Each February, the Board of County Commissioners studies economic indicators that forecast the economic condition and predict general trends affecting Johnson County. With the assistance of staff and fiscal experts, including the advice and recommendations of the County Economic Research Institute, the Board estimates what the county's resources will be: revenue from taxes, from interlocal transfers, user fees, state and federal grants, and various other sources. Based on this information, the Board then sets a limit on what the county government can plan to spend. The spending affordability guidelines established by the Board place a ceiling on property tax revenues, a ceiling on the total operating budget, and allocate the projected revenue among the agencies and departments of county government.
In early May, agency and department directors submit detailed estimates of their anticipated funding requirements for the coming fiscal year as well as estimates of any anticipated revenues to be collected. The Budget and Financial Planning Department compiles this information and leads an extensive internal review process to determine how resources should be allocated within the spending affordability guidelines established by the Board of County Commissioners. The County Manager then undertakes a comprehensive review of the preliminary budget to determine if the proposed spending plan meets the broad goals and objectives set by the Board of County Commissioners.
When this review process is completed, the County Manager submits his proposed budget to the Board of County Commissioners, at which time the preliminary budget is also made available to the general public. This preliminary draft outlines important issues that face the community and presents specific plans on how the county government proposes to address them. The preliminary budget also provides projected service levels that the county government will be able to provide with the limited amount of resources that are expected to be available.
It is the Board's task to review these spending proposals comprehensively and to craft a budget that provides the services the people of Johnson County need and want at an affordable level. Between the time the budget is made available to the public and the time it is actually adopted in late August, several public hearings are conducted to gather input. These public hearings allow citizens to offer suggestions and ideas about the programs they would like to have included in the upcoming budget. In addition to these public hearings, the Board conducts several budget workshops that also are open to the public. By law, the county government is required to maintain a balanced budget and the final adoption of the county government's annual operating and capital budgets is the result of many hours of deliberation and input from a variety of sources.
The adopted budget communicates the county government's financial condition, serves as an operational plan, and outlines the goals the county government hopes to achieve (Annual Operating Budget). Realizing several diverse groups rely on the budget, the document has been organized to facilitate easy access to information about Johnson County.
The Budget and Financial Planning Department provides primary advice on fiscal strategy, coordinates financial planning efforts, and performs all budget-related duties under the direction of the County Manager. The department director is a member of the County Manager's cabinet and top advisor to the Board of County Commissioners.
For more information, please visit the Budget department's website, or contact the department during normal business hours, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, at (913) 715-0605.