Since 2014, the ACC has invested approximately $12 million into new recreational amenities in the community. Each of these projects went through extensive community input before being approved for funding by the Board, without any external financing. Collectively, these projects enhance quality of life for residents, and allow Anthem to stay competitive with newer master-planned communities.
These projects include: the Civic Building (2014), rebuilding of Adventure Playground (2015) and Discovery Playground (2016), Opportunity Way Park (2016), Community Center remodel/expansion (2018), pickleball courts (2018), and the dog park (2019). The community is wrapping up 2019 as the sixth year in a row with a balanced budget under the current ACC assessment rate, even with the addition of these amenities. The last ACC assessment increase was $6 per month (effective in January 2014), prior to the opening of the Civic Building.
In evaluating the 2019 Operating Fund budget last fall, the ACC Board and staff looked beyond 2019 to forecast revenues and expenditures over the next five years, in order to anticipate adjustments that may be needed to achieve future balanced budgets. The ACC’s forecast models indicate that a modest assessment increase will be needed in 2020 or 2021 as a result of cumulative cost pressures associated with multiple years of mandatory minimum wage increases; a projected increase in major service contracts; rising expenses associated with maintaining an aging infrastructure; operating costs for new amenities; and upward trends in utility rates and insurance premiums, among other inflationary factors.
2020 budget process
Department directors and the finance team begin working on budgets each summer for the coming fiscal year. After departments propose their budgets to the CEO for consideration, and any changes are made, working sessions with the Board are held to “drill down” the budgets and address any major requests or anticipated expenses.
“Typically, staff will hold weekly meetings July through September, as well as meeting with the Fiscal Resource and Management Committee,” said CEO Neal Shearer.
Budgets are zero-based, which challenges ACC staff to give significant consideration to current and future needs and challenges. They do not build on past years budgets, but rather start from zero each year and examine every line item in every department.
“Each director must propose and justify each item in their budget. In this way, we work as a team to challenge expenditures and reallocate operating dollars to higher priorities as needed,” he said.