With the approval of the Council, the Executive shall appoint a person, knowledgeable and experienced in financial matters, to serve as the Director of Finance of the County.
The Director of Finance shall perform the following duties:
Keep a system of accounts;
Control appropriations and allotments;
Prepare monthly and annual financial reports;
Audit, prior to payment, any claims against the government of whatever kind;
Deposit, invest, and have custody of all government funds and bonds;
Prescribe accounting systems;
Prepare for bond sales and advise on debt management;
Administer tax sales;
Bill and collect for all revenues and receipts due the government, to the extent such activities are not performed by any elected officer of the County;
Prepare the budget when so directed by the Executive; and
Perform other duties as may be directed by the Executive and/or prescribed by law.
The fiscal or budget year and the tax year of the government begins on the first day of July and ends on the 30th day of June of the succeeding year.
Not later than April 1 of each year, the Executive shall prepare and submit a proposed budget to the Council for the ensuing fiscal year. The proposed budget shall present a complete financial plan for the government reflecting anticipated revenues from all sources, expenditures, and any surplus or deficit in the general or special funds of the government. The proposed budget shall be reproduced and made available to the public.
The budget message shall contain supporting summary tables and explain the proposed Current Expense Budget, the Current Revenue Budget, the Capital Budget, and the Capital Improvement Program both in terms of finances and of work to be done. It shall outline the proposed financial policies of the government for the ensuing fiscal year and describe the important features of the proposed budget. It shall indicate any major changes in financial policies and in expenditures, appropriations and revenues as compared with the fiscal year currently ending, and shall set forth the reasons for the changes.
Upon submission of the proposed budget, the Council shall cause to be published in at least one newspaper of general circulation in the County a notice of the date, time and place of at least one public hearing on the budget by the Council. If the Council determines that no such newspaper exists in the County, the Council shall use whatever media it deems most suited to satisfy the public notice requirements of this section. No final budget action may be taken by the Council until after the public hearing or hearings have been held, and then only in open, public session.
After the public hearing or hearings, the Council may decrease or delete any items in the budget, except those required by the laws of this state and provisions for debt service on obligations then outstanding or for estimated cash deficits. The Council shall have no power to change the form of the budget as submitted by the Executive or to alter revenue estimates, except to correct mathematical errors.
The adoption of the budget shall be by the affirmative vote of not less than three members of the Council in a law enacted not later than June 15, which shall be known as the "Annual Budget and Appropriations Ordinance of Cecil County." If a budget is not approved by the Council by June 15, then the budget as submitted by the Executive shall become law.
After July 1, the Annual Budget and Appropriation Ordinance may, upon request of the Executive, be amended by resolution approved by the affirmative vote of not less than three members of the Council. The Council may, but is not required to, hold a public hearing prior to taking action on a proposed budget amendment.
After enacting the Annual Budget and Appropriations Ordinance, the Council shall levy the amount of taxes required by the budget to ensure that the budget is balanced so that proposed revenues equal proposed expenditures.
Any local law authorizing the borrowing of money or issuance of bonds or other evidences of indebtedness shall be submitted to the registered voters of the County for approval or rejection, if a petition for such submission is filed pursuant to the provisions of the Charter and local laws.
Except as otherwise provided by state law, the aggregate amount of bonds and other evidences of indebtedness outstanding at any one time shall not exceed a total of 6% of the assessable basis of real property of the County and 15% of the County's assessable basis of personal property and operating real property described in § 8-109(c) of the Tax-Property Article.
Except as may otherwise be provided by state law, the following shall not be computed or applied in establishing the debt limitations provided in this section:
Tax anticipation notes or other evidences of indebtedness having a maturity not in excess of 12 months;
Bonds or other evidences of indebtedness issued or guaranteed by the County payable primarily or exclusively from taxes levied in or on, or other revenues of, special taxing areas or districts heretofore or hereafter established by law; and
Bonds or other evidences of indebtedness issued for self-liquidating and other projects payable primarily or exclusively from the proceeds of assessments or charges for special benefits or services.
