The Finance Department is responsible for the proper accounting and reporting of all financial activities of the city. The department functions to provide financial information needed for policy and administrative decisions. The financial information is used:
- To assess the existing financial position of the city as a whole, or of a particular fund, program or department
- To forecast this financial position over a given future time
- To monitor and control the flow of revenues and expenditures so as to maintain accountability for funds and to operate the city within legal and budgetary constraints
The Finance Department prepares the city's Annual Budget & Capital Improvements Program, and Annual Comprehensive Financial Report (ACFR). The City Manager's proposed budget must be submitted to the City Council between the 10th and 15th of April. The City Council holds a series of meetings, work sessions, and public hearings to discuss the budget. Residents are encouraged to become involved in the budget process by attending the work sessions and addressing their comments to Council at the public hearings.
Budget in Brief
Each year, the Finance Department also publishes the Bowie Budget in Brief, a short summary of the adopted budget for residents and other interested parties. It contains highlights of that year's budget, an explanation of taxes and other revenue sources, and a summary of how the money is being spent. It also provides an overview of the budget process and the difference between the capital budget and the operating budget.
Capital Improvements Program
The Capital Improvements Program is a six-year plan of proposed capital improvements and proposed methods of financing them. This six-year plan is the basis for estimating specific revenues and expenditures which will become part of the annual operating budget.
As the chief financial officer, the City Manager is required to submit at the end of each fiscal year a complete financial report to the council. The Annual Comprehensive Financial Report (ACFR) is prepared by the Finance Department to meet this requirement.
The ACFR is prepared in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) as promulgated by various authoritative bodies through their publications, statements of position, and other pronouncements. These include the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB), the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), and the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB).
The city is also required to conform to the reporting requirements of the State of Maryland. In addition, the City Charter requires that "the financial books and accounts of the city shall be audited annually by an independent certified public accountant selected by the Council."
Copies of the Annual Budget and Capital Improvements Program and the Annual Comprehensive Financial Report are also available in the Finance Department.