Official Explains $25 Million Error In City Budget
At Wednesday’s City Council Committee of the Whole, the Missoula City Council will be revising the city budget due to what have been termed ‘inadvertent errors’ made in the original budget that was passed in July.
The first budget document showed a total budget of $186 million, while the budget to be approved on Wednesday will be $209 million, a discrepancy of approximately $25 million.
Chief Administrative Officer Dale Bickell explained the three areas where the discrepancies occurred.
“The resolution didn’t reflect all the new requests that were approved by the mayor and the council through the process,” Bickell began. “For example, adding staff in Development Services, those things had not been included in that preliminary resolution.”
Bickell said the second discrepancy was human error.
“There was a clerical error,” he said. “The interest expense in the water utility was omitted from the resolution, although it was included in all the budget documents and in the presentations related to the water utility to council. That was omitted.”
The third discrepancy involved the amount of cash the city would have left at the end of the fiscal year.
“We increased the end of year fund balance, that’s how much cash we believe we’ll have in the bank by a sizeable amount and that really is a reflection of that earlier amount,” he said. “By error, it had omitted the fund balance for the utilities, so waste water, and our component units, the parking commission, and the Missoula Redevelopment Agency.”
Bickell said the errors will not result in higher taxes for Missoula residents.
“It doesn’t have an impact on the budget expenditures that were approved by council,” he said. It doesn’t have an impact on taxes or the levies that the council has already fixed. It doesn’t have any effect on our utility rates. It’s simply a resolution that’s proclaiming the total size of the budget.”