Every year, the city publishes a year-end report on the results of each fiscal year, reporting how we did in comparison to our budget. Staff will be presenting this at Tuesday’s council meeting for consideration and some action, but they’ve published the RTC early. In a nutshell, we ended the year with around $2.8 million more in revenue than budgeted, and around $800k less in expenditures than anticipated, for a total of $3.5 million less than was budgeted for 2011/2012.
The bulk of the revenue comes from development fees, with substantial increases in property and sales tax, plus transit occupancy tax increases (hotel income). All of this points to a healthier-than-expected economic recovery, since all four are direct factors of the economy.
The results of our budgeting are even a little better than this, though. In the course of the year, there were a couple of cases where we had unanticipated expenditures or opportunities to act now and save money later. And we took advantage of those opportunities even though they exceeded budgeted expenditures, because staff projected unexpected revenue would cover the difference (and they were correct, as it turns out). Had we actually held to the original budget and foregone those expenditures, the $3.5m number would have been even greater. But we would have had to deal with those expenditures sooner or later, and “sooner” was by far more prudent, in Council’s judgment. In general, these results would seem to reflect Sunnyvale’s conservative approach to budgeting and long-term planning.
I haven’t read through the whole RTC yet, so there may be gotchas or other items of interest in it. More when I publish my council preview in the next couple of days, hopefully.