The city of Montgomery amended its fiscal year 2022-23 budget by $345,000 at the March 28 City Council meeting. City Administrator Gary Palmer said the amendment was needed to turn in the city's FY 2022-23 audit due March 31.

Palmer said $266,432 of the total number was due to a logistical oversight that happened last year.

“We purchased three police vehicles in 2022, but we didn't allocate money in the budget for that,” he said in a phone interview. “So we approved the expense, but we didn't have the money transferred into the budget yet to make the purchase at that time. So it's not that we overspent all that money; the process was just wrong.”

However, Palmer said the city did overspend the budget by $57,612. The amount, he said, came from “operational overruns.” An overrun occurs when an expense exceeds the amount that was previously planned.

“Our departments overspent on things like computers, software upgrades, contractors and that sort of thing,” Palmer said. “That's a problem. We need to catch this stuff.”

Palmer said an additional $20,955 was added to the amendment amount to cover any unanticipated further overruns. The additional cost brought the total budget amendment amount to $345,000.

To avoid further implications, Palmer said he will ensure the best practices are followed in the future, including providing resources for city teams, meeting expectations, and following internal policies and procedures.

“Practice-wise, it is clear in my research that expenditures were approved in FY [20]22 that were not in the FY [20]22 budget and/or a budget amendment was never done to add those funds to the budget prior to authorizing the expense,” he wrote in a memo. “Additionally, we lack the typical financial 'internal controls' which would have caught any overspending early in the process.”

Moving forward, Palmer said the department directors and financial consultants will create a task team to autopsy the FY 2022 overrun issue and adopt new practices to ensure overspending does not happen again.

“There's nothing nefarious going on,” he said. “There's no money missing. It's just stuff that we should have waited on instead of overspending.”