Travis County’s budgeting guidelines, set a basic framework for the overall fiscal management of the County. These guidelines assist the decision‐making process of the Commissioners Court. Most of the guidelines represent long‐standing principles, traditions and practices which have guided the County in the past and have helped maintain financial stability over many years.
- Planning Before Budgeting The Commissioners Court wishes to ensure that formal planning occurs before funds are requested or allocated. Departments are encouraged to collaborate with the Commissioners Court on the development of plans for future operations. The Court wishes to have a Court approved plan before any new programs or services are considered for funding.
- Departmental Budget Requests Should projected economic conditions show an immediate negative impact on the County’s ability to meet its financial goals and standards, then the Planning and Budget Office may ask departments to submit budgets that are less than the department’s Current Funding Level. In that event, then the departments should outline the impact on the department’s performance measures of such a reduction in resources.
- Annualizing the Cost of New Positions and Programs When new positions or programs are added to the budget, they will be budgeted on an annual basis. This will avoid having the County’s budget automatically increase in subsequent years for such positions or programs.
- Capital Planning The County encourages departments to submit three to five year capital plans for approval by the Commissioners Court. Approved plans shall be given priority during the annual budget process.
County-Wide Issues The Commissioners Court intends to fund countywide issues before committing resources for
specific departmental programs. Such issues include:
- Legally mandated requirements;
- Issues that have such a substantial impact on the community that they must be accommodated first;
- Funding needs that affect every County department such as performance pay or other compensation needs or employee benefits; and
- Needs that impact the County’s fiscal strength such as reserves.
- Mid-Year Budget Increases Departmental budget increases proposed after the beginning of the fiscal year will be considered for funding if the Commissioners Court indicated during the budget mark‐up process that the proposal was not yet fully developed and should be considered for funding from Allocated Reserves. Otherwise, such a funding proposal must meet the following criteria: It is of an emergency nature, funding cannot be identified internally, and it cannot be delayed until the next fiscal year without a very significant negative impact on the public.
- Matching Funds to Expenditures The goal of the Commissioners Court is to have funds expended for their intended use in a timely fashion and to match the schedule of funding both operating and capital needs as closely as possible to the expected expenditure pattern, being mindful of meeting the financial goals described in these guidelines. The Court wishes to schedule the actual inflow of public tax dollars to the County in direct relationship to the outflow of projected expenditures for all funds.