3.01 College Budget Process and Fiscal Accountability

Title: College Budget Process and Fiscal Accountability
Number: BP 3.01
Adopted: November 1988
Reviewed: September 2020
Revised: September 2015

The Nicolet Area Technical College District Board of Trustees (Board) shall be fiscally accountable.  Fiscal accountability will be demonstrated through fiscal responsibility, the annual budget, sound business practices, and an annual audit.

Fiscal Responsibility

The Board’s Treasurer is responsible for the receipt of all public funds of the District and shall be accountable for such action in accordance with applicable statutes.  The Board delegates the operational procedures relating to the fiscal operations of the District to the President or his/her designee.

The Board shall approve an annual budget at the June meeting which reflects sound cash-flow management and shall attempt to reduce the need for short-term borrowing by maintaining fund balance designated for operations at approximately 25 percent of budgeted general and special revenue fund expenses.

The Board shall approve gifts or grants that obligate the College to make future expenditures of funds or human resources beyond conditions outlined by the gift or grant.

Annual Budget

The District shall prepare an annual budget document in accordance with legal requirements, deadlines and the uniform budget document format specified in the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) Financial Accounting Manual.

The budget shall be developed by soliciting information from various levels of the organization and shall accurately reflect projections of income and expenses, including a capital budget that meets the capital needs of the District.  Prior to adoption of the budget, the District shall hold a public hearing to solicit public input on the proposed budget. The public hearing shall be advertised through a Class 1 Legal Notice.  The President shall recommend an annual budget to the Board at the June meeting, and shall submit an approved copy of the annual budget document to the WTCS Board by July 1.

Subsequent budget modifications require Board approval and shall be implemented in accordance with appropriate statutes, rules, and regulations.

The District Board shall set and approve annual mill rates for operational and debt service tax levies during the October Board meeting.

Sound Business Practices

Sound business practices will be adhered to by the District. Such practices shall include, but shall not be limited to:

  1. All District financial activity shall be accounted for through one accounting system to enhance internal controls.
  2. District financial records shall be maintained on the budgetary basis of governmental accounting, as required and detailed in the Wisconsin Technical College System Financial Accounting Manual. The District will adhere to governmental generally accepted accounting principles, as codified in the Codification of Governmental Accounting and Financial Reporting Standards (published by the Government Accounting Standards Board), unless specifically required to deviate from those standards per regulatory pronouncements by the Wisconsin Technical College System Board.
  3. Internal control procedures shall include cost-effective measures to protect the assets of the District.
  4. The cash and investments of the District’s funds shall be pooled and managed together. Cash accounts of the District in excess of FDIC limitations shall be collateralized whenever possible. Cash in excess of immediate District operating needs shall be invested. Investment decisions of the District shall be determined by maximization of earnings and security of principal. The local Government Investment Pool of the State of Wisconsin will be one such means of investment.
  5. Fixed asset records will be maintained by the District, and periodic inventories will be conducted.
  6. Capital equipment will be purchased through the capital projects fund of the District, except enterprise or agency funds.
  7. Enterprise fund managers shall update their budget plans annually.  The budget plan shall include an assessment of adequate fund balance requirements.  The funds shall strive to operate at a profit sufficient to return funds to the general fund of the college.
  8. A monthly financial report summary shall be prepared and submitted to the District Board.  A check register showing all checks over $2,500 printed for the month shall be presented to the Board Treasurer.
  9. The President will inform the Board Chair immediately of any suspected incidents of misappropriation of funds.  The District policy is to fully cooperate with appropriate legal authorities and violations of the law may be prosecuted.
  10. District assets and resources may not be used for personal benefit. 

Annual Audit

The Board shall establish the period from July 1st through June 30th as its fiscal year.

An annual audit of all District funds shall be completed by an independent certified public accounting firm for each fiscal year.  The audit report shall be submitted to WTCS within six (6) months following the end of the fiscal year.  The goal of the audit will be the expression of a clean (unqualified) opinion.

The District’s auditing services will be competitively bid at least every five years.