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Santa Barbara Challenge: Glossary of Terms

A quick guide to help you understand bureaucracy-speak

[Noozhawk’s note: This is one in a series of articles on Noozhawk’s Santa Barbara Challenge, our public-engagement project on the city of Santa Barbara’s budget. Related links are below.]

Throughout our series on the city of Santa Barbara’s budget process, you’ll be seeing recurring words and terms. Here’s a quick guide to help you understand what we’re talking about.

Budget: A financial planning tool used to estimate the upcoming fiscal year’s revenues and expenditures

                  Santa Barbara Challenge Survey  |  Complete Series Index  |

The three A’s of the budget:

Adopted Budget: Amounts of revenues and expenditures for the next year approved by the Santa Barbara City Council

Adjusted Budget: Often at midyear, staff determines how on-track finances are and recommends adjustments

Actual Budget: Shows the amounts actually spent by the end of the fiscal year, and these are the numbers reflected in the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report

Benefits: Employee benefits include nonsalary items that can include health insurance, workers compensation and equipment allowances

CAFR: Comprehensive Annual Financial Report

Compensation: Total employee pay including salary and benefits

Discretionary vs. Nondiscretionary Spending: Municipalities have some funding that is mandated to be spent a specific way, and some money that can be distributed as the governing board sees fit. Same as restricted or unrestricted funds.

EMLAP: Employee Mortgage Loan Assistance Program is a suspended program that provided city employees 15 percent of the financing they needed to purchase a home. Employees would provide 5 percent and get conventional financing for the other 80 percent.

Expenditures: Expenses, or money spent

Fiscal Year: Runs July 1 to June 30, as opposed to a calendar year of Jan. 1 to Dec. 31.

Pension: Retirement payments to former employees, from the time they retire until death. They get a portion of their final year’s salary for each year they’ve worked with the city.

Revenues: Income, generally from taxes, fees and fines

RDA: Redevelopment Agency, created in the 1970s to eliminate the downtown area’s “blight,” its funding comes from a portion of local taxes and goes toward capital improvement projects. Its funding is not included in the city’s budget, but is determined separately.

Salary: Employee payment, including paychecks, take-home money

TOT: Transient-occupancy tax, or bed tax, refers to taxes paid by the hospitality industry and collected from overnight visitors

                  Santa Barbara Challenge Survey  |  Complete Series Index  |

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk or @NoozhawkNews. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

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