ACCRUAL BASIS of ACCOUNTING – Method of accounting that recognizes the financial effect of transactions, events and inter-fund activities when they occur, regardless of the timing of the related cash flows.

APPROPRIATION - An authorization made by the City Commission that permits the City to incur obligations and to make expenditures for specific purposes.

ASSESSED VALUATION - The total value of real estate and personal property as determined by the Assessor that is the basis used for levying taxes. (S.E.V. = State Equalized Value)

BALANCED BUDGET - A spending plan where revenues and/or other financing sources match expenditures.

BOND - A written promise to pay a specific sum of money plus interest at a specified rate within a specific period of time, primarily to finance street construction, facility improvements, or public safety equipment.

BUDGET - A financial plan for a specified fiscal year that contains estimated expenditures and revenues.

  • Operating Budget: The portion of the budget that relates to daily operations that provide governmental services. The operating budget contains appropriations for such expenditures as personnel, supplies and services.
  • Capital Improvements Program Budget: A Capital Improvements Program (CIP) Budget includes projects which are usually construction or renovation projects designed to improve the value of the government assets. Examples are street construction, water and sewer facilities, recreational projects, park improvements and building renovations.
  • Budget Amendment: A procedure to revise a budget appropriation either by City Commission approval or by City Manger authorization to adjust appropriations.

CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM (CIP) - A long range plan which outlines proposed capital improvement projects and estimates the costs and funding sources associated with those projects. A ten-year plan is submitted for City Commission, but the first year of this plan is the adopted Capital Improvements Program Budget.

CAPITAL OUTLAY - Expenditures budgeted to acquire or add to fixed assets costing $500 or more and with an expected useful life of a least one year.

CIP FUNDED - Projects supported by resources in the Capital Improvement Program (CIP).

DEBT SERVICE - The amount of interest and principal that the City must pay each year on net direct long-term debt plus the interest it must pay on direct short-term debt.

DEPARTMENT - A major administrative section of the City that indicates overall management responsibility for an operation or a group of related operations within a functional area.

DIVISION - A group of costs centers within a service group, i.e., the Water Division is a cost center within the Public Service Group (which is considered a department).

ENCUMBRANCE - A legal financial commitment of appropriated funds to purchase an item or service. To encumber funds, means to set aside or commit funds for a future expenditure.

EXPENDITURE/EXPENSE - Cost of goods and services obtained, including debt service and capital outlay.

FEDERAL - Refers to the United States of America national government entity

FISCAL YEAR - The twelve-month time period designated by the City that signifies the beginning and ending periods for recording financial transactions. The City of Kalamazoo fiscal year is January 1 to December 31.

FIXED ASSETS - Assets of long-term character which are intended to continue to be held or used, such as land, buildings, machinery, furniture and other equipment.

FULL-TIME EQUIVALENT (FTE) - Combines all full time and part time personnel into a standard equivalent for time management.

FUND - A set of accounts to record revenues and expenditures associated with a specific purpose.


