Friday, November 14, 2014

The Budget Game

A budget is a forecast about the future. It is only as good as its creator wants it. A budget has two lists – one for revenue and one for expenditures. If revenue and expenditures are equal, it is a balanced budget. If revenue is greater the expenditures, it is a surplus budget. If revenue is less than expenditures, it is a deficit budget.

There are three versions of the budget:

  1. The proposed budget
  2. The adopted budget
  3. The actual results
The proposed budget is almost always a large deficit budget and is basically a lie. It is manipulated and massaged to scare the hell out of the city council, the public and employees. This gives the mayor or city manager total control of the budget process, limited only by his dependence on the finance director. If the mayor or city manager is weak in governmental finance, the finance director can exert substantial influence. If the mayor or city manager is well versed in finance, the finance director has to keep his mouth shut or risk being fired by his boss – the mayor or city manager.

The adopted budget is a balanced budget. Most states have laws that prohibit cities from adopting deficit budgets. The adopted budget is a document with some lies. The most important thing is that the city council, the public, and employees believe it to be an honest, bare bones budget. It isn't.

The actual results are almost always a surplus. Most states have a law against over spending the adopted budget, but not under spending. About the only way the actual results can be a deficit is if revenue does not meet the projections. However, there is an exception. State laws normally allow cities to spend the amount of revenue received during the year, plus any money in the bank at the start of the year.

Theoretically, a city could legally spend down to zero dollars in the bank. That would be foolish, but legal. How could a city do that without knowing what the exact revenue will be when preparing the budget? Good question, but easily answered. Cities are allowed to amend their budget during the year as many times as they want – even after the year has ended in some states.

The budget is prepared in stages each year. The starting point is the department heads submitting proposed budgets for their individual departments. The departmental proposals are usually Santa Claus lists asking for large increases for their departments.

Meanwhile, the finance director is preparing the revenue part of the budget, using his personal values and bean counter mentality – shoot low. His revenue forecast is worst case scenario – little or no growth in revenue, maybe even a decline in revenue.

It is at this point that the mayor or city manager gets all of this data and then behind closed doors creates the proposed budget that has a huge “structural” deficit. He then rolls out this doomsday
harbinger of financial ruin at a much heralded press conference, where he calls for sacrifice from everyone. The local press buys it – hook, line, and sinker. The city council is in a state of shock and pledge their support to fix the problem. The “union thugs” begin tamping down the expectations of
city employees.

Next, there are committee meetings by the city council to address this disaster, without first reading the 750 page proposed budget. The meetings are mostly finger pointing. This is followed by public hearings where the city council roll out the goal line stance, while quoting the mayor or city manager – verbatim.

Meanwhile, the mayor or city manager, disguised as Clark Kent, is on the speaking circuit (chamber of commerce, civic clubs, talk radio, etc) scaring the hell out of the faithful. At the same time, the city's shyster is beating the hell out of the union thugs at the negotiating table. Due to unrealistic expectations going into negotiations, it takes a while to reign in employees.

Finally, with the union thugs, bludgeoned and bleeding, raise the white flag and the public and the city council cry out for a savior, the mayor or city manager rips off his suit, shirt, and tie, revealing his true identity – Superman. In his hand is a balanced budget, which is immediately approved just prior to the statutory deadline.

Well, it looks like the end of another budget season. I am sad to see it end. I going to miss the scent of cheap aftershave coming from sweating union thugs and the wide eyed look of panic on the faces of the city council. There is always next year.

Push'em Back! Push'em Back! Waaay Back!”


