Let’s Talk TLA’s Budget Process
Here in the South, there are a number of seasons that we recognize and respect. Hunting, fishing, pollen, and hurricane season are just a few of these seasons. But your Landings Association has another season that we take just as seriously, and that is our Budget Season.
This season requires lots of planning and evaluation as we seek ways to save money as well as budget for various projects.
The annual budget for The Landings Association is approved in December by the Board of Directors for the upcoming fiscal year beginning January 1. The groundwork for an approved budget begins months in advance and already is underway for the 2021 budget. This process is inclusive of TLA staff consisting of department directors and other staff, as well as community volunteers with industry-specific backgrounds who serve on committees to heighten fiscal responsibility.
The first part of the budget process begins with the review of the Capital Asset Management Plan (CAMP). Staff (and consultants, including engineering firms, as required) review useful lives and estimated costs for the assets under their purview and make necessary changes each year. The CAMP provides the basis for funding the Capital Reserve, which increases in importance as our community nears the 50-year mark.
While the CAMP review process is underway, operating budgets are thoroughly reviewed by department directors along with general management and finance staff. There are many factors that are vetted during the budget review process. Programs and services are evaluated based on cost/benefit, obligation, need, and/or expectation.
Part of the budgetary review includes appointing Budget Liaisons. These Budget Liaisons are members of the Finance Committee, appointed by the Treasurer to work with an individual department during the budget process. Department directors meet with their assigned Budget Liaison to review and refine each line item in their annual operating budget and Capital Asset Management Plan. At the conclusion of the department budget process, each Budget Liaison will present the budget information for their respective department to the Finance Committee.
Reviewing budgets at a department level is only one part of the budget process. The Reserves Subcommittee is also heavily involved in the budget process. Members are appointed by the Treasurer and are members of the Finance Committee. This subcommittee looks at cash flow documents that are produced as a result of the proposed operating budgets and capital asset plans to evaluate available cash for not only one year but also for an additional five years, for a short-term view, as well as a total 30-year term, for a long-term view.
Following months of review, edits, and deletions, based on committee and Board input, the annual budget is presented and voted on by the Finance Committee and Board of Directors at their December meetings. Budgets are voted and approved for one operating year (January-December).