Throughout the budget process, boards and directors must:
- have the money to spend
- have the authority to spend it
- be accountable for the spending
Boards and directors need to anticipate how much money they expect to receive from all revenue sources. Even gift money and memorials have to be estimated and budgeted before the money can be spent. This all has to happen within the framework of the city's budget process. Revenue from all sources should be reflected in the library's budget documents before the board proceeds with spending.
The budget process serves three basic purposes:
- Accountability: In their stewardship role, the trustees have a fiduciary responsibility to use public funds wisely and in compliance with applicable laws, regulations, contracts, etc. This includes spending the funds needed to provide library services to the community, planning for future needs such as equipment replacement but not hoarding funds or “saving for a rainy day."
- Decision-making: The trustees need accurate, timely, and reliable information to make effective decisions.
- Openness: The public has a right to be informed about the financial conditions and operations of the library.