Saturday, March 01, 2014

The Last POLICEPAY Index 1-1-2006


THE POLICEPAY INDEX (Unadjusted for COLI)

January 1, 2006












Sorted by Rank



Sorted Alphabetically


1 Sunnyvale, CA (160) 163

186 Abilene, TX (192) 70

2 Oakland, CA (41) 159

169 Akron, OH (80) 80

3 Vallejo, CA (188) 158

175 Albuquerque, NM (35) 77

4 Yonkers, NY (94) 153

43 Alexandria, VA (165) 116

5 Hayward, CA (149) 152

167 Amarillo, TX (117) 81

6 San Francisco, CA (13) 151

32 Anaheim, CA (54) 122

7 Fremont, CA (84) 142

71 Anchorage, AK (64) 103

8 Oxnard, CA (121) 142

38 Ann Arbor, MI (194) 119

9 Elizabeth, NJ (181) 136

106 Arlington, TX (52) 95

10 Huntington Bch, CA (100) 136

166 Atlanta, GA (39) 81

11 San Jose, CA (11) 135

196 Augusta, GA (96) 60

12 Torrance, CA (154) 135

84 Aurora, CO (60) 100

13 Pomona, CA (136) 134

51 Aurora, IL (146) 111

14 Chula Vista, CA (119) 134

28 Austin, TX (16) 124

15 Irvine, CA (145) 133

79 Bakersfield, CA (68) 101

16 Pasadena, CA (158) 130

118 Baltimore, MD (17) 94

17 Fontana, CA (162) 129

164 Baton Rouge, LA (73) 82

18 Ontario, CA (127) 127

155 Beaumont, TX (195) 84

19 Los Angeles, CA (2) 127

197 Birmingham, AL (70) N/A

20 Riverside, CA (66) 127

165 Boise, ID (104) 81

21 Concord, CA (176) 127

89 Boston, MA (20) 100

22 Jersey City, NJ (71) 126

44 Bridgeport, CT (151) 115

23 Stockton, CA (69) 126

161 Brownsville, TX (150) 82

24 Fullerton, CA (168) 125

76 Buffalo, NY (57) 101

25 North Las Vegas, NV (193) 125

156 Cedar Rapids, IA (180) 84

26 Santa Ana, CA (50) 125

120 Chandler, AZ (113) 93

27 Chicago, IL (3) 125

174 Charlotte, NC (26) 78

28 Austin, TX (16) 124

195 Chattanooga, TN (128) 62

29 Salinas, CA (133) 124

144 Chesapeake, VA (89) 86

30 Escondido, CA (159) 123

27 Chicago, IL (3) 125

31 Oceanside, CA (124) 123

14 Chula Vista, CA (119) 134

32 Anaheim, CA (54) 122

129 Cincinnati, OH (53) 91

33 San Bernardino, CA (107) 121

172 Cleveland, OH (33) 79

34 Henderson, NV (115) 120

104 Colo Springs, CO (47) 96

35 Warren, MI (153) 120

189 Columbia, SC (190) 67

36 Santa Rosa, CA (139) 120

193 Columbus, GA (105) 64

37 El Monte, CA (191) 119

81 Columbus, OH (15) 100

38 Ann Arbor, MI (194) 119

21 Concord, CA (176) 127

39 Glendale, CA (97) 117

82 Coral Springs, FL (185) 100

40 Las Vegas, NV (32) 117

52 Corona, CA (169) 111

41 Thousand Oaks, CA (187) 117

112 Corpus Christi, TX (59) 95

42 Seattle, WA (23) 117

92 Dallas, TX (8) 99

43 Alexandria, VA (165) 116

154 Dayton, OH (122) 84

44 Bridgeport, CT (151) 115

61 Denver, CO (24) 105

45 New York, NY (1) 115

137 Des Moines, IA (91) 88

46 Washington, DC (21) 114

135 Detroit, MI (10) 88

47 Garden Grove, CA (123) 114

179 Durham, NC (102) 76

48 Newark, NJ (62) 114

37 El Monte, CA (191) 119

