The use of fund balance may be used as a source of revenue in balancing the budget, if necessary. Appropriate expenditures that may be financed with fund balance would include capital purchases, special one-time project costs, unforeseen purchases, and general operating expenses due to temporary revenue shortfalls. The Hall County Library System will strive to maintain an unassigned fund balance of one month’s general operating budget at the end of the fiscal year for the general fund.
Fund balance is a measurement of available financial resources and is the difference between total assets and total liabilities in each fund.
Beginning with the most restrictive constraints, fund balance amounts will be reported in the following categories:
1) Non spendable fund balance – amounts that are not in a spendable form (e.g., inventory, prepaid items) or are legally or contractually required to be maintained intact (e.g., permanent fund principal).
2) Restricted fund balance – amounts that can be spent for the specific purposes stipulated by external parties either constitutionally or through enabling legislation (e.g., grants or donations).
3) Committed fund balance – amounts that can be used only for the specific purposes determined by formal action of the Hall County Library System Board. Commitments may be changed or lifted only by referring to the formal action that imposed the constraint originally.
4) Assigned fund balance – amounts intended to be used by the Library for specific purposes. Intent can be expressed by the Hall County Library Board or by the Library Director. In governmental funds other than the general fund, assigned fund balance represents the amount that is not restricted or committed. This indicates that resources in other governmental funds are, at a minimum, intended to be used for the purpose of that fund.
5) Unassigned fund balance – includes all amounts not contained in other classifications and is the residual classification of the general fund only. Unassigned amounts are available for any legal purpose.
The responsibility for designating funds to specific classifications shall be as follows:
Committed Fund Balance – The Hall County Library System Board is the highest level of decision-making authority, and the formal action that is required to be taken to establish, modify, or rescind a fund balance commitment is a resolution approved by the Board.
Assigned Fund Balance – The Hall County Library System has authorized the Library Director as the official authorized to assign fund balance to a specific purpose as approved by this fund balance policy.
When multiple categories of fund balance are available for expenditure, the Library will start with the most restricted category and those funds first before moving down to the next category with available funds.