, dollar for dollar, with sign permit fees, building permit fees, liquor license fees, vendor loading fees (whatever that is) along with fines and citations.

Liquor license fees and building permit fees have evaporated in recent years.

The sign permit fee numbers are a little bit whacky. Signs do not generally come and go from one year to the next quite as quickly, and randomly, as the fluctuating numbers might suggest. The ups and downs in the dollar amounts received by the City from this source are likely the result of lax collection and enforcement.

The "Vendor Loading Fee"? WTF is that?

 The Business License fee numbers are all over the map because most small home based businesses in West Buechel don't know they may owe it, and due to slack enforcement efforts by the City.

Fines and citations these days are mainly due to handicapped parking violators being cited by the City's excellent Code Enforcement Officers.

Next: What are these grants I keep hearing about?

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