What is a “Long-range Financial Plan?”
A Long-range Financial Plan (LRFP) provides a “road map” for where the City wants to go financially and its plans to get there by combining financial forecasting with financial strategizing. The underlying goal being that the plan can be used as a tool to identify problems, opportunities, and provide an avenue for Council, citizens and staff to discuss policy.
Why do “We” need a Financial Plan?
A Long-range Financial Plan is needed as a communication aide to citizens, staff and rating agencies. When Council and staff receive questions from constituents, the LRFP will: 1) help provide an answer, 2) provide documentation to support the answer and 3) provide consistency. The LRFP clarifies the City’s financial strategic intent and imposes discipline on decision makers by magnifying the cumulative effects of poor decisions.
What are the Elements of a Financial Plan?
The elements of a long-range financial plan can be broken down into four major phases:
- The mobilization phase puts in place the cornerstones for financial planning: resources needed to undertake planning, preliminary financial analysis, definition of the underlying purpose of the planning process, the City’s service-level preferences, financial policies, and define the scope for the planning effort.
- The analysis phase focuses on the City’s financial position, making long-term projections, and then analyzing the City’s probable future financial position.
- The decision phase is where strategies, plans, and adjustments are created and agreed upon.
- The execution phase carries the plan forward into action.
Who Benefits From Having a Long-range Financial Plan
Several groups benefit directly from seeing that the City of Mukilteo has a Long-range Financial Plan:
- Citizens – Effective financial stewardship enhances the quality of life for a community – increasing the desirability of the community as a place to live.
- Council – Long-range financial plans offer guidance to new Council Members with the City’s finances. The plan also serves as an ongoing context for Council decisions, thereby providing consistency and quality control.
- Businesses looking to do business in the City – long-range financial plans increase the desirability of the community as a place to locate.
- Department heads & staff benefit knowing the City’s financial future is a priority with Council & Mayor.
In 2016, the Long-Range Financial Planning Team will begin work to draft a Long-Range Financial Plan for the City’s Capital needs. The City’s Long-Range Financial Plan for Capital Projects is a fiscal planning tool designed to assist Mayor, City Council and management with their capital spending decisions and provide discussion points covering capital projects that are outside the scope of the City’s current Capital Facilities Plan. The Long-Range Financial Plan provides a summary of capital projects, an analysis of their respective funding sources and existing reserve levels, and connect the timing of the projects identified in the City’s Capital Facilities Plan to this funding analysis.
For those interested in following development of the City’s plan, follow the posts on the Long-Range Finance Committee webpage.