The Executive may transfer unencumbered appropriations in the Current Expense Budget within the same department, agency, or office and within the same fund. On the recommendation of the Executive, the Council may transfer unencumbered appropriations in the Current Expense Budget between departments, agencies and offices within the same fund.
A transfer shall not be made between the Current Expense Budget and Capital Budget appropriations. On the recommendation of the Executive, the Council may transfer appropriations between capital projects within the same fund, provided the Council neither creates nor abandons any capital projects except in accordance with Section 513 of this Charter.
Notwithstanding any provisions of this Section, the Council may provide by law for interfund cash borrowing to meet temporary cash requirements. Nothing contained in this section may be construed to prevent reimbursement among funds for services rendered.
On the recommendation of the Executive, the Council may make supplemental appropriations from any contingency appropriations in the budget; from revenues received from anticipated sources but in excess of budget estimates; or from revenues received from sources not anticipated in the budget.
To meet an emergency declared pursuant to Section 305 of this Charter, the Council may make emergency appropriations from the sources provided in Section 511 of this Charter. To the extent unappropriated revenues are unavailable to meet the emergency, the Council by law may authorize the issuance of emergency notes, which may be renewed from time to time. Emergency notes and renewals issued pursuant to this section shall not be paid later than the last day of the next fiscal year succeeding that in which the emergency appropriation was made.
Unless otherwise provided by law, all unexpended and unencumbered appropriations in the Current Expense Budget and/or Current Revenue Budget remaining at the end of the fiscal year shall revert into the treasury. No appropriation for a capital project in the Capital Budget may revert until the purpose for which the appropriation was made is accomplished or abandoned; but any capital project shall be considered abandoned if three fiscal years elapse without any expenditure from or encumbrance of the appropriation. The balances remaining to the credit of the completed or abandoned capital projects shall revert to the general fund and be available for appropriation in subsequent budgets.
Upon recommendation of the Executive and after a public hearing and an affirmative vote of at least three Council members, the Council may amend the Annual Budget and Appropriations Ordinance to provide funds for a capital project not previously appearing in the Capital Budget for the fiscal year. The amendment shall not increase the total amount of appropriations for the fiscal year, unless such increased appropriations shall be funded from revenues received in excess of those budgeted or from unanticipated revenues not previously budgeted in the Annual Budget and Appropriations Ordinance for the fiscal year.
All revenues and receipts from special services or benefit charges; special taxes or assessments imposed upon special taxing areas for special or particular services, purposes or benefits; funds held by the County as trustee or agent; or bond proceeds, shall be paid into and appropriated from special funds created for such purposes. All other revenues and receipts of the County from taxes, grants, state revenues and other receipts shall be paid into and appropriated from the general fund, which is the primary fund for the financing of current expenses for the conduct of government business.
With the recommendation of the Executive, the Council, by the Annual Budget and Appropriations Ordinance, or by other legislative act, may provide for the establishment of working capital or revolving funds for the financing of central stores, equipment pools, or other services common to the agencies of the government.
Notwithstanding other provisions of this section, upon recommendation of the Executive, the Council may establish a reserve fund for permanent public improvements. The Annual Budget and Appropriations Ordinance may dedicate cash surpluses, taxes, and other sources of revenue not otherwise appropriated to this reserve fund.
Nothing in this Charter may be construed to prevent the making of contracts, leases, or other obligations that provide for the payment of funds at a time beyond the end of the fiscal year in which these contracts are made, provided the nature of these transactions reasonably requires the making of these contracts, leases or other obligations. The Council shall authorize by law any contract, lease, or other obligation in excess of $20,000 that requires the payment of funds from the appropriation of a later fiscal year. The amount of $20,000 for such contracts, leases or obligations may be revised by law from time to time, but no more frequently than annually, and shall not be less than $20,000.