Once all the warmth and merriment of the holidays passes, we have quite a New Year ahead of us! We have passed several milestones which impact upon the financial health and wellness of the District–which in turn, of course, impacts our residents and taxpayers.
For the District government, we said Happy New Year back on October 1, which is the beginning of our fiscal year. Since that time, the Council and Mayor have successfully worked to balance the FY 2011 budget to address the $188 million gap. So far, so good.
The next thing coming our way will be the city's annual audit–the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report–or "CAFR" as it is known. This is the annual audit of the city's books and our official determination as to whether we ended FY 2009 with a balanced budget. It also contains a wealth of information about various financial and revenue trends, how we manage our debt, and some interesting demographic and economic information.
Several weeks later we receive what are known as the "Management Letter" and the "Yellow Book" report. These are more in-depth descriptive commentary on the management of various programs and most importantly–details on mismanagement and recommendations for improvement. It is these two reports which guide many of our oversight activities aimed at improving agency performance, particularly with respect to potential financial mismanagement or fraud issues.
On a quarterly basis, the Chief Financial Officer issues a revised revenue estimate–a snapshot in time, but one which has at times forced us to reconsider our budget in times of reduced revenues. The second of these for the year will come out in mid-February with later ones coming in May and August generally. Not withstanding the sluggish recovery, I am hoping that things are turning around here in the District–there definitely seems to be more interest in various economic development projects and many are obtaining equity financing.
For property owners, the new property tax assessments come out in late February and the taxpayer has until April 1 to file an appeal. Bills for the current property tax year are due March 15.
Also on April 1, the new Mayor Vincent Gray will submit his FY 2012 budget plan to the Council. As I have stated previously, we will continue to face challenges to the tune of nearly $400 million in revenue shortfall, largely due to the economy. The Council generally finishes consideration of the budget by the end of May.
Then of course, April 15 rolls around, which I know is no one's favorite day.
And those are the highlights!
For the moment, however, I'm going to put these thoughts aside and enjoy what remains of the holidays with family and friends. Happy New Year!
District Councilmember for Ward 2