The City Manager has responsibility for management of the overall City budget and maintenance of appropriations control. The City Manager is authorized to transfer budgetary amounts within a single fund; however, any revisions that alter the total expenditures of any fund must be approved by the City Council. Appropriations, which become effective each July 1, lapse at the end of the fiscal year, with the exception of appropriations for capital improvement projects. Due to the nature of these projects, which often span multiple fiscal years, unexpended capital improvement project funds are automatically carried forward to the following fiscal year.
The City’s financial information is organized by fund, with each fund being a separate and distinct entity. There are three types of funds: governmental, proprietary, and fiduciary. The General Fund, which is a governmental fund, is the City’s main fund that accounts for the vast majority of city operations, including but not limited to: police services, recreation, planning, building inspection, library, engineering, parks maintenance, street maintenance, and general administration. Other types of governmental funds include special revenue funds and capital projects funds, which, unlike the General Fund, account for specific revenues and are used for specific purposes. Proprietary funds are used to account for city operations that are financed and operated in a manner similar to private business enterprises and include enterprise funds (water operations and capital) and internal services. The City’s fiduciary funds are agency funds that are used to account for certain assets held on behalf of others, and the City’s role in these funds is strictly custodial in nature. The City does not budget its fiduciary funds. More information on the City’s various funds can be found in the “Fund Information” section of this document.
Basis of budgeting
Basis of budgeting refers to the method used to recognize revenues and expenditures in the budget, and in Menlo Park, the basis of budgeting is the same as the basis for accounting. For governmental and fiduciary funds, the modified accrual basis is followed. Under the modified accrual basis, revenues are recognized only when they become susceptible to accrual, which means when they become both measurable and available. Revenue is measurable when the amount of the transaction can be determined, and it is available when it is collectible in a manner that allows it to be used to pay for liabilities in the current period. Governments normally define an availability period for revenue recognition, and the City of Menlo Park considers revenues related to a particular fiscal year available if they are collected within 60 days after that fiscal year’s end. 60 days is a common revenue recognition period. Expenditures are typically recorded when the liability is incurred, with the exception of debt service expenditures. Debt service expenditures are recorded when payment is due.
The accrual basis is used for the proprietary funds, which includes the enterprise funds and the internal service funds. Under the accrual basis, revenues are recognized when they are earned, and expenses are recognized when the related liability is incurred.