The executive summary included only information about broad categories, with no details about spending on individual programs or departments.
"The Board does not review (that) level of detail in its budget approval process," Bernstein said in an email when asked if he had seen a detailed budget. "I do not believe I have ever seen a budget document existing at a lower level (which is not unusual and, in fact, is what I prefer)," he wrote. " The accounting system needs to make use of greater detail for a variety of reasons, but planning and management do not."
The executive summary gives overall figures for:
• Wages and benefits, broken down into compensation, overtime and retirement.
• Other operating expenditures, broken down into services and supplies, as well as equipment and fixed assets.
• Transfers to and from the capital improvement budget, debt service and the general fund reserves.
• Capital improvements.
• Debt service.
Last year, the district released a more detailed budget document to the public after the fire board gave final approval to the budget. Even that document was not an actual line-item budget.
Other agencies post their budgets for review by elected officials and the public in much greater detail. The town of Atherton, with a proposed budget that includes $13.9 million in general fund spending, posted on the town's website a 56-page document about its general fund budget in April and a 51-page document about its capital improvement and restricted fund budgets in May. The documents include details about department budgets down to the cost of office supplies. Another study session on that budget will be held on June 6 before the City Council votes on it on June 20.
City Manager George Rodericks said the entire proposed budget will be posted online before the June 6 meeting, and the adopted budget is posted after approval.
After The Almanac asked for a copy of the fire district's proposed budget on May 21, the district posted a 138-page proposed budget — with far more details than the board had seen — on its website late on May 24.
This story contains 459 words.
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