  • Governmental Funds: Funds generally used to account for tax supported activities. There are five different types of governmental funds: general fund, special revenue funds, debt service funds, capital projects funds, and permanent funds.
  • General Fund: The general fund typically serves as the chief operating fund of a government. The general fund is used to account for all financial resources except those required to be accounted for in another fund.
  • Special Revenue Fund: Governmental fund type used to account for the proceeds of specific revenue sources (other than major capital projects) that are legally restricted to expenditure for specified purposes.
  • Debt Service Funds: Governmental fund type used to account for the accumulation of resources for, and the payment of, general long term debt principal and interest.
  • Capital Improvement Project Funds: Fund type used to account for financial resources to be used for the acquisition or construction of major capital facilities (other than those financed by proprietary funds and trust funds).
  • Permanent Funds: Government fund type used to report resources that are legally restricted to the extent that only earnings, and not principal, may be used for purposes that support the reporting government’s programs (i.e. for the benefit of the government or its citizenry).
  • Proprietary Funds: Funds that focus on the determination of operating income, changes in net assets (or cost recovery), financial position, and cash flows. There are two different types of proprietary funds: enterprise funds and internal service funds.
  • Enterprise Fund: Proprietary fund type used to report an activity for which a fee is charged to external users for goods or services.
  • Internal Service Funds: Proprietary fund type that may be used to report any activity that provides goods or services to other funds, departments, or agencies of the primary government and its component units, or to other governments, on a cost-reimbursement basis.
  • Fiduciary Funds: Funds used to report assets held in a trustee or agency capacity for others and which therefore cannot be used to support the government’s own programs. The fiduciary fund category includes pension (and other employee benefit) trust funds, investment trust funds, private-purpose trust funds and agency funds.
  • Pension (and Other Employee Benefit) trust funds: Fiduciary fund type used to report resources that are required to be held in trust for the members and beneficiaries of defined benefit pension plans, defined contribution plans, or the postemployment benefit plans, or other employee benefit plans.
  • Investment trust funds: Fiduciary Fund type used to report governmental external investment pools in separately issued reports and the external portion of these same pools when reported by the sponsoring government.
  • Private-purpose trust funds: Fiduciary Fund type used to report all trust arrangements, other than those properly reported in pension trust funds or investment trust funds, under which principal and income benefit individuals, private organizations, or other governments.
  • Agency funds: Fiduciary fund type used to report resources held by the reporting government in a purely custodial capacity (assets equal liabilities). Agency funds typically involve only the receipt, temporary investment, remittance of fiduciary resources to individuals, private organizations or other governments.

FUND BALANCE - Fund Balance is the difference between assets and liabilities in a governmental fund.

GENERAL OBLIGATION BONDS - A municipal bond backed by the credit and "taxing power" of the issuing jurisdiction rather than the revenue from a given project.

GENERAL APPROPRIATION RESOLUTION - The budget as adopted by the City Commission.

GOALS - A statement of broad direction, purpose or intent based on the needs of the community; a goal is general, timeless, and is not concerned with a specific accomplishment, but with the nature of desired effects of activities and operations.

GRANT - A contribution by the state or federal government or other organization to support a specific function. Grants may be classified as either categorical or block.

IN-LIEU PROPERTY TAXES - An amount charged enterprise operations equivalent to the City property taxes that would be due on plant and equipment if the enterprise operations were for-profit companies.

INTERFUND TRANSFERS - The exchange of resources between funds that are not recorded as revenues to the fund receiving or expenditures to the fund providing.

JURISDICTIONAL TRANSFERS - Funds received from the State as part of the transfer of authority of local major streets to the City of Kalamazoo. Can also be referred to as J-Transfer.

LONG TERM DEBT - Borrowings with a maturity of more than one year after issuance date.

MODIFIED ACCRUAL BASIS - An accounting method that recognizes revenues when they are both “measurable and “available,” to finance expenditures of the current period. Expenditures are recognized when the related liability is incurred.

OBJECTIVES - Are time-related, goal directed, quantified statements of results expected within the fiscal year. They are measurable, realistic and obtainable, and are consistent with overall department and City goals.

PERFORMANCE MEASURERS - Specific quantitative and qualitative indicators of work performed as an objective of a service group/division. Indicators in some instances may not have measurable results, nor be measured on a recurring basis, but success may be measured by the accomplishment of the goal and objective.

RESERVE - An account used to indicate that a portion of a fund's assets are legally restricted for a specific purpose and is, therefore, not available for general appropriation.

REVENUE or RESOURCES - Funds received as income, including taxes, charges and fees for specific services, subsidies from other governments, fines, forfeitures, grants, shared revenues and interest income.

REVENUE BOND - A municipal bond supported by the revenue from a specific project or operation, such as a toll bridge, highway, utility or local stadium.

RISK MANAGEMENT - An effort organized to protect assets against loss most economically.

STATE - Refers to the State of Michigan

STATE EQUALIZED VALUE (SEV) - The final assessed value after equalized by the State Tax Commission. If the County board of commissioners considers the assessments to be relatively unequal, they will equalize the assessments by adding to or deducting from the valuation of the taxable property, resulting in final SEV.

TAX LEVY - Taxes imposed for the support of governmental activities.

TRANSFERS - Transfers are the authorized exchanges of cash or other resources between funds.

WORKING CAPITAL - Funds used from or contributed to unreserved and undesignated balances.