49 Paterson, NJ (137) 113

180 El Paso, TX (22) 76

50 Moreno Valley, CA (147) 113

9 Elizabeth, NJ (181) 136

51 Aurora, IL (146) 111

30 Escondido, CA (159) 123

52 Corona, CA (169) 111

113 Eugene, OR (155) 95

53 Naperville, IL (164) 110

136 Evansville, IN (177) 88

54 Long Beach, CA (34) 110

185 Fayetteville, NC (179) 73

55 Peoria, IL (198) 109

162 Flint, MI (170) 82

56 Orange, CA (163) 109

17 Fontana, CA (162) 129

57 Reno, NV (111) 108

65 Fort Collins, CO (184) 103

58 Portland, OR (28) 108

62 Fort Lauderdale, FL (129) 104

59 Plano, TX (77) 106

115 Fort Wayne, IN (83) 95

60 Inglewood, CA (199) 105

105 Fort Worth, TX (27) 96

61 Denver, CO (24) 105

7 Fremont, CA (84) 142

62 Fort Lauderdale, FL (129) 104

90 Fresno, CA (37) 100

63 Tacoma, WA (98) 104

24 Fullerton, CA (168) 125

64 Sterling Heights, MI (172) 104

47 Garden Grove, CA (123) 114

65 Fort Collins, CO (184) 103

134 Garland, TX (81) 89

66 Hollywood, FL (152) 103

123 Glendale, AZ (79) 92

67 Lancaster, CA (183) 103

39 Glendale, CA (97) 117

68 Palmdale, CA (189) 103

110 Grand Prairie, TX (167) 95

69 Santa Clarita, CA (132) 103

78 Grand Rapids, MI (92) 101

70 Spokane, WA (95) 103

152 Greensboro, NC (76) 85

71 Anchorage, AK (64) 103

163 Hampton, VA (142) 82

72 Milwaukee, WI (19) 103

124 Hartford, CT (178) 92

73 Pembroke Pines, FL (156) 102

5 Hayward, CA (149) 152

74 Rancho Ccmng, CA (166) 102

34 Henderson, NV (115) 120

75 San Diego, CA (7) 101

119 Hialeah, FL (74) 94

76 Buffalo, NY (57) 101

66 Hollywood, FL (152) 103

77 Rochester, NY (78) 101

170 Houston, TX (4) 80

78 Grand Rapids, MI (92) 101

10 Huntington Bch, CA (100) 136

79 Bakersfield, CA (68) 101

143 Huntsville, AL (126) 87

80 Omaha, NE (44) 101

151 Independence, MO (197) 85

81 Columbus, OH (15) 100

149 Indianapolis, IN (12) 85

82 Coral Springs, FL (185) 100

60 Inglewood, CA (199) 105

83 Modesto, CA (101) 100

15 Irvine, CA (145) 133

84 Aurora, CO (60) 100

97 Irving, TX (99) 98

85 Rockford, IL (135) 100

198 Jackson, MS (108) N/A

86 Overland Park, KS (138) 100

121 Jacksonville, FL (14) 92

87 Miami, FL (46) 100

22 Jersey City, NJ (71) 126

88 Sacramento, CA (40) 100

116 Kansas City, KS (141) 94

89 Boston, MA (20) 100

138 Kansas City, MO (36) 88

90 Fresno, CA (37) 100

182 Knoxville,TN (116) 75

91 Orlando, FL (103) 99

111 Lakewood, CO (143) 95

92 Dallas, TX (8) 99

67 Lancaster, CA (183) 103

93 Salem, OR (157) 99

94 Lansing, MI (182) 99

94 Lansing, MI (182) 99

142 Laredo, TX (114) 87

95 St. Paul, MN (58) 99

40 Las Vegas, NV (32) 117

96 Oklahoma City, OK (29) 98

187 Lexington, KY (63) 69

97 Irving, TX (99) 98

131 Lincoln, NE (75) 91

98 Vancouver, WA (144) 98

181 Little Rock, AR (109) 76

99 Tempe, AZ (125) 98

