The department chosen is the administrative services department of the City of Mission Viejo. This department oversees the biennial budget, financial policies of the city and also the master financial plan to ensure that these are in agreement with the city’s mission and vision of ‘’ making living your mission’’.
The administrative services department is also responsible for ensuring that the City’s activities are well run and coordinated and all financial issued are looked into so as to ensure a smooth environment where each resident is able to obtain all the services as expected. In a nutshell, this department is responsible for ensuring a smooth working relationship amongst all the other departments as it ensures that the necessary support services are available for the use by the other departments at any given time. This department is majorly composed of a number of different sections that include administration, budgets and financial planning, human resources, treasury, risk management and debt services. This points a picture of a department that actively supports the others in ensuring great service delivery.
The department’s sources of revenues can be extrapolated to be the revenue sources for the city council of Mission Viejo. This is because; the revenues are generally as appropriation from the City’s revenues. There are several revenue sources for the City as described below:
Fines and forfeitures- these are funds received from individuals or corporations who violate the city’s laws and bylaws and are fined for such behaviors. This money goes directly to the City council for the use in developing the city.
Charges for services- these are charges imposed on the residents of the city for the services offered by the council such as Water, electricity etc. these funds are also channeled to the city’s kitty to assist in the development projects that the city could have.
Intergovernmemental receipts- this forms a significant part of the city’s recurrent revenue. These are a fund that’s given to the department by the central government for development purposes. These funds are given by virtue of the fact that the residents of the city also make a contribution to the central government and are therefore beneficiaries of the national budget.
Taxes- these are the largest source of revenue for the city. Different forms of taxes are levied by the city and the moneys generated are used to develop the city by improving service delivery. Taxes are collected by the cities revenue authority and then used to develop the city. Different forms of taxes are levied on the residents, some of which include, value added tax, Income tax, rental income tax among others (Aman, 2002).
Licenses and permits- these are moneys levied from people who intend to run businesses so that the business can be allowed to operate. Permits on the other hand are permissions to an individual or company to carry out a particular business or activity that is not conventional. Others could be work permits to allow foreigners to work in the City.
During the recent recession, the revenues of the City, and especially those from taxes, permits and licenses were observed to decline significantly forcing the city to curtail materially, its operations. The recent recession saw the collapse of a number of businesses which meant that the City was losing a lot in terms of revenues. Businesses and company’s also significantly reduced their expenditures so this had a limiting aspect to the city’s revenues. There was also general reduction in the general current revenues as a result of the negative effects of this financial crisis.
The city’s expenditure is mainly to carry out development projects and improve the welfare of the residents as outlined below.
Capital improvements- this relates to expenditure of capital nature. This means that these funds were utilized majorly to improve the condition of the capital facilities such as roads, sewerage systems, water system etc. Maintenance of the city’s equipment and vehicles also forms part of the capital improvements expense. More importantly, the capital improvements will also relate to the purchase of capital equipment during the year such as fire engines etc.
Secondly is the maintenance and improvement of the recreational and community and library services. Here the city utilizes the funds in the maintenance of the city’s social amenities such as recreational grounds and library services. This is however not a significant budget item. (http://cityofmissionviejo.org/ViewDocument.aspx?id=15625)
Infrastructural maintenance- here the department utilizes resources in the management for the City’s infrastructure. This is in terms of lighting, water, sewerage among other amenities.
Public safety- this is expenditure by the administrative department in ensuring that the residents of the city are a safe lot as they carry on with their activities each and every day.
During the recession, the administrative department was one of the hardest hit. This is evidenced by the radical changes that the department had to undertake so as to continue to discharge its mandate as is expected by the residents of the city.
First of all, the department had to lay off approximately seventeen staff, which is expected to lead to savings of about 1.54 million as is indicated in the Mayors report. This was necessary since the city had been incurring a very large annual wage bill which could not be sustained with the onset of the recession thus necessitating the layoffs.
There is also a reported targeted reduction in operating appropriations and also increased cost recovery adjustments to the various charges in the city, This will help in significantly hedging the city’s departmental deficits and improve service delivery fir the city.
It’s also notable that the department has stated in the mayors report that the use of funds in capital improvements has been reserved only for the incidences where the city has a surplus in its budget. This in effect means that the department is determined to shed off the effects of the recession and benefit from the slow economic recovery globally.
The problems that the department faces this year is generally the delivery of its mandate given the resource constraints as discussed above. First of all, the department has lost about seventeen staff; this means that the remaining staffs have to put in extra hours so as to accomplish the company’s set goals and objectives (Wilberg,2012)
Secondly, the department is faced with an acute shortage of resources that has faced them to even increase its taxes and fines so as to generate resources. Notably, the administrative department would not operate properly unless there is adequate staff and this staffs are adequately supplied with the necessary resources.
The budget allocation for that department is far from the required funds that would ensure that the department is conducting its mandate expeditiously and in a timely manner. This is one major problem that has crippled the efforts of the department heads in trying to work with the available resources so as to deliver on the mandate.
With the slow economic recovery, and of course the large expenses that are incurred, the department is faced with the problem of coming up with a proactive method if cost cutting and revenue enhancement so as to ensure that the department is outstanding in its activities and would be able to discharge its mandate.
Some of the questions that I would ask about the department’s budget that is estimated to be about $38.9 million would be:
What the department would do so as to further reduce inefficiency and increase its budget allocations from the total appropriated funds.
My second question would be more of a concern to the laid off staff. Although the city’s administrative department is allocated close to $38 million of theists income, I would be interested in knowing what the department would do to ensure that the retrenched staff are psychologically prepared to the outside world where they would stay without jobs and they chart their way.
Thirdly, I would be interested in knowing how the department will ensure that the funds allocated to the various programs will be utilized to ensure the best results for all the concerned parties. By this I mean, what the department is doing to ensure that all the funds allocated for the different programmes are utilized as expected. This would raise the question of whether the department has the required internal controls to ensure that all the finds will be accounted for in a proper way
The city of Mission Viejo. Adapted from http://cityofmissionviejo.org/ViewDocument.aspx?id=15625