The most interesting document from the June meeting in Packwood was the five year financial projection. Basically, over the next five years the budget surplus we carry over through each year (our strategic reserves) will shrink from this year (around $8 million) through 2016 ($4.6 million).
A $4.6 million reserve fund may seem like a lot, but its a little deceiving. The district actually needs $4 million between January and April in the reserves before we receive our first tax revenue of the year. The district doesn’t receive funds at a steady rate, but we do spend at a steady rate.
So a $4.6 million reserve fund really is a $600,000 reserve fund. Which, in the context of a nearly $20 million budget, is cutting pretty thin.
This projection was written with the assumption that we wouldn’t have raised our levy lid before 2016. What these numbers tell me is that somewhere in the neighborhood of 2015 or 2016 we’ll need to go back to the voters again. If we don’t, we’ll be faced with more serious cost cutting than what we faced after the failure of the last levy lid lift.