54 Long Beach, CA (34) 110

100 Minneapolis, MN (45) 97

19 Los Angeles, CA (2) 127

101 Tucson, AZ (30) 97

148 Louisville, KY (65) 85

102 Phoenix, AZ (6) 97

109 Lubbock, TX (88) 95

103 Pittsburgh, PA (51) 96

160 Madison, WI (82) 83

104 Colo Springs, CO (47) 96

171 Memphis, TN (18) 79

105 Fort Worth, TX (27) 96

141 Mesa, AZ (42) 87

106 Arlington, TX (52) 95

108 Mesquite, TX (171) 95

107 Tampa, FL (56) 95

87 Miami, FL (46) 100

108 Mesquite, TX (171) 95

72 Milwaukee, WI (19) 103

109 Lubbock, TX (88) 95

100 Minneapolis, MN (45) 97

110 Grand Prairie, TX (167) 95

190 Mobile, AL (90) 66

111 Lakewood, CO (143) 95

83 Modesto, CA (101) 100

112 Corpus Christi, TX (59) 95

191 Montgomery, AL (86) 66

113 Eugene, OR (155) 95

50 Moreno Valley, CA (147) 113

114 Scottsdale, AZ (85) 95

53 Naperville, IL (164) 110

115 Fort Wayne, IN (83) 95

125 Nashville, TN (25) 92

116 Kansas City, KS (141) 94

126 New Haven, CT (174) 91

117 San Antonio, TX (9) 94

188 New Orleans, LA (31) 67

118 Baltimore, MD (17) 94

45 New York, NY (1) 115

119 Hialeah, FL (74) 94

48 Newark, NJ (62) 114

120 Chandler, AZ (113) 93

146 Newport News, VA (112) 86

121 Jacksonville, FL (14) 92

178 Norfolk, VA (72) 76

122 Virginia Beach, VA (38) 92

25 North Las Vegas, NV (193) 125

123 Glendale, AZ (79) 92

2 Oakland, CA (41) 159

124 Hartford, CT (178) 92

31 Oceanside, CA (124) 123

125 Nashville, TN (25) 92

96 Oklahoma City, OK (29) 98

126 New Haven, CT (174) 91

80 Omaha, NE (44) 101

127 Pasadena, TX (148) 91

18 Ontario, CA (127) 127

128 Philadelphia, PA (5) 91

56 Orange, CA (163) 109

129 Cincinnati, OH (53) 91

91 Orlando, FL (103) 99

130 Syracuse, NY (140) 91

86 Overland Park, KS (138) 100

131 Lincoln, NE (75) 91

8 Oxnard, CA (121) 142

132 St. Petersburg, FL (67) 90

68 Palmdale, CA (189) 103

133 Toledo, OH (55) 89

16 Pasadena, CA (158) 130

134 Garland, TX (81) 89

127 Pasadena, TX (148) 91

135 Detroit, MI (10) 88

49 Paterson, NJ (137) 113

136 Evansville, IN (177) 88

73 Pembroke Pines, FL (156) 102

137 Des Moines, IA (91) 88

55 Peoria, IL (198) 109

138 Kansas City, MO (36) 88

128 Philadelphia, PA (5) 91

139 Sioux Falls, SD (173) 88

102 Phoenix, AZ (6) 97

140 Tulsa, OK (43) 88

103 Pittsburgh, PA (51) 96

141 Mesa, AZ (42) 87

59 Plano, TX (77) 106

142 Laredo, TX (114) 87

13 Pomona, CA (136) 134

143 Huntsville, AL (126) 87

58 Portland, OR (28) 108

144 Chesapeake, VA (89) 86

147 Providence, RI (118) 85

145 Tallahassee, FL (134) 86

157 Raleigh, NC (61) 84

146 Newport News, VA (112) 86

74 Rancho Ccmnga, CA (166) 102

147 Providence, RI (118) 85

57 Reno, NV (111) 108

148 Louisville, KY (65) 85

150 Richmond, VA (93) 85

149 Indianapolis, IN (12) 85

20 Riverside, CA (66) 127

150 Richmond, VA (93) 85

