It’s a very welcome surprise for the city of Jacksonville.
With the final budget actuality from FY 2011-12 all but final, it looks like the prior fiscal year closed out with a multi-million dollar budget surplus.
“It probably beats my expectation of the fiscal picture that we have,” says City Council Finance Chair John Crescimbeni.
Crescimbeni recently received the budget closeout from the Mayor’s Office. While these figures are still pending an independent audit before they are considered completely final, Crescimbeni does not expect there will be too much that changes.
According to the calculation, the prior fiscal year ended with an $18.4 million surplus, including $10.5 million that has been allocated for JSO. The Sheriff’s Office exceeded its projected savings by a little over $4 million. While Crescimbeni says having a surplus is not unusual to have a surplus, he was expecting things to settle much worse.
The savings can be significant to have considering the tight budget that was approved for FY 2012-2013.
“Even if we missed some of our projections in the current budget, we’ve got a little slop factor from last year that will give us some wiggle room,” Crescimbeni says.
Just how much there actually is to fall back on isn’t clear at this time because some of those savings have already been allocated. Some also needs to be used to fix some temporary measures the Finance Committee used at the end of its budget meetings- like upping revenue projections to fill a roughly $900,000 hole. Crescimbeni says if those projections don’t pan out they can use this to keep things in balance.
Of the few million that haven’t been committed, Crescimbeni says it may be good to keep available.
“You have a hurricane or something, a tropical storm, in August or September- that requires a lot of expenditures to clean up after. There goes your variance,” he says.
In addition to needing the potential reserve, Crescimbeni says the money may also be needed depending on how much revenue red light cameras bring in compared to what was projected. The city is also facing a legal challenge over a planned increase in fire inspections which was set to bring in more money as well.