Accrual Accounting

A basis of accounting in which revenues are recognized in the period in which they are earned and expenses are recognized in the period in which they have been incurred.

Assessed Value

The estimated value of property as determined by the City Assessors for purposes of levying property taxes.


A resource owned or controlled by an entity that can be used to produce positive economic value.


An examination of an organization's finances. Typically these are performed by an independent entity.


A written promise to pay a sum of money on a specified date(s) at a specific interest rate.


A plan of financial operations embodying proposed expenditures for a fiscal year, and the means of financing those expenses (revenues).

Business Improvement District (BID)

A district created by owners of commercial property. The purpose is to allow businesses within the business improvement district to develop, manage, and promote their district and provide a method to fund these activities through a self imposed assessments.

Capital Project

A project is a deemed a capital project when the end product holds a value of at least $5,000 and possesses a useful life of greater than one year. These projects typically involve land, buildings, and equipment.


Funds that are set aside and not specifically appropriated. These funds are set aside for emergencies or unforeseen expenditures that are not budgeted for.

Debt Service

Amount of payments for principal and interest to holders of City of Eau Claire debt instruments.


When liabilities are greater than the amount of assets. Typically used to describe when expenditures exceed revenues.


A major organizational unit comprised of related work activities aimed at accomplishing a major service or regulatory function.


An organizational subdivision of a department. Divisions help with the functional organization of the City.

Employee Benefits

Contributions made by the City to meet commitments and obligations for employee benefits, including medical insurance, social security, retirement, and more.

Equalized Value

The estimated value of property as determined by the State of Wisconsin Department of Revenue.


Decreases in financial resources that include current operating expenses which require the use of assets, debt services, and capital outlays.

Fiscal Year

The twelve month period applicable to the annual operating budget.

Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) Positions

An FTE is equivalent to a standard work year of 2080 hours. Part-time and seasonal employees are converted to a decimal equivalent based upon total hours of work per year.


A distinct fiscal entity with a self-balancing set of accounts. Funds are segregated for the purpose of carrying on specific activities and attaining specific objectives.

Fund Balance

The comparison of a funds assets over its liabilities. A positive fund balance is referred to as a surplus. A negative fund balance is referred to as a deficit.

Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP)

An accounting standard adopted by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and is the default accounting standard used by governmental entities within the United States.

General Obligation Bonds

Long-term debt obligations that are backed by the full faith and credit of the City.


Contributions by a governmental or other organization to support a particular function. Grants are typically made to local governments from state or federal governments.


A compulsory financial charge imposed on a taxpayer by a governmental organization. Typically in the form of taxes, fees, or fines.


A quantity of value that an entity owes. Typically in form of assets transferred or services performed.

Mill Rate

The property tax rate stated in terms of dollars and cents for every $1,000 of the assessed value of the property.


A formal legislative enactment by the City Council, that implements or amends local law.

Payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT)

Payment made to compensate a government for some or all of the property tax revenue lost due to tax exemptions or use of real property.


All amounts of money received by a government from external sources. Typically in form of taxes, fees, and other charges.

Special Assessments

A levy made against certain properties to cover some or all of the cost of public improvements that are deemed to primarily benefit those properties.


When assets are greater than the amount of liabilities. Typically used to describe when revenues exceed expenditures.

Tax Incremental Financing District (TID or TIF)

A geographical area or district created under Wisconsin law to encourage development of that area within its boundaries by reinvesting the incremental tax growth generated by increased property values and new developments within the district.

Tax Levy

The total amount of property taxes imposed by a governmental entity.

Tax Rate

The amount of tax stated in terms of a unit of the base tax. The tax rate is expressed in terms of "mills" with one mill equivalent to $1 of tax for every $1,000 of assessed value of a property.