Glossary of Terms
Adjustments to Recommended Budget: This session provides the opportunity for preliminary Council decisions regarding the Manager’s Recommended Budget. By Council practice, each Council member has the opportunity to add or subtract any item or amount from the recommended budget. Council has traditionally required that the adjustments result in a balanced budget. Those items receiving five or more votes from Council members are then voted on at the straw votes session.
Allocation: The expenditure amount planned for a particular project or service that requires additional legislative action or appropriation before expenditures are authorized.
Appropriation: A legal authorization granted by the City’s legislative authority (City Council) to make expenditures and incur obligations for specific purposes.
Balanced Scorecard: The Balanced Scorecard is a performance measurement system that translates strategy into tangible objectives and measures. The Balanced Scorecard uses four perspectives to ensure a balanced approach to evaluating achievement of organizational strategy. The four perspectives are serve the customer, run the business, manage resources, and develop employees.
Broadbanding Pay Plan: The City’s Broadbanding Pay Plan covers all City employees with the exception of non-managerial sworn Police and uniformed Fire employees. The Plan provides merit increases based on the employee’s performance and the employee’s pay rate in relation to market.
Budget Adoption: North Carolina State law requires local government to have an adopted budget ordinance by fiscal year-end (June 30) specifying the budget plan.
Budget Committee: The Council organizes its Budget Committee as a mechanism for guiding the progression of the budget process and for providing oversight of agenda planning for the various sessions in the budget development process.
Budget Presentation: This session provides Council with a detailed overview of the Manager’s recommended budget. This provides a forum for the Manager to share highlights of the budget and for Council to ask initial questions as the budget process moves into the review stage.
Budget Workshop(s): This series of half-day workshops, conducted by Council, provide for detailed discussions of the budget issues and decisions that characterize the development of the budget plan. Staff is available to share pertinent information during these sessions as Council works to identify and confirm areas of focus, operating and capital investment policies, and review projected revenues and expense information, and review program and service delivery priorities.
Budget Plan-Recommended and Adopted: The City Manager submits to the City Council a recommended expenditure and revenue plan for all city operations for the coming fiscal year in the Preliminary Strategic Operating Plan. When City Council agrees upon the revenue and expenditure levels, the Recommended Budget becomes the Adopted Budget, funds are appropriated and legal
expenditure limits are established.
Capital Investment Plan (CIP): Annual appropriations from specific funding sources are shown in the City’s budget for certain capital purposes such as street improvements, building construction, and facility maintenance. These appropriations are supported by a five-year allocation that details all projects, funding sources, and expenditure amounts. The allocation plan covers a five-year period.
Community Development Block Grant (CDBG): A United States Department of Housing and Urban Development grant that local governments receive annually to support economic development projects, low income housing, and services to low-income neighborhoods.
Corporate Objective: Organizational aims or purposes for the next 2-4 years that are the focal point of the organization’s initiatives.
Debt Service: Annual principal and interest payments that the local government owes on money that it has borrowed.
Department: City’s operating departments.
Enterprise Fund: One of four City Departments which are fully funded by operating revenues rather than property taxes. These are Charlotte-Douglas Airport, Charlotte Area Transit System, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities Department, and Storm Water Services.
Financial Partner: Private, non-profit organizations which provide services to citizens by use of partial funding from the City.
Fiscal Year: A one-year fiscal period. The City’s fiscal year extends from July 1st through June 30th.
Focus Areas: Five strategic areas of focus, which serve as the framework for allocating funds and resources. These are: Housing and Neighborhood Development, Community Safety, Economic Development, Environment, and Transportation.
Full Time Equivalent (FTE): A term that expresses the amount of time for which a position has been budgeted in relation to the amount of time a regular, full-time employee normally works in a year.
Fund: An accounting entity with a set of self-balancing revenue and expenditure accounts used to record the financial affairs of a governmental organization.
Fund Balance: It is the difference between assets and liabilities of a particular fund. It incorporates the difference between the revenues and expenditures each year.
General Fund: A central fund into which most of the City’s general tax revenues and discretionary resources are pooled, which is allocated to support many of the operations of City government.
General Obligation Bonds: Bonds whose payment is guaranteed by the full faith and credit of
the government body.
Manager/Council Retreat: This initial retreat serves to reaffirm Council priorities and identify
citizen concerns and desires for service delivery during the next fiscal year. This discussion also includes any other additional parameters for possible changes to the budget plan under development. City Council adopts a strategic plan as a result of this discussion and the Departments are charged with meeting these identified needs.
MUMPO (Mecklenburg Union Metropolitan Planning Organization): The transportation body that is responsible for overseeing the development of the transportation system in Mecklenburg and Union counties of North Carolina.
Municipal Service District (MSD): Taxing districts designed to enhance economic vitality and quality of life in the central business district or other commercial areas. Three MSDs are located in the Center City area, one in the South End area, and one in the University City area.
Net of Transfers: Takes into account transfers between funds (General Fund, Enterprise Funds and Capital Funds).
Non-Departmental Account: Those services or functions that is not specifically associated with a particular Department.
Operating Budget: The portion of the budget plan that represents recurring expenditures such as salaries, utilities, postage, office supplies, fuel, etc.
Pay-As-You-Go Projects: Relatively small capital projects that do not lend themselves to debt financing and are paid with current available revenue.
Performance Measure: A quantitative indicator of how programs and services are directly contributing to the achievement of an agency’s objectives. These indicators may include measures of inputs, outputs, outcomes, or activities.
Position Number: A term that refers to a unique position identification number assigned to each position authorized by the City Council through the budget or other ordinances. Positions may have a common title name, but each position has its own unique identification number assigned by the PeopleSoft Human Resources System. Only one person at a time can fill a regularly budgeted position.
Program: A group of services within a Department, aligned by a common purpose.
Public Hearing on Recommended Budget: This session, as required by State law (Local Government Budget and Fiscal Control Act), provides an opportunity for citizens to comment on the published budget plan. Notice of the public hearing and the Council discussion process are included in the Charlotte Observer, on the City’s website, and on the Government Channel. The budget documents are made available to the public through the regional public libraries and the local university libraries.
Public Safety Pay Plan (PPSP): The City’s Public Safety Pay Plan covers all Police classes below the rank of Police Captain and all Fire classes below the rank of Battalion Fire Chief. There are two components to the Public Safety Pay Plan. The first is progression through steps, and the second is structural market adjustments to the steps.
Strategic Operating Plan (SOP): The Strategic Operating Plan includes organizational strategy and resources. It combines city strategy, operating, and capital budgets.
Straw Votes: This session provides the opportunity for Council to vote on each of the items that moved from the adjustments session. Each of these items receiving six or more straw votes will be incorporated into the budget ordinance that will become part of the budget adoption agenda item.
Support Department: The City’s support departments include the City Attorney’s Office, City Clerk’s Office, City Manager’s Office, Budget & Evaluation Office, Shared Services, Finance Department, and Human Resources.
Target: Quantifiable and specific level of achievement, communicates the expected level of performance.
Two-Year Budget: The City operates with a two-year budget plan. The plan is established to manage funds on a fiscal year (FY) that begins July 1 and ends June 30. Council appropriates the first year’s budget and approves the plan for the second year’s budget. Although the City’s budget preparation and request is presented in two-year increments, Council is required to appropriate
monies on an annual basis.