77 Rochester, NY (78) 101

151 Independence, MO (197) 85

85 Rockford, IL (135) 100

152 Greensboro, NC (76) 85

88 Sacramento, CA (40) 100

153 Salt Lake City, UT (110) 84

93 Salem, OR (157) 99

154 Dayton, OH (122) 84

29 Salinas, CA (133) 124

155 Beaumont, TX (195) 84

153 Salt Lake City, UT (110) 84

156 Cedar Rapids, IA (180) 84

117 San Antonio, TX (9) 94

157 Raleigh, NC (61) 84

33 San Bernardino, CA (107) 121

158 Wichita, KS (49) 84

75 San Diego, CA (7) 101

159 Worcester, MA (120) 83

6 San Francisco, CA (13) 151

160 Madison, WI (82) 83

11 San Jose, CA (11) 135

161 Brownsville, TX (150) 82

26 Santa Ana, CA (50) 125

162 Flint, MI (170) 82

69 Santa Clarita, CA (132) 103

163 Hampton, VA (142) 82

36 Santa Rosa, CA (139) 120

164 Baton Rouge, LA (73) 82

192 Savannah, GA (161) 65

165 Boise, ID (104) 81

114 Scottsdale, AZ (85) 95

166 Atlanta, GA (39) 81

42 Seattle, WA (23) 117

167 Amarillo, TX (117) 81

194 Shreveport, LA (87) 63

168 St. Louis, MO (48) 81

139 Sioux Falls, SD (173) 88

169 Akron, OH (80) 80

70 Spokane, WA (95) 103

170 Houston, TX (4) 80

199 Springfield, IL (200) N/A

171 Memphis, TN (18) 79

183 Springfield, MA (130) 74

172 Cleveland, OH (33) 79

177 Springfield, MO (131) 76

173 Topeka, KS (175) 79

168 St. Louis, MO (48) 81

174 Charlotte, NC (26) 78

95 St. Paul, MN (58) 99

175 Albuquerque, NM (35) 77

132 St. Petersburg, FL (67) 90

176 Waco, TX (196) 77

200 Stamford, CT (186) N/A

177 Springfield, MO (131) 76

64 Sterling Heights, MI (172) 104

178 Norfolk, VA (72) 76

23 Stockton, CA (69) 126

179 Durham, NC (102) 76

1 Sunnyvale, CA (160) 163

180 El Paso, TX (22) 76

130 Syracuse, NY (140) 91

181 Little Rock, AR (109) 76

63 Tacoma, WA (98) 104

182 Knoxville,TN (116) 75

145 Tallahassee, FL (134) 86

183 Springfield, MA (130) 74

107 Tampa, FL (56) 95

184 Winston-Salem (106) 73

99 Tempe, AZ (125) 98

185 Fayetteville, NC (179) 73

41 Thousand Oaks, CA (187) 117

186 Abilene, TX (192) 70

133 Toledo, OH (55) 89

187 Lexington, KY (63) 69

173 Topeka, KS (175) 79

188 New Orleans, LA (31) 67

12 Torrance, CA (154) 135

189 Columbia, SC (190) 67

101 Tucson, AZ (30) 97

190 Mobile, AL (90) 66

140 Tulsa, OK (43) 88

191 Montgomery, AL (86) 66

3 Vallejo, CA (188) 158

192 Savannah, GA (161) 65

98 Vancouver, WA (144) 98

193 Columbus, GA (105) 64

122 Virginia Beach, VA (38) 92

194 Shreveport, LA (87) 63

176 Waco, TX (196) 77

195 Chattanooga, TN (128) 62

35 Warren, MI (153) 120

196 Augusta, GA (96) 60

46 Washington, DC (21) 114

197 Birmingham, AL (70) N/A

158 Wichita, KS (49) 84

198 Jackson, MS (108) N/A

184 Winston-Salem (106) 73

199 Springfield, IL (200) N/A

159 Worcester, MA (120) 83

200 Stamford, CT (186) N/A

4 Yonkers, NY (94) 153