Broken Arrow to adopt 'personal budget' process under new city manager
BY ZACK STOYCOFF World Staff Writer
Thursday, January 17, 2013
1/17/13 at 7:54 AM
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BROKEN ARROW - City Manager Thom Moton believes that city budgets should be like personal ones - plan for what you will have, not what you want.
Preparing Broken Arrow's city departments to change the way they request funds each year is among a series of budgetary reforms on Moton's checklist in 2013.
"Right now, everybody submits what they want and you work backwards to meet what you have," he said.
The new system will eventually require departments to plan their spending around the amount of money they received in previous years - "much like we do in our personal budgets," Moton said.
The former acting city manager of Greenville, N.C., took office in November after impressing Broken Arrow officials during a nationwide search for a top administrator.
The intent was to allow Moton to bring to Broken Arrow what he brought to other cities, Mayor Craig Thurmond said.
Budget reforms he implemented or oversaw in Greenville and as assistant city manager of University City, Mo., and Corsicana, Texas, were first on the list, he said.
The new process for requesting department funds will likely begin in 2014 because "there needs to be some time for everyone to get accustomed to it," Moton said.
"Trying to do it this year would be like stopping on the Broken Arrow Expressway in rush hour," he said.
City department heads, however, appear to support the idea, he added.
The department heads will be given more freedom to choose funding priorities within the confines of the new process, but they will also have more work.
Moton plans to begin budgeting for two years during each budget cycle, not just for the coming fiscal year.
That's part of a goal to predict changes in the city's financial health years in advance, he said.
"We've got to begin changing our funding horizon, expanding it," he said.
He also plans to have the city try to predict sales taxes and other revenue as many as 10 years in advance. Although sales taxes have been steady since Moton took the job, he said the city must anticipate potentially devastating swings.
Sales taxes account for about half of the city's revenue, according to a recent audit.
"I think we've always looked at more than one year here," Moton said. "Now I'm just trying to formalize that process."
Thurmond and Moton said a variety of retail and restaurant developments are likely to be announced in 2013.
Much of the activity will surround the Shops at Aspen Creek, a 100-acre, $60 million development planned for Tucson Street (121st Street) just east of the Creek Turnpike's Aspen Avenue (145th East Avenue) interchange, Thurmond said.
The shopping center, which is expected to begin construction in March, will be anchored by a 14-screen, 90,000-square-foot Warren Theatre.
Other tenants have yet to be announced, and the shopping center should spur development nearby, Thurmond said.
Development is also possible near Tiger Hill, a wooded knob just northeast of downtown where a cluster of restaurants is planned, as well as in downtown itself, where new signs advertising the area's nickname as the Rose District are expected, Thurmond and Moton said.
"Those are goals, but I really think those things can come to fruition this year," Thurmond said.
"We've got some exciting things that are going to happen as far as retail and job growth in the coming years."
Original Print Headline: Broken Arrow to adopt new 'personal budget' process
Zack Stoycoff 918-581-8486
City Manager Thom Moton: He intends to bring budget reforms to Broken Arrow that he brought to other cities
Mayor Craig Thurmond: This year will see a variety of retrail and restaurant developments being planned for Broken Arrow, he says, including the Shops at Aspen Creek and possible development at Tiger Hill